1 How would you classify your current weight?
b. A little overweight
c. Very overweight
Why this matters: Most of us put on at least 500 gms to a kilo per year once we’ve passed 30, so the more you weigh now — if you carry on as you are — the more you’ll weigh in the future.
2 Where do you generally store fat?
a. All over
b. Your hips and thighs
c. Your tummy
Why this matters: Women who store most of their fat around their middle have a higher risk of heart disease as they age, while fat around the thighs and bottom is most stubborn. Those who store fat evenly all over stay slimmer and find it easier to lose weight when they need to.
3 How many alcoholic or sugary drinks do you have a day?
c. Two or more
Why this matters: On an average work day, you might be clocking nearly 500 cals just in drinks. As liquid calories don’t fill you up, you feel hungry despite having drunk the equivalent to a large sandwich!
4 What’s your snack of choice?
a. Yogurt, a piece of fruit or a few nuts
b. An energy bar
c. Samosas or chips
Why this matters: Snacking little and often is a good way to keep your metabolism up and burning maximum cals, but choose something high-fat and sugary everyday and you’ll pile on the kilos. Just a couple of choco biscuits a day can add up to around 6-7 kilos per year.
5 Is your mother overweight?
a. Not at all
b. A little
Why this matters: Your chance of being overweight almost doubles if your mom is. Recent research found that a mother’s weight strongly influenced the future size of her daughter’s, but didn’t strongly influence that of her sons.
6 Were you always made to clear your plate as a child?
Why this matters: People who always aim to clear their plate out of childhood habit not hunger tend to carry on eating even when they’re full — meaning excess fat and calories every mealtime.
7 Do you generally eat faster or slower than most people?
b. Normal rate
Why this matters: Research by Osaka University in Japan found that speedy eaters were three times more likely to be overweight than their slower counterparts.
8 Did your mum teach you how to cook?
b. Just the basics
c. Not at all
Why this matters: We learn many of our food habits from our parents, so if mum taught you how to use the microwave or local fast-food takeaway instead of the hob, there is a strong chance you’ll do the same.
9 How many hours of TV do you watch per week?
Why this matters: For every twohour increase in the amount of time you sit in front of the box per week, your risk of obesity shoots up by nearly a quarter according to a study by Harvard University.
10 How stressed do you feel most of the time?
a. Pretty chilled
b. Moderately stressed
c. Very stressed
Why this matters: Research shows that the stress hormone cortisol sends messages to our brain telling us we need more fuel, making us overeat. In the past this was useful because our ancestors often had to run away from stressful situations so needed excess calories — but these days they simply get stored as fat.