Today a customer asked me if the contraceptive pill would be affected by their weight loss and to this I have to say ' Great question'! .
Our hormones and fertility ARE affected by losing weight and the reason is simple.
You see, as ladies, majority of us generally store most of our fat around our abdomens. This 'belly fat' as most poeple call it, can be quite dangerous (for men as well as ladies). It can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, problems with your gallbladder and can cause hormonal imbalances.
Generally us ladies have fluctuating hormone levels (you know what i mean there ladies) but the fat that our bodies store around our abdomen can really affect our estrogen levels. Our Estrogen levels can have a direct impact on our fat cells. The fat cells can then produce more estrogen which sends signals to your body to store even more fat cells. So not only does it become a horrible cycle of fat cell storage (aggghhh) BUT that production in itself causes hormonal imbalance.
The fat that we store around our abdomen is called visceral fat. There's also a layer of fat called Subcutaneous fat. This is the layer of fat that is right at the top of your skin (you know the one you can pinch). The subcutaneous fat although not great as it causes that 'muffin top' effect, isn't the type of fat that poses a direct risk to our organs. It's the visceral fat that you need to concern yourself with. You see. Visceral fat wraps itself around your organs. It is linked to diabetes, fatty liver disease, gall bladder problems, cardiovascular disease & diabetes (insulin resistance), increased risk of strokes, high blood pressure. The worst thing about visceral fat is that unlike Subcutaneous fat, you can't actually see it. So you have no idea how much you have or what it's doing to your body internally!
Losing weight REALLY DOES HELP when it comes to correcting or helping hormonal imbalances. Losing just 10% of your body weight can help your body and can start to correct any hormonal imbalances caused by excess body fat.
Losing weight affects fertility...
Weight loss can help change fertility levels. When i was trying for a family, my doctor at the hospital would tell me to lose weight prior to embarking on any kind of treatment. The reason for this is due to how much effect losing weight has to play on our hormones. Once we start to lose weight, our stored fat will start to diminish. This will then change how effective our reproductive organs are (think about how that visceral fat used to strangle your organs)Well... now we are losing weight, our organs have a chance to 'breathe' again. Our hormone levels will become more balanced and over time, ladies who have had problems with fertility issues MAY find that the weight loss helps them in many ways. (this is very common for ladies with PCOS)
However, ladies who aren't wishing to start for a family just yet need to be careful and ensure they are using adequate contraceptive protection.
Please speak to your GP on a regular basis to ensure that your contraceptive method is right for you.
please note: Weight loss can not guarantee that a pregnancy will follow.
Very Low Calorie Diets are great at helping slimmers lose weight. The weight comes off fast which helps the slimmer with their motivation levels.
However, VLCD’s aren’t for everyone. In this blog post, we will discuss VLCD’s, how they work and the side effects that some slimmers may have.
WHAT IS A VLCD?
VLCD stands for Very Low Calorie Diet. Generally a slimmer on a VLCD consumes less than 800 calories per day. A VLCD MUST ensure it gives a slimmer all of their RDA for essential vitamins and minerals or it can not be classed as a VLCD – Unfortunately, there’s weight loss plans available in the UK advertising themselves as a VLCD by using only high protein products and that can be harmful for slimmers.
Generally a VLCD is a Total Food Replacement (TFR). This means that the slimmer would get all of their nutritional requirements in the form of Meal Replacements (MRP). This can be either by eating 3 per day or 4 per day (some companies split the RDA requirement across 3 packs and others across 4 packs).
Weight loss is on average 1 stone a month. However we have to say an average as some slimmers lose more, others lose less. A lot of that weight is lost in the first week due to the body switching into ketosis (fat burning mode).
