Posts Tagged ‘weight control’

Dieters ‘underestimate how many calories they are eating’

Monday, May 17th, 2010

This article from The Telegraph ( re-iterates what I say to people that come to see me for weightloss. Dieting doesn’t really work, because if we don’t address the relationship that we have with food first, once we stop dieting, and start eating ‘normally’ again, the weight will start to pile on again.

I aim to help people get a better relationship with food, and then they don’t tend to need to overeat anymore, and their weight naturally stabilises over time. It’s great to be able to do this and know that you will never need to be on a diet again. Read below to find out what the article says…

Most dieters vastly underestimate how many calories they are eating, according to a survey of GPs.

Published: 7:30AM BST 17 May 2010

Data from 10,000 slimmers and 200 doctors found 87 per cent of GPs believe dieters are in the dark about how much they actually eat.

Meanwhile, more than nine out of 10 people (92 per cent) see their dieting attempts end in failure, with 18% ending up weighing more than when they started.

Only around one in three (32 per cent people take up more exercise when they are trying to lose weight, while only 23 per cent check food labels before buying.

Most (91 per cent) never weigh out food or control their portion size.

Overall, 90 per cent of GPs said people needed to change their eating habits to lose weight and that losing excess pounds can be as difficult as quitting smoking.

Two thirds (66 per cent) regard overeating as a form of addiction, while 73% of GPs said fad diets do not work, despite 51 per cent of Britons having tried them.

Nutritionist Dr Chris Fenn said: ”People need to adopt a personalised approach to weight loss tailored to their own situation, challenges and strengths.

”They need to understand the causes of their weight gain and the barriers to weight loss, including their relationship with food.

”People are often ill-prepared to lose weight and underestimate what is required.”

The survey was commissioned by Shape. Smart, which makes diet products.

Tapping therapy: curing physical and mental problems

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

This article was published on the Telegraph website ( about Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as ‘tapping’). It’s something that I teach to many of my clients, as it’s such an amazing tooland has so many possible applications. Have a read and see what you think…

Beverley Turner tries out ‘tapping’, a technique designed to cure physical and mental problems by tapping on the body’s invisible energy pathways.

By Beverley Turner
Published: 7:00AM GMT 15 Feb 2010

Singer Michael Ball was seen doing it on a daytime TV chat show. He learnt it from the late singer, Stephen Gately, who used it to calm his own performance nerves. Lily Allen’s weight loss was attributed to its efficacy. American PGA players have been spotted doing it around the golf course. And Norwegian pole-vaulter Rens Blom credited his unexpected 2005 World Championship Gold to its powers. The internet reveals millions of anecdotal accounts of its success on phobias, addictions and anxiety. So nearing the end of my own two-year psychotherapy training, I wanted to discover what this mysterious “tapping” business is all about.

So I signed up for a day course at the EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Academy in London’s Regent’s College, with Richard Mark, an advanced EFT practitioner and certified trainer, who has worked as a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist for 12 years. My fellow students are a mixed bunch of mental health professionals, lawyers, physiotherapists, trainee counsellors and full-time parents. Unafraid to challenge, the students are surprisingly curious and sceptical rather than gullibile. There isn’t a sandal or kaftan among them.

Although it doesn’t rigidly follow his teachings, Mark’s course is based on the EFT therapy developed by American, Gary Craig in 1997. Craig had studied Dr. Callaghan’s Thought Field Therapy in the 1980s, an evolution of John Diamond’s Kinesiology, both of which were rooted in ancient Eastern “meridian energy” theories of acupuncture and Shiatsu, codified since at least 1000BC.

These therapies claimed that our bodies contain invisible energy pathways – meridians – and identified hundreds of acupoints at junctions along these interconnecting highways. They can be disrupted by life’s vicissitudes; in extreme cases, resulting in not only mental but also physical problems.

EFT works by a person tapping on just nine of these acupoints, while speaking aloud. And this is where it becomes a little weird. Working in pairs we identify a minor physical ailment and repeat the phrase, “Even though I have this sore knee / headache / lack of energy, I deeply and completely accept myself,” while tapping on the meridian points: the soft part of the hand beneath the little finger, crown of the head, around the eyes, beneath the nose, the chin, near the clavicle and beneath the armpit. I just about resist the urge to “ooh ooh” like a monkey.

