Britain ‘too lazy and fat’, says Trade Secretary Liam Fox – BBC News

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Britain is “too lazy and too fat” with businessmen preferring “golf on a Friday afternoon” to trying to boost the country’s prosperity, Liam Fox has said.

The international trade secretary’s remarks, at a Conservative Way Forward event, were recorded by the Times.

Downing Street said he was clearly expressing private views.

Richard Reed, Innocent Drinks co-founder, said Mr Fox “had never done a day’s business in his life”.

Mr Fox, who was a prominent voice within the Leave campaign in the EU referendum, is in charge of negotiating trade deals for the UK once it has left the European Union.

During his speech to activists on Thursday evening he said there needed to be a change in British business culture and said people had got to stop thinking about exporting as an opportunity and start thinking about it as a duty.

“This country is not the free-trading nation it once was. We have become too lazy, and too fat on our successes in previous generations,” he said.

He added: “Companies who could be contributing to our national prosperity – but choose not to because it might be too difficult or too time-consuming or because they can’t play golf on a Friday afternoon – we’ve got to be saying to them if you want to share in the prosperity of our country you have a duty to contribute to the prosperity of our country.”

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Image caption Liam Fox has been critical of Boris Johnson’s department, suggesting he should take charge of economic diplomacy

In Mr Fox’s speech he also criticised the “Foreign Office view of the world” for focusing on capital cities and diplomacy rather than business, and claimed his new government department had taken charge of “trading elements”.

The comments follow his letter to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, which was leaked to the press, suggesting British trade would not flourish unless the Foreign Office was reduced to a department focused only on diplomacy and security.

Liam Fox says that UK exporters are too often on the golf course to focus on selling their wares overseas.

Analysis – By Joe Lynam, business correspondent

No-one knows how much business is done on the front or back nine – or more plausibly in the clubhouse over a glass of something – but it’s probably not insignificant.

Business bibles such as Forbes, CNBC and Bloomberg all have special features about golf and its importance to sealing a deal.

People do business with other people and golf is a game which relies on honesty, temperament and sound judgement. Cheating is shunned. Deciding whether to do a deal with someone can require similar attributes.

Setting aside your clubs for a moment though, many business people will have been galled to be told that they are too lazy not to be exporting and that it is their duty to be doing so.

The notion that entrepreneurs couldn’t be bothered to increase their sales will irritate – especially when it comes from a politician who has never run a company.

A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Fox had been expressing his own views at the event, and not the views of the government.

A source at No 10 later added: “Whatever form of words we use, the point we all want to make is that Britain can trade its way to greater prosperity, with the well-paid jobs and security that entails.”

Mr Fox’s own spokesman said the minister was committed to supporting the full range of businesses in the UK so they could best take advantage of the opportunities that Brexit presented.

But Mr Reed, who was also deputy chair of the official Remain referendum campaign, called Mr Fox’s comments “absolutely disgusting”.

‘Terrible voice’

Media captionInnocent drinks founder responds to Liam Fox’s comments on UK business.

“He is a representative of us, of this country, and he turns round and slags us off, calling us fat and lazy,” he said on BBC Radio 4’s Today. “He’s never done a day’s business in his life.”

“He’s talking about business people here who were absolutely clear in saying that we want, and do, export, and that’s why we do want to remain in the EU… I just think: ‘how dare he talk down the country that he damaged, how dare he’.

“He’s a terrible, terrible voice for British business.”

Mr Reed added that he’d “never played golf in [his] life”.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna said Mr Fox’s comments were “a complete disgrace, coming from the man supposed to be promoting our businesses globally” and UK businesses deserved an apology.

Image copyright Twitter

“UK business must have woken up today, read Liam Fox’s comments, and thought with friends like these who needs enemies”, he tweeted.

The chief executive of the Engineering Employers Federation, Terry Scuoler, said: “The comments from Liam Fox were extremely unwise and very unhelpful.

“What we’re looking for in these uncertain times is support from government – not negativity – particularly through the forthcoming Autumn Statement.”

