Fitness instructor Emmet Rushe explains why is does more harm than good to use phrases like 'sure you have to live' to skip on your diet.

If there is one thing that I always recommend to a new client, whenever they come in for a consultation, it is the importance of food quality.

Food quality is even more important at the moment with the ever increasing rise in obesity statistics.

Irish men already have the highest BMI (body mass index), in Europe, while Irish women rank third, the study shows.

Almost one-fifth of the world’s obese adults (118 million) live in Ireland and five other high-income English-speaking countries

By 2025, 37 per cent of Irish women will be obese, just behind 38 per cent in the UK, the study forecasts.

We did not get to these statistics by eating a diet that consists of a high quality of food.

During the 2000s, it wasn’t only Ireland’s prosperity that was growing, our waist lines were growing alongside the Celtic Tiger and, unfortunately for us, it didn’t slow down like the economy.

When you look at countries who have had prosperity since the 1980’s you will also see a rising problem with obesity.

The USA were 1st, then Britain and now Ireland has caught up and is slowly taking the lead.

If we look at what prosperity brought with it, in regards to how we eat and how we view ourselves as a nation, it seems to have brought a sense of entitlement with it, and this hasn’t gone away.

We seem to feel entitled to have the things that once would have been classed as a ‘special treat’, and we want them all the time.

Coming from the humble beginnings that Ireland did over the last century, you could hardly blame people for splashing out on things that were once out of reach due to financial constraints.

But the Celtic Tiger has been put out to pasture and we are left with a nation that is becoming more and more obese with each passing year.

The sense of entitlement has clearly gotten out of control, whenever people cannot see that we are killing ourselves with food.

Phrases like ‘Sure you have to live’, ‘Having one won’t kill you’ and ‘It’s only a treat’ are second nature to us now.

We are so far removed from what a normal diet is, and what a bit of restraint feels like, we don’t actually realize that the ‘treats’ are now an everyday occurrence.

Eating chocolate, or crisps, or cakes or biscuits on a daily basis is not a ‘treat’.

Having a glass of wine every night and a few bottles at the weekend, because you ‘had a hard week at work’ is not a treat.

Going out for dinner a few times per week is not a ‘treat’.

If you are doing the things listed above on a regular basis, and wondering why you cannot lose weight, it is time to realize that you are not ‘treating yourself’, you just have a really poor understanding of what you need in your diet for health and your sense of entitlement has run rampant.

You are not entitled to anything.

Do you feel like you are?

What have you done to entitle you to it?

Does a ‘hard week at work’ entitle you to wine or chocolate?

Not if you consistently complain about your weight.

If your consistency only ever revolves around the things that are causing your weight gain, you cannot complain about not being able to lose weight.

You are not entitled to weight loss.

You have to work at it.

It will involve some sacrifice, either of the things you enjoy too much of, or of your time, so you can exercise.

Does this make you feel uncomfortable?


We have become far too comfortable in ourselves.

Maybe it’s time for a bit of discomfort to tip the balance and to make us realize that, the reason we cannot lose weight and are becoming obese as a nation, is because of ourselves.

There are endless possibilities that you can do to reward yourself that won’t ruin the hard work that you put into your diet and training. The type of treat that you reward yourself with can make a huge difference when you are trying to lose weight:

Instead of rewarding yourself with food why not treat yourself to something else?
What about a punnet of those berries from M&S that you usually wouldn’t buy?
A walk on your favourite beach?
Go to the theatre or cinema?
A trip to the pool, with an extra 10 minutes in the Jacuzzi?
Spend the day with your family?

Everyone will have bad days and everyone will have situations that will be deserving of a reward. How you choose to reward yourself can be the difference in achieving your ultimate reward – your ideal weight.