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Weight Loss


Little Ways to Actually Lose Weight (Without Fad Diets!)

Posted Tuesday 18 April 2017 11:29 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

We’re all familiar with those crazy diets that claim to show you how to lose weight fast, but is the answer easier than you might think?

With spring in full swing, many of us are already thinking about our summer holiday and getting fit in preparation. But with work, friends, travelling and daily tasks, it can be difficult to find the time.

Here are just a few little changes that can make all the difference without you having to resort to crazy diets.

Plan your meals ahead

Planning your meals ahead of time can help you keep your food varied and your diet of a high quality. Understanding the contents of your meals can also help you to manage calories if you are looking to lose weight. Planning lunches ahead makes you think about what you eat, and stops you making impulse decisions on your break from work. It can also help save you money too – win, win!

Drink more water

Recent research has shown that consuming water can actually play a role in boosting the metabolism and helping you process what you eat. In fact, researchers found that drinking two large glasses of water before every meal can help you lose weight and keep it off. Drinking water will also make you feel fuller more often, lessening the temptation to snack.

Don’t food shop hungry

We’ve all done it – felt our stomachs rumble as we peruse the supermarket aisles for delicious treats, sending all willpower out the window. A simple change like eating before you shop will stop you making those impulsive purchases you don’t need.

Ask yourself why you’re eating

If you stop and think about it, you don’t always eat because you’re hungry. Boredom, stress, tiredness and depression are all linked to unnecessary eating. Almost a third of adults who overeat on unhealthy foods say they do it because of stress.

Switch to wholegrain

Whether bread, rice, pasta or potatoes, carbohydrates are a large part of many UK adult diets. A reasonable amount of carbs is good for you, but overindulging in these foods is closely linked to weight gain. Swapping your white carbohydrates for brown ones can make all the difference, as wholegrain carbs not only offer more nutritional value but also contain more fibre and contain slower-burning natural sugars. More fibre encourages a healthier digestive system and can help you to feel fuller for longer, while the slow-burning sugars help to avoid those peaks and troughs in blood sugar that are linked to Type 2 diabetes.

Set yourself goals

Small, achievable goals are key to keeping you on track with your weight loss. Simply thinking ‘I want to be thinner’ without any specifics doesn’t really help you at all. Instead, come up with little goals like ‘lose x number of pounds’ or ‘go for a thirty minute run’ and give each one a schedule and a deadline.

Get plenty of sleep

Experts have long discussed the link between not getting enough sleep and gaining weight. Without a decent night’s sleep your hormone balance can become disturbed, affecting everything from your metabolism to your memory. This makes it easier to gain weight and harder to shake it. Not only this, but feeling tired is detrimental to your willpower, making you more likely to indulge in sweet treats for a quick source of energy.

Bulk Up Your Meals

Yes, that’s right – put more food on your plate! This doesn’t mean piling your plate with a mountain of pasta though. Instead, incorporate healthy vegetables, grains, nuts and lean meats into your dishes to stay full without indulging in fat or carb heavy foods.

Use the right kind of medication

There are no magic pills that make you lose weight and keep it off. However, there are a number of prescription medications available for individuals who struggle to manage their weight effectively. At Express Pharmacy, we offer Xenical which reduces the amount of fat you absorb from your food – a solution that can make a difference to those needing an extra push to shed weight.

If you would like more information or advice on taking Xenical or managing your weight more generally, you can call the fully-qualified pharmacy team or try our Live Chat tool.

Related Products: Xenical

The Effects of Weight Gain Are More Than Skin Deep

Posted Wednesday 01 February 2017 09:24 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

It may be the end of a long January. But if you have been paying attention to your diet and exercise regime for the last month, there are plenty of reasons for you to keep up the good work. And none of them have anything to do with preparing for a beach body.

There are many factors that can contribute to weight gain. Whether it’s poor diet or just a sedentary lifestyle, millions of people in the UK now eat a little bit too much that’s not good for them and exercise a little too infrequently to keep the weight off.

