Can you fit into the same jeans you wore when you were in your 20s?
That’s the question causing controversy in the newspapers and online in the past few days, after one of the world’s leading experts on diabetes said not fitting into the same size could be a risk factor for developing the disease.
Speaking at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ annual conference, professor Roy Taylor, from Newcastle University, explained that a small early study had found people with a normal BMI who developed type 2 diabetes could “achieve remission” by losing 10% to 15% of their body weight.
Explaining the findings, he said: “As a rule of thumb, your waist size should be the same now as when you were 21. If you can’t get into the same size trousers now, you are carrying too much fat and therefore at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even if you aren’t overweight.”
Well, doesn’t that sound a bit simplistic – and unrealistic?
Our bodies change so much as we age – especially for women who have children – and you would expect a medical expert to come up with a warning sign or “symptom” that is, well, more medically informed.
Surely there are more accurate assessments for the risk of developing diabetes rather than focusing on how we look and our body shape? We already have so much attention on our bodies, not to mention pressure to look a certain way due to social media. Do we need yet another reason to be paranoid when we look in the mirror? Every body is different and “change” doesn’t necessarily always equate to “bad”.
After all, when I was a student, life was entirely different. There were fewer demands on my time, less everyday stresses. I had no car so I walked everywhere and I had lots more time to exercise and look after myself, so of course I was slimmer. If I can’t fit into the same jeans now, that doesn’t mean I am overweight or unhealthy – I’m simply older and living in a different body.
However, professor Taylor is right to highlight the growing need to tackle our obesity crisis, and perhaps he has simply chosen a clever way to get people’s attention. If you want people to change, sometimes you need the shock factor – and, unfortunately, headlines like “Can you still fit into your jeans?” do make people sit up and listen.
In some ways, his advice could be seen as a clever way of relating to how people see the world today. These days we have a huge preoccupation with clothing sizes and body image, so highlighting potential underlying health conditions of being a certain weight, without focusing on numbers on a scale, is likely to get more people talking.
In the past 40 years, fast food has become more abundant, we have far more access to screens, and our lives have widely become more sedentary, with few managing to reach even the minimum daily target for exercise. So, it is right to talk about the potential health implications of being overweight – but that doesn’t mean I’ll be returning to my stonewash denim flares anytime soon.
If I had a pound for every time I’ve talked about Gwyneth Paltrow’s wacky escapades in this column I would be loaded – and the actress is, unsurprisingly, at it again.
For the second year in a row, the Oscar-winner has celebrated her birthday by sharing a naked selfie, which she posted for her 7.7 million Instagram followers.
So, she’s marking turning another year older by wearing just her birthday suit! Not too many of us would be brave enough to do that but it never ceases to amaze me how much interest the Goop founder can create with her headline-grabbing antics.
I reckon she’s almost better known for her La La Land lifestyle than her acting abilities. I mean, when did you last see Gwynie in a movie? Maybe the 49-year-old has hung up her film scripts along with her clothes…
Don’t panic, don’t panic
I drove down to London for work last week and to attend the premier of the new Bond movie, and before I left home I knew I needed to fill my car with fuel.
Like everyone else, I had read about the issues with potential supplies at petrol stations, so I was initially concerned that my I wouldn’t be able to fill my tank with enough diesel to get to and from the airport. I phoned my local garage at 7am to be told they had diesel and there was no queue. What a relief.
However, when I got to the Big Smoke, it was a different story. On my way to the theatre, my taxi sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic for almost 20 minutes, during which time we only managed to move about 500 metres. It turns out the tailback had been caused by a huge queue of cars blocking the single lane road as they waited to enter one of the few city centre fuel stations that had petrol!
It’s fascinating (or should that be worrying?) to see how quickly people can panic when there is even a slight hint of supply issues, and it does make you wonder how susceptible we are to mob mentality and looking out only for ourselves. Remember when people starting stockpiling toilet paper at the start of the pandemic because everyone else was?
The reaction to the current crisis has meant the government are now deploying the Army to deliver fuel around the country.
It’s important to remember that some people – key workers and emergency services, for example – might need their cars more than we do, so let’s not panic or head down to our local Esso with jerrycans.
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