LOSING IT! WEEK 12

My son’s wedding is looming so I have finally bitten the bullet and gone shopping. There are some terrific clothes out there, particularly when you have dropped a couple of dress sizes and everything fits!

I wasn’t particularly happy with my arms though so I have doubled my efforts with exercise

Floor Press – Upper body exercise that strengthens the chest, shoulders and arms. The use of the floor eliminates the risk of potential strain of the shoulder joint. Grab two dumbbells and lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on floor. Have your elbows bent in a 90-degree position with the back of your arms (triceps) resting on the floor, dumbbells above your chest. Whilst exhaling and bracing your core, press the dumbbell upwards. Pause and squeeze or a second and then in a controlled motion, bring them back down to the staring position.

My weight is now down to 10 stone 8 lbs which feels rather good. Am v pleased with myself…as Bridget Jones would say!

I am feeling rather pale though and would like to get a bit of my glow back. The best way is a light suntan as it does cover a multitude of sins, but because I know how bad the sun is for the skin that is clearly out of the question, so I take the Faking It option.

Mind you, fake tans are so darned good these days that it really is difficult to tell fake from real. I did a bit of research and tested out a new one… TanCream tancream.co.uk which is not just a fake tan, but one with an SPF too, which, as all my regular readers will know is something I recommend everyone wears 24/7. In this instance, the SPF is 50 so it more than does the trick. The colour is pretty good too and I get a lot of compliments about how well I look. Job done I think.

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Ask Lesley – How do I get rid of my double chin?

I am often asked about the best way of getting rid of a double chin, or loose skin on the neck, and up to now the answer has been a surgical lift.  Why couldn’t someone come up with a non-invasive way of doing this I have said before…after all technology is advancing all the time so surely there has to be a way?
Well, it seems that someone was listening because I have now tested a new treatment which is pain free, non-invasive with no downtime.  It is called the Instalift and it combines laser and ultrasound to dissolve and tighten the chin and neck area.  The claim was that results could be seen after one treatment…so I tried it out and was astounded at the result.  There was a definite difference…in fact I liked it so much that we are now offering the treatment in Clinic.  Each session takes 30 minute and a course of 4 are recommended for even more impressive results.  Book yours on 020 7436 4441
The science bit?  A specially designed ‘cup’ which encases the entire chin area is held in place and the laser starts to get to work.  It very gently begins to warm up and as it does, fat cells absorb energy from the lasers and heat up, then they release their contents – water, glycerol and free fatty acids.  The released fat is naturally excreted from the body through lymphatic drainage, giving results that get better over time.  Then ultrasound  delivers waves into the deeper layers of the skin, stimulating collagen and elastin production, to reduce wrinkles, smoothing the jawline and neck, and banishing jowls.
Before (Left) –  After (Right)
That’s it.  I love it so much that I have booked another 3 sessions.  No double chin for me!
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BINGO!

Do you want to get rid of your bingo wings?  Of course you do…all us ladies do…so here are some tips.

1. Exercise works.  Yes I know everyone says that but it is true.  Swimming is brilliant so keep that going.   And tricep dips definitely do the trick..the science bit here is that the biceps provide a third of muscle mass whilst the triceps have massive two thirds…so it is worth persevering.  You can build back a lot of lost muscle and arm volume.
2. Exercise cannot help with skin laxity though, so you will need a cosmetic treatment for that.    For instance I have had brilliant results from Reaction which tightens ‘crepy’ skin  www.harleystreetskinclinic.com
3 Buy a thighmaster.  Yes, you heard it correctly.  The fitness gadget promoted heavily in the 80’s is back, but now it is not just for thighs because it can be used to enhance (by that they mean add torture) to your general exercise routine.  For instance it is good for a Glute Bridge, as well as a Squat Hold, and obviously it is terrific for the notoriously difficult inner thigh…
…but you can also use it for the triceps.
Sit on a firm chair or bench and rest the gadget on the top of your thigh and hold in place with one hand.  Use the other hand to press down, keeping your elbow close to your body.  Do lots of repetitions and goodbye bingo wings.  That’s it.  And you are sitting down.  Now that is my kind of exercise.
I bought the Body Sculpture Thigh and Arm Toner    www.bodysculpture.co.uk  RRP £9.99
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Losing It! Week 11

All back to normal, still calmer and thank goodness my weight loss has resumed!

