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Planning to swap it

Tuesday 11 October, 2011 by Laura

Planning ahead isn't my forte, unless it's planning holidays, which I'm very good at. But I have been somewhat inspired by the announcement of the National 12 week ‘swapping' challenge.

Firstly, can you believe it's less than 12 weeks until Christmas! I mocked my friend for singing a Christmas song the other day. I told her it was ‘too soon' but try telling that to the merchandisers at Coles or Myer.

I guess the reason I like this swapping challenge is that resolutions are not just for New Year and actually giving yourself a head-start is a good way to side-step the overindulgence of the festive season. The idea is that we take part in a national challenge by becoming a ‘Swapper', you know, like the balloon guy off the telly.

There's a free interactive planner and an iPhone app. It's got tools to help you plan your food and activity swaps, as well as alerts, checklists and a progress report. Everyone loves a progress report! The activity planner uses GPS, so can recommend places that are local to you, such as swimming pools and parks. They even have suggested shopping lists, if you want them.

Balloons don't usually motivate me to act in any way whatsoever. That's a lie; they may have driven me once or twice to inhale helium and say things that are neither insightful, funny or clever. And in general, I'm not easily driven to act by TV advertising either (or so I tell myself).
So despite my general malaise towards balloons and advertising, I like this idea of challenging people to eat healthily and increase their physical activity, as this helps to maintain a healthy weight, and yes, cut your cancer risk! I also like that it's encouraging people to do it now, not tomorrow, or next month, or next year.

Obesity is a risk factor for a number of cancers, including cancer of the bowel, breast (post menopause), kidney, pancreas, oesophagus and endometrium. It is also a risk factor for other chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Currently more than half of all Australian adults are overweight and of this 24% are obese. You may read this and think this isn't me, I don't need to be a swapper, but maybe someone you know does. If they do, or if you really like gadgets then check out www.swapit.gov.au.

I'm thinking of swapping my occasional late night chocolate indulgences for snacking on nuts and fruit instead. What will you swap? Ice cream for yoghurt? Getting the train for cycling? Watching TV for playing cricket with the kids?

Tell us if you've got a plan up your sleeves. We always love to hear ideas about leading a healthy lifestyle.



I like to swap carbs for spinach. Rather than a big bowl of pasta, I put some baby spinach in the bowl to fill it out a bit. I also swap honey or sugar in my cereal for chunks of fresh orange or strawberries, just to keep things sweet!

From: Sophie, 15/04/2013

That's great Sophie. I tried swapping half my pasta serve with grated zucchini the other night - it was delicious and helped me get another of my recommended 2 and 5! I'll have to give spinach a go to.

From: Laura - Cut your cancer risk team, 15/04/2013

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