Believe it or not, one third of us have gained weight since our first lockdown in 2020 and even before this, Ireland was up there among the heaviest people in Europe.
According to research conducted by the Marie Keating Foundation, eating more snacks and sugary foods has become the norm, while many have found it harder to stay motivated to make healthy choices.
Thankfully Dr Eva Orsmond took time out from her busy schedule preparing to open her Solar Alvura luxury weight management hotel in Portugal to chat to us about how little life changes can make a big difference.
Dr. Eva told RSVP Magazine:
Dr Eva, are you seeing more people with issues of weight gain and obesity since the pandemic hit?
Yes, of course. The Irish used to be the skinniest people in Europe in the 1950s or ’60s and now Irish people are amongst the most obese.”
“The pandemic has seen many people put on even more weight and then with Christmas and the latest lockdown things have gotten worse.
What is a healthy weight?
“They say that normal weight is BMI under 25, but in my opinion if your BMI is close to 25 you are still overweight – your waistline should be less than half of your height. I don’t know anybody who maintains their correct weight without working on it. It is far easier to put on the weight than it is to take it off, it takes long- term management and regular checking – and that is the message that needs to get through to people.
Why do the majority of diets fail?
People need to fundamentally change the way they eat for life, it’s not about a fad diet, and people don’t realise that. There is no quick fix.
“Do you remember the big storm we had a few years ago and there was no bread in the shops – people panicked and went crazy. Irish people eat way too much bread; I was talking to a lone parent with three small children – a son aged eight and two small girls aged six and younger – and she told me that she uses one sliced pan of bread every day. That’s a huge percentage of their
How much bread should we eat?
“I think we could live totally without bread, but that could be a little bit difficult for people.”
“When you are trying to lose weight, you should definitely cut it out altogether. I can’t remember when I last ate a slice of bread. I’m not saying I don’t eat carbohydrates, I do, I eat sweet things. Everybody should tailor their own diet to suit them but as a general guideline Irish people consume a huge amount of carbohydrates including bread, potatoes and snacks.
What should people base their diet on to lose weight?
Vegetables. In my book Reverse Your Diabetes , I include the Dr Eva food pyramid and the bottom part is water and liquid and then vegetables come next. Then you add some grain and some fruit, but vegetables are the paramount food. People should have large amounts of vegetables twice a day and Irish people don’t eat enough of them. I’m talking vegetables, not fruit and veg.
“Fruit is a sweet thing and so it is a treat. Many people think they are eating healthy if they eat a couple of bananas a day, they are not.
Describe what you eat on a typical day…
“I have a very light breakfast, sometimes just a coffee with milk and maybe some protein. I don’t believe in eating like a king for breakfast, I think that is a whole lot of rubbish. I always have vegetables at lunchtime, very often soup or leftover stew from the night before or a vegetable omelette. I have a little chocolate on a daily basis and I have some vegetables with protein for dinner.”
“I do drink alcohol and it is something I need to continuously fight because I would like to have more of it than I should. I need to be over careful in Portugal because people have it at lunch as well. It is in the contract for the builders here that they are allowed a beer or a glass of wine at lunchtime. It’s so available and it is so cheap, so when you start counting the units it is pretty scary how it adds up.
Are you excited about opening your new hotel soon?
Yes, it will be like a luxury health hotel where people can detox and reboot, and it will have a five-day minimum stay so that people will have time to see results.
“There will be healthy meal plans geared to weight loss and no smoking or drinking. With no visual stimulation of seeing others having alcohol, people can give themselves a break from these addictions that we all have. We will have yoga, a gym, fitness classes, swimming pools, treatment rooms, hammal, nutritional advice and teaching.”