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Weight Management


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.


Your Guide to Weight Loss

Posted Monday 10 December 2018 16:52 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

weight loss guide

26% of all adults are obese, but losing weight doesn’t have to be a losing battle

Discussions around weight are often contentious, as the media pushes a narrative that being anything other than slim is a bad thing. This is not true, and being larger is not an inherently negative trait. However, being significantly overweight or obese is a significant health issue. Obesity has been proven to trigger a variety of serious long-term health problems – and particularly weight gain that is accounted for by visceral fat around the body’s internal organs.

Your weight is your domain, and it is up to you to find the weight at which you feel most comfortable and healthy. If you want to lose weight in order to lead a happier and healthier life, we’re here to help. Here is everything you need to know about obesity, including how to tackle it effectively.

What causes obesity?

Obesity is not something that can be determined based on appearance alone. The condition is defined by the impact that excess body fat has on an individual’s overall health. In the UK, rates of obesity have risen by almost 400% in the last 25 years.

Obesity is most often the result of gradual weight gain. There are several factors thought to contribute to rising rates of obesity, including the growing accessibly to fast foods and our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. We also tend to eat diets with high sugar levels, high levels of saturated fats and a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. Binge eating is another key cause of the condition.

Although obesity can run in families, there is no evidence of a hereditary link. Instead, this is most likely due to parents passing down similar lifestyles and food choices to younger generations.

What effect does obesity have?

Obesity can affect you both physically and emotionally. Psychologically, the condition can significantly impact your self-esteem and confidence levels, while also increasing your risk of mental health concerns like depression. Lack of exercise and poor diet are common traits in both depression and obesity.

Physically, obesity can have a significant impact on the body over time, putting pressure on the organs, disrupting hormones and inhibiting the systems of the body. Some of the conditions which become more likely in the face of obesity include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, coronary heart disease, pregnancy problems and even certain kinds of cancer. Obesity can also result in increased aches and pains, breathlessness, difficulty sleeping, chest pain, fatigue and excess sweating.

The benefits of weight loss

When you are obese, losing weight can have a hugely positive effect on your health, wellbeing and daily life in general. Losing weight forces you to make lifestyle changes that can benefit your outlook over time; for example, you may find that you enjoy certain kinds of exercise, or take pleasure in creating healthy, home-cooked meals.

Losing weight eases your breathing, improves your sleep quality, decreases your blood pressure, improves your immune system and can increase your confidence and body image. It also lowers your risk of serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.

How do you lose weight safely?

We’re all aware of some of the fad diets circulating the world of weight loss. Many of these make outlandish promises about helping you lose large amounts of weight incredibly quickly. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to suggest that these kinds of diets are effective, and in many cases they can actually put your health in danger.

Losing weight can be a long process, but it is all about making healthy lifestyle changes. Beginning and building on a programme of healthy eating and regular fitness can help you battle your obesity effectively. There is also medication available which can help you do this safely. Prescription weight loss medications like Xenical and Mysimba are proven to aid weight loss in an effective and healthy way. Taken correctly and supported by improvements to lifestyle they can help you to achieve continued, progressive weight loss.

Start the new year off right by establishing your weight loss resolutions now. Find safe and effective weight loss treatment right here at Express Pharmacy. Call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet live chat service.


5 Benefits of Exercise, Other Than Weight Loss

Posted Sunday 17 June 2018 20:45 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

There are plenty of reasons why we should be moving more

It’s no secret that exercise is a positive thing. We all know that working up a sweat is good for us, and that we should probably do more of it. From mobility to hormone release, keeping our bodies moving can have significant benefits, both physically and mentally.

Regular exercise can improve our blood flow, strengthen muscles and lead to healthier heart and lung function. And yet, the main motivator for exercise continues to be weight loss. As summer gets underway, many of us become motivated to try and achieve our ‘summer bodies’ and lose a few excess pounds.

But exercise must be seen as more than just a quick fix for our body goals if we’re ever going to reap the true rewards of its health benefits. A body that is aesthetically pleasing and easy on the eye is merely an indicator of the more important underlying health benefits.

Here are five incentives to get up and get moving outside of achieving your weight loss goals.

Exercise reduces your risk of serious conditions like cancer

The most important benefit of exercise is that it can improve your health in the long term. Regular exercise is a key component in reducing your risk of developing serious conditions later in life, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

In fact, figures from the NHS reveal that regular exercise can decrease your risk of developing colon cancer by up to 50%. What’s more, it is also thought to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by a fifth (20%). UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines also state that physical activity can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 40%.

