The iconic Australian stereotype – fit, lean, sporty – is gone, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald last week.
The OECD issued its findings that 70 per cent of Australian men are overweight or obese (56 per cent of women) and while we're still slimmer than those from the USA we're shockingly wider than Canadians, the Irish, and those "outdoorsy" POMs.
Some believe it's the simple calories in, calories out game. Yet, I took some time to think of a deeper "why" Australian men are so fat:
Men are confused
Paleo, Keto, 5:2, The Zone, Atkins – there are umpteen ways to eat, lose weight, and maintain. Low fat, high fat, and what about saturated fat? Who's right? Who knows.
Globally, men are confused and throwing their arms in the air. In 2018, the Former Commissioner of the USA's FDA is quoted as saying "...we have failed in giving nutritional advice to people." He called for the need to "go back to the basics".
How sad. The smartest animal on the planet still does not know how to feed itself.
It seems physicality has taken a backseat in a more cerebral age. A man should be able to run with speed. A man should have physical strength. (And the same goes for women, too.)
I preach to my male personal training clients to worry less about Hollywood perfection. However, a man should: "Eat well. Drink well. Love with passion. Look good in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. And stay away from the doctor."
Men are too busy to exercise because they're on the internet or binging on a series. Today, a man sees more value carrying a $800 smartphone than an 80 cent Granny Smith apple. "Health" is an afterthought.
Men value "more" food, drink, cars, toys, house, and money. When a mindset of "less" needs to be employed when it comes to alcohol, portion size, and gluttony. Men value a fatter wallet above a slimmer waistline. It's time for health to be valued at the same level as family and career.
Businesses grow when men's waistline grows, and as people born today will live longer into their 80s. But a sick, fat, longer living society means more money for food companies, doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical giants.
Sick-lazy-and-seeking-convenience is big business, and a perverse capitalist sees opportunity to cash in on an ill and overweight culture. We're building more hospitals in Australia – I hope one day we'll be able to knock them down.
Seventy per cent of Australian adults are either sedentary or have low levels of physical activity - the same as the overweight / obesity rate. Excuses and the couch doesn't burn calories and create a healthier body, exercise does.
We seek the same $800 smartphones and sleep outside to obtain them, we eat the same hipster burgers, buffalo wings, ice cream, fizzy drinks, and Texan BBQ. Aussies are watching the same Netflix shows and playing the same video games.
We've become a global society, and Australian men are blending in – they've lost their Aussie lifestyle.
We live in such a "now" culture. From our sports scores to movie downloads, information, and food delivery, we expect results immediately. Yet the most undervalued variable in the weight loss equation is: patience. Weight loss is a two-to-six month (sometimes even years) long process.
Pills, powders, and Dial 1800-BS solutions prey upon the lazy and impatient, and Australians spend many millions on false promises. It takes execution, commitment, and patience for lifestyle change. Only then will it show on the scale.
You can choose
The reality is this: physically, a man should be able to:
1. Perform 20 push-ups, employing a two seconds down (eccentric), one second up (concentric) pace.
2. Hold a plank for 1.5 minutes.
3. Row 500 metres in under two minutes.
4. Find a kettlebell half his weight – from ground to overhead, lift it 10 times.
5. Fall within the healthy BMI / waist to height ratio parameters.
Sweating and swearing at the gym is hard. Choosing salmon and greens instead of a burger and fries is hard. Trashing the wine / beers and sipping water is hard.
Yet diabetes is hard. Heart disease is hard. Acid reflux, cancer, back and knees deficiencies are all hard.
It's time for Australian men to do one thing – choose their hard.
About the author
Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of readers to undertake his "Cut The BS" diet, and a champions good eating.
Just demolished an entire Domino’s pizza and wondering how to burn the fat off the next day? If you aren’t planning on running a marathon the next day then it’s likely you didn’t quite need as many calories, and more than a slice or two will be sticking around your middle.