A key part of the therapy is calibrating the intensity of either physical or emotional pain, which allows both therapist and patient a tangible scale by which to measure success. Mark explains that EFT is “especially effective in clearing traumatic memories: accidents, abuse, violence, childhood memories; or even clearing persistent negative messages from family or key people in our lives.”

We move onto emotional problems, selecting a memory that is difficult, but manageable in the limited time available, and within a classroom environment. Using the “Movie Technique,” we must make a mental movie of a specific event, giving it a title and running it in our mind’s eye, marking its intensity between 1 – 10, before tapping with the mantra, “Even though I have this playground bullying / car accident / illness diagnosis movie, I deeply and completely accept myself.” In extreme cases of trauma, the patient can merely imagine the units of distress without running the movie in their head, gradually moving towards the scene at a safe pace.

In spite of – or perhaps because of – the adrenaline from feeling like a bit of a wally, when using the “Movie Technique” myself my own memory of witnessing a violent assault twenty years ago, does indeed fade in its intensity. But I’m not a prime candidate. EFT has impressive results on a whole spectrum of emotional issues but is arguably making its biggest impact on those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Treating such patients, Marta Krol, a Polish clinical psychologist who trained under Mark and has returned to Poland, has found EFT’s effects “amazing”. She recounts a 12-year-old Chechnyan girl suffering speech and anxiety problems as a result of witnessing, aged six, her uncle’s dismembered body brought into the family home and laid on the kitchen table by hysterical relatives. The child did not speak at all for the following 12 months.

“We had worked together for six months with little progress,” says Krol, “Then I tried EFT. She pictured herself watching the terrible scene on TV but through another TV and so on until she was five levels removed and even then she saw herself watching from behind the curtains. But after six weeks she was talking fluently and could recount the event with no anxiety. I honestly believe I could not have helped her do that without EFT.”

Emma-Leigh Johnson, a London-based drugs counsellor is unequivocal about its benefits, “By the time clients come to me they have had lots of therapy. They know what to say, the games to play and boxes to tick. EFT is so unusual, they don’t know what you want to hear.”

Few therapies allow a patient to say aloud that they accept themselves despite their rape / abuse / addiction, while dealing with the emotions that arise simultaneously. Johnson explains, “lots of therapy separates the issue and the human being. With this you can change how you feel about something, but accept that you can’t change what happened – that’s the emotional freedom. I see bigger shifts using EFT than any other therapy.”

Some clients prefer to be ‘tapped upon’ by the therapist; others will mirror their actions; but perhaps more than any other therapy, EFT equips the individual to take away the skill to use at any time.

EFT is still ripe for ridicule. Having explained it in broad terms to my husband, he can now be heard muttering, “I may not have unstacked the dishwasher but I deeply and completely accept myself.” But I have no doubt that the sound of tapping is here to stay. And it’s only going to get louder.

Richard Mark 020 8993 3803;;

Cog Hyp rocks at the diet show

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Getting the message out there that losing and maintaining weight isn’t all about being on a diet… this from the blog of Trevor Silvester.


by Trevor Silvester.

diet show

Cognitive Hypnotherapy had a high profile at the Olympia Diet show. SlimQuest had a stand, manned and womanned by Questies eager to educate the public in how easy it is to to lose weight when your mind is working for you. On the Saturday Rebecca Silvester gave a presentation on how to use simple techniques to keep the mind in control of your weightloss. This was followed on Sunday by Questies Katie Abbott, who gave a talk on Cognitive Hypnotherapy and NLP, and Cathy Simmons who presented on using EFT. Cathy is a member of SlimQuest, which runs group weight loss courses for the public using Cog Hyp techniques. All course leaders are graduates of our Diploma course.

Eating Quickly Is Associated With Overeating, Study Indicates

Friday, November 13th, 2009


ScienceDaily (Nov. 4, 2009) — According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), eating a meal quickly, as compared to slowly, curtails the release of hormones in the gut that induce feelings of being full. The decreased release of these hormones, can often lead to overeating.