Exercise improves your sex drive

It’s not just your physical health that benefits from regular exercise – your mental health can see results, too. One example of this can be seen through the sex drive, which is boosted as you exercise more regularly.

Exercise releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones which can increase your wellbeing and self-esteem, thus improving your libido. It can also improve your blood flow, even to the most sensitive parts of your body.

In fact, one study by the University of Texas found that exercise increases sex drive in pre-menopausal women, and can even help women whose drives have been lowered by antidepressants.

Exercise reduces stress

Another way that exercise can improve your mental health is by tackling stress. There are approximately 3 million people in the UK with an anxiety disorder, and around 40% of disability worldwide is due to anxiety or depression.

Although not an outright cure, exercise can help. Again, the release of endorphins are significant here. According to an online study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than one in ten (14%) people use exercise as a way to cope with stress.

Exercise helps you sleep

Physical activity is a great way to make you feel more alert for the day ahead, but it can also help you feel more ready to rest when bedtime comes. Exercise is considered a natural way to treat conditions like insomnia, as figures suggest that those who exercise regularly experience better quality sleep at night.

In fact, a poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that exercisers sleep better than non-exercisers, and vigorous exercisers report the best quality sleep. Also, 44% of non-exercisers were found to be at moderate risk of sleep apnoea, compared to 19% of vigorous exercisers.

Exercise can help prevent back pain

More sick days are taken due to back pain than for any other health concern, costing the NHS roughly £500 million every year. But while vigorous exercise isn’t recommended without a GP’s advice if you’re already suffering from back pain, it can act as an effective preventative measure.

Even simple activities like swimming or walking can strengthen muscles and provide extra support to your spine, while popular pastimes like yoga can improve your mobility and flexibility.

There are plenty of benefits to exercise besides weight loss. Yet there are instances where individuals need additional support to achieve a healthy weight and support their long-term wellbeing goals. For safe and effective weight loss medication, contact the Express Pharmacy team on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.


What Are the Early Signs of Heart Disease in Men?

Posted Monday 15 January 2018 16:24 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

New research shines a light on the possible warning signs of cardiovascular disease in men

Heart disease is a leading cause of death across the globe. In the UK, around 70,000 people die from coronary heart disease (CHD) every year, which equates to an average of 190 people each day or one death every eight minutes.

And CHD is a bigger killer in men than it is in women. On average, one in seven men in the UK dies from CHD, compared to one in eleven women.

Now recent research has been carried out to try and help men spot the early warning signs of CHD before it’s too late. The research, undertaken by Baptist Health in South Florida, is said to be particularly important for younger men who are less likely to be assessed for heart disease.

The study found that erectile dysfunction could be a sign of CHD

The researchers involved carried out a review of 26 previous studies which explored the potential link between CHD and erectile dysfunction. Their results suggested that impaired blood flow may be the reason behind the link.

The research identified a strong connection between erectile dysfunction and reduced endothelial function. This refers to blood vessels being unable to fully dilate, and therefore being unable to allow blood to flow effectively.

Endothelial dysfunction is an early sign of atherosclerosis, which occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. What’s more, the research found that erectile dysfunction was also linked with an increase in carotid intimal medial thickness (CIMT). This is when there is plaque build up in the walls of the arteries supplying blood to the head.

Researchers stated that “these relationships remained consistent within age, study quality, methods of assessing ED, and publication year subgroups.”

Although over 60% of men over 60 suffer with erectile concerns, researchers noted that this link between erectile dysfunction and CHD will be particularly important for younger men, as they are less likely to undergo regular health checks and the onset of impotence may be an important indicator.

Earlier research also discovered the link between erectile dysfunction and heart disease

Research undertaken earlier in 2017 also found that men who are at risk of heart disease are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction. Results from researchers at Northwestern University found that all men who are at high risk of heart disease experienced erectile dysfunction, compared to just 15% of men who are at low risk of heart disease.

The author of the study, Dr Abbie Lane-Cordova, said: “We knew that erectile dysfunction was considered an early indicator of vascular disease that might occur before heart disease was diagnosed by a doctor.

“The study showed that men who were less likely to have risk factors for heart disease and had healthier behaviours (non-smoking, physically active, healthier diet) were also less likely to have erectile dysfunction later in life.

