Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – Salmon – Omega 3 on a Plate

As a follow on from the recent series on the Weekly Grocery Shopping List of foods that contain the nutrients the body needs that contain the nutrients the body needs I am going to repeat my series from 2017 on the health benefits of some of our most common foods.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to prevent rogue cells in the body from developing into serious disease.

NOTE – If you are on any prescribed medication do not take yourself off it without consultation with your doctor. If you follow a healthy eating programme and lose weight and are exercising you may not need the same dose and with your doctor’s agreement you may be able to reduce or come off the medication all together.

Much of the salmon available today comes from fisheries and conditions and feed of these farmed fish have improved through regulation in recent years. However, I am not convinced by the publicity and prefer to eat fish that has been caught in the ocean and to me there is definitely a difference in the taste of this salmon. You can buy ocean caught fish frozen or fresh depending on where you live and for me the freshest is fish that has been caught and frozen whilst the trawlers are still at sea.

There is always some concern about the levels of mercury in fish and studies indicate that ocean caught salmon from the northern seas and rivers have levels that are considered to be low and safe for more regular consumption.

Salmon has been on my ‘must eat’ list for a long time and in this day and age, when obesity and heart disease are becoming the top causes of premature death, then including it in your diet regularly is very important.

There are a number of health issues apart from heart function that eating salmon benefits including weight loss, bone health, a healthy immune system and brain health. The nutrients in this important source of protein are also helpful in preventing cancer and diabetes.

salmonI will begin with Omega 3, which is abundant in fatty fish such as Salmon.

Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid and is used in the formation of cell walls, improving circulation and oxygen. It is important that your overall cholesterol is kept to a normal level but it is equally important to ensure that the balance between the LDL (lousy cholesterol) and the HDL (healthy cholesterol) is maintained with a lower LDL to HDL ratio.

Omega 3 appears to maintain that correct balance. LDL (low density lipoprotein) has smaller particles than the higher density lipoprotein and when oxidised becomes dangerous. Because it is smaller it is able to clump and attach to the walls of the arteries and cause a dangerous narrowing. Pieces can also break off and travel in the bloodstream to major organs like the brain and the heart. An added bonus in eating salmon muscle is that it contains peptides that may also lower blood pressure.

One trial in New Zealand measured adults with a high cholesterol level over a 4-week period. They consumed 3g of salmon oil per day and after the 4 weeks they showed an increase of HDL and a decrease in LDL levels. Lowering both cholesterol and blood pressure levels certainly contributes to a healthy heart.

Omega 3 is linked to brain health in a number of ways. The brain contains a large amount of fat especially Omega 3 fatty acids in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). In studies DHA levels determined levels of brain activity and cognitive function and is thought to be essential for the growth and functional development of the brain in babies. This ability is not limited to young humans as it is vital that this brain activity and function is maintained into old age. Including Omega 3 fatty acids in our diet therefore may well decrease our risk of developing degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Carrying additional weight can certainly contribute to strain on the heart muscle and the salmon has a rather unusual property that whilst yet unproven may help in weight loss.

There is a protein that is released when we begin to eat called amylin. This protein travels to the brain where it is measured and the brain then decides when we have eaten sufficient food and should stop eating. Unfortunately we have got very adept at overriding this message from the brain and consequently we tend to eat more than we actually need leading to weight gain.

The salmon produces a hormone called calcitonin, which has the same effect on animals as amylin does in humans. There is no conclusive proof but it is felt that this hormone when eaten might result in us consuming less food.

The other possible weight loss property of salmon is Chondroiton sulphate. Chondroiton is often used in conjunction with Glucosamine as a joint repair preparation but in this case the Chondroiton which is found in the nose of the salmon appears to have fat blocking capabilities. It appears to work in two ways by reducing the amount of fat absorbed into the intestines and then preventing any fat that has been absorbed from being stored in the cells. This will require a great deal more research but could be an interesting property in the fight against obesity.

As we get older the risk of bone fractures increases with many women particularly suffering from hip joint disease after menopause. Omega 3 may be instrumental in decreasing bone loss and therefore osteoporosis.

Our immune system is working ceaselessly against the constant onslaught of bacteria and viruses and on the whole if we have a healthy diet containing plenty of antioxidant rich foods our defence system keeps us safe. However, from time to time something slips through and then we need to know that all the complex mechanisms of the immune system are functioning perfectly.

Salmon is high in selenium,which is avery important trace mineral that activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. It is vital for immune system function and may help prevent prostate cancerin particular.

Overall, the salmon contains many nutrients in the flesh and also in parts of the fish such as bone that is often included in canned fish. It is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, iron, iodine, manganese, copper, phosphorus and zinc, some of which are of particular benefit for the cardiovascular system and the heart.

Apart from its role in the formation of teeth and bones, calcium is also required for blood clotting, transmission of signals in nerve cells and muscle contractions. There is some indication that higher calcium intake protects against cardiovascular disease particularly in women.

The main function of iron is in haemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying component of blood. When someone is iron deficient, they suffer extreme fatigue because they are being starved of oxygen and the major organs of the body such as the heart become deprived of this life essential element.

Salmon is very versatile and provided it is from a healthy source and not from poorly maintained fish farms it can be eaten two to three times a week served hot or cold with plenty of fresh vegetables and salads. It is particularly delicious served chilled with a spinach salad and new potatoes.

You can also eat canned ocean caught salmon and this is particular good if you eat the soften bones that tend to come with it – if you find this unappealing simply mash the salmon and bone together with a fork and use on salads.

For some delicious recipes that will encourage you to include more salmon in your diet.. please head over to an earlier post where Carol Taylor shares some of her favourite dishes: Cook from Scratch – Salmon

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Health in the New – Obesity Research – Fat Accumulation Table by Sally Cronin

I probably wrote most of the excuses for my life threatening obesity in my 30s and 40s in my quest to blame anything and everything other than myself.

“It must be my genes” is one of the favourite excuses, and certainly used by many of my clients over the years. Unfortunately, whilst there may be a small proportion of people who do have a real genetic reason for their ability to put on weight, it is not applicable to the majority.

I originally lost 11 stone or 154lbs 22 years ago and there have been times when that weight has drifted back by a couple of stones, it is usually because I have also drifted back into bad habits.

There is no doubt that age and lack of activity do count for some of it. Our body’s systems are not as efficient, and we still feel we can get away with eating the same way we did 30 years ago. Provided you are still very active, that may well be the case, but you still need to keep an eye on the amount of food you are consuming.

Eating a diet that is fresh and cooked from scratch is a great start, but unfortunately even the finest of fresh meats and whole grains still contain calories.

However many ‘fad’ diets there are littering the Internet, you cannot get away from the fact that if you eat more than you expend in energy…. you put weight on.

I don’t believe in giving up any food group that supplies the wide variety of nutrients the body needs to be healthy.

But, you can have too much of a good thing.

You cannot eat unlimited healthy fats and not put on weight. You only need a moderate amount to achieve the nutritional benefits, and the same applies to wholegrain carbohydrates which are so essential for our energy levels.

You have to find the balance, as I have as I have become less active. Portion control is a pain, but it means that you can eat all the foods you enjoy but just less of them.

I have found Intermittent Fasting to suit me best, and eat between 11.00 or midday – to 7.00 or 8.00 pm. every day. I do have a glass of coconut water and tea first thing, which is not strictly within the guidelines, but does not seem to impact the end result.  I eat a good lunch but only have a light supper at night and always make sure that I leave three hours before going to bed. The digestive process for a light meal is complete, and I sleep a great deal better.

The health benefits to me, besides helping me get back down to my optimum weight is that I am not on any medication and my BP, Blood Sugar and Cholesterol are balanced.

This does not suit everyone… if you have an active job or lifestyle, you need to start the day with a good breakfast. The key is to find what suits you, gives you the nutritional requirements your body needs to do the job you demand of it, and maintains a healthy weight and fully functioning immune system.

The magic bullet for treating obesity is like the holy grail, and billions have been spent on finding a short cut to reducing people’s weight. Gastric bands, fasting, fat busters, diet shakes and sometimes harmful diet pills and potions.

At the end of the day slimming clubs are probably the most effective as they limit your intake of less healthy food, and instil willpower which works for many of their members.

At the end of the day, if you are overweight then you are doing yourself harm. Some may like to assure you, that you can still be fit and be severely overweight, but it is not the fat that you can see is the problem. It is the fat around your major organs, such as the heart that are dangerous.

I have written several series on healthy weight loss and will repeat them from time to time. However, one of the most effective weight loss tools that I put together for myself and my clients all those years ago was this table.

It shows you the accumulative factor of having two or more portions of particular foods regularly on your weight.  In most cases, simply halving the quantity of that food will achieve your healthy weight in a matter of months and perhaps in some cases a year.

It is important to remember that 1lb of fat lost a week is 52lbs/24kilo in a year which is usually what most people are looking to achieve. At the recommended weight loss of 2lbs per week that is 104lbs/ 48kilo in a year.

Take a look at the foods in the table and see if there are some that you are eating a little too much of. And if your favourite daily snack is not on the list… check out the calories and multiply by 365 and then divide by 3,500 (equivalent to 1lb of body fat) and see how much weight you could lose by halving the amount you eat over the year.

Obviously weight loss is assisted when you combine sensible portion control with some moderate exercise too.

A brisk mile walk a day accumulates to 36,500 calories per year or in body fat terms 10lbs.


Here are some of the recent studies on obesity.

Effect of genetic factors on nutrition: The genes are not to blame

Individualized dietary recommendations based on genetic information are currently a popular trend. A team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has systematically analyzed scientific articles and reached the following conclusion: There is no clear evidence for the effect of genetic factors on the consumption of total calories, carbohydrates, and fat. According to the current state of knowledge, the expedience of gene-based dietary recommendations has yet to be proven.

Overweight and obesity have become a global health problem. According to the World Health Organization, 39 percent of adults in EU countries have overweight. In Germany more than 50 percent of adults suffer from overweight, almost one fifth is according to the Robert Koch Institute currently considered obese. This is primarily due to the modern lifestyle which is characterized by low physical activity and high-calorie foods.

Also genetic factors play a role in the occurrence of obesity. To date, around a hundred genes (loci) have been identified which are related to the body mass index (BMI). However, the functioning of these genes as well as the biological mechanisms behind them are still largely unknown. The investigation of the relationship between genetic factors and nutrition can shed light on whether the genes which are linked to BMI play a role in nutrition.