“Most of us have heard that eating fast can lead to food overconsumption and obesity, and in fact some observational studies have supported this notion,” said Alexander Kokkinos, MD, PhD, of Laiko General Hospital in Athens Greece and lead author of the study. “Our study provides a possible explanation for the relationship between speed eating and overeating by showing that the rate at which someone eats may impact the release of gut hormones that signal the brain to stop eating.”

In the last few years, research regarding gut hormones, such as peptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1), has shown that their release after a meal acts on the brain and induces satiety and meal termination. Until now, concentrations of appetite-regulating hormones have not been examined in the context of different rates of eating.

In this study, subjects consumed the same test meal, 300ml of ice-cream, at different rates. Researchers took blood samples for the measurement of glucose, insulin, plasma lipids and gut hormones before the meal and at 30 minute intervals after the beginning of eating, until the end of the session, 210 minutes later. Researchers found that subjects who took the full 30 minutes to finish the ice cream had higher concentrations of PYY and GLP-1 and also tended to have a higher fullness rating.

“Our findings give some insight into an aspect of modern-day food overconsumption, namely the fact that many people, pressed by demanding working and living conditions, eat faster and in greater amounts than in the past,” said Kokkinos. “The warning we were given as children that ‘wolfing down your food will make you fat,’ may in fact have a physiological explanation.”

Other researchers working on the study include Kleopatra Alexiadou, Nicholas Tentolouris, Despoina Kyriaki, Despoina Perrea and Nicholas Katsilambros of Athens University Medical School in Greece; and Carel le Roux, Royce Vincent, Mohammad Ghatei and Stephen Bloom of Imperial College in London, United Kingdom.

Eating late at night adds weight

Friday, September 4th, 2009

This article comes from the BBC News website could be of interest to anyone watching their weight.
By Sudeep Chand
Health reporter, BBC News


Late-night snackers are more likely to gain weight, research suggests.

A team from Northwestern University, Illinois, found that when you eat, not just how you eat, could make a big difference.

Scientists found that when mice ate at unusual hours, they put on twice as much weight, despite exercising and eating as much as others.

The study, in the journal Obesity, is said to be the first to show directly that there is a “wrong” time to eat.


How or why a person gains weight is very complicated – but it is clearly not just calories in and calories out
Fred Turek
Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology

Recent studies have suggested that circadian rhythms, the body’s internal clock, have a role in how our bodies use up energy. However, this had been difficult to definitively pin down.

Deanna Arble, lead author of the study, said: “One of our research interests is shift workers, who tend to be overweight.

“This got us thinking that eating at the wrong time of day might be contributing to weight gain.”

The experiment looked at two groups of mice over a six-week period. Both groups were fed a high-fat diet, but at different times of the mice “waking cycle”.

One group of mice ate at times when they would normally be asleep. They put on twice as much weight.

This was despite them doing the same level of activity, and eating the same amount of food, as the other mice.


The findings may have implications for people worried about their weight.

“How or why a person gains weight is very complicated, but it is clearly not just calories in and calories out,” said Fred Turek, from the Northwestern’s Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology, where the research took place.

“Better timing of meals could be a critical element in slowing the ever-increasing incidence of obesity.”

Tam Fry, from the National Obesity Forum, agreed. He said: “It is groundbreaking. It really gets you thinking why this has not been done before.

“It could be very dramatic if it affects whether you are going to get fat or not.”

At this stage, the results could still be interpreted as controversial when applied to humans.

The scientists now hope they can find out more about how the process works. It is thought that sleep, hormones and body temperature all play a part in how we gain weight.

Weight off my mind: I was hypnotised into thinking I'd had a gastric band fitted… and was astonished by the results

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

This isn’t the first time that have posted an article about this treatment plan, but this one, in the Mail on Line goes into so much detail about the procedure that I thought it was worth posting.

The treatment that this married couple in Spain are providing is a great example of sensory distortion, and is something that Cognitive Hypnotherapy has been using for years with great results. So, you don’t have to travel to Spain to get a very similar treatment. Give me a call to find out what’s possible.