Weight gain has become a huge issue nationally and, indeed, globally. According to research by the World Health Organisation, ‘At least one in three of the world's adult population is now overweight and almost one in 10 can be categorised as obese.’ And worryingly figures are even higher in the UK. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimate that one in four British adults is now obese – a figure much higher than many of our European counterparts.

It should be no real surprise to hear that obesity can have an extremely serious impact on health – including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and several forms of cancer. All of these issues can cause or contribute to premature death.

Yet, it isn’t just those people who are clinically obese whose health can be affected by lifestyle diseases. A poor relationship with nutrition and exercise can lead to a catalogue of health concerns that affect both the body and the mind. Let’s take a closer look at some of the symptoms that may be encountered with weight gain:

Mental health issues and depression:

Alongside the stresses placed on the body, weight gain can also have a major psychological impact. Those who are overweight often encounter low self-esteem, negative body image, anxiety and in some cases more serious mental health issues such as eating disorders and depression.

The role that diet plays in mental health is an obvious but under-recognised fact. At a basic level, maintaining a healthy balance of complex carbohydrates, fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals in the body can play a significant role in balancing mood and emotions. Conversely, erratic spikes in nutrients and particularly blood sugar can lead to mood swings and greater stress.

In the same vein, regular exercise can have a profound impact on mental health, helping to combat depression, anxiety, stress and low self-esteem, through the release of endorphins.

Joint pain:

Weight gain can also lead to joint pain, particularly on weight-baring joints like the knees and hips. In fact every extra pound of weight gained puts an extra four pound of pressure on to our knee joints. Which means that extra 5 pounds of holiday weight adds 20 pounds of weight to each knee. So it’s really no surprise bones and joints can suffer wear and tear overtime.

Indigestion and heartburn:

Recent studies have shown that those who gain weight dramatically increase their risk of heartburn. Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, occurs when the acidic stomach juices flow up into the oesophagus. This is thought to be caused by pressure in the stomach. While this can bring discomfort it can also increase the chances of something much more serious. If left untreated, it can lead to gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which increases the risk of esophageal cancer.

Infertility:

Obesity can have significant implications in terms of fertility, particularly for women. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), more than 70% of women who are infertile due to weight issues, would be able to successfully conceive without the aid of fertility treatments if they maintained a healthy weight. Excess fat is the main culprit here as fat cells help create the reproductive hormone, oestrogen. Too many fat cells, lead to an overload in sex hormones, which can disrupt ovulation.

Men who gain excess weight also experience hormonal changes that effect fertility — mainly a reduction in testosterone levels. There are also much higher rates of erectile dysfunction among obese men, making it more difficult for couples to conceive.

Maintaining a healthy BMI is the best way to avoid the health impacts caused by weight gain. Weight loss should always be achieved through healthy means. That means maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

For those who are carrying a lot of extra weight, there are also several medications available that can help you on your weight loss journey. Xenical, also known as Orlistat works well as part of a healthy weight loss strategy.

Want expert medical advice about safe and sustainable weight management? Why not contact our pharmacy team today on 0208 123 0703?


5 Health Benefits of Cutting Down on Alcohol

Posted Monday 19 September 2016 09:14 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

If you drink responsibly, reducing the amount of alcohol you consume may not have crossed your mind. But while small, frequent alcohol consumption may not carry serious health concerns, cutting down can still have significant health benefits.

1. Weight loss

For those who believe they enjoy a healthy balanced diet yet struggle to shift that troublesome weight around the middle, the answer could lie in the alcohol you consume. You may exercise regularly, but glasses of wine with dinner and drinks with friends at the weekend can mean that you are drinking a large number of calories. In fact, a single large glass of red wine can contain over 200 calories – more than enough to take you over your recommended daily calorie intake.

2. Higher energy and concentration levels

A glass of wine or a pint of beer can help you to feel more relaxed and loose. However, as a depressant, alcohol can also leave you feeling lethargic and sluggish if consumed at the wrong time or in larger quantities.