You can read the rest of the report on how research is failing to implicate genes in the global obesity epidemic: Science Daily – Genes link to obesity.


Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity among people looking to shed extra kilograms and maintain a healthy weight. Researchers argue that this type of diet may also slow down aging and disease.

In intermittent fasting, what essentially takes place in the body is that one source of energy — which can facilitate the accumulation of body fat — is switched for another.

Our bodies run on glucose, or simple sugar, but when we fast for a longer period of time, that energy source becomes unavailable.

Our system needs to identify a different kind of “fuel.” That is when the body begins to convert certain types of body fat into fatty acids, which are easily absorbed by the blood.

Fatty acids, in turn, produce molecules called ketones, which the body uses as its new source of energy.

Stephen Anton, a researcher at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, calls this process “flipping the metabolic switch.”

“This switch,” explains Anton, “can happen after a certain period of time fasting. It’s a gradation in which your metabolism over time shifts to use higher and higher amounts of ketones for energy.”

He and his team were interested to learn more about how this switch occurs, and whether it could bring other health benefits, alongside weight management.

For this purpose, they reviewed numerous recent studies focused on the mechanisms and benefits of intermittent fasting.

The team’s review, published in the journal Obesity, suggests that intermittent fasting may be more healthful than other dieting strategies, as ketones put less stress on cells than the byproducts of other dieting styles.

Significant weight loss regardless of style 

Read more about the research and its conclusions: Medical News Today – Intermittent Fasting


Half of Britons will be obese by 2045 if current trends are not halted, according to new forecasts.

Experts said that without radical action the NHS will be “overwhelmed” – with one in eight suffering from type 2 diabetes.

The condition already costs the health service around £10 billion annually.

Almost one in three British adults are now estimated to be obese, according to the study. by University College London and pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.

And if trends continue, 48 per cent of adults will be classed as obese by 2045.

The figure is more than double the forecast global average of 22 per cent, with the US the only developed country predicted to fare worse, reaching 55 per cent.

Around 10 per cent of adults in the UK already have type two diabetes, which is closely linked to excess weight. And the data presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna suggests this will reach almost 13 per cent by 2045.

Read the rest of the article: Telegraph – Obesity forecast.

©Just Food for Health 1998 – 2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook from

And Amazon UK:

I would love to connect to you on social media.

Google + :

You can find all my health posts this year in the directory:

I hope this has given you something to think about, not just in relation to your own health but that of your family. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Forget Crash Diets – Ease your body into that swimsuit this summer

It is that time of year when women’s and fitness magazines, begin to guarantee that you can have a bikini fit body in six weeks. To be honest, unless you are already quite slender, the chances of most of us getting into a bikini in six weeks, is not practical and in some cases, dangerous.

A lot of the celebrity diets will assure you that drastically reducing your calorie intake, and dropping one or two major food groups for six weeks, will do wonders for your figure. And it is true that starving your body for that period of time will usually result in weight loss.

However, although the thought of losing only 2lbs a week seems very sedentary and unlikely to achieve the results you require in such a short space of time, any more than that and you are creating a vicious cycle of weight loss and gain that will take a long time to re-balance.

The “diet industry” is worth billions of pounds/dollars a year and there are hundreds of  slimming products available on the shelves and in my time, when I weighed 330lbs, I tried most of them. In fact I starved myself regularly and would lose 10lbs quickly and then once I began eating normally again, it would rush back and add a few extra pounds for good measure. Many of the meal replacements that are available have unhealthy amounts of chemicals, artificial sweeteners (that the body reacts to in the same way as sugar) and cost an arm and a leg. Our bodies do not recognise this as food and over an extended period of time you are in danger of becoming deficient in some of the major nutrients.

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 official edicts on what to eat and what not to – and certainly contributed to those billions! However this is where it got me! As you can imagine the owner of the mechanical bull was very concerned when it ground to a halt in protest.

I lost my original 150lbs 22 years ago and whilst I have an added few pounds now at 65, I have thankfully avoided some of the health issues associated with obesity such as High Blood Pressure and diabetes.

One of the main causes for my weight gain, was yo-yo dieting from my teen years when I starved my body to emulate Twiggy, and then binged when I resumed eating. I also took diet pills for several years which did nothing for my metabolism, and now that some of those are banned from the market, I am also lucky that I did not do more harm to my heart and liver. Many of the meal replacements that are available have unhealthy amounts of chemicals, artificial sweeteners (that the body reacts to in the same way as sugar) and cost an arm and a leg. Our bodies do not recognise this as food, and over an extended period of time, you are in danger of becoming deficient in some of the major nutrients.

Then of course there was the ban on fat in the diet and I embraced carbohydrates with great delight, unfortunately whilst we need a moderate amount on a daily basis, we need healthy fat even more.

Anyway…. bearing all that in mind!  Here is my easy to follow plan to get a little bit healthier and lighter before your summer holiday.

I am still working on my middle bit, which seems to have a mind of its own!  So I am going to be following my tried and tested method of shedding 10lbs in the next month.

If you are interested in losing a few pounds before the summer really gets going or just want to revamp your diet and lifestyle a touch.. then here is Top Tips to getting into that bathing costume (one piece at least – in my case the bikini would definitely take a great deal longer and require surgery!)

It is very important that you do not starve your body into submission or deprive it of all the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Instead take a long hard look at what you are currently eating and with the help of these tips, make some sensible and easy to keep to changes that will help you lose weight and become healthier.

Weigh yourself on some new scales. Most people underestimate how much they weigh by quite a bit. If people weigh 15 stone and have no scales they think they way 12 stone. You need a place to start so that you can set realistic targets. Most people expect to lose too much in the first week or two and are then disappointed when they fail to do so. 2lbs of body fat per week is absolutely healthy and if you lose more than that you are in danger of losing muscle. The body would rather sacrifice muscle because it uses up far more calories to fuel – if you lose this muscle you will find it very difficult to get back. You will lose excess water the first week which might give you a boost, particularly if you have reduced your salt intake or processed food intake, but after that aim to lose 2lbs per week.

Remember that 1lb per week is still 52lbs lost in a year.

Once you have established how much you weigh, you then need to write a food diary for 14 days of everything you eat and drink. At the end of 14 days you will have a good idea just where you might be overdoing it.

Apart from our weight, we also underestimate how much we are eating – usually by 1000 plus calories per day. Most of us know deep down what is unhealthy or healthy in our diet and if you find that more than 25% of your diet is rubbish then you need to alter the balance. Nobody is saying that you should never have a burger or an Indian takeaway but once a week is enough. Also if you know that you are going to be indulging on a particular night then schedule in extra exercise on the day before and afterwards.

Do not starve yourself though – you can eat lighter by eating salads and fruit but make sure that you are still eating breakfast and lunch with some healthy snacks otherwise your body will whip the takeaway right into storage.

Reduce your salt intake. You should not have more than a level teaspoon per day or 6 grams. If you eat a lot of processed foods you will be consuming far in excess of this.

Sodium is essential for our bodies to keep a correct water balance (so too much can cause water retention and can represent several pounds in extra weight) it is also necessary for nerve impulse transmission and prevents your blood from becoming too acidic or alkaline. However, take in too much and not only will it cause weight gain it can also drive your blood pressure too high.

Look at the labels on the food and your mineral water currently in your cupboard and fridge and see how much sodium is in 100gms. Multiply by 2.5 which will give you the salt equivalent.

So if a Pizza has 8400 mg of sodium you would times that by 2.5 giving you 21000mg of sodium or 21gm of salt which is 3.5 teaspoons or 3 times the recommended salt intake.

You will be horrified if you do this exercise with both salt and sugar.

You will see on most labels that it has carbohydrates of which are sugars in grams.

Divide that number by 4gm which is equivalent to a teaspoon and see how much your favourite treat contains.

A 100gm chocolate bar contains 16 teaspoons of sugar.

The recommended daily intake is 10 – and there is going to be more in all the food you eat throughout the day – even in savoury food. 3.5 teaspoons in a serving of chunky pasta sauce.

Think in the terms of one. This applies to the individual – you are responsible for your own health and lifestyle. You would not be happy if someone was popping in and out of your bank account or your home every few minutes and dictating what you spent your money on or what television programme you watch.

Yet, we allow food manufacturers to dictate what we eat – we expect the medical profession to pick up the pieces when we become ill with lifestyle related illness and we do not take responsibility for the one asset that is truly ours.

If you want to live for 90 or 100 years you have to take back control.

The power of one applies to how we eat as well. For example 1 biscuit with your tea. 2 biscuits every day with your afternoon tea (digestives) equates to 15lbs in body fat per year. Having one biscuit instead means a potential loss of 7.5lbs per year.

Habits that need to be broken often come in twos and require you to give up both to be successful. If you automatically reach for the biscuit tin when you have a cup of tea or coffee switch to fruit juice for a week or two and that will help a) because it is sweet and b) it will break the association. The other aspect of this is that addiction loves company. If you are with a group of friends that smoke, drink and has a takeaway after the pub three or four times a week, you are going to find it a challenge to become the one in this familiar group that is not following the group rules.

Misery loves company. Start listening to the language that your family and friends use and then see if you are falling into the same language patterns. Negativity is the worst enemy of change. One word that we use a great deal is ‘should’.

  • I should give up smoking.
  • I should give up eating chocolate.

Should is a soggy word. It does not imply any definite action just a possible one. If you use ‘should’ a great deal consciously change it to the word ‘must’ I must give up smoking. I must give up chocolate. But like any good sales pitch you need to give yourself the benefits.

  • I must give up smoking so that I don’t get lung disease.
  • I must give up chocolate so that I lose weight.

Just because a toaster has two slots does not mean you need to put two pieces of toast into it. A piece of wholemeal toast on its own is only about 80 calories but add butter, jam, cheese or ham you are taking it up to 200 calories – multiply that by 2 slices and you are looking at a snack of 400 calories.

If you currently eat two slices of toast with butter and jam a day for a snack you will potentially lose 20lbs per year by swapping them out for a piece of fruit.