By Claudia Connell
Last updated at 8:15 AM on 03rd July 2009
Comments (32) Add to My Stories

Is this the weirdest weight-loss idea ever? You get hypnotised into thinking you’ve had gastric band surgery and will never need to eat so much again – and it works…

Lying on a hospital trolley, feeling pleasantly woozy from the recently administered pre-med, I am about to be wheeled down to theatre to have my gastric band fitted.

I can hear the noises of a busy hospital and am aware of that very distinct clinical smell. Despite what lies ahead, I don’t feel in the least bit anxious as the anaesthetist puts me under and the surgeon prepares his scalpel for that first incision.

Perhaps my calm state of mind is because I am relieved to finally be addressing the weight problems I have struggled with for two years – but, in reality, it’s far more likely to be due to the fact that I am not in a hospital at all but reclining on a comfy chair, under hypnosis and in a state of deep relaxation, in a therapy room on Spain’s Costa Del Sol.

You see I’m not actually having a gastric band fitted, I am being hypnotised into believing it as part of an innovative new weight loss treatment.

As Britain’s obesity rates soar, demand for gastric band surgery has never been higher. The success stories of celebrities such as Fern Britton and Sharon Osbourne have encouraged thousands to follow in their footsteps.

Some desperate dieters will happily pay the £8,000 themselves while, controversially, many NHS trusts now offer the treatment free in the belief it is more cost effective in the long-term than allowing people to remain overweight.

But there is no denying that the procedure is complicated and risky and often leads to many unpleasant and painful side effects such as vomiting, diarrhoea and acid reflux.

Now, two Spanish-based British therapists are convinced they have hit upon an ingenious way to help overweight people shed the pounds without undergoing any dangerous surgical procedures – by hypnotising patients into believing that they have had their stomachs reduced.

When the Mail ran the story of Marion Corns, who had undergone the procedure called the Gastric Mind Band, showing how she had shed three stone in four months, the clinic was inundated with calls from people all over the world wanting treatment.

But can an overeater like me really be tricked into believing that my stomach is the size of a golf ball and that I will no longer be able to eat the gluttonous portions I’d previously been gorging on?

Given that I am piling on the pounds and going up a dress size every six months, I’m more than willing to give it a try.

The Elite Clinic in Fuengirola is run by an expat married couple – Martin and Marion Shirran, both therapists with ten years’ experience of helping patients conquer addictions and disorders, from drug use to panic attacks.

When an overweight patient remarked that she was terrified of surgery and wished she could be hypnotised into believing she had a gastric band, Marion realised there was no reason why this could not be done.

She spent the next few months watching videos of the procedure and devising the gastric mind band programme. Her very first guinea pig was husband Martin, who lost five stone.

Other patients report a good response to the extent that they claim they have a success rate of 80 per cent – higher than actually having the surgical procedure which only works for 70 per cent of people.

I am piling on the pounds and going up a dress size every six months, I’m more than willing to give it a try Perhaps the E995 euro bill (that’s around £853) might be worth it after all.

But could it work for me, the world’s most cynical woman who thinks that any kind of alternative therapy is a load of nonsense and that if something works then it works, regardless of whether you have faith in it?

After all, I don’t ‘have faith’ when I take two paracetemol for a crashing headache, I know the drug will do its job.

I was relieved to arrive at the smart, marble-floored clinic and find that Martin and Marion were friendly and good humoured; not the hippy dippy, tie-dye-wearing types that I expected.

My therapy had been arranged over a course of four days with the virtual surgery coming at the very end.

At my first session, Marion wants to get a picture of my attitude to food and diet and to examine my history of yo-yo weight gain.

My blood pressure and resting heart rate are taken and are both very healthy.

I also know that I have the cholesterol level and liver function of a child – from blood tests I had taken.

The doctor was so impressed by my liver function he assumed I was teetotal.

Of course this clean bill of health doesn’t help with my attitude to weight loss. If I had high blood pressure or cholesterol, it might spur me on to shift the flab.