‘Offensive and crass’

Shadow minister without portfolio Jonathan Ashworth said Mr Fox lacked “humility” and should apologise.

“These are offensive and crass comments,” he said.

“Every MP knows of hard working businesses in their constituency who are struggling at the moment. None of them are lazy or more interested in playing golf.”

Pat McFadden, Labour MP and supporter of the Open Britain campaign group pushing for a close relationship with the EU, said he was sceptical about how Mr Fox could fulfil his role.

“If the government doesn’t confirm it supports membership of the single market it won’t serve British business, but that is hardly surprising if ministers can’t even speak up for British business,” he said.

“It is hard to see why the government’s trade minister is attacking British business when he is supposed to be promoting the UK as a great place to do business.”

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David Hernandez

What it’s like going to the doctor as a fat person.

I am visiting my family when my hearing cuts out.

Its scary to abruptly lose one of your senses. Everything sounds muffled, like the people speaking around me are behind a closed door at the end of a long hallway, distant and unreachable. The pain in my ears is sharp.

I feel my breath shallow and quicken, anxiety beating its hummingbird wings in my ribcage. First, because something is so clearly wrong. And second, because I will have to go to the doctor, and I am fat.

As I walk into the office, I steel myself for the charm offensive Ill need to wage.

As a fat person, my health is always suspect, and never more than when I step into an unknown doctors office.

The nurse and I chat away as she takes my vital signs, though I still strain to hear her. As we speak, she takes my blood pressure once, then frowns. She takes it again, then another look. She excuses herself and comes back with another cuff, trying a third time. Nervous, I ask her what the problem is.

Im just not getting a good read, she says, adjusting the second cuff.

Is everything OK?

Its coming back great, but that cant be right. Overweight patients dont have good blood pressure.

Its a familiar moment that Ive come to dread. Even with her trusted equipment, even with the numbers clear as day in front of her, she cannot see that I am healthy. She anticipates poor health, and anything better becomes invisible.

I have entrusted her with my health, and she cannot see it.

Eventually, the doctor enters. Both of my ears are infected, and Im prescribed antibiotics.

He gives me detailed instructions on how to use the eardrops and advises me to take all of the medicine as prescribed. As the visit wraps up, I ask the doctor if theres anything else I should do for aftercare.

You should lose some weight.

This moment is familiar, too. It leaves me disappointed and unsurprised. When I seek medical care, many providers only seem to see my weight. Whatever the diagnosis, weight loss is its prescribed treatment. I explain what I eat, how much I exercise, my history of low blood pressure, and general good health. It only rarely influences my course of treatment. Because the biggest predictor of my health, even in the eyes of professionals, is my dress size. I have proven myself an irresponsible owner of my own body. Every detail I provide is suspect.

And I am not alone. Many fat people find the doctors office which should be safe, confidential, and constructive is instead a home for shame and rejection. Health care providers congratulate fat people for their eating disorders, they tell patients they should lose weight if they want to be beautiful, and fat people are given lectures on weight loss instead of receiving medical treatment.

Like all of us, health care providers can be products of a culture that teaches us to shame, exclude, and be disgusted with fat people.

Often, it can show in their treatment of fat patients.

A growing body of research shows that doctors are less likely to show empathy for fat patients, making many unable to take in important diagnostic information. Doctors are more likely to describe fat patients like me as awkward, unattractive, noncompliant even weak-willed and lazy. Because despite extraordinary training and expertise in medicine, health care providers are products of a culture that shames and rejects fat people. And those beliefs inform important, sweeping health care policy decisions.

When thin friends and family talk to me about my health, this is a part they almost never imagine: Getting basic health care, from regular check-ups to minor interventions, requires tenacious self-advocacy. Because in the doctors office just like the rest of the world I am forced to defend my body at every turn just to get my basic needs met. Unlike other patients, I must prostrate myself, prove that I am worthy of treatment.

And thats made possible by the way we all talk about being fat all of which muddies our ability to measure health in more complex, precise ways. I think we use losing weight and getting healthy interchangeably. We reject fat peoples accounts of their own weight loss attempts, opting instead to believe that they simply havent tried hard enough, or dont know how.

