Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Before you begin that crash diet in the New Year!

Smorgasbord Health 2017

I will be repeating my weight reduction programme again in 2017. The programme is designed around your body’s needs rather than your desire to get into a size or two smaller. From a nutritional perspective it is vital that when you are removing unwanted weight that you still provide your body with the nutrients that are essential for health.

However before you make plans to buy the latest wonder diet products you might like to read this first.  You can reduce weight healthily and safely and a great deal cheaper by cooking from scratch and by taking moderate exercise.

The “diet industry” is worth billions of pounds/dollars a year. The body is 100,000 years old or so – yet it is only really in the last 50 years that we have been told by experts that we have been doing it all wrong for the last 99,950 of them. Foods that provided us with nutrients during that lengthy period that are easily processed by the body are dismissed as “bad”. Well, there you go. For most of my adult life I believed the marketing – and certainly contributed to those billions – however this is where it got me!  One of my ‘before’ photos from 22 years ago.

sally at over 24 stoneHere I am, 22 years ago at 42 years old.

I was 24 stone and I had just made a rare but desperate visit to a GP (usually they just told me to go away and lose weight) who had laid it on the line for me. BP – so high it was causing headaches and nosebleeds – Total Cholesterol levels off the chart and very high blood sugar levels. He had told me that I would be very lucky, even with medication to reach 45, if I did not get my weight under control.

You will obviously have gathered that I am still here, 64 years old, not a supermodel but I am fit and healthy with more importantly a different perspective about health and more respect for my body. I orginally lost 11 stone over two years… I am not quite so slim now but getting our new dog in the spring will fix that.  Here is one of my ‘after‘ photos…..


This does not mean that for the last 22 years I have existed on a lettuce leaf and a couple of tomatoes a day. In fact despite the trend at the time for low fat and high carbohydrate diet options I went the other way entirely and have always consumed good fats every day. This includes real butter and full fat milk. Also, the prevailing ‘expert’ opinion that grains are now not as health as once believed is one that I do not prescribe too. What I do however exclude from my diet at least 80% of the time is ‘Industrial Food’.

The term processed food is too hackneyed and actually some of the natural products we consume have gone through some form of processing before we consume them. Milk and cheese are two prime examples. But ‘Industrial Foods’ have been manufactured with the inclusion of artificially engineered ingredients. Whilst we have become obsessed with GMO foods the manufacturers are sighing with relieve in the background as their chemical concoctions continue to contaminate the food chain.

As we eat more Industrial foods that are made from artificial ingredients we move further away from our body’s natural diet that it is programmed to process. The results are obesity and lifestyle related disease.

Weight Reduction.

If you are now expecting me to give you the “Quick Fix” then I am sorry – I cannot oblige. Taking my own experience into account, and those of the hundreds of clients I have worked with, the process of regaining health is not just a question of popping some pills, doing a quick 30 minutes on a treadmill a day, having a protein drink for lunch and starving yourself a couple of days a week. (Before I give some readers who take supplements or supply them raised BP – let me clarify that certain nutritional support is necessary from time to time and provided they are high quality and used only as part of a balanced food diet, they can be beneficial.)

Believe me I have tried every diet and “wonder pill” under the sun and I certainly lost weight at the beginning but it was very evident that when I stopped “starving” my body it repaid me by putting the weight back on with a stone or two for good measure. Hence getting to 24 stone, 336lbs or 153kilos.

A rude awakening and a turning point for me. I decided that I had better find a way to change my prognosis. In 1995 I began to study nutrition and also dived into medical books. I had started what was to be a fascinating journey. After I had lost my 11 stone over 24 months, I studied for a diploma in nutritional therapy which covered the basics. I then took my own experience and knowledge out to other people, running a dietary advisory centre and health food shop in Ireland for a number of years and then in the UK and online. I have also written books, articles, magazine columns, radio programmes and now blogs on the subject and I will work until my dying breath (hopefully another 30 years or so) to get my message out.

That message is that there are just three things you need to lose weight successfully.

YOURSELF (physically, mentally and emotionally)

SUPPORT TEAM (loving family and friends)


On my blog you will find many health posts. I have covered how to reduce BP, unhealthy cholesterol and Blood Sugar – tackle Candida which is highly prevalent in overweight men and women. I have encouraged the consumption of fats in healthy variations and I have demonised the sugar in our modern lifestyle that is one of the main contributors to our current obesity problems. I have also covered exercise and music – foods to improve brain function and produce the feel good factor.

