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How Obesity Can Weigh on Your Mind

Posted Friday 28 December 2018 09:46 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

obesity and mental health

We’re often warned about the physical impact of obesity, but what about the emotional toll it can take?

Obesity continues to be a huge issue for UK healthcare. In fact, 62% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.[1] This is a serious concern, as obesity be a factor in many serious health concerns like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

However, the consequences of living with obesity can also be emotional as well as physical. We’re here to explore the ways obesity and mental wellbeing can interact.

Is obesity a mental health issue?

It’s important to establish that there is no direct causal link between mental health and obesity. The reason this is important to state is that there is often a stigma attached to overweight people that they are ‘slower’ or less intelligent than thinner people. This caricature holds no basis in truth.

Instead, we’re going to explore how mental health and obesity can impact each other in ways shown by research and statistics. Can mental health conditions make obesity more likely, and can being obese increase your chances of experiencing mental health concerns?

Eating disorders

Mental health can impact our weight at both ends of the spectrum, as evidenced by conditions like anorexia. Over the last four decades, the number of eating disorders has escalated hugely both in the UK and worldwide. In fact, it is estimated that there are over 1.6 million people struggling with an eating disorder in the UK.[2]

On the surface, eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia represent the opposite problem to obesity; causing sufferers to become extremely underweight rather than overweight. However, they do highlight a key connection between dietary habits and mental health.

This connection also presents itself in habits like binge eating, which is often a key cause of obesity. Binge eating compels people to consume huge quantities of food in a short period of time. Unlike other conditions like bulimia, sufferers rarely purge themselves afterwards. However, feelings of shame, guilt and even depression are common.

Obesity as a symptom: a vicious cycle

hamburger and chipsAlthough we cannot assume that just because someone is obese that they must be living with mental health concerns, obesity can be a symptom of psychological factors. For example, stress is one of the most common mental health concerns in the UK. According to the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 report, 74% of people reported feeling so stressed in the last year that they were unable to cope. What’s more, 46% reported that they ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress.[3]

Conditions like anxiety, stress and depression can lead to the use of food as a comfort or coping mechanism. They can also have a detrimental effect on motivation when it comes to activities like exercise and cooking healthy meals. As such, your likelihood of becoming obese rises with the appearance of these conditions. This can then create a vicious cycle, as being obese can reduce your motivation even further and make you feel more anxious or depressed.

If you’re struggling to lose weight, start the new year off right with safe and effective weight loss medication from Express Pharmacy. Both Xenical and Mysimba can help support you on your weight loss journey and meet your goals in a healthy way. And for further support, contact our team today. Call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our online Live Chat service.


Are You Ready for National Obesity Awareness Week 2018

Posted Thursday 04 January 2018 15:52 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

As the new year gets underway, there’s never been a better time to make a sustainable improvement to your diet

This January, from the 8th to the 14th, UK adults are encouraged to tackle obesity head on and improve their overall health for good. That’s because it’s National Obesity Awareness Week 2018.

Whether it’s by cooking healthier meals, avoiding snacking throughout the day, or making the effort to be a little more physically active, this is your chance to get healthy and stay healthy. If your New Year’s resolution was to lose weight and get healthy, this is the perfect opportunity to really get started.

Why is National Obesity Awareness Week so important?

Simply put, obesity awareness is important because obesity and weight problems are a growing problem in the UK. Britain is the most obese country in Europe, and rates have been steadily climbing for several years. In 2014, 62% of UK adults were classed as obese, compared to 53% 20 years earlier.

Nowadays, more than two thirds of men and almost 6 in 10 women are overweight or obese in the UK. Raising awareness of the dangers of weight issues can help us as a society to get to grips with this epidemic and begin to reverse the trend.

A large part of this is understanding the difference between short term weight loss solutions and long term lifestyle changes. Extreme diets may offer weight loss benefits in the short term, but making permanent changes to your lifestyle through diet and physical activity are the only way to ensure the long term health benefits associated with weight loss. Part of this comes from better understanding the food we eat and how the body handles them.