Marion asks leading questions such as: Do I always leave a clean plate? Do I eat until I feel uncomfortable? Do I reward myself with food treats? Needless to say I answer ‘yes’ to all of these.

Unlike many overweight people I was not a heavy child – in fact, I was always a skinny Minnie with arms and legs like matchsticks.
I was a size 8-10 in my teens and 20s and filled out to a fuller figured size 12 in my late 30s.

Now 43, I am a size 16, and 12 1/2st and with a BMI that is getting dangerously close to the ‘obese’ category – and I hate it. I don’t want to be fat any more.

Marion asks me to explain why I hate being fat, and want to be slim again. Not usually a person that is down on myself, to my surprise, when I look in the mirror I say that I see a dumpy, middle-aged woman, not the vibrant, youthful-looking person I was just a few years ago. I feel old and sluggish.

She also asks me if I have a dress in my wardrobe that I love, that doesn’t fit me but that I am holding on to as I really want to get into it again.

I do: it’s a beautiful pink beaded shift dress that cost a small fortune and that I wore to Ladies Day at Ascot five years ago.

It’s a very small size 10 – and when I bought it I had it taken in!

The three-hour session ends with hypnotherapy, something I’ve never had before. In fact, other than the cheesy entertainment kind, where a person is told to jump up and dance like a gorilla every time a whistle is blown, hypnosis is not something I know a great deal about.
I rather expect Marion to produce a large watch on a chain and tell me I am feeling very sleepy.

Instead my pulse is monitored and I’m told to lie back and relax while Marion talks to me in soothing tones about being at a crossroads in my life where I can take one of two roads.

The first is the old familiar road, lined with sweet wrappers and takeaway boxes and declines sharply downhill. The second is a tougher, uphill road that is a struggle to climb but it leads to happiness, peace and contentment.

I am told that every time I pick up a spoon an image of me in my pink dress will jump into my mind and I will see that nothing I eat will taste as good as the feeling of being size 10 again.

During the hypno session, my pulse rate had dropped from 70 beats per minute to 57 (the level is in the 40s when you are asleep) which showed that, despite my scepticism, I am in a state of deep relaxation and, therefore, my subconscious is susceptible to suggestion and instruction.

I come to feeling like a zombie and as though I have been under for several hours when it is only about 30 minutes.

Later that evening when I go out to eat, I am presented with a huge bowl pasta which, strangely, looks unappealing to me even though it’s my favourite dish. The plate is groaning under the weight of the food and for what must be the first time in years I only manage to eat a third of it. What’s happening to me?

At my next session with Marion, she measures my resting metabolic rate: this will tell me how efficiently my body burns calories and how many it needs on a daily basis.

I must look like a crazed Stepford wife as I sit in the hotel breakfast hall chewing slowlyThe result reveals that I burn 1,600 calories a day. A non-dieting woman will, averagely, consume 2,000 calories a day which means I have 400 extra calories that are not being burnt and are turning to fat.

If I cut my calorie intake to 1,300 a day, I can lose a pound a week – if I exercise as well I can double that.

We also discuss portion sizes, where Marion reveals that I eat three times as much as I should, and that the recommended portion size is roughly the same as your fist.

While under hypnotherapy I relax even more deeply and am told to leave food on my plate at every meal, to find pleasure in the flavour of food and not the quantity, to place my knife and fork down between mouthfuls and to chew every mouthful 15 times before swallowing, and to only eat when hungry and not to a scheduled timetable.

If it gets to lunchtime I am to place my hand on my stomach and ask: ‘Am I hungry?’ If I am not, then I don’t eat the meal. It all sounds so simple.

At breakfast the next morning, I find myself doing exactly what I am told and the meal that would have taken me five minutes to wolf down is now lasting four times as long. I must look like a crazed Stepford wife as I sit in the hotel breakfast hall chewing slowly

I seem to be doing this involuntarily. Surely this is not the hypnotism actually working?

After my second mouthful, just when I am starting to enjoy the muesli, what should pop into my head? You guessed it – me looking slim, tanned and happy in my pink dress. Damn.

