Well how was your Easter weekend? Four days of bracing walks, healthy food and brain stimulating challenges like chess and family charades? Or, like most of us, four days of relief that we didn’t have to go to work, eating our own body weight in chocolate and binging on box sets?
Perhaps you’re looking down at your tummy and are thinking it doesn’t look quite as cute as it does on an Easter bunny. Maybe you’ve booked your summer holiday and are looking to get into your Speedos in time to impress the ladies by the pool? Maybe you can’t see your pedicure when you look down at your toes?!
I always think this time of year is a much better time to start making changes. New Year is a terrible time. It’s cold and miserable, you’ve got a house full of leftover food and are probably still in a grump after spending too long with the in laws. How about using this Easter as a spring board to start making some changes towards a healthier you?
I’m not going to patronise you with advice. There’s an internet full of it. What I will say is steer clear of fads. They really, really don’t work. What I did do is ask a group of GP friends what they tell their patients and how they themselves lose weight when they pile on the pounds. Here’s what they had to say:
- “It won’t happen without exercise” – NICE recommend being less inactive generally and if you’re safe to exercise building up to 30 mins five days a week. Also, be realistic about the calorie burn. The 45 minutes of Body Combat I did on Sunday will not have covered the Easter Egg calories I ate afterwards!
- Try to identify triggers for eating, not the eating per se. Do you eat when you’re bored, stressed, tired etc.? Try to fit in other options such as water, chewing gum etc.
- Make small changes that you can sustain over a long period. Weight loss and maintenance are tough so the changes need to be things you can genuinely keep going with.
- Get a dog! Go out for daily walks or runs with them.
- Reduce your alcohol intake during the week.
- Cut out snacks.
Boring, isn’t it?! There is no conspiracy in the medical community. We get chubby too and we also have to take action when our trousers get tight. We’re all in this together and your GP may be able to help to some extent but largely we have to take responsibility for our own waistlines.
You may have heard of Xenical or Orlistat. It’s a product that is available from White Pharmacy and also on prescription from your doctor if you meet certain NHS criteria. It works by blocking fat absorption and can aid weight loss as part of an overall plan. Is it a wonder drug? No. Will it have you beach body ready for summer? Probably not. Will it help you lose pounds a bit quicker than diet and exercise alone? Maybe. This is the crux. It might just help tip the scales in your favour and give you that extra bit of motivation and impetus to keep going.
Why don’t you have a look at our weight loss help and advice page and decide for yourself?
Vicki Taylor is a 43-year-old doctor and mother of one. Having qualified from Manchester Medical School in 1998 she has worked in hospital specialities including Psychiatry, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology before settling on a career in General Practice in 2001. In her spare time, she likes to run in the hills above her home in Macclesfield and volunteers as a doctor for Buxton Mountain Rescue Team. She’s not perfect though; she likes a glass of wine or two and can eat a whole packet of Jaffa cakes in one sitting.
Dr Victoria Jane Taylor
MBChB DRCOG MRCGP
GMC number: 4538204