Whatever alcohol you are drinking divide by two to start with and then divide by two again in 4 weeks. For the person who drinks 2 glasses of wine per night this represents 20lbs of body fat per year. Just by drinking one glass per night you will potentially lose 10lbs. A burger with medium fries and a medium fizzy drink can be as high as 1040 calories and 17 spoonfuls of sugar. If you are in the habit of having this once a week in a year this adds up to 15lbs of body fat. Have one a month and you will potentially lose 9lbs.

Do not eat white bread, white pasta or white rice. Change to whole grains and you will be adding fibre into your diet which will potentially help you lose your weight – it is nutritionally much healthier and you will find that your energy levels are much more stable by reducing your sugar cravings. Recent research has identified that those that include moderate amounts of whole grains such as brown rice in their daily meals, lose more weight than those who go carbohydrate free.

Stop drinking diet or normal fizzy drinks. Artificial sweeteners in diet drinks are just as addictive as sugar and have the same affect on the body. Use unsweetened fruit juices with sparkling water for a fizzy drink. Do not give your children fizzy drinks. In America they are treating young teenagers for cirrhosis of the liver and they have not had alcoholic drink only fizzy drinks on a daily basis.

Take a look at your exercise level and if you are currently walking every day, try to reduce the time it takes you to complete your normal route. Measure it if you can in the car so that you know the exact distance. After you have speeded up extend the distance until you are walking briskly for at least 45 minutes a day. Over a period of six weeks increase your exercise level so that you are walking four miles per hour.

Being realistic, we get to a certain age when we do look better in a one piece bathing costume. We are not expected to look supermodel beach ready, but I know from my own personal experience that it still takes a lot of courage to appear in front of others in a near state of undress. I do admire those that feel that they can let it all hang out and I wish that I had that level of self-confidence.

©Sally Cronin Just food for health 1998 – 2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook from

And Amazon UK:

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4:

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Guest Writer – Size Matters by Julie Lawford

This week Julie Lawford examines the modern trend of serving food up on larger and larger plates and dishes. Portion control is essential when you are losing weight and most of us underestimate the calories in the food we are eating by between 10 and 50%. The temptation to fill your plate is followed by the guilt at leaving some of the food to go to waste.

Over to Julie to talk through this trend that is leading us all to eat more.

It seems that eight inches isn’t enough any more. When did dinner plates get so absurdly, gigantically… enormous?

When you’re trying, as I am, to eat more healthily, it’s not just about what you eat; it’s also about how much you eat. And it got me thinking about the size of the plates and dishes in my kitchen.

When I was growing up, dinner plates were around eight inches in diameter, and that included the rim. Take this out of the equation, and it meant there was a circle of around five inches in circumference, which had to accommodate your entire dinner. And it did, always. Not only that, but the food wasn’t piled up, one thing on top of another like you so often see these days. Each element of the meal occupied its own segment of the plate. The only thing that would fall outside that modest five-inch circle would be a sprinkle of salt or a blob of tomato ketchup.

My dinner plates today (Jamie Oliver – Pukka), are eleven inches wide. With no rim and only the smallest of lips, that’s around a 10½ inch circle available to be loaded – overloaded – with food. That’s over twice the size of the dinner plates of yesteryear.

I think I know when it happened. With the excesses of the eighties, came the minimalist culinary trend of nouvelle cuisine. An expression of luxury in the exquisite presentation of essentially modest quantities of very pretty ingredients. Nouvelle cuisine demanded an expanse of pure white porcelain to display posh food artfully, to best effect. And the twelve-inch dinner plate was born.

The trouble with big plates – unless you’re staring appreciatively at a tiny arrangement of pretty food in a trendy eaterie – is that there’s a huge temptation to fill a plate with food, whatever size it is. Not including nouvelle cuisine, a big plate with a modest arrangement of food upon it looks… sparse. If you’re serving guests, friends or customers, it looks positively ungenerous. And if you’re out, and tucking in at the ‘all you can eat’ counter, your calorie overload from filling that super-sized platter to the rim will be in the stratosphere.

So as plates got bigger so did portion sizes. As we gradually lost touch with what constitutes a perfectly adequately proportioned meal, normal began to feel like a child’s portion and extra-size became the adult normal.

Our personal perceptions were distorted further – and clearly in their own interests – by the food industry. From fast food to supermarket ready meals, portion sizes have exploded. A normal MacDonald’s meal used to be a hamburger (not a quarter-pounder), a little paper bag of chips (not an extended cardboard cone), and a cup (not a bucket) of cola. A normal meal from KFC would be two pieces of chicken and a handful of chips in a box you could hold in one hand, not buckets piled with four or five crumbed and fried variants, mountains of fries and a cornucopia of ‘sides’. But don’t get me started on the concept of food in buckets.

Ready meals are no different and in 2013 British Heart Foundation (BHF) warned that Britain’s supermarkets are ‘out of control’ when it comes to portion sizes. Standard meals like pies, chilli and lasagne have expanded by anything from 20% to 70% over the last twenty years. Just one example, an average chicken curry and rice ready meal is now over twice the size it was twenty years ago. And our eyes have adjusted accordingly. No surprises, a ready meal from the early days of meals-in-a-box and poke-and-ping would look positively minuscule today.

So without much ado, we happily fill our enormous plates with piles of food that look quite… normal – and in doing so, we are in danger of consuming food in quantities that would astonish – and probably disgust – the 1960’s family.

In my kitchen, it’s time for smaller plates.

The next size down from those Jamie Oliver Pukka plates (27 cms) is a size he calls Munchies (23cms). The name suggests it’s a plate for snacks, salads or sides, but it’s actually still larger than those traditional dinner plates of old. So Munchies has become my new dinner plate – but even that’s not quite enough, and I’m working on eating more from the next size down from that. It’s a side plate which Jamie fondly calls Side Kick (19cms). That’s not a bad size for a light meal. It’s more than enough for something dense, like a chilli or moussaka. I’ve downsized in bowls too. At 17cms there’s nothing little about Jamie’s Little Tinker bowl. If you filled it with breakfast cereal you would surely explode before lunchtime. More appropriate then is his 14cm Nibbles bowl, which is more or less the same size as my childhood cereal bowls. The name Jamie chose might suggest that this one is for hungry snacking moments, but when I get a snack attack, I’m using the next one down – the 11cm Cutie, which Jamie describes as a ramekin.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not having a go at Jamie Oliver; I’m just using him as an example of the recent trend, as my cupboards are full of his stuff. I love his beautiful white-on-white crockery and tableware. I love how he has made a shift towards healthier recipes at just the time when I’m looking at the same, and I wholeheartedly support his campaign for a sugar tax.

But size does matter. I may not have ignorantly pigged-out on piles of crap, like ‘the obese’ are often presented as doing on TV; but I know I’ve let myself eat progressively more of all sorts of things over the years. So I’m trying to get used to eating less, without feeling deprived.

When it comes to mealtimes, eating off smaller plates and bowls is a great way to recalibrate your sense of proportion – and portion.

My thanks to Julie for sharing this post and as always your feedback and questions are very welcome.

About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Singled Out by Julie Lawford

‘There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

The latest review for Singled Out.

Author Julie Lawford and I got chatting originally on twitter where I was envious of her new bookshelves! She had tweeted a photo. On discovering that she had published her debut novel earlier this year, and because I am always nosey where books are concerned, I took a look at its reviews and decided that Singled Out might well be a read for me. I was right – it’s a really good book!

Set on a singles holiday in Turkey, Singled Out is much more than a light beach read. In the very first chapter we meet an anonymous man who is preying on women. We soon learn that he is part of the holiday group, but not which male character he is or which of the female characters are at risk. Lawford deftly presents her story from two perspectives – a straightforward third-person recounting of the tale is interspersed with chapters from the point of view of The Man – and this creates a chillingly creepy atmosphere. I enjoyed trying to pick up clues and then discovering they could be applicable to multiple men. Great writing!

My favourite character is our heroine Brenda with whom I found it easy to empathise. She has a degree of the obligatory tortured soul persona, but is also warm and caring. She loves her food and the frequent descriptions of Turkish cuisine had my mouth watering and almost a plane ticket booked! It is refreshing to read about a woman who is not a stick insect and also not desperately trying to become one, and I liked that she is portrayed as strong, independent and desirable. Jack’s existence is nicely veiled and explored in an intriguing sub-plot.

Lawford’s presentation of people and places makes it easy to envisage what is going on and I know people just like Adele and Veronica. Singled Out is a good crime mystery read that is more about the participants than just the chase. The writing and plot have an interesting splash of originality and this book is definitely a cut above the identikit mainstream norm.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.


You can find the previouse guest posts in this directory:

Thanks for dropping in today and I would love it if you would share Julie’s post – Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Preparing for an operation – Get fit and make good use of the time.

Smorgasbord Health 2017

One of my roles over the years is to prepare some of my clients for surgery.  There are risks to any procedure, but you can make a difference to the level of these risks if you are a healthy weight, have normal blood pressure and boost your immune system.

With the best will in the world, and the best efforts of the NHS, it is still likely that you will be added to a lengthy waiting list for a non-urgent procedure. For most of us this can be a worrying time and the longer you have to wait the more stressful it can become. However, you could look at this period as a positive opportunity, to not only improve your general health, but also reduce the small but nevertheless normal risks of both anaesthesia and post- operative infection.

There are three areas that you can focus on for the weeks or even months before your operation and it is as easy as changing foods in your diet and improving some of your lifestyle choices. It is important to give up smoking and to reduce your alcohol intake. In the two weeks prior to the operation you should stop drinking alcohol completely.


The nearer you are to your optimum weight the less risk there will be from anaesthesia. There are some practical issues to address. You are going to require more anaesthesia the heavier that you are, and this can affect your recovery immediately following the procedure. If you are very overweight and going to be on your back on the operating table for some hours, the pressure of fat in the chest area will compromise your breathing. The need for intubation is dramatically increased for obese patients as is the pre-operative work up which has to include far more tests than those undertaken for less overweight patients.

If you are scheduled for joint replacement, particularly hip or knee joints, losing weight ahead of your operation will improve your recovery time. For many patients it is the additional stress on the joints from being overweight which has caused the wear and tear in the first place.


In the last two or three years there has been a steady decline in recorded numbers of MRSA and other post- operative infections. In many cases the patients concerned have been high risk having suffered long term ill health, being elderly and malnourished, or very young. If you have a number of weeks notice before a stay in hospital then you can take steps to boost your immune system giving your body every chance to not only speed recovery but also avoid contracting an infection. The body requires a very broad spectrum of nutrients to fuel the thousands of chemical reactions going on in the body at any moment in time but there is a specific range of nutrients that are essential for a healthy immune system and I give you an example of some of the foods to include later in the post.