My third session is with Martin, who practises cognitive behavioural therapy which concentrates purely on the present.

He teaches the patient to take responsibility for their actions and to identify, understand and, ultimately, stop their damaging behaviour.

Martin definitely seems to believe in the ‘tough love’ type of treatment, playing bad cop to Marion’s good cop.

He asks whether I want to wait until I have type 2 diabetes and my heart is at risk before I address my weight issue.

When I snort and reply that I’m a long way from that, he points out that I have gained nearly three stone in 18 months and that if I repeat the same pattern I will be classed as morbidly obese.

As stupid as it sounds, that had never even occurred to me.

Martin asks me if I always wear my seatbelt when I drive and why. I say: ‘because I don’t want to be hurt in an accident’.

‘So why don’t you protect yourself from heart disease in the same way?’ he asks. For the first time, I am stumped for an answer.

He tells me about a woman he is treating who is so heavy that she has to pay for two plane seats when she flies over for treatment and asks whether I want to end up like that.

He asks: ‘Is this going to work?’ and over the course of the two-hour session my answer changes from ‘I hope so’ to ‘yes it will’ without my realising.

I don’t know whether it’s the Spanish heat, the jet lag or the treatment, but in the three days I have been in Spain I have not really been thinking about food – unlike my life back home where I plan every meal in advance.

Day four of my treatment is the biggie, the virtual gastric band operation. The session is to last for three hours.

As Marion prepares to put me under hypnosis I am told to lie back in the chair and close my eyes as the lights are dimmed and the blinds are closed.

A pulse monitor is clipped to my finger to monitor how deeply I go into a trance like state.

Soothing music is played gently in the background as I am instructed to relax my body, starting with the toes and working my way up to my face.

The music changes to that of an outdoor setting as I’m told I am in a garden full of fragrant and exotic plants – the room is then filled with the scent of jasmine and grass as the scene is being described to me using a technique called ‘vortex aroma’ where a computerised programme will release smells into the room at a specified time in the treatment.

Soon I can hear the sounds of birds and the crashing of waves. I am told I am barefoot on a beautiful, deserted beach, staring out to sea – the salty smell of the ocean fills my nostrils. I feel peaceful.

After 15 minutes I am deeply relaxed but not asleep and able to hear and remember everything I am being told as the weight loss part of the hypnosis begins. I relax deeply and am suddenly aware of the noises and smells of a hospital and can hear distant chatter.

Marion is at what looks rather like a DJ’s mixing desk which has a computer with a programme that releases authentic smells at the right moment.

Marion tells me that the pre-med is about to be administered and I feel a scratch to my hand. She tells me that I am being wheeled into the theatre where (thanks to sound effects) I can hear the beep of medical machinery.

A smell of anaesthetic is released into the room when I am about to go under and it fills my nostrils, this is delivered by a device called a ‘vortex aroma’ linked to the computerised system and expelled at the right time in the hypnotherapy session.

Then, Marion talks me through the incision being made, my liver being moved aside, the camera being placed inside me and the gastric band closing off a section of my stomach.

The distinct whiff of TCP fills the room when I am told that the wounds are being stitched.

I am informed that the operation has been a success and a golf ball is placed into my right hand for me to squeeze.

The golf ball is the size of my new-look stomach, says Marion, I will eat five or six mouthfuls of food before I feel full. Again, I am told to only eat food for its flavour, not its quantity.

But when I get home something astonishing happens I just don’t feel hungry any more The hypnotherapy lasts for about an hour and I come round feeling as woozy as I would from an actual anaesthetic, I also find myself clutching a pink golf ball that I don’t recall being placed in my palm.

I leave the session feeling very weird and slightly confused, and head straight to the airport for my flight home.

On the plane I refuse all offers of food but, being the cynic that I am, I tell myself that it’s because I am flying with a budget airline and their sandwiches are the Devil’s poison.

But when I get home something astonishing happens I just don’t feel hungry any more.

It is now ten days since my virtual gastric band was inserted and in that time I have eaten a fraction of what I normally would.

Like most people, I am always hungry at breakfast time and prepare a small bowl of fruit and cereal.

