Last week you may have heard that an exciting program is starting up in the region, aimed at encouraging people, like me, to lose weight and that I was taking part.
It is true that I have signed up to be a participant in Downsizing Dubbo, an eight-week campaign designed to get people exercising and eating healthy to create a lifestyle change.
This program is the brainchild of the team from Super Fast Diet, and they contacted me to see if I would participate. They chose Dubbo because the region is unfortunately one of the worst for the amount of people who are overweight or obese.
The statistics are quite frightening. It is now close to 80 per cent, or four out of five people, who are outside the healthy weight range. Unfortunately, our busy lifestyles seem to be taking a toll on our health. I find that to be absolutely scary and recognise that we have to do something about it, so I want to lead by example.
There needs to be a catalyst for change and when the Downsizing Dubbo program was proposed, I thought it could be just the thing.
Running over eight weeks from September 1, those who sign up will get eight weeks of free gym membership from Anytime Fitness and a meal plan and online program from the organisers.
I have heard some criticism from people who say that an eight-week program won't fix the weight problem, or be enough to get people healthy.
It is true that taking part in the program and returning to old habits is unlikely to make a real difference in the long-term. But I see Downsizing Dubbo as giving people the tools to understand what they need to do for their health.
While a short-term weight loss will be an exciting start, the hope is that the program will be just the beginning of the exercise, and a healthy diet, which will ensure the benefits are much more long term. It takes six weeks to form a habit and as we get further into the program, people will have the chance to see how much better they feel and how much of a difference it is making.
It is clear there needs to be some change. At the moment the health and wellbeing of many of our residents are at risk. I acknowledge that I can benefit from a lifestyle change and that is why I have signed on. I would like to lead by example in this campaign.
However there are plenty of ways in Dubbo for people to get healthy and make a change. We have a fantastic sporting culture and there are opportunities for everyone to get involved. There are also plenty of recreational activities, parks and open spaces that can get people out and about.
For anyone who would like to join me in participating, there is still plenty of time. It's not just people from Dubbo who are able to take part, those in nearby towns such as Wellington, Narromine and Gilgandra can also take part. Visit downsizingdubbo.com.au for more information or to sign up.