Modern anaesthesia practices are very sophisticated and if a patient has high blood pressure it will be monitored throughout the operation to ensure the safety of the patient. There are millions of middle aged patients who are currently on blood pressure medication and you should always continue taking that medication right up to the time of the operation and you will be advised of any changes to the dosage when you are admitted to your ward.

Having said that one of the desirable side effects of losing weight before your surgery will be a probable reduction in your blood pressure. The more stable and nearer to normal levels that your blood pressure is, the less risk of complications during and after the procedure. You are also likely to be taking pain medication following your operation and there is always drug interactions to be considered. You must however, not take yourself off any medication without the support and advice of your doctor and you can discuss this with him after losing weight and improving other lifestyle related risk factors affecting your BP.

Usually patients who are suffering from high blood pressure have also elevated LDL cholesterol levels. Reducing your cholesterol to as normal levels as possible will have a knock on effect on your BP.


It is likely that you are not at your most active during the weeks leading up to your operation but there are armchair exercises and also breathing exercises that can help you lose weight and your doctor’s surgery should be able to advise you on these. I have a breathing programme that is easy to complete a few minutes each morning and night that does not require you to become over energetic and you can adapt for your particular health issue.

This post tells you more about the benefit of breathing efficiently and the exercises that will help you achieve that:

A pre-operative eating plan.

This eating plan is based on 1500 calories per day but if you are male then you will need to add another 300 calories in the form of wholegrain carbohydrates and lean protein. It is better to eat 3 moderate meals with 3 small snacks rather than eat 3 large meals per day. Your body will process the food more efficiently and your metabolism will remain stimulated throughout the day aiding weight loss.

It is very important that during this plan that you restrict your intake of industrialised factory foods completely as most are both salt and sugar laden, even if they say they are fat reduced and healthy. If you find that you have to use prepared food in any way then ensure that it is low salt. Be aware that hams, bacons and other processed meats are very high in salt usually and will elevate blood pressure even further.

Prepare your own foods from scratch and put a level teaspoon of salt in a small dish and this is your cooking and seasoning allowance per day. Try to move away from sugar and sweeteners and if you enjoy honey then try Manuka honey which you only need a very small amount of. Manuka is the subject of ongoing scientific research and has been shown to have anti-bacterial properties.


This is just an example – any fresh fruit, vegetables, lean protein that you enjoy is fine. Cook from scratch and if you are only eating around 20% of your foods from processed sources you should be fine.

Whole grains containing Biotin, Vitamin E, Co-enzyme Q10, phosphorus and manganese to boost the immune system. Fibre to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.

Per day

  • At least one bowl of porridge or muesli once a day. (4 tablespoons)
  • 2 slices of multi-grain bread (4 if you are male)
  • 4 tablespoons of cooked whole grain rice (6 if you are male)
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables containing Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Bioflavonoids, Potassium, manganese and tryptophan to boost the immune system.

Per day

  • I glass of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 bowl of fresh fruit salad made with pineapples, blueberries, kiwi and fresh apricots
  • 1 banana per day.
  • ½ avocado
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Any dark green vegetables.
  • Walnuts or Brazil nuts
  • Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • Protein containing Vitamin A, Biotin, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Co-enzyme Q10, phosphorus, Potassium, Iron, Selenium, Zinc to boost the immune system
  • Egg
  • ½ pint of fresh milk Cow’s or goats
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Cheese even a small square or used in cooking.

Three times a week. (Spread over breakfast, lunches and dinners)

  • Chicken or Turkey (four times a week if you are male)
  • Salmon or sardines
  • White fish
  • Calves liver
  • Prawns
  • Lamb or beef
  • Pork


Start each day with juice of half a lemon and hot water this will help boost the immune system, alkalise the body and get the digestive system kick started.

Apart from fresh juices such as orange, apple and cranberry drink (you can buy some brands that are just juice and you only need a small glass) at least 4 cups of Green Tea per day which boosts the immune system and helps reduce both blood pressure and cholesterol. Also Red tea with citrus or any other herbal tea that tastes good.

Tap water to make fluids up to 2 litres per day.

I hope that if you are facing an operation at some point in the future that you will look on it as an opportunity and by taking action beforehand you can save yourself weeks and possible months in rehabilitation. Getting fit before an operation may also save your life.

Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to spread the message as far and wide as possible. thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Guest Writer – 50 Losses and 50 Gains by Julie Lawford

This week Julie Lawford shares some of her experiences during her weight loss process that I am sure will resonate with all of us. We tend to focus on the pounds lost or gained and not on the difference even losing 20lbs or 50lbs can make to us. I remember the first time that I could get in and out of a bath when I had lost 50lbs.

Judith shares the gains that she made when she had lost her first 50lbs and it is a terrific way to not only celebrate the weight you have discarded, but provides the motivation to continue to reach your target weight.

This post was originally shared in March 2016 and I can tell you that having met Julie at the Blogger’s Bash she looks amazing now that she has reached her target weight.

This weekend was a memorable one for me, in weight-loss terms. I’ve now shaken off 50 pounds since I begun my new healthier lifestyle last September. I still have a very long way to go (I’m not quite half-way to my most ambitious goal, since you ask). But at 50 pounds – that’s over 3½ stone or over 22 kilos, depending on your measurement of choice – I’ve just exceeded the most I’ve ever lost on any healthy eating campaign (note the absence of the word ‘diet’) before.

Weirdly, and I don’t want to labour this as it could easily depress me and I don’t want to get depressed… I’m now back to the weight I was when I started the weight loss campaign when I managed to shift what was until yesterday the most I’d ever lost before. But back then (2002) I had crawled to the upper 40’s and couldn’t keep it going. It all went (excuse the pun) belly-up. On that occasion, I’d gone to Weightwatchers, and it was good while it lasted. But as soon as I took my eye off the ‘points’ ball, my weight soared back on. Yes, soared back on at a rate which terrified me and which I could not even begin to understand. In all, I put on an average of 1 pound per week over the next 18 months (and then still more thereafter); a catastrophe from which, after several false starts in the mid noughties, I am only now recovering.

But I don’t want to jump aboard the trauma train. The whole point of this post is to mark an achievement, and highlight some of the many, many wins, gains and benefits that I’ve seen from the loss of this first 50 pounds.

So, here they are, in no particular order – all the ones that spring to mind at least:

  1. I’ve dropped 3 dress sizes
  2. I’m wearing ‘old favourite’ outfits that haven’t fitted me for 8 or 10 years
  3. I’m back to the weight I last carried over 14 years ago
  4. My ankles are pretty again, no more heavy, fluid-filled balloons
  5. I’m wearing high heels again and loving the increased stature and well-being
  6. I can go for a walk without pouring with sweat
  7. I’ve discarded a giant pile of ‘fat clothes’ that I hated having to wear
  8. I’m breathing more deeply, not catching my breath
  9. My resting heart rate has dropped over 10 bpm
  10. My nails are unblemished and healthy
  11. I haven’t had a cold all winter
  12. I can bend and touch my toes
  13. I can see my toes!
  14. My waist and once proud hourglass figure is re-emerging
  15. I’m wearing pretty bras again
  16. Yes, I’ll say it, I feel sexy again
  17. I’m standing straighter and taller
  18. When I pull my tummy in, it actually goes in a bit
  19. I like myself because I feel in control of my eating habits
  20. I feel good when I take exercise
  21. I feel good that I take exercise regularly
  22. I feel great when I get home from taking exercise
  23. I’m relishing many compliments from friends, family and colleagues
  24. I’ve surprised one or two people who haven’t seen me in a while – that’s been fun
  25. My feet have shrunk
  26. My boobs have only shrunk a little
  27. Pilates has become more fun again
  28. I can lie on my stomach and still be able to breathe
  29. I’ve rediscovered vegetables, nuts and seeds
  30. I’m looking forward to warm summer days ahead, not fearing discomfort
  31. I’ve eliminated 99% of added sugar from my life – and totally lost my sweet tooth
  32. I’m able to make healthy, balanced choices in restaurants
  33. I can fit into bucket seats without cutting off the blood supply to my legs
  34. I can sit on folding chairs without worrying they will collapse
  35. I won’t need an extender belt next time I fly
  36. I’ve learned to live without… toast
  37. I’ve discovered I can lose weight and still enjoy butter and cheese
  38. I can wear trousers that do up with buttons and a zip
  39. My favourite dressing gown wraps right around me again
  40. Tight toilet cubicles are no longer an embarrassing challenge
  41. I can buy ordinary clothes at Marks & Spencer
  42. I can buy actual sportswear
  43. I have swimming costumes which hold everything that has to stay… held
  44. My neck is slimmer and necklaces sit so much more comfortably and attractively
  45. My fingers are slimmer and I can wear rings I haven’t worn for years
  46. My wrists are slimmer and I can wear watches and bracelets again
  47. My hips no longer ache when I walk
  48. I can run upstairs
  49. I don’t get acid reflux after evening meals
  50. I no longer worry that I’m slowly killing myself

And a bonus ball…

“Hold yourself to a higher standard, and enjoy the self-esteem that comes with each single, small, disciplined act.” Tony Robbins

… I am indeed enjoying the self-esteem that comes from ‘holding myself to a higher standard’…

What about you. Are you, or have you ever been on a weight-loss, healthy lifestyle journey? If so, what were the most significant gains for you?

My thanks to Julie for sharing this post and as always your feedback and questions are very welcome.

About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Singled Out by Julie Lawford

‘There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

The latest review for Singled Out.

Author Julie Lawford and I got chatting originally on twitter where I was envious of her new bookshelves! She had tweeted a photo. On discovering that she had published her debut novel earlier this year, and because I am always nosey where books are concerned, I took a look at its reviews and decided that Singled Out might well be a read for me. I was right – it’s a really good book!

Set on a singles holiday in Turkey, Singled Out is much more than a light beach read. In the very first chapter we meet an anonymous man who is preying on women. We soon learn that he is part of the holiday group, but not which male character he is or which of the female characters are at risk. Lawford deftly presents her story from two perspectives – a straightforward third-person recounting of the tale is interspersed with chapters from the point of view of The Man – and this creates a chillingly creepy atmosphere. I enjoyed trying to pick up clues and then discovering they could be applicable to multiple men. Great writing!