Not once since returning from Spain have I finished it all. I want to, but it’s not happening. I eat so slowly and I can’t stop picturing me in my pink dress.

Five evenings out of ten I haven’t eaten an evening meal at all, because I just haven’t fancied it.

I have found that I am eating at around 8am, midday and 4pm and then that seems to be enough.

My social life has always revolved around late night meals and drinking when, in fact, it was the last thing my body wanted.

The bizarre thing is that I don’t think for a minute that I have a gastric band, I know that I don’t, but I feel strangely full in a way that I didn’t use to.

Just a fortnight ago, I could easily polish off a Marks & Spencer lasagne for two. Pasta now makes me feel so uncomfortably full that I can’t bear to eat it.

Will it all wear off? Will my huge appetite return with a vengeance in the coming days?

I feel rather overwhelmed and slightly confused by the whole experience. In eight weeks’ time, I am due to revisit the clinic to monitor my weight loss and see if I require an adjustment to my gastric band to either speed or slow down my weight loss – just as I would if I had actually had the surgery.

Once I hit my target weight of 91/2st I have to undergo more therapy where I may have my virtual gastric band removed, and will be given a maintenance programme that will allow me to eat without regaining the weight.

Will it work? All I know is that I have lost 7lbs in ten days, and that as I sit here typing this on a hot summer’s day the thought of a huge bowl of icecream is as about as unappealing as a slap in the face with a wet fish.

Who’d have thought it? Could it really be the result of my phantom gastric band? I’m starting to believe it might be.

For more information visit

Many unaware of alcohol calories

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Posted on the BBC News site today. Something to be aware of if weight loss is on your agenda:


 The campaign is focusing on the calorie content of alcohol Many people are unaware of the calorie content of alcohol, a survey shows. Four in 10 did not know a glass of wine has the same calories (120) as a slice of cake, or that a pint of lager and a small sausage roll have 170 each. The poll of 2,000 adults in England was carried out as part of the government’s drive to curb people’s drinking habits. The campaign also stresses that a heavy drinking session is often followed by an unhealthy breakfast, which again helps to pile on the pounds. The Know Your Limits campaign has in the past focused on other consequences of drinking, such as disease risk. ALCOHOL CALORIE CONTENT A small glass of red wine and slice of sponge cake both have 120 calories A pint of beer or lager has 170 calories, the same as a small sausage roll A pint of cider and beans on toast both have 200 calories A cream liquor has 160 calories, the same as a chicken drumstick Spirits, such as vodka or gin, and a 25ml serving of single cream both contain 55 calories But to coincide with the focus on weight, the Department of Health carried out research showing a regular beer drinker, who downed five pints a week or 250 over the course of a year, packed away the same number of calories as someone eating 221 doughnuts over the space of 12 months. It also revealed the average wine drinker consumed 2,000 calories each month. Over the course of a year, that is the equivalent of eating an extra 38 roast beef dinners. Health minister Phil Hope said: “Regularly drinking more than our recommended daily limits can have a knock-on effect on our health, including an expanding waistline. “It’s not only the calories in the drinks themselves that can help to pile on the pounds, we’re also more likely to eat fatty foods when we’ve had one too many.” Heather Caswell, of the British Nutrition Foundation, added: “Most people would baulk at consuming a full glass of single cream, but wouldn’t think twice about a couple of pints. “But the calorie content is similar and, over time, excess alcohol intake is likely to lead to weight gain.”