VLCD SIDE EFFECTS…
There are various side effects slimmers can expect (not every slimmer will get every side effect and some do not have any side effects at all). These side effects usually take place in the first 3 days –
headaches (known as carb withdrawal. Usually subsides once ketosis kicks in)
flu like symptoms (again usually subsides once ketosis kicks in)
constipation – this is common to slimmers on a VLCD. It can happen when our bodies don’t have enough water so our body takes water where it can (the waste inside the bowel is wet so it takes the water and dries up any waste leaving us constipated). We would say to combat this, drink plenty 2-3 litres per day. If you do suffer, please don’t put the VLCD first – your health is more important so we would say take flax seeds or dulcolax or dulco ease.
Hair loss – Now this is where it gets confusing. People say that VLCD’s make your hair fall out. They don’t but they do thin your hair because your body will stop certain processes in order to save energy whilst you are in ketosis. One of those processes is hair growth. As our hair growth has several cycles in it (the growing, the shedding etc), you will notice that your hair follicles are producing hair at a slower rate and that’s why hair can become thinner.
Feeling cold – I always say it seems like losing weight on a VLCD is easier in the summer (1 because SMLDiet has so many delicious Meal replacement shakes to choose from) but also because we naturally feel colder on a VLCD . This again is because of energy saving from our body. You may notice your hands and feet really feel the cold. Make sure you drink hot drinks, put on an extra jumper and don’t panic as it will soon go away.
VLCD’s have been used in the NHS and on weight loss plans for over 30 years. They’ve come a long way since they were first introduced. Now there’s more research, more products and more plans. Please choose your weight loss company carefully. Ensure they have the relevant experience and don’t dazzle you with words such as extreme ketosis weight loss plan or Rapid weight loss burn – they are marketing their plans like that to entice you in as lets face it, us slimmers want to shift this weight. FAST.
Make sure you choose a plan that has experience in their field. If you are looking for a plan that can support you, ensure they have qualifications or know their stuff. There’s too many companies that are hiring ordinary people who then care more about you joining ‘their team’ rather than how you can change your life!
Lastly, think very carefully about your VLCD plan. You can’t stay on it for long and before you know it, you’ll be back in the world of real food. If you go back to your old eating habits, unfortunately the weight will go back on again. However, if you think carefully about the changes you would like to make, then you are more likely to succeed with VLCD weight management. The SMLDiet has created the BALANCE PLAN – It’s a VLCD re-feed designed to help you introduce food after a VLCD & looks at the psychological factors around weight management.
Do you mindlessly eat when you're alone? maybe your good intentions go out the window when you are chatting with friends? There are so many different ways in which our weight is affected purely by our behaviour and time structuring & today I'm going to explain them to you.
There are 6 ways in which we choose to spend our time: Withdrawal. Rituals. Past-times. Activities. Games & Intimacy. Each of these ways in which we spend our time can have an affect on our eating and our weight.
Withdrawal is when we spend time on our own. An isolation period from others. Isolation can be good for us as we all need a bit of alone time but sometimes slimmers find that when they are alone they over eat without fear of someone judging what and how much they have eaten. Because of that fear of judgement, slimmers may find that they CHOOSE to be alone to indulge in secret eating.
Have you ever been to an event and there wasn't any food? It's not very common that that happens. Take weddings - a large all you can eat buffet spread put on or a wedding breakfast. You name it, food is usually involved. Throw in a few glasses of that cheeky vino & before you know it your resolve is thrown on the floor (a bit like your dance moves later on). Us humans are creatures of habit too. We do like our structure and routine. How much of your last 24 hours has been spent in your usual routine? wake up, brush teeth, get the children ready for school whilst you get ready for work etc etc. Have you ever thought that your eating could become a routine for you? From what you choose to eat, to when you eat it. We have a routine with our eating and it may not necessarily be doing your waist line any favours.
A few years ago (and i always give this example to explain how habits can quickly form), I worked until late at night. After work one night, i stopped to get petrol and whilst i was there i picked up a lil something something. In my head i liked that thing so next time i finished work and passed that petrol station, i got myself another lil something something. Before I knew it. It was my 'end of work' routine. I'd finish work and go and get that - EVERY TIME!!!