My favourite character is our heroine Brenda with whom I found it easy to empathise. She has a degree of the obligatory tortured soul persona, but is also warm and caring. She loves her food and the frequent descriptions of Turkish cuisine had my mouth watering and almost a plane ticket booked! It is refreshing to read about a woman who is not a stick insect and also not desperately trying to become one, and I liked that she is portrayed as strong, independent and desirable. Jack’s existence is nicely veiled and explored in an intriguing sub-plot.

Lawford’s presentation of people and places makes it easy to envisage what is going on and I know people just like Adele and Veronica. Singled Out is a good crime mystery read that is more about the participants than just the chase. The writing and plot have an interesting splash of originality and this book is definitely a cut above the identikit mainstream norm.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.


You can find the previouse guest posts in this directory:

Thanks for dropping in today and I would love it if you would share Julie’s post – Thanks Sally

Size Matters Serialisation – Chapter 18 – Final notes and getting started.


This is the last chapter in the main part of Size Matters and there is a second section which contains some of the tools that will help you get started including food diary templates, Candida Questionnaire, weight charts and food and nutritional information. Tables do not always translate well to WP, so if you would like copies of those then contact me direct and I will send via email.

The main worry that concerns people who have lost a considerable amount of weight is that they will put the pounds back on again. I trust that you now have a better understanding of your body and the type of fuel best suited to you. The program should become a way of life, with the odd dash of high living thrown in for good measure. I have reached some conclusions about body weight management over the last eighteen years that will prevent me from ever returning to obesity.

Number one is that everybody is unique in the way they utilise the food they eat. This is dependent on lifestyle, age, sex, activity level, and to a degree genetic background. Once you have found the right dietary balance, one that offers you energy, fitness and health, you will want to continue eating that way. Take this program and adapt the basic ingredients to suit your own personal requirements. Be in control of your own eating habits and do not simply let your body dictate what you eat.

Another conclusion that I have come to is that the body has a fine-tuned detection system where food’s nutritional value is concerned. For example, if you take two people of the same height and activity level, eating exactly the same amount of calories, you may find that one puts on weight very easily, whilst the other stays at the same weight or loses weight. However, one of these diets may consist of 2,000 calories of fruit, vegetables, grains and protein, with moderate amounts of fat and sugar, while the other may consist of high levels of fat and sugar and small amounts of fruit, vegetables, grains and proteins. If the proportion of nutritional food is too low, the body may decide that there is a deficiency and start to store food to ensure that it can obtain all the nutrients it needs.

I have learned not to underestimate my own body. I did so for over forty years and suffered the consequences. This body of mine is now my most precious asset. Provided I do not meet my destiny in the form of a truck or untreatable disease, I hope to live out my natural life span with all my mental and physical faculties intact.

When I am old, I want to be active and alert, not sitting in a chair barely able to remember yesterday. I believe that the ageing process can be managed with diet and supplementation in order to prevent deficiencies which cause damage to the body and the mental faculties. Having tasted health, fitness and energy, I will not let them go easily. This one conclusion alone will keep me from returning to a heavier weight.

As you will now realise, I am very keen on my accumulation theory. My resting heart beat when I weighed 330 lbs (150 kg) was 85 beats per minute and if I was just walking gently, it would rise to over 140 beats per minute; hard work for a pump that has only one life span.

My resting heartbeat is now 45 beats per minute and it takes me 20 minutes of aerobic exercise to raise my heart rate to over 130 beats per minute. In my case, if you do the sums for the next forty years, which takes me to over 100 years old, it should convince you of the benefits of being slimmer and fitter:

Old resting heart rate

At 85 beats per minute x 60 x 24 x 365 x 40 = 1,787,040,000 beats in the next 40 years

New resting heart rate

At 45 beats per minute x 60 x 24 x 365 x 40 = 946,080,000 beats in the next 40 years

As you can see, my resting heart is going to beat nearly a billion times less over the rest of my lifetime, which has to save on a great deal of wear and tear. Remember that this is based on the resting heart rate, but the mathematics works across all levels of activity for the heart.

The same theory applies to other parts of the body, which are all now having to work less. Your joints will be able to move more efficiently at your ideal weight and there will be less cartilage damage, decreasing the possibility of wear on the joint head. Your internal organs require a certain amount of fat to cushion them from unexpected damage through accidents. However, when you reach your ideal weight, the excess fat that has been strangling the organs and inhibiting them from working as they should will be gone, and this will prevent them from becoming diseased and withered.

On the subject of fat accumulating over the years I have posted this table a number of times but it is worth taking a look at from time to time. We tend to think of things in two when it comes to food. When you put your hand in the cookie jar, do you usually pull two biscuits out instead of just one? Does your toaster look lonely when you only put one slice of bread in so you add another? Many of my clients will fill in their two week food diary before coming to see me and will point out that they have a very good diet and that they only have two plain digestive biscuits with their coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.

Those four biscuits add up to 300 calories a day x 365 = 109,500 calories in a year. Each pound of body fat is related approximately to 3,500 calories. This means that by eating those four biscuits each day you will accumulate over 31 lbs of body fat. As most people are looking to lose 28lbs or so it seems logical that at least halving the intake of biscuits each day might be a place to start!

fat accumulation table

Items on the list are also healthy options but it is important to remember that you can have too much of a good thing as well. Unless you have an extremely active lifestyle your calorie requirements need to be taken into consideration and your best bet is high on vegetables, lean protein, moderate on healthy fats such as olive oil, moderate on high sugar fruits and low to moderate on grains. ‘Cook from Scratch’ and cut out the industrially processed foods.

This program is not only about losing weight to look good in a new outfit, or on the sports field, it is also about the health and functionality of parts of your body that you cannot see. When the damage has been done, it can be irreversible. Remember this when you are tempted to return to your old lifestyle. Take a look at your checklist of all the reasons why you wanted to lose weight in the first place: do you really want to go back to that? Catalogue all the benefits you now enjoy: would you want to give all that up?

New Year’s Eve 1995 330lbs

170lbs 1999

When you have finished your program, which may be in a matter of weeks, months or even years, take a photograph and put it next to the one you took at the beginning. This is your achievement and deserves to be rewarded. Celebrate a successful completion of the project and then plan how you are going to maintain this level of health and fitness.

Now it is time to design your own program and learn to live a different life than the one you are used to. Your future is in your hands. This is your chance to take back control of your weight and health and in a few short months you will wonder why you waited so long.

You will find the other 17 chapters of Size Matters in this directory. I will leave the book up on the blog until the New Year.

©sallygeorginacronin Size Matters 2001 – 2015.

More details via Amazon and my own bookstore where you can also listen to an excerpt.




Size Matters – Chapter Ten – Avoiding Nutritional Deficiency.

I often use the term ‘Nutritional Deficiency Syndrome’ to describe what I believe is the root cause of the majority of illnesses.  I also call those diseases ‘Lifestyle Induced’.

It is in our own hands to make a difference and I know that making changes looks like it will be a costly or time consuming option, but really it is not.

For example, just simply adding sweet potato into your diet three or four times a week can reverse eye-damaging Vitamin A deficiency in a relatively short space of time. Tasty, can be cooked in one 20 minute session and stored in the fridge.

I do take some supplements, particularly those that are manufactured by the body but in decreasing quantities as we get older. Also I do not do winter very well and whilst I have enjoyed getting my Vitamin D from sunshine for the last 8 months, I now am taking some Vitamin D in spray form along with other nutrients needed to enable it to be absorbed such as calcium.

I will up my foods that supply those particular nutrients in the coming months and we are now eating our winter diet of brightly coloured root vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes, broccoli and other green leafed vegetables such as kale, and canned fish such as sardines and salmon.

In Chapter Ten of Size Matters I am giving you a brief overview of some of the symptoms associated with a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Not overly common in our westernised cultures but with the increased emphasis on dieting and the use of packaged foods we are all at risk.


Size Matters – Chapter Ten -Avoiding Nutritional Deficiency

I believe that we should be obtaining the majority of our nutrients from the food that we eat. However, if you have been poorly nourished for an extended period of time both as a serial dieter or because you have had a nutrient-sterile food intake, I suggest that you do consider taking a supplement.

I have come to the conclusion after several years that tablets do not necessarily offer the best option for me. I appear to obtain the most benefit from liquid supplementation and so I take Aloe Vera gel in drink form and I also have a green smoothie for breakfast with a number of nutrient-dense ingredients like wheat grass and flaxseeds.

If we were in my health food shop that I owned I would take down your personal and health history and then recommend a specific regimen for you. As we cannot do that I suggest that you go to a recognised nutritional therapist or a high standard health food shop and ask for expert advice.

In the following pages I have listed the major vitamins and minerals that are needed for general good health. The best way to get these vitamins and minerals is to eat the foods that contain them, so it is worth noting which foods will provide you with these nutrients and then including them in your program to ensure a healthy, balanced diet.

If you need more detail on the general properties of vitamins and minerals you can get this from a post in my nutritional directory or from a good quality high street health food shop.

One important reason to focus on vitamins and minerals is that you need to understand exactly what affects you can expect from a consistently poor diet. Most vitamin and mineral deficiency problems are cumulative over a long period of time.

If you deprive your cells of the nutrients they need for their health, they will degenerate and begin to fail. It is not my intention to frighten anyone into taking supplements, but you must make sure that you have a varied and healthy diet so that you absorb adequate levels of each vitamin and mineral.

It is unlikely that you will be suffering from deficiencies of any of the major vitamins if you have a healthy diet. Unfortunately, if you have been a ‘yo-yo’ dieter for most of your adult life, you will have suffered a reduced intake of these nutrients for extended periods of time.

The other worrying aspect of over-farming in certain areas is that the soil is becoming nutritionally deplete. This means that the vegetables that look bright green or orange are not as nutritious as they were 20 or 30 years ago. For this reason I eat at least 8 portions of vegetables and some fruits a day, not the recommended five.

A deficiency can be rectified by changing to a healthy eating program and where appropriate including a nutrient dense supplement in your diet. Take note of the following effects of vitamin deficiencies, so that you understand the impact that restrictive diets, or prolonged starvation, can have.

