Losing it! Week 8

Week Eight

Despina has added in some floor work too which I rather liked the sound of as it meant I could have a lie down and lose inches at the same time. Fat chance. Try these and let me know if don’t feel your abs screaming:

Glute Bridges – Simple yet effective exercise to help activate and strengthen your glute muscles. Teaches you how to extend your hips, whilst keeping a neutral spine and braced core. To perform, start by lying with you your back to the floor (neutral spine) with your knees bent and feet hip-width apart flat on the floor. Drive your feet through the floor and push through your heels, extend your hips up, keeping your core braced, and squeeze the glutes in the top position. Your body should be straight from your knees to your shoulders. Come back down in a controlled motion and repeat.

Dead Bugs – Excellent exercise to strengthen your core area without putting strain onto you lower back. Also, a great way to work on your co-ordination skills, working your brain and core at the same time. Start by lying flat on the floor and point your arms to the ceiling. Bring your leg up and bend your knees so they are in a 90-degree angle. Make sure that your back is as flat as possible to the floor. Slowly lower one arm and the opposite leg at the same time to the floor. Using your core muscles, bring them back up to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

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Jean Genius

Can’t get into your jeans?
  TiteFX will help sort the problem.  It is a non-invasive fat-busting procedure that’s a lunchtime alternative to liposuction.  The 60-minute treatment uses Radio Frequency and electroporation to destroy fat cells and can be used on the stomach, muffin top and podgy thighs.  It feels like a warm massage and there is no downtime.   Best results are seen after six weekly hour-long treatments – £999 for a course of 6. Call 020 7436 4441


 

Tips:


*Cut down on processed carbs and sugar and focus on eating more healthy fats and protein. Latest research also shows that adding a minimum of 30g of fibre to your daily diet, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, will aid weight loss. 

*Whilst sitting pull your tummy to your spine regularly as this can help strengthen abs.

*If you’re feeling bloated try-sipping fennel, which is antispasmodic and helps the digestive system to relax.  

*Limit salt to reduce excess fluids and try adding spices instead.  Chilli is great for a metabolism boost.

*Once a week treat your stomach to a toning mask- to help tighten and improve skin tone – try Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Body Clay (£18 Body Shop).


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What are Dermal Stem Cells?

What are dermal stem cells? And what do they do in the context of anti-ageing in both products and in cosmetic clinics?

Having heard the words bandied around after over many years working writing about skincare and cosmetic procedures, if I am unclear, it’s probably safe to assume that other people are too – yet like me curious to know more.

Fortunately, my husband, Dr Aamer Khan, cosmetic doctor and co-founder of the Harley Street Skin Clinic (www.harleystreetskinclinic.com) has been working with stem cells for over a decade, not only as procedure in clinic but also in skincare product development. Firstly what are they? “Put simply, every part of the body started with stem cells, because they are the basis of life,” he explains. “By producing growth factors that in turn produce growth hormones, stem cells can produce more cells.”

Not only that, when stem cells are absorbed into the superficial layers of the skin, the growth factors work on receptors within our own skin cells to switch on the fibroblast cells to produce more elastin and collagen. Which repairs a damaged dermis and generates more youthful skin.

“But in addition, when we are older, a lot of our fibroblasts are sleeping,” continues Dr Khan. “These are called fibrocytes so there are both active and inactive cells and the ratio between fibroblasts and fibrocytes changes early in life not to mention rapidly.” During our mid-twenties the ratio tends to be 80 per cent active fibroblasts compared to 20 per cent dormant fibrocytes. But sorry to say, by the age of 55, the ratio may have reversed to 80 per cent fibrocytes and only 20 per cent active fibroblasts.

However there is good news; Sleeping Beauty can be awoken.

“Because fibrocytes are just dormant, not dead, they can be switched back on by stem cells to activate the behaviour of the skin to how it would have behaved when it was more youthful.” 
The use of stem cells falls into two categories; skincare and as a clinical procedure which Dr Khan pioneered ten years ago. “More stem cells are stored in fat than any other part of the body so we remove some, or after liposuction keep it for the patient, and send it off to a facility where the stem cells are removed. The process breaks down the enzymes from the fat cells and spinning them, millions of stem cells.”
Isolated and concentrated stem cells are then injected into the face creating a lifting effect to fill in fine lines and repair scar tissue, a stem cell face-lift. Not only that, “we were the first to use stem cells in cosmetic medicine for a face-lift, breast augmentation and buttock lift.”

