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How Is Your Morning Routine Impacting Your Health?

Posted Friday 20 September 2019 14:01 by in Weight loss by Tim Deakin

healthy living

A morning routine can be beneficial to your overall health and productivity. Establishing a positive routine can help to alleviate stress, improve sleep quality, improve your diet, encourage fitness and help you utilise your time better.[1]

What’s more, finding your ideal morning routine can positively impact your attitude, energy levels and performance throughout the day, helping to reduce your chances of feeling depleted later in the morning or afternoon.[2]

So how does your morning routine measure up? We’re taking a look at some of the key components of a healthy morning — breakfast, natural light and fitness — to see just how important they really are.


Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day because it breaks the overnight fasting period, replenishes your glucose supply and provides many other essential nutrients to provide you with energy throughout the day. Eating a high-fibre breakfast reduced fatigue, while skipping breakfast can reduce mental performance during the day.[3]

But despite this, research continually shows that many people go without breakfast in the UK. One study conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation found that 14% of teachers and almost a quarter of secondary school students (24%) did not eat breakfast before attending school.[4]

According to many experts, healthy breakfast can also reduce your risk of experiencing conditions like acid reflux. And they advise that you always make time for a balanced breakfast of fibre, fruit and protein to give you a good base of energy for the day ahead.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that there is a growing belief that skipping breakfast has its own benefits. In particular, fans of intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating believe that there are many benefits to restricting eating hours to just an 8 hour window, suggesting that breakfast may not be all that crucial after all. There is some evidence to suggest that time restricted eating has benefits in relation to weight management, digestion and even immune function.


Natural light exposure is one of the key elements for maintaining your overall health. Sunlight has been shown to boost productivity, promote energy, increase your vitamin D storage and even improve your mood.[5]

In the morning, letting the light into your home can help you feel more awake more swiftly, standing you in good stead for the day ahead. In the long term, bright natural light exposure in the morning has even been shown to be effective against insomnia, premenstrual syndrome and seasonal affective disorder.[6]

Sunlight and fresh air are also often advised in cases of migraines and headaches. So try to get up and out in the light early when you wake up.


There are numerous benefits to a regular fitness regime. Exercise helps to stimulate the development of bones, joints and muscles. It improves heart and lung health, helps you maintain a healthy weight and can even tackle symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.[7]

Completing an exercise routine in the morning is an effective way of reducing stress and lowering blood pressure, according to a 2011 study by Appalachian State University.[8] Similarly, researchers at the University of Bristol found that exercising in the morning gives you more energy and a more positive outlook.[9]

Incorporating a fitness regime into your morning routine, even if it’s only 10 or 20 minutes long, can help to lift your mood and help you with weight management.

Find safe and effective treatments for a variety of conditions right here at Express Pharmacy. Explore our site today or get in touch with one of our pharmacists by calling 0208 123 07 03. You can also contact us via our discreet online live chat service.

[1] Northwestern Medicine. Health Benefits of Having a Routine. 2019

[2] Harvard Extension School Professional Development. 3 ways to boost productivity with a morning routine. 2019

[3] Better Health. Breakfast. 2012

[4] British Nutrition Foundation. A quarter of UK secondary school children have no breakfast. 2015

[5] Davies, C. Shining light on what natural light does for your body. NC State University. 2014

[6] Mead, MN. Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2008

[7] Raby, A. PhD. Benefits of Exercise. BUPA. 2019

[8] Appalachian State University. Early morning exercise is the best for reducing blood pressure and reducing sleep. 2011

[9] Harvard Extension School Professional Development. 3 ways to boost productivity with a morning routine. 2019

Tags: Weight Loss

How Putting Pen to Paper Can Help You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals

Posted Thursday 29 August 2019 21:26 by in Weight loss by Tim Deakin

Carrying excess weight is something many people struggle with. In fact, 28.7% of adults in England alone are obese, and a further 35.6% are overweight.[1]

What’s more, 10,660 hospital admissions a year in England can be directly attributed to obesity, and 20% of children aged 10-11 are classified as obese.[2]

These numbers highlight a serious issue, as obesity can be a significant factor in the onset of many health conditions like cancer. In fact, overweight and obesity causes 13 types of cancer: bowel, breast, gallbladder, kidney, liver, meningioma, myeloma, oesophageal, ovary, pancreas, stomach, thyroid and uterus. Obesity causes 6% of cancer cases in the UK, making it the biggest cause after smoking.[3]

So, effective weight management is key to our overall health, and data shows that keeping a food journal is one way to tackle your excess weight.