Bear in mind that this is a very brief overview to give you an idea of how a deficiency of even one major nutrient can affect your health. This is an important part of taking back control of your weight and health and I urge you to find out more.

root vegetables


Vitamin A
A deficiency of Vitamin A can lead to various physical changes in the eyes and eventually to blindness. A marginal Vitamin A deficiency will contribute to increased susceptibility to respiratory tract infections and skin problems, dry hair or loss of hair, and weight loss.

A deficiency of this vitamin is generally unlikely in the western world, unless you have a very poor diet or abstain from any animal products or follow an extremely low-fat diet.

Vitamin A can be found in: halibut and cod-liver oil, lamb’s liver, fish oils, apricots, full-fat dairy products, eggs, yellow and orange vegetables, green vegetables and tomatoes.

A deficiency of beta-carotene would show symptoms similar to a deficiency of vitamin A.

The best food sources are: carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, dried apricots and watercress.

B vitamins
The group of B vitamins is wide-ranging, with different functions relating to the central nervous system and connective tissue. Vegetarians and Vegans may be susceptible to deficiency and need to take supplements to ensure that they get adequate levels of this group of vitamins.

(B1) Thiamin
A minor lack of B1 can cause depression, irritability and lack of concentration. A major deficiency is rare in western culture but can result in beriberi (muscle weakness, nausea, loss of appetite and water retention).

The best foods for B1 are: yeast extract, fortified breakfast cereals, soya beans, pork chops, brown rice, seafood, liver, nuts, poultry, potatoes and milk.

(B2) Riboflavin
A lack of this vitamin will lead to oral complaints such as sore and even burning lips and tongue. The eyes can also be affected with burning, itchiness and visual fatigue. Other symptoms are hair loss, insomnia and trembling.

The best sources for B2 are: yeast extract, lamb’s liver, pig’s kidney, cereal, wheat-germ, cheese, eggs, green vegetables, beans and peas.

(B3) Niacin or Nicotinic acid
Insufficient B3 can lead to tiredness, depression, loss of memory, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhoea and headaches.

Rich sources of this vitamin are: tuna, chicken’s liver, chicken meat, wheat-germ, brown rice, peanuts, brewer’s yeast, eggs, fish and dried fruit.

(B5) Pantothenic acid
A deficiency of B5 can lead to fatigue, headaches, dizziness, muscle weakness and gastro-intestinal upsets.

The best foods to eat are: brewer’s yeast, pig’s liver, yeast extract, nuts, wheat bran, wheat-germ, beans, split peas, oranges and egg yolk.

(B6) Pyridoxine
B6 deficiency can lead to recurrent infections or extreme cases of premenstrual tension (PMS). You need to have a diet rich in the following: green vegetables, brewer’s yeast, yeast extract, fish, prunes, raisins, soya beans, flour, whole-grain cereals, milk, wheat-germ, bananas and chicken.

(B9) Folic acid
B9 has had quite a lot of publicity in recent years. A deficiency of B9 in the diet can lead to megaloblastic anaemia, usually in the elderly. Also poor growth in babies and children. A deficiency in pregnancy may lead to foetal problems such as spina-bifida.

Foods that contain B9 are: liver, kidney, most meat, green vegetables, brewer’s yeast, yeast extract, wheat-germ and beans.

Deficiency of B12 can produce conditions such as pernicious anaemia, loss of appetite, fatigue. A severe deficiency can lead to degeneration of the nervous system, causing mobility and speaking difficulties.

The best sources of Vitamin B12 are: eggs, milk, cheese, milk products, meat, fish, shellfish and poultry.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C deficiency can cause scurvy, lowered immunity, bleeding or soft gums, loose teeth, tender joints, muscle degeneration, irritability and anaemia.

It is easily absorbed from raw fruit and vegetables, citrus fruits and juices, mango, rose hip, chillies and peppers.

Vitamin D
A vitamin D deficiency is rare these days. It used to cause rickets in young children and is linked to osteoporosis, dental cavities and cramping muscles.

Vitamin D is absorbed from sunlight through the skin. It is also obtained from: liver, oily fish, egg yolk, full-fat dairy products.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E deficiency is linked to fat absorption problems, causing dull hair, muscle weakness, possible prostate gland enlargement, and even miscarriages.

Vitamin E is found in most foods, but mainly vegetable oils, egg yolks, whole-grain cereals, wheat-germ, green vegetables, nuts, seeds and margarine.

Vitamin K1
The last major vitamin is vitamin K. A deficiency in this vitamin is rare but can be caused by the long-term use of antibiotics, resulting in bleeding below the skin, nosebleeds and diarrhoea.

This vitamin is mainly found in green vegetables, seaweed (kelp), liver, potatoes and wheat-germ.


Minerals are as important as vitamins and they often work together to enhance each other’s performance. For instance, calcium and vitamin D are better taken together to enable absorption of the calcium. I have listed the most common minerals that should be included in every healthy diet.

Deficiency symptoms can range from rickets to osteomalacia, the equivalent of rickets in adults. In women, a cumulative deficiency from puberty can lead to premenstrual syndrome and osteoporosis.

Calcium is found in dairy products, hard tap-water, fish (especially sardines and pilchards), watercress, fortified cereals and wholegrain flour products.

A lack of Iron can cause anaemia and, in extreme cases, the suppression of the immune system resulting in frequent infections.

Iron is found in red meat, kidney, liver, pulses, dried apricots and figs, cocoa, fortified flour products, cereals and nuts (especially almonds and walnuts).

A deficiency of Magnesium can result in muscle cramps, low blood sugar, anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea and weakness. It can also cause premenstrual tension and occasionally hypoglycaemia. Magnesium can also be a powerful remedy for PMS if taken in conjunction with calcium.

Magnesium can be found in peanuts, wholemeal bread, dairy products, eggs, pulses, shellfish, potatoes, white fish and chicken.

One thing to be aware of when taking magnesium as a supplement is that it may interfere with the function of tetracycline antibiotics, so they should always be taken several hours apart.

Lack of Potassium can lead to vomiting, abdominal distension, muscular weakness, paralysis, pins and needles, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, thirst and, in extreme cases, drowsiness and coma.

Potassium is found in most foods, but in particular, in fresh fruit, vegetables (including potatoes), meat, wholemeal flour, cereals, milk, coffee, tea and salt substitutes.

A lack of Sodium may result in dehydration, which causes low blood pressure.

The most common sources of sodium are: salt, baking powder, cured meats, smoked fish, tinned meats and bakery products. Most processed foods contain an element of sodium. Bear in mind that too much sodium results in high blood pressure which can be very dangerous.

This is a mineral which plays an important role in maintaining our blood sugar levels. It is rare to have an extreme deficiency, but a lack of chromium can cause irritability, confusion, weakness and depression. A lack of this mineral has also been linked to sugar cravings or a ‘sweet tooth’ attributable to fluctuating blood sugar levels. The most common foods containing chromium are whole-grain flour, cereals and fresh fruits, nuts, liver, kidney and beef.

Iodine levels affect our metabolism. A lack can lead to drowsiness, lethargy, fatigue and increased weight.

You will find the most useful sources are iodised table salt, seafood, kelp, meat, fruit and vegetables.

A selenium deficiency has been linked to cardiovascular disease and some types of anaemia. It is more effective when taken with vitamin E.

Food sources are kidney and liver, fish and shellfish, meat, whole grains and cereals, dairy products, fruit and vegetables.

Last but not least is zinc. People who suffer from frequent infections, delayed wound healing, reduced appetite, decreased sense of smell or taste, skin disorders and white marks on their nails may have a zinc deficiency.

Because it is mainly found in meats, eggs and dairy produce, people on a restricted vegan diet may suffer from a lack of this mineral. It is important to eat whole-grain flour products, cereals and, if possible, seafood.

As you can see from this list, a widely varied diet will ensure that you receive the full spectrum of nutrients your body needs. If you have a heavy exercise schedule or are recovering from an illness, you may require additional help in the form of a high potency vitamin and mineral supplement. Always choose a good-quality supplement that is suited to your age and lifestyle. A pharmacist or staff in a health food shop will be happy to tell you about the choices that are available.

You can find the other nine chapters in this directory.

©sallygeorginacronin 2001 – 2015 Size Matters and Just food for Health.

Please feel free to share and help spread the word.

thanks Sally

Size Matters Serialisation – Chapter 8 – Fluids, Eating Patterns, Intermittent Fasting, Eating Out and the Demon Drink!


Chapter 8 Fluids, Eating Patterns, Intermittent Fasting, Eating out and the demon drink!

We are often told that we must drink at least eight glasses of water a day but we are not normally told why we should do this. The reason is that dehydration is a very simple way of killing ourselves. I had no idea how important it was to drink lots of water until I started doing research into my own health, and since then I have always taken plenty of fluids. It is good to know that, in fact, other fluids do count, so it is not necessary to drink eight glasses of straight water each day, although I find now that I quite enjoy drinking filtered or still mineral water, particularly when I am thirsty.

Below are some interesting facts that might persuade you to reconsider your drinking habits:

  • Our body consists of between 60% and 75% water.
  • Our bodies lose two litres of fluid each day through urination, in our breath and through our skin.
  • We require even more fluids in warm climates or if we have a high activity level.
  • Not drinking enough fluids puts a great deal of stress on the body: kidney function, particularly, will be affected and there is a danger of kidney stones and gallstones forming; the immune function will be impaired, leaving us more prone to infection.
  • Lack of water causes a number of problems that we tend to shrug off: such as headaches, or irritability – particularly first thing in the morning.
  • Children suffer from dehydration very quickly and this can sometimes be the cause of behavioural problems. Other symptoms are aching legs, water retention, poor skin tone, circles under the eyes, dull and lifeless hair, lack of energy and inefficient break-down of fats.
  • Drinking water actually helps prevent ‘water retention’. This is because our body knows that it will die very rapidly without fluids, so it keeps as much as it can in reserve.
  • Anyone who is taking medication on a continuous basis needs to ensure that their system is flushed out daily, in order to prevent a build-up of toxins in the cells, kidneys and liver.


Now we can see why water is so important. Here is something else to think about. Loss of skin tone. I lost around 154 lbs. (11 st, 70 kg) over two years initially and, while I think a tummy-tuck would be a good idea, I do not have folds of loose skin and my face has not sagged any more than is normal for my age. In fact, people comment favourably on my skin, despite all my years in the sun when I was a child and since living in Spain. I put this down to a healthier diet, walking and water. I am sure that these regimes explain the elasticity in my skin and I can assure you that I always have a bottle of water close at hand.