Yet could the body reject it’s own stem cells?   “No because it’s an autonomous treatment so long as you use your own. It would be unethical to use those of another person.” 

When it come to skincare, back in the day it was considered necessary to use animal stem cells. Thankfully the days of sourcing from sheep placenta or unfertilised human eggs are pretty much behind us. Well, almost. “There are still some animal products out there, even from human foreskin,” says Sarah-Jayne Tipper UK Sales & Clinical Training Director for Swisscode skincare which has recently launched in the UK. “But you don’t need these because plants have the answer.” Swisscode Bionic Stem Cell Age Control £160, www.skinstation.co.uk) contains edelweiss which grows in very challenging altitudes of around 7000 feet producing robust stem cells. “The ingredient must come from the root or the bud of the plant which is the true source of the stem cell.”Meanwhile Sarah Chapman Stem Cell Collagen Activator Duo (£149, www.feelunique.com) contains a combination eight peptides with four stem cells from marine sea fennel, sea holly, argan and gardinia to increase skin density, sculpt and create luminosity. 

The Harley Skin Clinic takes the edelweiss green apple because of the number of growth factors in combination with the root of the argan tree in StemCellution Overnight Moisturiser (£109, harleystreetskinclinic.co.uk).

Argan stem cells are also in Alpha-H Liquid Gold 24 hour Moisture Repair Cream (£51, www. cultbeauty.co.uk) which claims to increase skin density, tightening of dermal disuse and reduction of wrinkle depth by 26 per cent.

As for Dr Levy Switzerland skincare ArganCellActiv, an anti-ageing complex sourced from the extracts of stem cells of the roots of the argan tree is also the key ingredient; he calls it ‘the Usain Bolt of stem cells’. You may not remember how your skin was twenty years ago but your stem cells certainly do,” he says and studies saw an increase of up to 80 per cent of these active cells in lab trials.

The uttwiler spatlauber apple features in Clark’s Botanicals Cellular Lifting Serum (£284, spacenk.co.uk) which is beloved by Michelle Obama for it’s rejuvenating effects. Sense a theme coming on? Because this species of apple is also the key ingredient in Salon Science Haircare. “This technology was first used in premium skincare as a powerful anti-ageing ingredient and after years of research it was discovered that the active ingredient, the uttwiler spätlauber apple was also effective within the hair follicle,” says Dr Fred Zülli Ph.D. Managing Director, Mibelle Group Biochemistry. “This apple, famous for it’s excellent storability properties had fascinated the team at Mibelle due to its inability to shrivel or breakdown for it’s anti-ageing properties and it was discovered that the fruit was rich in phytonutrients, proteins and long living cells. So not only did these cells protect skin stem cells, but they also helped to delay the biological ageing of hair follicles.”

Far down from the face and hair, echinacea stem cells have the starring role in Collister Intensive Anti-cellulite Serum (£42.00, www.feelunique.com). 

Undoubtedly there is more to come. Even after a decade using stem cells Dr Khan is enthused. “It is still really exciting to see what we can do with them in the future.” Stand by for more – there is certainly more to come in the world of the stem cell.

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Losing it! Week 7

Week Seven

I’ve got gout!

 

Made a panicked phone call to Angela who suggested I increase my intake of beetroot as it is low in purines and helps detox the liver and kidneys, thus helping to ‘cure’ gout. She also said that cherries are brilliant for this too, but as it is not the cherry season, I should check out a concentrate called Cherry Active which is made from tart Montmorency cherries as these are terrific for reducing gout too. You can get this from active-edge.co.uk

That’s the bad news….the good news is I have lost 2lbs!

Work was pretty crazy this week but I am feeling rather pleased with that because despite all the madness, I managed to keep to the new regime.

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Lesley loves – Peel Pads!