Sleep and Teenagers

Monday, April 6th, 2009

From Pyschology Today

By John Cline, Ph.D. on April 5, 2009 – 2:40pm in Sleepless in America

On a recent episode of the MTV series “True Life,” a high school student suffering from delayed sleep phase syndrome was followed. She finds it impossible to go to sleep at a regular time, instead staying up until the early hours of the morning and then finding it nearly impossible to get out of bed to go to school. When she does, she is constantly falling asleep and is unable to pay attention to class discussions. This was an accurate depiction of the problems some teens have related to sleep. Teens tend to have three major sleep concerns. One, they are naturally sleepier than younger children or adults. Two, they tend to get insufficient sleep during the week due to academic, social and recreational demands and try to make up for it on the weekend by sleeping late. Three, they have a delayed sleep phase, meaning they want go to bed later and sleep later than other age groups. Given late night activities such as text messaging and video gaming, this propensity can easily become a full fledged delayed sleep phase disorder in which bed time isn’t until 3 or 4 a.m., and the ideal wake up time is pushed to around 12 p.m. This shift in circadian rhythm is facilitated by late night exposure to light, as when looking into a bright computer screen at 2 a.m. Teens almost always sleep late on the weekends. Some teens, however, find it almost impossible to get out of bed on any given day due to their sleep difficulties. This can easily result in missing school and becoming truant. Indeed, studies have shown that teens are sleepier than younger children or older adults. Their sleep is shallower and less restorative than the sleep that younger children get. When allowed to sleep as much as they would like, teens average 9 to 10 hrs per night, but few are getting anywhere near this amount. Indeed, as the start of the school day is earlier for high school than middle school, it is often necessary for high school students to get up as early as 5:30 a.m. to get to school on time. In order to get even nine hours of sleep with such a schedule, it would be necessary to go to bed around 8:30 p.m., which is not likely. Once children become preschoolers, most no longer require naptime, and by nature choose to stay awake. Teens regain the ability to nap and are better able to stay up later than younger children. They are able to over sleep when necessary and regularly do so on weekends and during vacations. Teens also tend to have much more irregular sleep schedules, with greatly different bed and wake up times on weekdays as compared to weekends. This greater flexibility in sleep ability and sleep scheduling can lead to significant disruption of the sleep pattern. As a result of the miss-match between sleep-need and school schedules, insufficient sleep is common among teens. It is estimated that up to 40% of high school and college students are sleep deprived. This may be an underestimate. There are many reasons for this. At this age there is decreasing control exercised by parents. At the same time academic work increases. Many high school students are taking honors and advanced placement classes, often working at a college level. Young people engage in many more social activities such as sports and school clubs. In addition to doing their home work, they also may have to work long hours to earn money for college. Many college students have to essentially be full time students and full time workers due to the current economic challenges. The adolescent years are filled with challenges. Teens take on more adult roles while still having many of the needs of children. They experience the rapid physical and emotional changes of becoming young adults. Many have concerns about their future such as going to college, getting a job and having enough money. Sexual feelings are intense during this time and teenagers have to take on more adult decisions regarding sexuality, the use of alcohol and other drugs, and working out their own value systems which may be different from their parents. During this time distrust of parents or authority figures may develop. All of these worries and concerns can cause arousal that interferes with sleep. As with adults, sleep is often a lower priority for adolescents. This is especially true during the school week when school, homework, sports, after school activities, volunteer work, jobs and socializing seem much more important than sleep. As with adults, few teens can appreciate the benefits of sleep with regard to improved cognitive functioning and mood. If they did, the improved functioning young people would experience might more than off-set the extra time devoted to sleep. There are a number of concerns related to insufficient sleep that go beyond the cognitive, memory and emotional effects. Increased sleepiness results in increased risk for fatigue-related accidents, especially motor vehicle accidents. Laboratory studies have shown that significant sleep loss results in cognitive impairment equivalent to that caused by alcohol intoxication. Not a good thing for new drivers just learning the rules of the road! When young people are getting insufficient sleep, there is impairment of the motivation needed to do well in the class room or on the job. Unintended sleep episodes may occur in the form of falling asleep in class or on a job, or behind the wheel of a car. Indeed, students with a C average or below typically report getting less sleep and having a more irregular sleep schedule than students with better grades. While the above issues are the most common ones for sleep problems among young people, a number of other sleep disorders are also potentially problematic. For example, narcolepsy usually appears in adolescence or early adulthood and about 50% of people with narcolepsy will have some symptoms by age 16. Another significant concern is the impact of the increasing obesity in our society. Obesity can increase the risk for sleep apnea in young people just as it does in older individuals. The long term impact of sleep apnea can have severe implications for health and well being. In the next post, I will discuss some ways to help teens keep from being sleepless in America.