As we age, the effects of alcohol – including hangovers – can be more difficult to shake off. If you find that you’re still feeling the effects of Saturday night on Monday morning, it might be time to consider reducing your alcohol consumption. Even a couple of glasses of wine can impact on concentration, energy levels and mood.

3. Better skin

It is well known that alcohol can lead to dehydration. Many of the symptoms of a hangover are closely linked to the body’s reaction to this dehydration – headache, fatigue and, less commonly considered, dry skin.

Water helps the skin keep its elasticity, which keeps us looking fresh, youthful and awake. Too much alcohol, and the skin can dry out, lose its radiance and allow for things such as dark circles and fine lines to develop. Here’s a tip – try taking a photograph of yourself the morning after consuming a lot of alcohol, and then again after abstaining for a few weeks or months. See if you can spot a difference in the appearance of your skin.

4. Improved mood

Alcohol can have a marked effect on mood and the way our brain functions. Bouts of anxiety and even depression are not uncommon amongst drinkers. While those who drink in moderation may not experience the full extent of these problems, it is still possible that your alcohol consumption can cause you to be irritable and short tempered.

5. More restful sleep

Whilst drinking alcohol can make a lot of us very tired, the quality of sleep we receive after consuming alcohol has been shown to be worse than that received after not drinking at all. Studies have suggested that alcohol consumption before bed can cause us to skip the phase of sleep known as REM or rapid eye movement. This phase is an important cognitive function, playing a role in the consolidation of memories and the body’s control of certain hormones.

If you require further advice and guidance on how cutting down on alcohol can help you enjoy health benefits such as weight control, why not consult one of our experienced pharmacists?


How Cutting Down on Sugar Can Dramatically Improve Health

Posted Sunday 14 August 2016 19:57 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

sugar and weight problemsFor years, doctors and health and fitness experts told us that fat was the enemy. However, more recent research began to show that there was another evil at play. Over the past five years or so, medical professionals have sought to educate us about the dangers of sugar – which is now thought to be the more damaging factor in our health.

If you are among the thousands of people who now count the sugar content in your food as well as the fat, you will hopefully have seen the effects of good nutrition and sugar regulation. But for those who are yet to get their sugar intake under control, here’s what you can look forward to when you begin to tackle the issue.

You’ll sleep better

We’re all familiar with the inevitable crash that comes with a sugar high. Sugar-laden breakfasts such as cereal can leave you feeling sluggish during the day, meaning you end up having afternoon naps and being unable to sleep properly at night.

Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can help to alleviate this, keeping us alert throughout the day and sleeping better at night. Reducing sugar in your breakfast is as simple as switching Nutella on toast to sugar-free peanut butter, or trying a bowl of porridge instead of cereal.

You’ll get more nutrients

Cutting down on added sugar is more than ditching sweets and fizzy drinks: added sugar is in everyday foods such as cooking sauces, cereals and snacks. If you cut out most of the added sugar from your diet, you’ll need to replace it with something else – which should mean more whole foods.

If you are swapping a jar of pasta sauce for a tin of tomatoes, and trading the frosted cornflakes for an omelette, you’re immediately consuming more vitamins and minerals. The best way to track what you eat is to cook more meals from scratch and don’t risk eating hidden sugars or other problem ingredients. By planning meals it is possible to maintain a more balanced diet and include the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.

Your risk of type 2 diabetes will reduce

Research suggests that cutting down on sugar in the diet makes you three times less likely to die from a heart problem. This is because overloading your body with sugar results in a spike in a blood sugar. This demands that the body increases the amount of insulin it produces, which can in turn raise blood pressure. Maintaining more consistent blood sugar levels allows insulin production to be more steady, too. This is a crucial factor in avoiding type 2 diabetes.

Of course, type 2 diabetes has also been widely linked to weight problems. As one of the key factors in causing obesity, it is thought that reducing sugar and achieving weight loss as a result will directly reduce instances of type 2 diabetes.