Water is essential: without it we die, yet many people are proud of the fact that they never touch the stuff! It was certainly something that I used to boast about. It is immensely important to get your children drinking water and natural low-sugar and diluted juices as soon as you can.

If you cannot stomach water, although this is by far the best way to take fluids, then look at herbal teas, vegetable juices and some caffeine-free teas such as green tea or Rooibos, both of which contain excellent anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants act a little like a vacuum cleaner. They travel through the body sucking up all the damaging free radicals that are causing damage to cells. Even ordinary tea has its benefits, although it is a mild diuretic, so make sure you also drink other fluids during the day.


Sweetened drinks

Do not give children diet drinks, and be sure to resist them yourself. I used to drink diet drink after diet drink, and half an hour later I would be desperate for another. Artificial sweeteners are as bad for you as sugar. They fool the body into thinking that you have taken in usable energy, whereas in fact it has received only one calorie. The body does not release any energy from the cells and you end up feeling tired, and desperate for your next fix. Artificial sweeteners are currently undergoing research because of concerns about possible links to a number of diseases including cancer. To be honest, drinking more than a medium glass of fruit juice is too much sugar each day. Eat fruit by all means but the concentrated juices are not recommended. If you enjoy them then squeeze your own and mix an alkaline juice with it such as carrot.  I usually dilute mine with some sparkling water and this is very refreshing.

Sugar in any form is not good for Candida sufferers. The only sugars that I recommend for people with Candida are the natural ones in fruit and honey. Our bodies have taken thousands of years to evolve, yet in the last few hundred years we have bombarded them with refined sugars, additives, preservatives, prescribed medication and environmental pollution. Enough. At the very least we should ensure that what we put into our bodies is as natural as possible, foods that our bodies are able to handle, such as the natural sugars in fruit and honey. If you are following the alternative treatment for Candida in the form of Grapefruit Seed Extract, you should be able to have some natural sugars without compromising the treatment.

How many times a day should I eat?

I have starved myself so many times that the question I used to ask was ‘how long can I manage to go without eating’? What I did not realise was that I was creating my own little mini-famine every time I went 24 hours or longer without food. Most days I would have a cigarette and a cup of coffee for breakfast, followed by six or seven cups of coffee during the day, and several hours later I might have some meat and a few vegetables. I was paranoid about eating after 6.00 p.m. unless I was going through one of my periods of bingeing, in which case I never stopped eating. Similarly, many of my clients will bemoan the fact that they ‘eat only once a day’, usually followed closely by ‘and I still can’t lose weight’.

If we use a car as an analogy, it is easy to see that a car’s engine has lots of moving parts. It requires fuel and objects most strongly to the wrong fuel being poured into its tank: it would come to a grinding halt if you put a pound of sugar in the tank. Clever thing: when it has the wrong fuel, it stops dead! Unfortunately, we do not stop immediately when we take in the wrong fuel. We keep going until an illness or infection comes along and forces us to stop for a while.

Like a car, our body has a constant requirement for fuel, but it has to be the right type of fuel and the mix is important. We use between 50 and 650 calories an hour, depending on our activity level, and we must have a continuous supply of fuel to enable us to function efficiently. Eating is like putting a cheque into the bank: it takes a while to clear. Often we can still feel hungry after a heavy meal. If we have not eaten earlier in the day and then have a lot of carbohydrates for lunch, we get that feeling of tiredness and lethargy. This is because we have the wrong fuel mix, where all our food is concentrated into one meal instead of being spread into other meals throughout the day.

I have experimented a great deal with meals and timings and I achieved my optimum fitness and energy levels when I introduced my body to the concept of six meals a day: breakfast, snack, light lunch, snack, main meal, snack. My blood sugar level stabilised, reducing the cravings in the late afternoon and evening, and my energy level stayed more or less constant throughout the day. I never felt hungry and I was able to complete my exercise regime at various times of the day without feeling tired.

Intermittent Fasting.

This was fine when I was losing weight as I was also exercising a great deal. Now that I am 20 years older and moderately active I have moved to Intermittent Fasting. Some refer to it as the 5:2 diet where you eat normally for five days and only eat 500 calories within 8 hours on the other two.  I admit that I found this tough so moved to eating my meals everyday within an 8 hour period.  Depending on your schedule and activities you can drop either breakfast or dinner in essence. I find that I am not counting calories.. I cook from scratch and eat between 11.00 or 12.00 until 7.00 or 8.00 each evening.

I have been following this for just over a year and find that it suits me.  My weight is fine as I swim or use my treadmill for exercise. My blood sugar levels are normal as is my LDL cholesterol.

If you want to find out more about this way of losing and maintaining weight here is a link you may find interesting.

Getting into a regular pattern of eating.

Which ever pattern you adopt it does help if you can stick to it. There is a great deal of research about the fact that we were opportunistic eaters and would go hours without food.  This is where intermittent fasting comes in as it does allow the body to process the food and also to recuperate.  However, young children, growing teenagers and also adults who have extremely active jobs or lifestyle need to eat in a more traditional pattern of breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks between of fruit and nuts if needed.

I would therefore only recommend that you approach eating in this way if you are 40+ and only have a moderately active lifestyle.

The biggest improvement I found in regulating my eating was in night-time snacking, much of which is caused by boredom. I would have eaten my dinner, be sitting watching the often dismal offerings on television, and have an overwhelming urge to check out what was in the fridge. I will deal with this little habit when I talk about willpower in Chapter nine. On my eating program as I lost weight, I would eat six times a day, including a snack at about 9 p.m. Some of my clients actually have two evening snacks built into their program. There is something very reassuring, especially in the early stages of the program, in knowing that you have not finished eating at 6 p.m. and that you do not have to survive with nothing to eat until 8 o’clock the next morning.

I can remember, on various diets over the years, waking up in the morning and agonising about what I would eat in the three meals I was allowed that day. Now I don’t even think about it. Even though I now skip breakfast on my current eating programme; my body knows that I am not going to go hungry, that I will be eating again in a couple of hours.

The other benefit to the eating program is that it stimulates the metabolism. Like a well-oiled engine, your body will be working away, using energy to process the food you are eating regularly. It takes calories to digest food, so look upon it as a form of exercise.

This is also where reducing the grain carbohydrates as you get older and increasing your healthy fats pays off.  It takes a lot less energy to burn carbohydrates that you eat than the good fats so you can improve your weight loss by making that change.

The biggest problem my clients seem to have is finding the time to eat, a complaint that tends to subside after the second week, by which time they are slimmer and have much more energy.

Can I still go out to eat?

Of course you can. Remember that this program (a bit like a puppy for Christmas) is for life. If you are going to embark on a new lifestyle, you must build in plenty of enjoyment.

When we used to go out to eat, I would do one of two things. If I was in ‘fat mode’, I would skip the starter, have fish or chicken and salad for the main course and no dessert. (God forbid that the waiter would go into the kitchen and tell the staff that a fat woman was asking for Baked Alaska, no wonder she is that size! I used to imagine them peeking out of the kitchen door and wondering how much I was going to eat.) After such an insubstantial dinner, I would go home and raid the refrigerator.

cake eating

If I was in ‘diet mode’, however, I would use eating out as a reward: I have been really good all week, so I deserve a treat. (Forget atmosphere, service and conversation; give me everything on the menu! I would look at the desserts first and then decide what to have for a main course.) Does all this sound familiar?

Nowadays when I go out, I go for the whole experience. I love dressing for the occasion, watching the other people in the restaurant and enjoying good service. My obsession with eating has been replaced by an appreciation of flavour and presentation. I often have a starter, but find most of the fatty choices give me indigestion, so generally I opt for soup or seafood. I do not usually have a dessert, but, if I do, I will have made that decision after finishing my main course. Sometimes I will have a cup of decaffeinated coffee and an after-dinner mint, occasionally a brandy or a certain Irish cream liqueur. Main courses with rich sauces and fats no longer appeal to me, but I do enjoy a plain grilled steak, salad and jacket potato.

The word ‘sometimes’ is the key here: ‘occasionally’ is another word I like to use. I used to do everything to excess: smoking, drinking, and eating. Today I enjoy occasions: birthdays, parties, going out two or three times a month. I no longer experience a daily eating frenzy: instead, enjoyment comes from appreciating a special occasion.

When you eat out, do not let it be an excuse to put back all the weight you have lost during the week. Most restaurants now cater for the more health-conscious diner: salad, soup or fish for a starter; steak or salmon, with vegetables and jacket potato or salad, as a main course; fresh strawberries and a little cream for dessert; a couple of glasses of wine and a brandy to finish. You presumably hope you will live a long time, and enjoying a dinner out once in a while is an important part of life. Changing your lifestyle should not mean cutting out everything that brings you pleasure. Do not become isolationist in your obsession with losing weight. Your partner/family/friends love you and want to share things with you. How many times have you been asked out to dinner and said, ‘No. I’m on a diet’? Get out and enjoy yourself from time to time. Make it their reward not yours, and just go for an extra walk that day!

What about alcohol?

Yes, indeed, what about alcohol? As with most things, I would sometimes drink more alcohol than was good for me! I still drink a little too much on occasion, but now that my system has been detoxed my body regards alcohol as a poison. As soon as I drink more than a couple of glasses of wine or spirits, I get the hangover from hell. Furthermore, since alcohol is pure sugar and yeast, my Candida is prone to flare up after a weekend of partying. So, one way or another, I now exercise a great deal more restraint than before. However, I still enjoy the odd glass of wine or a cold beer once or twice a week.

As with food, I no longer drink just because it is there. When we have a party, we might have a fridge full of beer and white wine, a cupboard full of spirits and a rack of red wine left over. However, I am simply not tempted, because I feel so much better without alcohol in my system.

Alcohol may be low in fat, but it is high in carbohydrates, primarily sugars and yeasts. If you have Candida, it will take you longer to get the condition under control if you continue to drink. I suggest that you try to give it up for the initial eight weeks of the program. Failing that, it is better for your system, particularly your liver, if you have one drink a night rather than ten on a Saturday. Again, this is about living your life. Do not deprive yourself of everything you enjoy. Moderation and a little bit of thought is the key.

