Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Australian Observation

When I returned from speaking engagements for Victoria University in Melbourne, I thought I’d share my observations on Australian eating habits so you can be prepared for a healthy visit.

Eat Well and Keep Active

The eating habits of Australians are similar to Americans with a wide variety of foods in supermarkets and many choices on restaurant menus. Clients will need to focus on vegetable and fruit intake to get in their 5-a-day, similar to the US. With plenty of sunshine, SPF 30 creams are essential and walking will keep them active. On bad weather days, hotels have good gyms and swimming pools – pack the right gear.

Motivating Factors

On the plane, an Australian male remarked, “We men neglect ourselves because we don’t have to look good. The women try hard to keep in good shape because they care more.” And this seemed to be obvious. Waiting in the hotel lobby with three formal functions going on, I noticed men coming in looking sloppy and overweight and women coming in looking fashionable and trim.

In my talks, I spoke of ways to motivate people to make healthy changes. Although people should make dietary changes for health reasons, I have found in my private practice that most people come to see me to look better. That is why the subject of appearance is one of my motivating techniques. I talk about looking good and feeling good. Look good by sorting out the wardrobe, getting rid of "ugly" clothes and walking tall. Feel good by eating well, keeping active and showing confidence. Audience members I met a few days later said they had already started making changes.


Their attitude to supplements may bring us more perspective. We are inundated with information and advertisements that make us feel insecure about our food and eating habits. My most interesting observation was the Australians skepticism when it comes to the supplement industry. They also speak their mind. "Who would believe the ads?" was their comment. When I mentioned that billions of dollars are spent on supplements every year, the comment was, "Americans must be daft to buy supplements like they do."


Common sense and a consultation with a dietitian (www.eatright.org) can help you eat well, be active and decide on whether you need a supplement.