Take a second glance at your food shop this National Obesity Awareness Week

We all know about the negative effects of excessive consumption when it comes to food items like sugars. But when it comes to our weekly food shop most of us aren’t fully aware of the contents of regular food items like cereals and so-called “diet” options. For example, yoghurt is often marketed as a health food, and in cases of natural yoghurt products can be extremely good for you. However, some yoghurt brands, including ones aimed at children and “low-fat” options often contain large amounts of added sugar.

Cereal bars are often marketed as a healthy alternative to chocolates and sweets. And while there may be more nutritional value to these items it is important that you read the ingredients carefully and are not simply drawn in by fancy packaging. Many cereal bars contain corn syrup, sugar cane fibre and fructose among others, transforming your seemingly healthy snack into a particularly unhealthy option.

Examples such as these reflect the importance of obesity awareness, as it’s vital that we understand the ingredients in the foods we’re consuming so we know what to look out for, and what to avoid. That’s why taking part in National Obesity Awareness Week can not only benefit your own health, but increase awareness for others too.

Understanding how to choose the very best items for your shopping basket is a good start to developing a healthier diet. It is important to prepare your own food and drinks where possible to ensure you know precisely what you are ingesting each time you sit down to a meal.

If you are looking to make changes to your lifestyle that you can maintain for longer than 6 weeks, consulting your GP or pharmacist is a great starting point. For those who are struggling to achieve changes in their weight through diet and exercise, Express Pharmacy offers two proven medications, Xenical and Mysimba, which can help individuals to improve their health in conjunction with other lifestyle changes.

Contact the team at Express Pharmacy today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet live chat service.

Related Products: Xenical Mysimba
Related Categories: Acid Reflux

The Truth Behind Healthcare’s Old Wives’ Tales

Posted Monday 14 August 2017 11:42 by Tim Deakin in Express Pharmacy

Everyone has heard those health ‘facts’ that are actually old wives’ tales. But how do you know which stories are false and which bits of medical trivia should actually be heeded. Let’s take a closer look.

Ensuring that your knowledge of healthcare is up-to-date and accurate is an important part of staying healthy. Yet many of us still succumb to the misinformation spread by rumours, fear-mongering and old wives’ tales. Despite being seen as funny, charming and harmless, some of the advice given by these tales can actually be harmful.

“Cracking your knuckles gives you arthritis.”

According to research by Arthritis Research UK, there is no evidence to back up this classic claim.

That’s because when you crack your knuckles, the sound you hear isn’t actually your bones cracking, but rather tiny cavities of gas collapsing with a “pop”.

“We only use 10% of our brains.”

This is a myth perpetuated by fictional stories like Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Lucy starring Scarlet Johansson, which explore the question of “what would we be capable of if we used 100% of our brains?” Well, the answer is about as much as we are now.

Every part of the brain has a specific role – even if it has nothing to do with intelligence or memory function. Brain scans have shown that no part of the brain actually goes completely unused as is often portrayed in fiction.

“Chewing gum stays in your system for 7 years.”

While it is true that chewing gum contains a synthetic resin that cannot be broken down by the digestive tract, it still gets moved along with the contents of your stomach and passed through just like everything else you eat. You’ll be rid of your chewing gum in a matter of days.

“Open cuts heal faster.”

Many people believe that open air helps wounds dry up and therefore heal faster, but research has found that the opposite is true.

Moist, closed conditions help cells surrounding the wound grow at a faster rate, encouraging the wound to heal cleanly. In contrast, dry air often leads to scabs which make it harder for new cells to grow.

Covering up a wound also reduces your risk of infection or suffering further injury.

“Muscle turns to fat when you don’t exercise.”

Muscle and fat are not interchangeable. They are two different kinds of tissue and cannot transform into each other.

This piece of misinformation gets spread because a lack of exercise causes you to store more fatty deposits and develop less muscle tissue. Without exercise, muscle mass deteriorates as a normal part of tissue turnover.

“Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.”

Despite numerous studies being carried out, there remains no evidence to suggest that sugary foods and drinks have a significant impact on children’s behaviour.