The best way to enjoy drinking is to go dancing at the same time. I always try to balance indulgence with exercise. I don’t feel so guilty and I find I can still lose weight without depriving myself of a little fun now and then. The other problem about drinking is that, after three or four drinks, your judgement is impaired and all sorts of evil thoughts can creep into your head on the way back from the pub, like ‘Chinese take-away’ or ‘Fish and chips’!

How do I cope with Christmas and holidays?

It can be difficult getting back into a healthy eating and exercise program after a break such as Christmas or a holiday. You will probably have let things slip, eating foods that are higher in sugars and fats, and once you start, it can be tough to stop. It is better to find ways of celebrating or taking a holiday without straying from the program.

When we are on holiday, we generally have more free time, so make sure that you use some of this to walk and exercise more. Drink plenty of water and try to stick to your usual breakfast, lunch and snacks between. Eating out in the evening can still be fun, but choose carefully when you are ordering, and know when to stop.

As soon as your holiday is over, make a commitment to get on the scales and restart the program immediately. It is imperative to get into the swing of things as soon as possible. The longer you leave it, the harder it will become. Set a realistic target for a few weeks ahead. Find an outfit that does not quite fit and aim to get into it by a certain date. Take up a new activity. Re-focus on your original goals and visualise yourself achieving them.

©sallygeorginacronin Size Matters 2001 – 2015

The previous chapters of Size Matters can be found here.

Please feel free to comment and ask questions.

Size Matters (Especially when you weigh 330lbs.) – Diary of a fat woman – Serialisation

I am not tied into any other publisher or Amazon so I am fortunate enough to be able to share part or all of my books here on my blog. When I wrote my first book it was as a journal during the 18 months it took me to lose 11stone (154lbs.)

After many failed attempts to lose weight over the years, I had finally taken matters into my own hands and grabbed books on the human body and nutrition. This provided me with the basic knowledge to change my diet and lifestyle and I later went on to complete a diploma course in nutritional therapy.

Size Matters was not just my journal, but when published, was a way to spread the message that obesity kills and that you could change that outcome, by making some very simple decisions and changes to your lifestyle.. I realised very early on that respecting my body did not mean starving it but feeding it.

When I returned to Ireland from Belgium in 1998 I bought a health food shop and in the back office I opened the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre. over the next three years I saw over 1000 clients who were either overweight or suffered from lifestyle related health issues such as elevated blood pressure, too much of the unhealthy LDL cholesterol or pre-diabetes. At the end of the post I have included some of their comments about the programme I designed and still use today with some small tweaks tailor made for my age and activity levels.

Size Matters was published by Trafford Publishing in 2001 and received a lot of national press as it was one of the first ‘weight loss’ stories. Updated version two of the book was one of our first as Moyhill Publishing in 2004.

For the last 18 years my goal has not changed. To try and spread the message about healthy eating as far and wide as possible in articles, radio programmes, books and of course here on the blog.

To that end I am serialising Size Matters over the next few weeks freely on the blog. I hope that having read my own story, you will feel you can share with others and perhaps encourage them to take that first step towards a healthier life. First the introduction and then coming up soon Chapter One.



This is the fourth edition of Size Matter and although I have continued my nutritional studies and developed new programmes for healthy eating, I still believe that this basic weight loss programme works. Even when I work with clients who have arthritis or diabetes, I still approach their programmes from the three dimensions that I outline in this book. Our emotions, mental attitude and our physical health are all factors in how we overcome disease and obesity and should all be addressed when looking for the right programme that will work for each individual.


I used to be 330 lbs. and was given a death sentence twenty years ago. I had very high blood pressure, cholesterol levels through the roof and my blood was awash with sugar. I took this swift kick up the backside to heart and did something about it, losing 154 lbs. and regaining my health in the process.  Here is a different me… in 1999 in our home in Madrid.


I am now 62 years old, have an active and busy lifestyle and, thankfully, do not need medication other than the odd supplement when required. I still continue to write books, radio programming and a daily health blog. Most mornings I get a couple of miles under my belt on my treadmill outside overlooking the garden. Mid stride, whilst listening to a bit of Status Quo, I think about those days 20 years ago, when even climbing the stairs to bed were a challenge and left me breathless.

There have been times in the last twenty years when I toppled and nearly fell back into old ways… Stress, slipping back into the old sugar addiction and simply taking my eye of the end game… easy to do when life intrudes.

My story, and the programme that I have adapted over the years, is still relevant today, as we face a massive increase in obesity and in the associated health problems – Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes and Dementia.

I hope that you will find the following chapters of help to you as you take back control and responsibility for your weight and your health.

As you read this book you will realise that I am very anti crash and fad dieting. I starved my body into submission for over thirty years and my body responded by storing everything I ate. I will explain this process in more detail later in the book but for the moment I just want to reassure you that this programme is about eating and not starving. You need to provide your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to function and be healthy. This means eating the right food, and plenty of it.

My journey began in despair, with a long road stretching ahead of me. Luckily I had a wonderful team to support me and I would have achieved very little in those first few months without my husband’s love and support. My family, friends and my dog loved me whatever weight I have been but I know that they were tremendously relieved when I gave up my self-destructive behaviour and changed my life so drastically.

I now communicate with people around the world who have severe obesity problems as well as those people who want to improve the standard of their health or support their body as it deals with certain medical problems. I believe passionately in the power of food to help you lose weight and regain health and I am on a constant mission to learn more about all the wonderful varieties that are available to us.

This book is not just about promoting a healthier lifestyle. It is a personal story that I hope will inspire other people who are desperate to find a solution to their weight or health problem.

This was my journey and I hope that after reading the first few chapters you will relate how I felt, to your own story, and be motivated to take control of your weight and health. Whether you need to lose 14 lbs. (6 kg), 50 lbs. (23 kg) or 150 lbs. (68 kg), it is still necessary to understand how you managed to become overweight in the first place.

There are mental, physical and emotional reasons that affect our lifestyle and remembering those difficult, formative times in our lives can sometimes be painful. I was lucky, in that I had many happy memories too. When you finally succeed in making all the jigsaw pieces fit it gives you an amazing buzz and that feeling persists for me today.

Along the way I have climbed a very steep learning curve. For instance, I came to appreciate the power of that little word NO. Instinctively we want to fit in, to have people like and accept us, and so we say YES, but trying to please everyone is stressful and unrewarding.

The satisfaction of eating a bar of chocolate is nothing compared to the satisfaction I feel now when I say NO to eating one. I can now say NO to many things that have caused me harm, though I have had to learn to say it graciously without offending well-meaning family and friends.

My reason for sharing some of the most challenging and also the brightest moments of my life is to show others who have a self-destructive problem such as obesity that you can say NO and transform your life. Furthermore, saying NO to dieting and YES to eating is a lot more fun!

I believe in working with people on a one-to-one basis, rather than in a group, helping them to achieve their desired weight loss. In a way that is also achieved as you read this book or follow my daily health blog. The program that many now follow forms the second part of this book. Everything is there for you to design your own healthy eating program around your personal likes, dislikes and lifestyle.

If you are overweight, you need to take back control of your life and your eating habits, and this program is a tool to do just that. No gimmicks, pills or special diet foods, just good healthy eating, several times a day, with some walks thrown in. Nothing hard about that. We all possess the ingredients to ensure the success of this program – determination, willpower and patience. All that remains is to discover how to activate those particular skills and start using them.

My life has been transformed, and there is no way in the world that I will go back to the old life. The new life is too exciting and rewarding. If this book makes a similar difference for just one person, then it will have been worth it.

If I can communicate a single message to you it is that obesity, and the misery attached to it, need not be for life.

Here is the book trailer which was a kind gift from Catalina Egan

Comments from some of my clients over the years.

I came to see Sally Georgina in November 1999. My weight at the time was 336 lbs. and to be honest I was feeling tired and unwell in myself. I was put on a food plan suited to me and I have lost over 98 lbs. in eleven months and feel great. (L.B.)

Over the past twenty years I have tried everything that came on the market in order to lose weight, spent a fortune and still ended back in the yo-yo dieting syndrome. In the last ten weeks my life has changed. I have lost 28 lbs. Doing what? Eating! – Eating properly and regularly, and exercising sensibly. The hard part … remembering to eat all that I’m supposed to. (M.M.)

I have had a weight problem since I was pregnant with my first child nine years ago. The weight ballooned up with each pregnancy since. I have tried many diets. They work for a little while and then it is back to square one. I called into the advisory centre with the idea for a quick diet in my head and was told there was no such thing. When I heard this I was very disheartened but I made an appointment three months ago and I have never looked back. It has been a life-saver to me because I thought there would never be a way back to the old me who was happy in herself and not always making myself feel like an outsider. (M.B.)

I lost 38 lbs. eating six times a day on the Cronin Program. With an easy, healthy, eating plan – and support from Sally Georgina – I achieved my weight loss for the first time in fifteen years. I was shown how to stick with it and have patience. Believe me, if I can do it you can. (H.L)

For the first time I have lost 14 lbs. and I feel great, full of energy and very healthy. I recommend this approach to losing weight. (M.W.)

I have tried all the diets available, had some weight loss but no change in my dietary attitude or behaviour. Until the Cronin Weight Reduction Program. Wow, it is really something! I have lost over 23 lbs. to date with a few more to lose, but my idea of ‘eating’ has changed for the positive. My health has improved and my energy levels are those of a woman at least twenty years younger. It is brilliant. (F.R.)

I think it is very good. I have lost 42 lbs. in three months. I feel much better, I am getting my confidence back and I have loads of energy. It has changed my life. I would recommend it to anybody who finds other diets difficult. It is great to see that you succeed at something when you really try. (J.K.)

Since starting the program in October I have lost 17 lbs. I thought that I would never do it. I kept to the program and it really works. It was the first time I ever kept to a program and it was not so hard. I feel a lot better and have lots of energy. I would recommend anyone to do this. You never feel hungry when you eat six times a day. I feel good. (M.K.)

I was 205 lbs. when I came to see Sally Georgina. I walked out feeling a different woman after just one hour of talking. It has changed my life and it is the best I have felt in twenty years. (G.C.)

Next time Chapter One…Life or Death… I am told by a doctor that at 42 it is likely that my obesity related health issues would make it unlikely I would reach 45.

©sallygeorginacronin 2001

Please feel free to comment and share this and the upcoming chapters.  Thank you Sally