When we talk about fatness as the only real measure of health, we bypass many other pieces of the puzzle: nutrition, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns, mental health, family histories. We ignore precise, important measures of health, collapsing all that complexity into the size of someones body, believing that to be the most accurate and trustworthy measure of a persons health. This is what happens to me. My health is disregarded, all because of how I look.

In order to get accurate diagnoses and real treatments to fat patients, well all need to examine our own thinking about fat people and health.

Changing the conversation around fat and health will take more work than that but its a place to start. Because as it stands, few of us are willing to believe that fat people could have health problems stemming from anything other than their fat bodies.

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David Hernandez

5 Lessons I Learned That Are The ONLY Reason I Was Finally Able To Lose Weight

First of all, I want to say that I am by no means qualified to give any nutritional or fitness advice. This post is strictly focused on mental barriers that I had to overcome on a very long struggle to lose weight. Losing weight is really, really hard, but Ive found with the right mindset that it can actually be pretty fun. So here are some of the lessons that helped me the most on my weight loss journey.

1. Loving yourself exactly as you are can be taken a little too literally.

I feel like its so taboo these days, especially as a woman, to admit that youre unhappy with your body. We all do it at one point or another, but any time I have admitted that I didnt like how I looked, I faced opposition. Why would you say that? Youre so beautiful! You look so good! etc.

But the fact of the matter is, when I looked in the mirror I saw the result of a ridiculously unhealthy lifestyle and its impossible to love something youve neglected for so long.

I looked exhausted, my clothes didnt fit (I actually wore the same dress to class for the last few weeks of the semester because nothing else fit), and when I came home for the summer I declined every invitation because I was so embarrassed about how I looked. I got increasingly frustrated at my resistance to want to lose weight and denying that I felt I didnt look or feel beautiful whatsoever. This was my first problem in addressing my need to get healthy. So recognize that you want to make a change, create your goals, own them, and dont necessarily tell people about them. Know that itsto be unhappy with where you are as long as you are making a point to change.

2. That being said, it is more important to recognize your worth.

We dont fight for the things we dont care about. I had reached a point where I stopped caring about myself. I would eat toast for two out of my three meals a day and then order takeout for dinner. I was probably drinking three nights a week and waking up hungover and miserable to the point where I would sleep until it was time to go out again. I justified my lifestyle by saying that I was young and I should take advantage of that.

But one day I snapped and I saw how much of myself I had lost in my unhealthy lifestyle. I thought of all the lives I had touched and all the lives that had touched me, and I realized that I could have so much more if I simply decided to take care of myself. It wasnt just about looking a certain way anymore it was about improving the quality of my life. This was the driving force for me to stick with my goals regardless of how hard it got.

3. Learn to be sober around drunk people.

This is a good lesson regardless of your health status. I didnt tell my group of friends that I was trying to lose weight, I simply told them I wasnt drinking anymore. Luckily, I have very supportive friends, so once the initial shock that I was going to be sober wore off, they were all on board. I enjoy dancing, so going to the bars and clubs didnt change much for me. However, I found myself not going out as much anymore. I started choosing spending one on one time with friends and family over going out. But it a fun thing to learn how to be sober in these social settings, because you learn a lot about your friends and theyll appreciate you more for it. At least thats been the case in my experience.

I do want to mention that I am NOT looking down on the people that do enjoy going out and drinking. No one likes that person. No one looks at the person posting those passive aggressive special snowflake memes about how youd rather hit the gym than the club or whatever and thinks, Wow theyre so right. Im a changed man. I dont want to be that person. Dont be that person.

4. When you stop making it about losing weight, and make it about improving your life, it will all work out seemingly effortlessly.