Food journals make you more mindful of your meals

Food journals can be a helpful way of being more mindful about what and when you eat. It’s recommended that you make a note of what you’re eating, how much you’re eating and when you’re eating. The more specific you can be, the better, so it’s advised that you make a note soon after eating instead of waiting until the end of the day, and jot down factors like where you are eating and who you are eating with to see if there are any common factors in your snacking.[4]

Research shows that keeping a record of what you’re eating can lead to greater success when it comes to weight management. In one study of almost 1,700 participants, those who kept a food diary lost on average twice as much weight as those who kept no record of their dietary habits.[5]

What else can you do to successfully manage your weight?

Food journals are not the only way to tackle weight management successfully. We often think of weight loss as a near-impossible and often lifelong issue, but finding out what works for you is key to achieving your goals.

It is vital that you aim to lose excess weight in a healthy way. Following a healthy, balanced diet and getting regular exercise are the two key components to managing your weight in the long term.

You can also introduce a few lifestyle changes in order to improve your chances of success, such as setting realistic goals to avoid getting disheartened, e.g. losing 0.5lbs per week. You can also stick to meals you’ve prepared yourself, make the time for a good breakfast and have a break between courses to see whether you’re full enough to do without dessert.[6]

When used alongside a healthy diet and fitness routine, medication can help you achieve your goals effectively. Xenical, for example, has been shown in clinical trials to cause significant reduction in weight, BMI, waist circumference, cholesterol and LDL levels compared to a placebo drug.[7]

Safe and effective weight loss medications like Mysimba, Xenical and Saxenda are all available from Express Pharmacy. Get in touch today to find out more about these treatment options. Simply call one of our pharmacists today on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] House of Commons Library. Obesity Statistics. UK Parliament. 2019

[2] NHS England. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England, 2019. 2019

[3] Cancer Research UK. Overweight and obesity statistics. 2015

[4] McManus, KD. Why keep a food diary. Harvard Health Publishing. 2019

[5] Hollis, JF. Weight loss during the intensive intervention phase of weight-loss maintenance trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2008

[6] McArdle, P. Losing weight Safely. Bupa UK. 2017

[7] Jain, SS. Et al. Evaluation of efficacy and safety of orlistat in obese patients. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2011

What’s Stopping You From Losing Weight?

Posted Thursday 08 August 2019 10:38 by in Weight loss by Tim Deakin

weight loss pitfalls

Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of ill health and death in the UK. Worldwide, obesity rates have almost tripled since 1975, to the point where more than a third (39%) of adults aged 18 years and over are now overweight.[1]

In the UK alone, 29% of adults are classified as obese, and 20% of children aged 10-11 are also classified as obese.[2] What’s more, 62% of UK adults are classed as overweight.[3]

These are the kinds of numbers which show us just how important weight loss is. Despite often being thought of as an aesthetic pursuit, losing weight is an important health goal when it comes to shedding excess fat and enjoying an all-round healthier lifestyle. So why do so many of us finding losing weight so hard?

The common pitfalls of weight loss

Obesity is the UK’s biggest cause of cancer after smoking.[4] Just some of the health problems associated with obesity include hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease gastroesophageal reflux, degenerative arthritis, skin infections, sleep conditions and infertility.[5]

But there are causes, as well as consequences, of obesity which should be taken into account if you’re hoping to reach a healthier body weight.

The way you choose to tackle weight loss will be a huge factor in the success of your undertaking. While we can often be drawn in by crash diets offering instant results, the best way to achieve long-term health benefits from weight control is through regular exercise and a healthy mixed diet. Not seeing the results of your efforts instantly is one of the most common reasons why we give up on a promise to be healthier. We want to see a fast turnaround, but it’s important to remember that living healthily is a lifelong commitment, and results come with time.

Mental health is another key weight management factor which is often swept under the rug. Not only can conditions like depression and anxiety make weight gain more likely, but they can also make it harder to shed excess weight, due to a lack of motivation and focus. Research has found a strong link between obesity and mental health conditions like depression. In fact, one study by The University of Exeter, King’s College London and the University of South Australia Cancer Research Institute found that obese individuals had a 45% higher chance of having depression.[6] This relationship also works vice versa — those with depression have been found to be more likely of developing obesity.