These days skin texture and luminosity is as important as getting rid of lines and sun damage so Glycolic Acid still has a place in our beauty routines….because it works.  GA is an efficient exfoliator, which refines skin texture, improves skin tone and visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but up to now it was only the professional-strength GA which worked best.
However that’s all changed because Neostrata have introduced Smooth Surface Daily Peel Pads, a GA  peel which has been formulated for daily home use…10% glycolic acid along with amino acids delivered via patented system called Aminofill.  Amino acids are the building blocks of collagen, so that clearer, brighter skin is now available for all of us.
And all in a neat little jar of pads onto which you empty the bottle of liquid, and then shake around to distribute so that the pads are saturated.  Wipe one pad over your face in the evening after your usual cleansing routine, and follow up with a serum….I’ve been using HSSC Miracle Serum (harleystreetskincare.com) as it is power-packed with a cocktail of anti-oxidants, peptides and growth factor stimulators.
4 weeks in and I can definitely see a difference in skin tone.
Like most peels, your skin will need sun protection afterwards…but then we should all be wearing a daily SPF anyway!
Smooth Surface Daily Peel Pads £50. 0207 436 4441
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Losing it! Week 6

Week Six

My husband rather tactfully suggested that I might look at incorporating a little gentle exercise into my brand new routine! He , of course, is an avid gym-goer, and boy does it show. He is really trim and has bags of energy, unlike me.

So, once I stop bristling I start to consider the idea. Going to a gym is not going to happen…not with my work schedule…but the thought of a personal trainer could work, after all, if it’s good enough for Gwynnie…..!

However, as I don’t have her on speed-dial, I ask a girl friend who is in good shape too….she recommends Despina Pilides, (07957 604745 turnbacktimefit@gmail.com) who has an iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove approach to exercise and fitness ie she is gentle and relaxed, but gives you a good workout despite yourself! Plus she will come to your home which is a bonus for me.

She sounds perfect, so I get in touch and set up the first session.

Despina arrives at the crack of dawn..well 6.30am…and immediately gets to work. After a thorough assessment of my problems she says that she wants to sort out my mobility first. It seems that all that sitting at a desk, working on the computer is taking its toll on my shoulders and hips which seem to have set – concrete-like – into a form of the Sphinx!

These are really gentle exercises, but boy do they work and actually it is quite nice to feel as though I have achieved something. If you have the same problem this is the exercise she gave me:

Shoulder and Spine Rotations – Helps to give more mobility to the shoulder, scapula and thoracic (middle) section of the spine. Start by lying on your side on the floor. Position yourself with your top leg bent at a 90-dgree angle and resting on top of a foam roller (or cushion) to keep your pelvis neutral. Bottom arm lying flat on the floor out in front of you, with the other arm resting on top. With the top arm staring rotating the arm around above your head trying to keep your hand to the floor. Once you hit a point where it becomes difficult, hold it there until you feel you can carry on with the rotation. Once you get to your limit, take a deep breath and slowly bring the arm around to the starting position.

Band Windmills – This will help to open the chest and shoulders, while also rotating and strengthening and mobilizing your scapular. Holding a long band with each side in each hand. Stand up straight, keeping your core braced and glutes tight. Lift your arms in a rotational movement, keeping your arms as straight as possible throughout until you reach your sticking point. Once there hold for a second or two to feel the stretch and then slowly come back around keeping the arms straight still.

I feel incredibly virtuous at having a nutrition and exercise programme now that it is tempting to celebrate with a biscuit.

Reader….I resist!

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Nature’s Tranquilliser

It is particularly hot at the moment, so if you are suffering from insomnia you might want to try taking Magnesium, as this mineral is vital for energy production as well as the metabolism of blood sugars and it has been found to help prevent depression, dizziness, PMS, headaches, migraines, cramping and insomnia.

 
Many of us are unknowingly deficient in magnesium so if you have symptoms of general aches and pains, restless legs and night cramps … things which keep you from getting a full night’s restorative sleep….then this can work as it helps to relax muscles as well as building bone density.  And re bone density, take Calcium too as Magnesium helps the body to metabolise Calcium.
 
As most of you know from my Losing It! posts, I have been working with Angela Beecroft to help solve my gut problems and she recommends this one:
 
“ I always recommend he Allergy Research Magnesium Citrate, it’s easy to swallow and probably the best quality on the market. Taken1hour before bedtime it helps facilitate sleep, but it also helps to address constipation, particularly if taken with 1 tablespoon of Flax Seed Meal in food or a smoothie  because it helps to soften the stool and help achieve a softer stool!    https://naturaldispensary.co.uk/products/Magnesium_Citrate_90_s-4442-0.html  And if you put in the code AB005 you will get a 5% discount. We all like discounts! “
 
Finally, a mineral-rich Epsom Salts bath will help restore magnesium and sulfate in your system because they can be absorbed through your skin. Try soaking three times per week for about 12 to 15 minutes.  Just remember to rinse off any salt which remains on your skin, then apply a moisturiser to lock in the moisture and prevent it from evaporating and taking your skin’s natural oils with it.
 