Initially, I started running to boost my weight loss because it was summer and I was tired of sucking in at the beach. I downloaded one of those couch-to-10K programs and got started. It didnt take long for me to get addicted. I approached running with the only goal of getting better and seeing how many more miles I could run. Sadly, I sometimes put pressure on myself to the point where it loses its fun a little bit, but overall, running has become so therapeutic for me. I began to realize what my body could do when my mind was on board. I started to love my body naturally and not for how it looked but for what it could do and how it felt. Long gone were the days where I slept through the day and closed myself off. I began to fully appreciate myself and this life and there was nothing more to it than caring for myself.

5. Separate your mind and body.

So this is a sort of weird tactic that I used but I found it very effective. As I said before, we dont fight for the things that we dont care about. I had stopped caring about myself, which disappointed me because I know that when I was younger I believed I could do anything. My approach then became to take care of myself as if I was still that little version of myself. I would never tell little me that she was ugly or too big or too pale and then make her eat poor foods and poison her with too much alcohol. I dug deep and found the spirit of that younger me and fought hard to take care of the shell she lived in. Miraculously enough, the girl who believed she could do anything ended up resurfacing.

You can do it. Just start.

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David Hernandez

Dad Thinks Mom Is Just Gaining Weight, Until He Delivers Their Son At Home

Normally, when a woman gets pregnant, she feels the symptoms of her pregnancy after a certain time. Such symptoms often include morning sickness, weight gain, and tenderness of some parts of the body.

But not all pregnancies are the same, and miraculously, some women feel little to nodiscomfort at all.

In fact, several of these women, like one teen, claim they had no idea that they were expecting until the moment theywere actually giving birth.

Jennifer Favela is one of thesewomen. Whenshe gave birth to a baby boy, her only symptom was some weight gain. And she was already a mother of two.

She woke up in the middle of the night, thinking that she just had a stomach ache. It wasn’t long before her husband,Jeff Parungoa, was calling 911, with a baby almost in his arms.

Just one week before, Jeff had noticed his wife’s weight gain, and wondered what was causing it – now, he has his answer!

The parents may bescrambling for baby supplies, but we’re certain that, though they are still shocked by the new arrival, they couldn’t be happier.

How thehuman bodyworks is definitely a mysterious and wondrous thing.

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David Hernandez

Eating Half Your Weight In Chipotle Just Got Easier

Your hangover cure just got better: Chipotle is testing out a pilot program where they’ll use drones to deliver food to customers. Yes I’ll take my burrito bowl with black beans, fajitas, and cool af technology please. So Seamless, Imma let you finish but Chipotle has the best food delivery system of all time.

The program has customers order their food at kiosks, then Chipotle food trucks stationed strategically in the geographic area make the food. The workers then load the food order onto a drone, and the drone flies over to the customer and drops it. I’m assuming that eventually the kiosks will be eliminated and people can just order from their phones, so there’s absolutely no human interactionthe ultimate millennial goal.

But will guac still be extra??

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David Hernandez

Fat Boy The Cat Finally Rescued After 9 Days Atop Power Pole

A Californian cat named “Fat Boy” has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

The black-and-white feline was rescued Tuesday from the top of a 45-foot high power pole in Fresno, where he had been stuck for nine days, The Fresno Bee reports.

Fat Boy’s owner,  Andrew Perez, wasn’t sure how the cat got up there, but guessed that a neighborhood dog may have scared him.

“We were calling his name, and he was looking at us, and he’d just meow,” Perez told ABC 7.

The cat’s human family was worried for their pet, so the fire department and other local agencies referred them to power company Pacific Gas and Electric, according to ABC News.

“It’s not a simple thing to climb a power pole and get a cat down,” PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles told the Fresno Bee. “The first thing we have to do is de-energize the line – it’s a 12,000-volt line. The safety of the two guys who went up on the pole, and the crew member on the ground, has to be our first priority every time.

He said they usually “wait out” cats on poles, and the felines typically come down on their own, but after Fat Boy had been up there so long, they had to take action. In order for workers to get him, the company had to shut off power to about 250 homes for a few hours.

Fat Boy seemed healthy, but since he had gone so long without food or water, veterinary workers gave the feline electrolytes and made sure he had food before returning him to his family.

Welcome home, Fat Boy.

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David Hernandez