Your support system, friends and lifestyle are all further factors which can either help or hinder weight management. Without people to rely on, weight loss can become a difficult undertaking. You should also make your environments supportive of your efforts, not detrimental to them. So make sure you remove any temptingly unhealthy food and drink items from your kitchen and work desk.

When tackled from the right perspective, weight loss can be both accessible and enjoyable

Exercise and diet are the twin pillars of successful weight loss, and both can be rewarding and even fun.

Cardio-focused exercises like running, swimming and cycling can help with weight loss, but it’s important not to get stuck in a rut with exercise. Changing things up or finding something you love enough to do regularly will help you stick to your goals and see them through. Similarly, it’s important to keep in mind that a healthy diet doesn’t have to be a boring or an unsatisfactory one. Educate yourself on a range of healthy meals so that you’re not eating the same things day in day out.

Simple lifestyle changes can make a big impact, such as weighing yourself regularly, taking the stairs instead of the lift or switching white bread and rice for wholegrain alternatives.[7] Remember, every little bit of effort helps.

Medications such as Mysimba, Saxenda and Xenical have been tried and tested for their safety and effectiveness, helping to make achieving a healthy bodyweight less of a chore. These weight loss medications are available here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our expert pharmacists using our discreet Live Chat service.

[1] World Health Organisation. Obesity and overweight. 2017.

[2] NHS UK. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet, England. 2019.

[3] Cancer Research UK. Overweight and obesity statistics. 2019

[4] Cancer Research UK. Overweight and obesity statistics. 2019

[5] Royal College of Nursing. Obesity. 2019.

[6] Tyrrell, J. et al. Using genetics to understand the causal influence of higher BMI on depression. International Journal of Epidemiology. 2018.

[7] Stanford Healthcare. Obesity Prevention. 2019.

April Is Alcohol Awareness Month 2019

Posted Friday 05 April 2019 16:47 by in Weight loss by Tim Deakin

alcohol awareness

Alcohol addiction continues to be an issue on both a national and global scale. In their lifetime, one in every 12 adults – or 17.6 million people – will suffer from an alcohol use disorder or develop dependence on alcohol. [1]

Statistics like these are what make Alcohol Awareness Month so important. With its slogan “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow”, this year’s initiative aims to reduce the stigma associated with alcohol addiction by offering information, support and guidance.

Alcohol Awareness Month was founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. To do our bit for Alcohol Awareness Month 2019, we’re here with further information to raise awareness of exactly what impact alcohol can have on your health.

Alcohol and your body

Alcohol and sleep

Many adults use alcohol to help them fall asleep, but while it can make you fall asleep fast, it also contributes to poorer quality sleep overall.[2] Drinking can aggravate breathing problems, block REM sleep and interrupt your circadian rhythm.

Alcohol and sexual function

One 2007 study found that 72% of male participants experienced sexual dysfunction, most notably premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. The amount of alcohol consumed was the most significant factor in determining sexual problems.[3]

Alcohol and urine

Most drinkers are familiar with the sensation of ‘breaking the seal’, which occurs because alcohol is a diuretic. This means it acts on your kidneys and makes you pee out more than you take in. In fact, for every 1g of alcohol consumed, urine excretion increases by 10ml.[4] This can cause significant levels of dehydration.

Alcohol and blood pressure

Drinking too much can also impact your cardiovascular health, leading to a range of symptoms including high blood pressure. A 2013 study found that 16% of hypertension problems in the US are linked to excessive alcohol consumption.[5]

Alcohol and migraines

The NHS lists alcohol as one of the significant dietary triggers for migraines.[6] These can be hugely painful and debilitating headaches, often striking regularly throughout one’s life. You can find effective migraine medication at Express Pharmacy.