 

Sweet dreams everyone.
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Lesley loves – Tan Cream!

Now this is a clever product!

We all know that we should be wearing sun protection all year round to ward off the damaging effects of solar rays, but how many people actually do it?  Not as many as there should be because the temptation of a suntan still has a siren call.
So what if there was a product which had an SPF50 to protect against burning AND was an instant bronzer to even skin tone, disguise blemishes and age spots AND was a self-tan too?  Would you use it then?  I certain would…and in fact, I am because I have discovered a brilliant new product called Tancream which suits most skin types and is incredibly easy to use.    It was developed by two resourceful ladies, Gillian Robson and Katy Foxcroft, when Gillian was diagnosed with aggressive skin cancer and she was unable to find an effective sun-protectant which also had some colour, because she, like most of us, found that a light tan makes you feel good and look a tad younger.  It became clear that there was nothing on the market so she and Katy set about formulating one…Tancream is the result.
And a great result it is too. I have been using it for a few weeks now and can say that it is easy to use and gives a light, gentle tan…so good in fact that patients ask me why I have been sitting in the sun!  I am stocking it in the Clinic so if you want one, get in touch.  020 7436 4441.  100ml tube costs £39.95
All info onTancream is on their website tancream.co.uk so take a look for yourself,
What clever girls!
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Losing it! Week 5

Week Five

Today is the first day of my new lifestyle diet.

I weigh 12stone 2 lbs.

That is going to change.

My new food plan from Angela removes Gluten, which is found in abundance in Wheat with smaller amounts found in Oats, Barley and Rye as well as some other grains like Spelt. Interestingly, on checking the list of ingredients on tins and packets, I see that wheat in some form or another is often included.

 

Crikey…what’s left??

 

Seems that I can have free use of Rice, Buckwheat, Coconut and Chestnut flour. Plus I can have the following good fats…lots of Olive Oil, Coconut Oil – use Flaxseed Oil, Walnut, Avocado Oils or Toasted Sesame seed oil as a dressing only (not for cooking) try to have 20ml of good oils a day. Butter is ok. ..but in moderation.

I should be as organic as possible and eat protein every 3 hours to balance hormones and lower Cortisol levels.

Angela has given me some really interesting recipes and I am going to share a couple of the breakfast ones with you because breakfast is the most important meal of the day…right?

She really rates this bread recipe from Deliciously Ella…it’s gluten-free, vegan and is very easy to make. Check the recipe here

https://deliciouslyella.com/2013/08/31/almond-quinoa-pumpkin-seed-bread/

It is so good that the rest of the family keep swiping it!

 

And here’s a balanced smoothie…

 

Super Smoothie

120 ml of a mixture of coconut milk or any plant based milk, pomegranate juice and grape juice.
1/4 cup of blueberries or cherries
1 teaspoon of Nut butter (not peanut) Cashew or Almond

1 tablespoon of Flaxseed meal – you can buy this in Waitrose or Sainsburys or Aldi, it’s kind gently fibre.
1/2 Avocado
1 tablespoon of Flaxseed oil.

You may add extra plant milk to get the required consistency. Put in blender and whizz.

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Knowledge Is Power! – What you need to know about skin tightening

One of my favourite treatments at the Clinic is Pellevé  a radio-frequency skin-tightening process because it is completely relaxing and painless.  I will often have this if I am going out to an event and really do want my skin to look brighter and plumper.  It works brilliantly around the eyes and just seems to melt dark shadows and fine lines away completely …giving a luminous quality to your skin tone.  And I have just tried it out on my hands and I am really impressed with the results as they look smoother and plumper and this was achieved without any pain at all…in fact it is so relaxing that I almost fell asleep!
 
 
The benefits work even after the initial treatment because it boosts your own collagen-production, so it’s a win-win situation.  And did I mention that it’s painless?  I can heartily recommend it…. it costs around £250 a treatment.  
020 7436 4441
Plus I have found a neat device which can carry on the good work of collagen-regeneration, toning and tightening…it’s called the DermaWand which uses a radio-frequency which is suitable for home use.  It, too, is painless and relaxing, and when used regularly can keep those pesky fine lines at bay along with improved skin tone and radiance.  Available at Amazon.co.uk and  Boots.com.
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