Dr Hilary Jones joined us last week for a much needed January health Q&A.
This month the web chat was themed around New Year weight loss, resolutions and general health. As always, the chat takes place on the LighterLife Twitter feed during which our LighterLife Twitter followers tweets us their health related questions using the #AskDrHilary hashtag.
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:
Happy New Year! Everyone focuses on weight-loss in January but there is so much confusing advice. Can you really trust advice from celebrities with no qualifications, whose only expertise is at one time being overweight? Ask the doctor. Ask me!
I’m on LighterLife Total but when I am due to have my period I find it really difficult with the cravings. Do you have any advice?
Part of PMS is a craving for starchy foods. You’ve got to stick to the plan but exercising more regularly will help curtail appetite and burn more calories. Distract your thoughts from food and ask your Counsellor for other good strategies.
Why does my weight loss differ over weeks?
Interesting question. The body shows changes a week or two after dietary or exercise changes. People always expect to see a next day difference but visible changes may take a week or two. This is why week on week, your weight can surprise you!
I have Cervical disc bulges in c5, c7. I’m in so much pain: when do they stop giving drugs and solve the problem?
The medication is only easing symptoms, not solving the problem. An MRI scan can demonstrate the extent of the problem which might be treatable with nerve block injections or surgery. You can’t live on pain killers long term.
I have an underactive thyroid and battled with my weight since I was 15. I’ve been to my doctor many times before but they haven’t helped. Do you have any advice?
Provided your under-active thyroid is being treated with replacement thyroid hormone there should be no reason why you can’t make inroads into weight-loss. A dietician tailored exercise programme and LighterLife can all help you lose weight.
I am doing the LighterLife diet and at times I find it terribly difficult to stick to the 3 shakes and 1 meal. I lost a very big amount of weight on the diet, however l came off it and l have piled all the weight back on. My question is do people actually manage to keep the weight off and why does it not work for me?
Maintenance of weight loss is without doubt the hardest bit. Achieving it relies on everything you learn about your mental attitude to the way you use food. Reinforce those messages by talking to your LighterLife Counsellor again – LighterLife are amongst the best for weight loss maintenance.
Once you’ve completed LighterLife would I need to go on a calorie counting diet?
Not necessarily, with your new mind set about your attitudes to food you should not need to count calories, especially if you are only eating when you are hungry and if you are making healthy food choices and exercising regularly.
What’s a healthy evening meal to have when you’re trying to lose weight?
There is much to choose from, a Tuna steak, scrambled eggs on toast, a salad nicoise or grilled fish with roast vegetables. Just keep the oil to a minimum and avoid starchy foods and a stodgy dessert and you can’t go far wrong!
What exercise can I do that will not cause me to lose weight, as I feel very unfit but can’t afford to lose any weight?
Stop aerobic exercise, which is the continuous getting our of breathe type, and do resistance work-outs instead. These are anabolic and will build muscle tone and volume and maintain your weight and strength.
I have been told to lower my cholesterol, what do I need to cut out?
Cut back on all saturated fats i.e full-fat dairy products, fatty cuts of meat and oils. A good supplement is Bergamet, which reduces cholesterol without the side-affects associated with statin medication.
I want to lose weight, what is the best diet as I am not keen on most vegetables?
A high protein diet and cutting back on carbs such as potatoes, bread, pasta and confectionary will work provided the portions sizes are not excessive. Exercise more and drink more water and you will lose weight!
I’m really struggling to sleep well at the moment, is there anything natural you can advise I take or any changes to my dietary requirements which may help?
Exercise during the day, switch off mentally two hours before bed, play relaxing music, put lavender oil on your pillow and eat poultry for dinner with a mug of hot chocolate – all of which should help!
I exercise on the bike or cross trainer for around 15 hours a week and about 2.5 hours of weights. I eat healthily and train well but I have been the same weight since august! Any ideas on how I can move on?
You need to change the exercise regime because you r body gets used to the same old exercise and it needs a bit of a shock! Add some circuit training and some high intensity short duration exercise to what you are doing and the weight will drop off.
I am constantly craving something sweet after lunch, even though I am not hungry. Why is this?
The body naturally likes to experience all the different tastes, namely salt, sweet, bitter and spice, in any meal and tends to feel deprived without any one of them. A little sweet and savoury something with the main meal might stop your craving, if not an extra strong mint or some sugar free chewing gum might help you overcome this.
I suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and find a lot of healthy food such as fruits, vegetables and pasta can irritate my stomach any suggestions please?
IBS is multi-factorial and stress plays a big part. Avoid culprit foods and use exercise as an antidote to stress it aids digestion. Take a pre and pro biotic supplement such as Protexin, to boost levels of friendly bacteria in the bowel.
I get cramps and vomit if I eat wheat. What’s the best way to get an allergy test?
The best scientifically validated anti-body test in my opinion is the York Test Food Scan which you can do as a finger prick test yourself. It will indicate which types of food you should avoid. A true food allergy can be tested for with a RAST test on the NHS, which your GP can arrange if it is appropriate.
You hear about people cutting out dairy to be ‘healthier’ – is this really healthier?
Dairy products are not unhealthy at all, infact milk is the nearest thing in liquid form to whole food, you can choose low-fat varieties if weight is a problem which still contain very health levels of vitamins and minerals.
Does a Gluten free diet help you lose weight?
If you have Coeliacs disease a gluten-free diet may actually gain weight as your sensitivity to gluten causes malabsorption digestive symptoms and weight loss. Without Coeliacs disease a gluten-free diet will make no difference to your weight whatsoever.
Does weightloss slow if you have already done a VLCD?
Yes, weight loss slows the more weight you lose. This is normal but explains why many people give up on their weight loss programme, as it is easy to be impatient. The weight will fall but you may need to take a bit more exercise to maintain rapid weight loss.
I used to have B12 injections as I had megoblastic anemia but after a few years was told I no longer needed them. I sometimes still feel tired and week. Are there any supplements I should take or food I should be eating?
B12 is found in red meats and yeast. I recommend another blood test to ensure that you have not developed anaemia again and that levels of vitamin B12 are adequate.
I’m doing a VLCD and do about 50 mins of fast walking a day and sometimes feel weak is this normal?
A VLCD will force your body to use stored fat which you will find tiring until you replenish your glucose. If you can persevere with it the weight will fall off but the danger is that the deprivation you suffer will ultimately stop you from continuing.
I cut out carbs in my diet and it helps me lose weight. But is it ideal for the long term?
Absolutely, If more people cut back on carbs we would not have such an epidemioc of obesity in the UK. We just overdo them, especially at Christmas.
Dr Hilary ended the chat with this final message:
Thanks everyone for contributing today. Lets make 2013 a successful year for losing excess weight and getting fit – mentally & physically!
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…