Alcohol and disease

Alcohol and liver disease

Currently, one in five people in the UK drink alcohol to a level which could harm their liver. This can lead to conditions like a build-up of fat in the liver, hepatitis and even cirrhosis, which affects one in 10 people who drink harmful amounts.[7]

Alcohol and cancer

Along with smoking, alcohol is one of the biggest preventable causes of cancer. Alcohol can cause up to 7 kinds of cancer, including breast cancer, liver cancer and bowel cancer.[8]

Alcohol and diabetes

There are several risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes, including family history, age, weight and ethnic background. However, alcohol is another significant factor. Not only can it lead to weight gain, but excessive intake is also associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.[9]

Alcohol and heart disease

There is a very clear link between alcohol and high blood pressure. Over time, excessive alcohol can put further strain on the heart leading to cardiovascular disease, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.[10]

Alcohol and your appearance

Alcohol and physical appearance

Alcoholism can have a significant impact on your physical appearance. Factors like personal hygiene and general grooming can suffer, but excessive drinking can also lead to poor complexion, dark under-eye circles, dehydration, tiredness and an overall more haggard appearance.[11]

Alcohol and ‘beer bellies’

Drink large amounts of beer has been linked to both weight gain and an increase in belly fat. In fact, one study found that men who drank more than three drinks a day were 80% more likely to have a lot of belly fat.[12]

Alcohol and weight management

Alcohol and food equivalents

The average wine drinker takes in 2000kcal from alcohol every month, while drinking 5 pints a week for a year adds up to 44,000kcal. The NHS offers an insight into the calorie content and food equivalents of some of the UK’s most popular drinks. For example:

  • One standard glass of wine (126kcal) = 1 Cadbury Chocolate Mini Roll
  • One pint of 5% strength beer (215kcal) = 1 packet of McCoy’s salted crisps[13]

Alcohol and weight loss

As well as containing significant amounts of calories, alcohol can also prevent weight loss by lowering inhibitions, making a take away or a chocolate bar seem much more appealing. It can also make you less likely to exercise.[14]

You can find safe and effective weight loss medication at Express Pharmacy.

Alcohol and mental health

Alcoholism and dependence

Alcoholism is the most serious form of drinking problem. It describes a strong desire to drink which often can’t be controlled. For alcoholics, drinking takes priority over all obligations including work and family. It usually develops as instances of harmful drinking, or binge drinking, become more and more regular.[15]

Alcohol and anxiety

While alcohol may sedate anxiety in the short term, in the long term it can make it worse. This is true even for moderate amounts of alcohol. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that 20% of people with a social anxiety disorder also suffer from alcohol dependence.[16]

Alcohol and aggression

When we’re drunk, we’re more likely to misinterpret other people’s behaviour and react to things emotionally rather than logically. Alcohol reduces our ability to think straight, hence why aggression and alcohol are so closely linked. Binge drinking increases our chances of both being aggressive and being the subject of someone else’s aggression.[17]

Alcohol withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms are almost always an aspect of alcohol dependence and are a clear sign that you are drinking too much. They may include physical symptoms like sweating, nausea and tremors, as well as psychological symptoms such as depression, irritability, anxiety and insomnia.[18]

Alcohol and depression

Depression is a common mental health concern, affecting one in five of us in our lifetime.[19] Drinking can make depression more likely. Over time, regular drinking lowers your levels of serotonin, the brain chemical that helps to regulate your mood, making you more susceptible to depression.[20] What’s more, drinking can create a vicious cycle whereby your relationships, work life and social life all suffer, which again can make depression more likely to occur.

Managing alcohol dependence can be a long and difficult road to navigate, but it isn’t one you should suffer alone. Speak to those around you or arrange an appointment with a GP to start making positive changes to your life today – one step at a time.

If you have any queries or concerns about your health, contact Express Pharmacy today. We offer access to effective medication easily and discreetly. Get in touch today using our Live Chat service or by calling 0208 123 07 03.

[1] Facing Addiction. Alcohol Awareness Month — April 2019. 2019

[2] National Sleep Foundation. How Alcohol Affects the Quality — and Quantity — Of Sleep. 2018

[3] Aracknal, B.S., Benegal, V. Prevalence of sexual dysfunction in male subjects with alcohol dependence. 2007

[4] Drink Aware. Why Does Alcohol Make You Pee More? 2018

[5] Loyke, H.F., MD. Five Phases of Blood Pressure in Alcoholics. 2013

[6] NHS. Migraines. 2019

[7] British Liver Trust. Alcohol and Liver Disease. 2019

[8] Cancer Research UK. Does alcohol cause cancer? 2018

[9] Diabetes UK. Alcohol and diabetes. 2018

[10] British Heart Foundation. Effects of alcohol on your heart. 2017

[11] Alcohol Awareness. What are the physical signs of alcoholism? 2016

[12] Schröder, H. et al. Relationship of abdominal obesity with alcohol consumption at population scale. 2007