This is where we spend time maybe catching up with friends, chatting about the latest goss or anything predictable as you would when catching up with those that know you. Usually food is involved here to. Maybe a bit of alcohol?
This is where you spend your time 'doing'. Whether it be that housework, going to your actual work place or doing general run around chores. Believe it or not, this activity time can affect how you eat. When at work, do you all get the biccies and cakes out to celebrate Marge's birthday? Maybe whilst at work, you pop to the shop to buy a lunch meal deal?
Games are part of the game playing transactions we all have. You can spot them a mile off and they usually end up with a feeling of 'oh no here we go again'. Lets us an example of Stacey & Jane.
Stacey tells Jane 'I'm so fat and unhappy'. Jane's response to Stacey would be? yup you guessed it 'no you're not'
To which Stacey would tell Jane 'yes i am, i hate it i can't do anything about my weight. It's making me so unhappy'
(Can you see where we're going with this one?)
Jane would probably respond with suggestions
-Why don't you come to the fat fighters club with me on Thursdays
-Why don't you start eating healthily
-Why don't you join a gym
Stacey (because she is unknowingly playing a game) will bat back all of those suggestions because it isn't what she truly wants to hear
_I can't do Thursdays plus it doesn't work
-Eating healthily is too expensive
-The gym is too expensive and i'd feel self conscious
No matter what Jane suggests, it won't work. This will go on and on until one of them starts to feel like a victim 'nothing i suggest seems to help. Don't know why i bother' type of thoughts.
Of course games can be centered around anything in life and some games can be quite serious. Like the games we play with our partners because we are unhappy with our weight/looks and we start to push them away (usually to test our internal theories that we aren't good enough for anyone)
When i usually talk about intimacy when it comes to time structuring, people usually think it means in the literal sense. A bit of candles and Barry White but it can be the total opposite. What I mean is the sense of being true and honest with yourself and others. Opening yourself, raw and pure emotions.
Some of the ways in which we structure our time can really leave us feeling emotionally vulnerable. The emotional risk increases when we move from withdrawal all the way to intimacy.
When we are experiencing withdrawal we are emotionally safe as no-one is able to get in our withdrawal bubble to hurt us. When we are playing games, it may end up resulting in emotional distress for one or both parties.
When we are intimate with another person, we open ourselves up to them. They can bring with themselves positive or negative intimate experiences. How intimate we are with others usually comes from experiences in our childhood. This can affect our ability to get emotionally close as adults, our ability to be honest and true.
We usually spend less time being intimate due to these experiences and the beliefs we have formed around them. Because of this, we usually find it safe for us to be in past-time mode when it comes to other people. It's safe to just generally chit chat and not be true about your emotions. Unfortunately, there can be a downside to that general social situation. Our encounters can become superficial and can fail to stimulate us.
I hope this has given you some insight into time structuring and how it can affect your weight. As you can imagine, all of the ways in which we structure our time DO affect our eating. For example:
Games - when you are left with that bad feeling, you may find yourself reaching for food (emotional eating)
Intimacy - if you aren't being intimate, you may find intimacy from food
For a bit of self development, feel free to answer these questions for yourself:
If you have found this article helpful, please do check out our range of support tools over on the SMLDiet website.
This is a great question for any potential slimmer who is looking to lose weight using a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD). There are so many VLCD's to choose from, it can be a bit of a mind muddle. The definition of a VLCD is a diet that is very low in calories i.e 600 cals on average a day (yes a day). Normally a slimmer following a TRUE VLCD would have total food replacements (also known as meal replacements or foodpacks).
These come in the form of soups, shakes, bars and meals usually and in order for it to be considered a VLCD, you need to ensure these packs give you all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body happy & healthy. VLCD meal replacements usually contain just enough carbs to maintain your body and it's requirements whilst allowing your body to go into ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural reaction for our bodies. In fact we can enter a light state of ketosis whilst we are asleep so if anyone tells you ketosis is bad for you, please don't worry.
