New year, new you
Holiday season eating and drinking mean we could be 2.3kg (5lbs) heavier in 2018. Here’s how a visit to a Midcounties Co-operative pharmacy Health Hub can help. By Christine Fieldhouse
Published 7 Jul 2017
As 2018 looms, many of us will be keen to shift the effects of mince pies and mulled wine, Christmas pudding and Prosecco.
On Christmas Day alone, we could consume as many as 6,000 calories. With a recommended maximum of 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men, it’s hardly surprising that, according to the British Dietetic Association, an estimated 12 million people in the UK will be on a diet come January. Yet, according to nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville, we stick to resolutions for a week at most because they’re unrealistic.
Dr Glenville, author of Fat Around the Middle (Kyle Cathie), suggests we keep a food and drink diary for three days before starting a diet. ‘Writing it all down will highlight where we’re having a biscuit here, and a cake there,’ she says. ‘We often overlook how many snacks we have.’
Next stop for anyone aged between 40 and 74 is a visit to a Midcounties Co-operative pharmacy in Chipping Norton or Stourport-on-Severn for an in-store Health Hub health check (members £10, non-members £35). Using your height and weight, trained staff will calculate your body mass index (BMI) to see if you’re within healthy range (a BMI of under 25), overweight (between 25 and 29.9) or obese (30 and over). They will also check your blood pressure and give dietary advice. For an extra charge the Hub will carry out a diabetes check (£10 for members, £15 for non-members) and a cholesterol test (£5 for members, £10 non-members).
If you want to lose weight, aim to shift around 1kg (2lbs) per week. Any more and you’ll be losing muscle as well as fat. First to go should be sugar, and refined carbs such as white rice, bread and pasta. ‘Added sugar causes blood glucose to rise quickly, and because of that rise, the pancreas will produce more insulin, which is a fat-storing hormone,’ explains Dr Glenville. ‘After the rise, the blood sugar crashes, which makes us reach for a quick fix such as a bar of chocolate.
Swap white carbs for the brown versions, and you’ll feel fuller for longer. Eat protein – fish, eggs, nuts, seeds or quinoa – with every meal. ‘It helps build muscle,’ Dr Glenville says. ‘The more muscle we have, the more fat we burn.’
After the festive season, many people cut down on alcohol or have a dry January. Dr Glenville recommends staying hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water a day. ‘It will speed up your liver function and detox if you add a slice of lemon,’ she says. Then we need to start setting realistic goals. ‘It might be fitting into a dress for a wedding,’ says Dr Davina Deniszczyc, GP and medical executive director for Nuffield Health. ‘Doing ten minutes of high-intensity exercise a day will help you shape up. It could be running upstairs and walking back down. That gets the heart rate up and you burn calories faster for 72 hours afterwards.
‘If we can extend that so we’re getting 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a week, we will halve our risk of heart attack and stroke, and reduce our chances of getting certain cancers, including breast and bowel cancer.’