[13] NHS. Calories in Alcohol. 2016

[14] Drink Aware. How does alcohol affect weight loss? 2017

[15] Drink Aware. What is alcoholism? 2019

[16] Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Social Anxiety Disorder and Alcohol Abuse. 2018

[17] Home Office. Violence in the night-time economy: key findings from the research. 2004

[18] Drink Aware. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms. 2017

[19] Royal College of Psychiatrists. Depression. 2019

[20] Pietraszek, M.H. et al. Alcohol-induced depression involvement in serotonin. 1991

For Better and for Worse: How Our Dietary Habits Have Changed

Posted Friday 29 March 2019 14:12 by in Weight loss by Marina Abdalla

The health of UK adults is constantly shifting – with both positive and negative effects. For example, in 2016/17 there were 617,000 admissions to NHS hospitals in which obesity was a factor, a rise of 18% on 2015/16.[1] This is an important fact to note, as obesity is associated with a range of serious health concerns including several forms of cancer.[2]

However, in other ways our health is becoming more positive overall. For example, the UK has seen a huge reduction in deaths from infectious disease. In 1901, around a third of deaths were due to infectious disease, but now this is around 8%.[3]

Now, newly released results from a nine-year analysis of the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey has provided a clear holistic picture of our nation’s health, for better and worse. Let’s take a look.

THE GOOD: We’ve seen a large drop in fizzy drink consumption

The findings report that a significant number of children are turning their backs on fizzy drinks, with numbers falling by a third in the last nine years. Around half of children do not drink them, and those that that do are consuming less than children did a decade ago in 2008-2009.[4]

This has helped to contribute to a larger overall reduction in sugar consumption across the country.

Researchers asked people to keep a diary over four days, and those who did not drink any fizzy drinks in that time were categorised as ‘non-consumers’. These accounted for over half of all respondents.

What’s more, these tests were carried out before the tax on sugary drinks was introduced in 2018.

THE BAD: More needs to be done to help increase fruit and vegetable intake

It wasn’t all good news. The report, from the Food Standards Agency and Public Health England, also found that fruit and vegetable consumption has not improved, and remains under the recommended five-a-day. Fibre intake has also fallen, as had vitamin and mineral consumption overall.[5]

The government campaign for five-a-day was launched in 2003, but seems to have had little effect. The campaign was based on advice from the World Health Organisation that eating a minimum of 400 grams of fruit and vegetables a day can lower the risk of serious health concerns like stroke, heart disease and various forms of cancer.[6]

The importance of lifestyle changes

What these results show is that improving your health begins by making the right lifestyle changes, be that increasing your fruit and veg intake or cutting down on high-sugar products.

Other examples of positive lifestyle changes would be engaging in regular exercise, which can help with weight management, mental health and cardiovascular health[7], or quitting smoking. Smoking is the single biggest avoidable risk factor for cancer, and it also plays a role in a whole host of other health concerns such as respiratory disease, diabetes and reproductive issues.[8]

Of course, medical intervention is often required for a wide range of physical and mental health concerns, be it in the form of surgery, counsel or medication. However, changing your lifestyle in positive ways is the ideal starting point for improving your health in the long run.

At Express Pharmacy, you’ll find medication for a range of health concerns, such as weight management, erectile dysfunction and smoking cessation. Our simple 3-step services makes it easy to access treatment quickly and discreetly. Get in touch to find out more. Call 0208 123 07 03 or use our Live Chat service.

[1] NHS Digital. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet. 2018 [Accessed March 2019]

[2] Cancer Research UK. Overweight and obesity statistics. 2018 [Accessed March 2019]

[3] Public Health Matters. 10 facts that sum up our nation’s health in 2017. 2017, Public Health England [Accessed Mach 2019]

[4] Public Health England. UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey. 2018 [Accessed March 2019]

[5] Public Health England. UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey. 2018 [Accessed March 2019]

[6] NHS UK. Why 5 a day? 2018 [Accessed March 2019]

[7] Bupa. Benefits of exercise. 2019 [Accessed March 2019]

[8] Action on Smoking and Health. Fact Sheets. 2018 [Accessed March 2019]

Tags: General Health Weight Loss