The SMLDiet food replacements contain at least 25% of your RDA for essential vitamins and minerals so you can do your thing knowing you're losing weight & your body will remain healthy.
I've noticed how VLCD's are taking the UK by storm. Mainly because of the fast weight loss they offer. However, VLCD's are so popular with slimmers as they take food completely out of the equation.
Whilst following your VLCD plan there will be lots of changes that you will experience. The first being to your body. The fast weight loss means that your body shape will change in front of you/others. This can cause a period of unrest whilst we get used to the new you. You'll also experience psychological changes. This is common with any slimmer following any kind of diet plan. However, it's important you recognise these changes within yourself and adjust as you need to. This is where support from your VLCD supplier is really needed. At the SMLDiet, I am a qualified counsellor and have created a range of tools to help support you with these changes and your relationship both with yourself & food. Take a look here
Please Note: there are certain medical conditions that would prevent you from embarking on a VLCD. It is extremely important to check that you are eligible to start a VLCD prior to purchasing any packs from any VLCD company.
what support will i get from my company?
Support varies from company to company. There's companies out there that really do offer great support (SMLDiet being one of them) but unfortunately there's also companies out there that offer little or no support and the only thing they offer is very cheap products.
The SMLDiet have a secret facebook group that you can only see and join through invitation or by emailing us to ask to join. We also offer free support tools such as downloads, worksheets to help keep you motivated. As a qualified weight management mentor, I offer 1:1 support sessions & for slimmers close to our offices in Buckingham, we offer free weigh in's and chats with our team.
what do meal replacements taste like?
VLCD's have come along way since they were first introduced into the UK market. The VLCD UK Manufacturers work hard to ensure their products meet all the EU regulations whilst ensuring that customers will continue to enjoy the product. Bearing in mind, this isn't like conventional food, alot of VLCD foodpacks DO taste delicious, mix up well and leave you feeling full. In fact there's alot to say for the UK VLCD manufacturers and the high quality products out there on the UK Market.
which vlcd company do i choose?
Obviously after reading this post, we hope you choose the SMLDiet. However, you need to find a company that will suit your needs. Take a look at these questions to ask yourself...
What support do you want? - you may want to be one of the slimmers who simply orders and that's it but it's completely different from the support that you need. You may find 3 weeks into your VLCD plan that boy it's tough and harder than you thought therefore a bit more support could certainly help you.
Is price an issue? - VLCD's aren't the cheapest diet product out there and there's a reason for it. A lot of research goes into the products, a lot of products goes into the product and there's insurances etc that each VLCD company needs so companies can't give them away. However, at the SML Diet we believe you get what you pay for and quality and amazing service does cost but needn't cost the earth. Unfortunately a few years ago, there were meal replacements in the market that i wouldn't have recommended and these were being sold extremely cheaply. So please do your research before choosing a company just because it's the cheapest.
Some VLCD plans may seem expensive but those plans offer intensive support. At the SML Diet, our products start from 95p which we believe is fantastic value for money and we offer continued on-going support.
will i put the weight back on?
There is a common myth around VLCD's and the fact that the moment you stop losing weight and re-eat food, you will just re-gain the weight. This isn't true. As a scientific calculation, your body needs 3500 calories more than it needs for nutritional purposes in order to gain just 1lb. A lot of VLCDcompanies have thought long and hard about their re-feed plans as they want you to be their walking, talking adverts. So if you follow the re-feed plans and ASK for support from the VLCD companies, they will be more than willing to help support you.
Lastly, having been on a VLCD before, I can vouch for how fantastic they can be. In fact VLCD's can be life changing - look at me! i now work at the SML Diet!
Wishing you all the very best for your weight loss success
The SMLDiet is a leading weight loss plan in the UK. Specialising in VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diets), TFR (Total Food Replacement products and meal replacements.