“Men may avoid erectile dysfunction the same way they may avoid heart disease.”

Those suffering from erectile dysfunction should consult a health professional, not least because Express Pharmacy can offer effective, discreet medication to tackle the issue, but also because raising awareness of your ED greatly increases the chances of identifying any potential heart problems earlier.

Weight is another CHD factor among men

Recent research found that slim people can also find themselves at risk of CHD, as half of the non-smoking middle aged people of normal weight who were tested were found to have diabetes or clogged arteries.

This is largely due to the fact that people who aren’t overweight are often less aware of how much saturated fat they are consuming, leading to high levels of LDL cholesterol.

However, being overweight remains a significant factor in increasing your risk of CHD. The researchers from Northwestern University identified seven key risk factors for heart disease. These are: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, elevated cholesterol, insufficient physical activity, smoking, poor diet and being overweight or obese.

You can get effective and safe weight loss medication from Express Pharmacy, including Xenical and Mysimba.

For further advice, information and medication to help you get healthier in 2018, contact the team at Express Pharmacy today. Simply call us on 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet Live Chat service.

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It’s World Vegan Day! But Is It Really Good for Your Health to Cut Out All Meat and Dairy?

Posted Wednesday 01 November 2017 11:22 by Tim Deakin in Weight loss

Despite a surge in popularity, vegans still only make up less than one per cent of the UK population. So what are the benefits of a vegan diet, and should you jump on the bandwagon?

World Vegan Day has taken place at the beginning of every November since 1994, and has continued to grow in both publicity and popularity. The awareness day aims to highlight the health and lifestyle benefits of a vegan diet, which takes vegetarianism one step further by cutting out any produce that comes from an animal, including things like dairy.

But what exactly are these benefits of a vegan diet, and could going vegan actually increase your overall health? In honour of World Vegan Day, we’ve done some digging and found out exactly how going vegan could be good for you.

The benefits of a vegan diet include:

Weight loss

One look at any of the material on World Vegan Day will tell you that a major benefit of a vegan diet is weight loss among those who previously considered to be obese or overweight. Weight loss can come as a direct result of veganism and vegetarianism because on average, these diets tend to be lower in total fat, particularly saturated fat. Animal products are actually the main source of saturated fat in our diets, so veganism really lowers these rates.

Of course, medication can also help boost the success of a healthy weight loss regime.

Increased physical fitness levels

Similarly, an increase in physical fitness is also one of the benefits of a vegan diet, as many athletes follow the lifestyle in order to boost their performance. Plant-based diets, on the whole, have been shown to provide more energy and accelerate recovery – although, care does have to be taken in finding suitable protein sources on a vegan diet.

Fewer migraines

Nobody likes migraines, but many of us assume that they’re an unavoidable part of life. In many cases, however, migraine triggers can be related to food consumption. Studies have shown that low fat, plant-based diets can be beneficial to sufferers, as migraines are often directly linked to foods such as chocolate, cheese and alcohol.

If you are suffering from migraines, consulting your pharmacist could be a helpful first port of call. To find out more about some of the prescription medications available for chronic migraines, take a look at our treatments.

Stress reduction

As ambassadors of World Vegan Day will tell you, some of the benefits of a vegan diet are emotional as well as physical. Studies have found that veganism can actually help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, as healthy plant-based ingredients are often mood-boosting and provide energy. Stress can have both mental and physical implications on your health, so a change of diet could be the best decision you’ll make this World Vegan Day.

Better skin

A study on the population of Kitavan Islanders in Papua New Guinea found that not a single one of them suffered from acne, and the findings deemed this to be due to their diet which was (you guessed it) full of plant-based, unprocessed foods.

Foods with a high glycaemic load, and groups like dairy products, have been shown to trigger acne in some cases, so one of the benefits of a vegan diet could potentially be a clear, glowing complexion.

Of course, you don’t need to switch to strict veganism to see health benefits through your diet. Simple dietary changes can make all the differences to your overall health. But before you make any significant changes to the food you consume, it is always worth consulting a healthcare professional to ensure that changes will not have an adverse effect. While veganism is thought to be a healthy way of life, this requires a close attention to finding balance and variety in the food one ingests.

Express Pharmacy can provide you with NHS approved healthcare guidance from the comfort of your own home. Simply give us a call on 0208 123 0703 or use our discreet Live Chat service.