John McCallister tackles South Down weight issue head on
With almost 60% of people in Northern Ireland classified as either overweight or obese, MLAs from all parties are lining up to demonstrate their support of safefood’s ‘Stop the Spread’ campaign, which urges people to check their waist measurement to see if they are overweight. If you are a woman with a waist size greater than 32 inches or a man with a waist of 37 inches or more, it’s clear that you are carrying excess weight.
Launched in May 2011, the ‘Stop the Spread’ campaign is a two-year, all island campaign comprising television, radio and outdoor advertising, as well as online support at www.safefood.eu. Newry Times this week caught up with John McCallister (UUP for South Down & UUP Deputy Leader), to find out if he’s doing his bit to tackle this weighty issue.
Newry Times: Do you think you have a healthy lifestyle?
John McCallister: Generally, yes – but I think I could still do with losing a few pounds!
Newry Times: How often do you exercise?
John McCallister: I get some exercise around twice a week at the moment, but I would like to do more.
Newry Times: Do you know how to get your true waist measurement?
John McCallister: Yes. It’s quick to do and easy if you know how! To measure your waist correctly, feel the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hipbones; your waist lies between these 2 points, normally where your bellybutton is. When measuring your waist, it’s important to remember it’s not where your trousers sit (or the waist size of clothes you buy). Safefood is distributing thousands of free tape measures to pharmacies across Northern Ireland over the coming week, so if you don’t have one at home, there will a free one nearby. There’s no excuse!
Newry Times: Have you measured yourself recently?
John McCallister: No, but I plan to!
Newry Times: If you could change one thing in your lifestyle, what would it be?
John McCallister: Increase my level of exercise.
Newry Times: When it comes to food, what’s your biggest weakness?
John McCallister: Chocolate, particularly Crème Eggs. Also partial to a bit of fried chicken!
Newry Times: What do you do to relax?
John McCallister: I like to spend time with my wife and daughter Molly and play seven-a-side football with my friends in Rathfriland.
Newry Times: What are your health goals for 2012?
John McCallister: To increase the amount of exercise I get – even if it just to get out walking more.
Newry Times: You recently changed your diet and lifestyle for safefood’s Stop the Spread campaign – what have you learned?
John McCallister :I have learned that my job makes it very difficult to eat a balanced diet and fit in exercise. I spend so much time in meetings and on the road, its difficult to have three healthy meals per day. But I have also learned that me and only me can make a difference. Whether that means being more organised and making packed lunches, and making healthier choices. There is so much low fat, reduced sugar options available now, so we do have a choice. Another important thing is portion control. Portions are enormous and we always don’t need to finish everything on the plate.
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