Last week, Dr Hilary Jones entered the LighterLife offices for yet another successful health Q&A.
The monthly web chat takes place on the LighterLife Twitter feed during which our LighterLife Twitter followers tweets us their health related questions using the #AskDrHilary hashtag.
Throughout the hour long chat Dr Hilary offers numerous health, weight loss and motivational tips – these are particularly useful in the colder months!
We are of course aware that not everyone is on Twitter, therefore we always open up the Q&A to our Facebook community.
Dr Hilary started the web chat with this short introduction:
Hi, Dr Hilary here! The cold weather and those Christmas temptations are nearly here! You can stick to your game play with a few of my tips…
Is there anything I can take to help with menopause mood swings that won’t stop my progress on LighterLife?
Yes! Try red clover, vervain and flax seeds (lin seeds) which all contain plant oestrogen which help balance out oestrogen deficiency. Soya products are also very good but can be calorific.
I think my son has OCD, how do I go about getting him diagnosed?
Your GP can help as the signs are usually typical. You can also refer to a psychologist which is available on the NHS.
Why do ketones cause bad breath when you are on a low carb eating plan?
Because these acetone like chemicals are excreted in your breath from the lungs in the same way alcohol is – drinking water and low calorie mints will help mask it.
I’ve lost three and a half stone and feel great but I’m having a lot of trouble with my teeth – is this related?
No, I don’t think there is a connection. The programme is nutritionally complete. Previous dietary habits would have caused dental or gum problems, so see your dentist for further advice.
Is it good if your diabetic type one insulin pump works with carb count?
Yes, your insulin pump can be adjusted according to the carbohydrate calories you consume. It’s a balance and this does some of the work for you.
I just can’t seem to lose any weight even though I try and eat healthily and exercise. Can you give me any advice?
Provided there is no medical problem such as under active thyroid you need to increase the intensity and duration of exercise and eat even less. A personal trainer may help.
I have an under active thyroid and find it difficult to lose weight. I go on strict diets and nothing seems to work.
Provided your under active thyroid is being treated your metabolism should be normal again and exercise and healthy eating should work. Why not see an NHS dietician?
I have lost 4 stone on LighterLife and have another 2 stone to go but my hair loss is worrying me!
Well done for doing so brilliantly and for hanging in there. Your hair loss will recover. It is not uncommon and is only temporary – it will grow back.
How harmful is the use of slimming pills to weight reduction?
In my opinion, they are best avoided. There are no prescribable slimming pills, other than xenical which prevents absorption of fat with anti-social side effects. Herbal remedies are over-rated. A new approach to food psychologically and physically is the best solution for weight loss you can maintain, such as LighterLife!
How old are you when you go through the menopause.
The menopause occurs at about 50 for most women but it can occur rarely in your early 30s or as late as 55. A blood test to measure hormone levels can tell you if you are near it.
Half way tips from Dr Hilary:
- To avoid weight gain at Christmas, remember you don’t have to accept every snack going just to be polite. Keep alcohol moderated and drink spritzers and diluted drinks.
- Step up the exercise to counter balance the partying! The Christmas blow out is fine for people of normal weight but is really a luxury you can’t afford if you’ve been persevering for months!
- Do you eat more in cold weather to keep you warm? DON’T! Eat little and often but the same total amount over 24 hours. This makes your digestive system work harder, burning up more calories in the process and also keeping you warm.
- Exercise keeps you warm too! Are you tempted to eat a naughty snack because you’re feeling down in winter? That’s comfort eating and not the answer to low mood.
- Enjoy as much natural daylight as possible and exercise! Both of which increase levels of the happy hormone serotonin! This gees you up and gives you a natural high!
Can the LighterLife programme cause skin problems? Certain areas of my face are covered in spots and acne!
No, there is no connection. However acne and spots could well be connected to your weight gain. Ask your doctor for tests for poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which causes weight gain, spots, unwanted hair and regular periods.
What is your advice on drinking water. Does it help to lose weight?
No, it can’t do that except for the fact that if you drink water before a meal it can fill you up and allow you to eat a smaller volume of food. On the LighterLife programme you should drink to satisfy your thirst.
I’ve noticed 3 small thinning patches on my scalp and I’m awaiting the results of a blood test. What could it be?
The most common cause of discrete, well defined patches on the scalp is alopecia areata an autoimmune disorder where antibodies in your blood attack your hair follicles. Anemia and thyroid disorders need to be excluded. As does a fungal infection.
What if your thyroid and pituitary gland isn’t working, will this impact metabolism even more? I am taking thyroxine.
Your thyroid gland is controlled by your pituitary. The latter also controls your adrenal glands which can also impact on weight. Both need to function normally if your weight is going to be regulated. The thyroid side is not a problem if you’re on the right dose of thyroxine.
I’ve been doing a lot of running and noticed a pain on my right thigh. I’ve had a massage but it hasn’t worked.
It may be a muscle tear or since it’s lasted a while a tear in a tendon at either end of the muscle. Avoid the activities that make it worse and delay its healing. Keep it warm with hot baths, strapping and continue the massage.
I’ve recently had a spinal reconstruction and as a result I’ve gained a stone in weight. How can I get rid of it?
Check with your physio which aerobic exercises are safe for your spine and concentrate on those. I should imagine swimming, cycling and stepping would all be good ways to burn calories and keep your core muscles strong at the same time.
Should I combine weight training with cardio for quicker weight loss?
Aerobic exercise is the quickest way of burning away excess fat as it uses the heart and lungs as well as the voluntary muscles. However, resistance work tones the skeletal muscles and forces them to burn stored glucose. Combining the two is good.
Will the weight not return once I start eating normally again? Even if I was to eat healthily?
It depends on what you call normal. What was normal for you was obviously excessive in calories since you put on weight. A healthy diet plan with smaller portions and with you taking more exercise should prevent the weight returning.
Dr Hilary ended the chat with a last few pointers:
- Thanks everyone for some really interesting questions. Isn’t it nice to see that so many of us are interested in our health and although it isn’t easy to maintain weight loss it can be done!
- Getting through winter is challenging but keep disciplined, check your weight often but not obsessively, avoid comfort eating and make sure you exercise lots! LighterLife combines VLCD with counselling and is very effective. With Christmas coming why not think about this as an early present to yourself!
Dr Hilary is back next month for another live Twitter chat. If you have any questions about how to achieve healthy weight loss then get them ready! If this has convinced you to try LighterLife please visit the LighterLife website to find out more…