Monday, 27 July 2015

Stand Up !

Did you know that just standing up instead of sitting down can help you get fitter?  A report published in 2012, which had analysed 18 research studies involving 800,000 people showed that standing more, watching less TV slouched on the sofa, walking in your lunch hour can all cut down the rate of death from serious illness. 
Take a challenge – see if you can do 10,000 steps every day this week.  Use a pedometer or your phone app and note what happens.  If you get home from work and you haven’t made it to 10k,how about a brisk walk round the block?  You will feel more awake and less like crashing and snacking – try it – let us know how you get on.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Are you getting enough sleep?

Those that know me well will know that sleep isn’t always high on my agenda.  If I get 5 hours a night I have done well.  This means that ‘double sleep Friday’ is important to me.

Somehow it has become a bit ‘cissy’ to want lots of sleep – but it’s actually absolutely crucial to get  a decent night’s sleep most nights.  What is the right amount?  Most studies suggest 7 hours a night.  Without that we function less well physically, emotionally and mentally and it’s really hard to lose weight. 

Sleep begins with a good routine (bath, quiet time, no caffeine and no electronic devices) , a cool bedroom and a note book and pen so that if you have a sudden ‘great idea’ at 3 a.m. you can jot it down and leave it till the morning. 

Try it for a week, see how much better you feel.  Yes, I know, I will try too!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Do you think that sugar content should be a legislative issue?

We are (rightly ) being urged to eat less sugar.  But do you think that taxing sugary drinks is a way of tackling this problem?

The British Medical Association (BMA) recent report tells us that 70, deaths a year are down to poor diet and ‘something needs to be done’.  We know (because I have said it lots of times!) that sugar is an empty calorie and doesn’t sustain us – so we need to keep our intake to a minimum.  But will increasing the price of sugary drinks necessarily stop our consumption of these blood sugar swinging drinks?

The BMA also wants fruit and veg to be subsidised to make them more affordable to lower income households.

It is reported that such taxes have improved health outcomes in other countries so perhaps it could work here. 

This is a political hot potato and more to it than meets the eye.  The big food giants hold some power in this country – can we risk upsetting them?

More to the point – will we stop our sugar filled drinks if they cost more?  Or could you just cut them out, cut the empty calories, stop the blood sugar swings, just because you know it makes sense? Think of your waist line!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

So, you’re fat: does it really matter?

With so much emphasis on ‘body beautiful’ it’s all too easy to decide that being slim is just a celebrity driven fad.  Here are a few facts about body fat and our health that might encourage those of us with a few pounds to lose to make today the day to start work on our body!
So, what effect does being fat have on our body?

Sleep;  being overweight can mean that fatty deposits in the neck can interrupt breathing at night – this in turn leads to poor quality sleep and therefore feeling really tired during the day.
Gallstones; overweight people have increased amounts of cholesterol in bile, which can cause the formation of gallstones.  Gallstones give rise to inflammation, infection and pain, often resulting in the need for surgery.

Gastric reflux; did you know that there can be increased pressure around the stomach from excess body fat which can weaken the opening into the oesophagus which will cause food and stomach acid to leak out causing heart burn and discomfort
Fatty Liver disease; being overweight can lead to build up of fat in the liver and can progress to more serious liver problems

Joint and Back pain; carrying extra weight puts a strain on joints such as knees and hips, leading to osteoarthritis and pain.  Back pain also occurs when the spine is forced to carry to much weight around
Stroke; obesity is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, giving rise to heart attacks and stroke

High blood pressure; people who are overweight are much more likely to have high blood pressure.  High blood pressure can damage blood vessels and cause heart attack and stroke. 
High cholesterol; being overweight leads to raised cholesterol levels which can lead to build up of plaque in the arteries which can increase blood pressure and lead to heart attacks and stroke

Metabolic Syndrome; a combination of health issues –
1, being overweight,

2, a large waist circumference,
3, having a high blood pressure,

4, insulin resistance,
5, unhealthy level of body fats

So,  ‘Metabolic Syndrome’  is a cluster of risk factors that can cause serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke & diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes; people who are overweight are more likely to be insulin resistant – which can lead to diabetes as the body has difficulty controlling blood sugars.  Diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage and vision loss.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) ; because being overweight can lead to insulin resistance, the body will try to produce more.  This can lead to the ovaries producing too much testosterone which interferes with ovulation problems, menstrual problems and fertility issues.   The presence of high male hormones in women can cause increased body hair, acne and irregular periods.

Cancer; being overweight increases the risk of getting some types of cancer, particularly breast, colon and oesophagus

Infertility and Miscarriage ;    being overweight can cause hormonal imbalances which can lead to ovulation and fertility problems.  Being obese when pregnant may increase the risk of miscarriage, high blood pressure, pre – eclampsia, gestational diabetes, complications during childbirth and stillbirth.

Fatigue; you carry a lot of extra weight around – you’re going to be tired!