The confusion may stem from the fact that certain E numbers and additives have been found to cause hyperactivity in children, and these are found in many sugar-heavy food items.

It’s important to point out, however, that this is no excuse for overindulging in sugar. Significant spikes in blood sugar do impact on the body’s normal function in a number of ways and can place extra strain on organs of the body. Peaks and troughs in sugar intake will also impact on energy levels.

“Tip your head back to stop a nose bleed.”

Leaning back might stop the blood from dripping from your nose, but it also means more blood travels down the back of the throat where it could cause stomach irritation.

The best way to deal with a nose bleed is to pinch the soft area beneath the bridge and lean forwards whilst breathing through your mouth.

“Waking sleepwalkers can give them a heart attack.”

Although it’s true that you probably shouldn’t wake a sleepwalker abruptly and should instead gently guide them back to bed, this is merely to avoid disorientation and embarrassment. There is no evidence to suggest that waking someone up whilst their sleepwalking can do them any significant psychological damage.

For a clearer picture on healthcare, don’t hesitate to contact Express Pharmacy. You can use our discreet Live Chat tool or call us on 0208 123 0703.

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Coming Clean About Digestive Health

Posted Friday 26 May 2017 11:38 by Tim Deakin in Acid Reflux

In honour of World Digestive Health Day, we’re looking at the importance of digestive health to our overall wellbeing, and the conditions that are associated with digestive concerns

The World Gastroenterology Organisation has named 29th May 2017 as World Digestive Health Day. With that in mind, there’s no better time to explore the importance of our digestive health – an important factor in our general health.

A useful way to do this is to ask the question: Why is our digestive health so important? And also: What conditions are linked to poor digestive health?

Let’s look at some of the common conditions associated with poor digestive health, letting you know what you can do to avoid and treat them.

Why is digestive health so important?

70% of our body’s immune system lives in our digestive tract. This means that if something isn’t right with our digestion, then our overall health is compromised as a result. Digestion is the entire process from consuming food to excreting waste. It’s responsible for the nutrients our body absorbs, making it not only necessary for our overall health, but for our survival.

In order to maintain a healthy digestion process, we need to make sure our diet consists of all the necessary food groups in the correct quantities. This means carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, healthy fats and sugars and fibre, which is key for keeping the digestive process moving. We also need to drink plenty of water and be active, even just by making the effort to walk for fifteen minutes a day.

What conditions are associated with poor digestive health?

There are a huge number of conditions which either result from or cause poor digestive health. We’ve explored two of the most common digestive symptoms which can occur.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is extremely common. In fact, up to 20% of the UK population suffer from it in some form. It’s a condition that affects the large intestine, and most often results in symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea and constipation.

IBS is a chronic condition, and it’s unclear exactly what causes it. Most sufferers learn to manage their symptoms through lifestyle and dietary changes, and by managing stress levels. Anti-diarrhoeal or anti-constipation medication can help, and it’s also advisable to cut gluten and high-gas products like carbonated drinks from your diet.

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux is otherwise known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and is caused by stomach acid rising up into the oesophagus, causing an unpleasant and sometimes painful acidic sensation. This is usually the result of a weakened lower oesophageal sphincter muscle. One of the main symptoms of GERD is heartburn, which feels just as the name suggests: a hot, tight (often painful) discomfort in the centre of the chest.

You can manage and avoid GERD by sleeping smart; elevating your head, neck and upper back with pillows and allowing gravity to do its job with the acid in your stomach. You can also maintain a healthy weight (as being overweight increases your chances of experiencing acid reflux and heartburn) and cut fatty, greasy or full dairy products from your diet.

Acid reflux and heartburn can also be treated with the help of prescription medication designed to cool and neutralize the acid in your stomach and throat with an antacid-based formula.

Gaining an understanding of your health concerns is the first step to treating them effectively, so don’t hesitate to get the professional guidance you need to ease your worries.

Express Pharmacy provides an easy to navigate and discreet service, and we provide patients with a handy Live Chat tool so that they can ask any questions that are troubling them, no matter how sensitive.


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