Your skin will improve

An excessive sugar intake is known to cause inflammation and hormone fluctuation, both of which can result in acne. One study found that drinking a can of fizzy drink every day for three weeks increased inflammation levels by 87% - and many of us consume much more sugar than that each day.

Sugar is also linked to the premature ageing of the skin, as sugar in the bloodstream can combine with certain proteins and become damaging to collagen and elastin – these are the proteins that keep the skin looking firm. This is a natural process that happens as we age, but it has been suggested than an excess of sugar in the bloodstream can cause this process to happen at a faster rate.

Your mind may even get sharper

Studies performed on animals have suggested that sugar can inhibit memorisation and general learning, as a high consumption of sugar over time can hinder communication within the brain. One study found that rats who were fed a lot of sugar had limited brain activity compared to their sugar-free siblings. And experts believe that this trend in sugar intake is something that may also be true of humans.

If you’ve been experiencing a foggy mind as of late, perhaps you might want to reconsider that can of cola or bar of chocolate. Try and cut down on the amount of added sugar that you consume, even just for a week, and see if any of these problems relating to concentration, energy and fatigue improve.


4 Health Tips for Office Workers

Posted Wednesday 10 August 2016 20:26 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

weight lossThe Telegraph reported at the end of last month that contemporary working life, which often involves sitting for up to eight hours a day, is seriously detrimental to our health. So much so that workers should exercise for at least an hour a day to offset its effects.

An entire hour spent exercising may sound both daunting and unfeasible for many those with busy work lives. But with more and more studies showing that office work is a health hazard - weight problems, heart disease and type-2 diabetes are just a few of the issues related to sitting for too long - perhaps we should all take heed.

If you are worried about the dangers of a sedentary life spent behind a desk, take a look at our four simple health tips that don’t even require a gym membership.

1.Cycle to work

Ditching the daily commute by car, bus or train and turning to a bike is great for two reasons – not only is it a healthy and environmentally friendly solution, it also helps to make exercise an unavoidable part of your daily routine. In fact, if your workplace is a 30-minute cycle away from your home, then you’ll have completed your entire day’s worth of exercise just by travelling to and from work.

For those who live in Central London or other urban areas suffering from heavy congestion, cycling can often be a faster route to work than motorized transport.

2.Walk to work

Of course, cycling to work isn’t always possible. For those who don’t own a bike or are concerned about taking to the roads, keeping to the pavement may be a more appealing option. If cycling isn’t for you, walking to work is another way of getting in some exercise – and reducing your carbon footprint.

Slipping on some comfortable shoes (you can keep your smart ones in your bag) and walking briskly to and from work also counts as part of your hour of exercise. Not only that, but walking can also be a lot less stressful than driving or taking the train – without road rage, traffic jams and packed trains, you’ll soon be feeling better inside and out.

3.Walk at work

Maybe you live too far away from your workplace to turn your commute into an opportunity for exercise. Fear not, because your workplace can actually double up as a gym. As you probably already know, taking frequent short breaks whilst you’re working is advisable – at least five minutes for every hour is recommended. Use this time to walk up and down some stairs or go outside so that your muscles are moving frequently throughout the day. Try and get up out of your chair as often as you can; even standing for a little while as you take a phone call, for example, can help to combat the effects of sitting down for too long.

4.Break it up

The modern working lifestyle means that the vast majority of our waking hours are now spent seated. Whether it’s eating, commuting or working in front of a computer, exercise can be hard to come by. And with millions of people working longer and later, there can be little spare time for making the gym.

If you struggle to make space for a two-hour cardio session, why not aim for more frequent but shorter bite-sized chunks of exercise. Try waking up half an hour earlier in the morning and taking a 15 minute jog; then take a brisk stroll for 15 minutes during your lunch hour; finally, a 30 minute exercise video before your evening meal can round things off nicely.

However you prefer to exercise, at the very least you should ensure that you set targets and form a routine that you can maintain week after week.