In the first few weeks of 2017 I will be updating and posting my weight reduction programme that I have guided my clients through over the last 19 years. I hope that you will find it useful and that it helps you reach a realistic and healthy weight reduction safely and enjoyably.

Finally today I want to give you an insight into what being morbidly obese meant to me and how this threat looms over modern society.

The Perfect Storm.

When I went to see the doctor and got the true numbers about my weight and what I call the key indicators of BP, Cholesterol and Blood Sugar – I was at the epicentre of my own perfect storm. A storm that I had brought upon myself by creating anomalies within my body, physically, mentally and emotionally. I had also gone through external events that caused turmoil adding to the pressure building up inside me and that is why I use this analogy to explain the triggers that cause this turbulence in our lives.

When I say that I was at the epicentre of the storm, I do not mean the eye of the storm but the vortex – it was a drain that was about to suck me in and I would be gone for good.

Dragging myself back from the edge of that vortex and getting to safety was the hardest but most satisfying journey of my life, one I continue today. Unfortunately, complacency and sometimes outside events start to pull you in again towards the centre of the storm and this happened to me a few years ago.

My mother was in her 90’s and I spent much of the last three years of her life with her. Suffice to say being away from my own home and my husband until the last year when he joined us to support me, were stress triggers. I started to put the weight back on again and I had to really fight hard to pull myself back physically as well as mentally. It was not my mother’s fault and I am so pleased that her last months were in her own home with the rest of my family there and a very peaceful end. However, in the following months and then being back at our home in Madrid full time from 2013, I reduced the weight by simply eating well and getting regular exercise.

2016 has been a rollercoaster and with house and country move and living for the first few months in someone else’s home it was easy to see that my weight was fluctuating again. I have my own work to do in the New Year and I know how much focus and commitment it requires.

I tell you this so that you understand that even with all my experience, my knowledge of nutrition and how my mind and body works; I still have to keep my eye on the ball.

Global obesity.

This perfect story analogy also applies globally. Our health services are already in overwhelm and the future is looking bleak. The rising obesity epidemic with its attendant health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes is like a perfect storm waiting offshore ready to hit land at any time.

I believe that our own NHS has given up on getting the majority of us to change our lifestyles – there are little projects in place that affect a few hundred or thousand people but if you read the headlines there is obviously a mad rush to find a pill that will cure everything from Heart disease to Alzheimer’s all for 5p. Recently it was Statins for everyone over 50 – to prevent future heart disease and dementia. (Statins lower cholesterol – supposed to be just LDL – the problem cholesterol – but total cholesterol also is lowered. We need the substance to produce our hormones, protect the brain and our eyesight amongst other essential processes- so if you are 50+ and have a healthy cholesterol level – what exactly is this pill going to do for you!)

Pills for life all have side effects, albeit possibly smaller ones that are cheaper to treat than the major diseases! They are not the answer. Getting people to accept responsibility for what they put in their mouths is however and that is going to take a tough line. Not sure we have anyone in charge of our health care who can take the gloves off and get enough control to turn this around.

This is a shame, as we have one of the best health services in the world, with dedicated healers at all levels. Trouble is they will be so busy dealing with the aftermath of the perfect storm that has already begun to hit land, to deal with those medical and health emergencies that are beyond our individual control.

Hopefully, if you are overweight, I have given you something to think about. Whether you need to lose a stone or 10 stone I hope you will find this series of help.  I understand that you might have questions and if they might benefit everyone then please use the comments section.  If you would like to ask a question privately then please contact me on sally(dot)cronin(at) and I am very happy to help in anyway that I can without charge of course.

The next post on Monday 2nd of January – Most people will say ‘I need to lose weight’. However very few know exactly how much they should lose to be healthy. That is important as with any project, you need to know where you are today and where you should be in a specific time frame. On Monday I will show you how to work out how much you should weight for your height, age and gender and you will be pleased to hear that it does not mean being as thin as a whippet!

In the menu in the heading you will find several directories on health issues and if you are suffereing from high blood pressure, Candida or your cholesterol is out of balance you might like to take a look at those.