I upped my exercise regime which help to kick the endorphins in so I feel a whole lot better.

 

Single Leg, Leg Raises – Targeting to strengthen abdominals and mobilize hip flexors and hamstrings. Perform lying flat on floor, one knee to be flexed with foot flat on floor. Other leg lying flat ready to be raised as high as you can, feel stretch in the back of the leg (hamstrings) and slowly lower back to the floor.

 

Chair Squat – Good way to start to learn the movement pattern of an actual squat. Working mainly the muscles within your legs (Hamstrings, Quadriceps, and Glutes). The chair brings an element of safety to the exercise, so you do not fall over to begin with. Start with your feet slightly wider than hip width with your toes pointing slightly outwards (this should avoid knees caving inwards). Engage your abdominals, look straight ahead throughout the movement, inhale, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat until touching the chair. Keep your body weight on your heels, when ready exhale, push through heels and come back up to starting position.

 

Plus I have been eating a lot more salad…particularly Angela’s Rainbow Salad

 

Superfood rainbow salad

 

At least 5 different coloured ingredients such as beetroot, lettuce, spring onion, cucumber or any raw vegetables.

 

Add sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sprouting seeds, for added nutrients and dress with a little Walnut, Avocado or Toasted Sesame Seed oil to taste.

 

And to avoid the mid-afternoon sugar dip I have been trying out a mini-snack washed down with a green juice…

 

Mid afternoon juice – Green Herbal Cleanser

Large handful of parsley 2 green apples
2 sticks of celery
1/2 cucumber

Juice and drink immediately.

 

Mid afternoon mini snack – nut butter on a gluten-free oatcake or hummus and beetroot on a corn or quinoa cracker.

 

My weight is now 11 stone!

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ARE YOU DYING FOR A SUNTAN?

Are you dying for a Suntan?


We are all living longer, eating healthier and know the mantra Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise to make sure that we look as good as we feel, but do you know what that two weeks in the sun is actually doing to your skin? 

Lesley discusses all things solar with Dr Iñigo de Felipe

It all began with Coco Chanel back in the 1920’s when she accidentally got sunburned and liked the tan which had previously only been seen on outdoor workers…suddenly upper-class, milk-white skins didn’t look so chic. And we have followed her lead ever since with a multi-billion dollar industry growing around our desire to change our natural skin colour to a healthy-looking, sun-kissed bronze.

But it is definitely not a healthy thing to do…nor does the sun gently ‘kiss’ our skin because tanning shows that your skin is being attacked and is trying to defend itself from UV damage, and it is this damage which causes wrinkles, pigmentation…and cancer. Thus we take to the Factor 30 with a vengence, thinking that we are covering all bases…literally.


So, does sun protection protect against skin cancer?
In truth, it is difficult to answer definitively because there are so many variables. How much cream is used. Which SPF…is 50 the new 30? And over how long was it used and reapplied?

Research has shown that whilst factor 50 reduces the number of melanomas and delays their onset, it can’t prevent them. Melanomas, which develop from uncontrolled melanocyte cells (these make melanin, the pigment that darkens skin) are the most aggressive skin cancers. Other skin cancers, such as the squamous type (the flat outer layer of skin cells) are increasingly likely with long-term exposure.


What is becoming more and more clear is that the sun in the early years of life determines most of the problems we face in later years, such as skin cancer and melanoma.


Sun exposure dramatically accelerates the ageing of the skin with the development of more numerous wrinkles, spots and ugly red scaly patches. One day of sun exposure increases the destruction of collagen by around 60%, almost as much as smoking. Interestingly, this seems to be a Western phenomenon because Eastern cultures actively shield themselves from the sun, so they have less wrinkles, less skin laxity and less sun damage than us. Smart.

And if you undergo Laser treatments or Peels then your skin’s protective barrier has been weakened and you need to wear a good SPF at all times.

Pharmaceutical companies devised sun protection creams and ointments to protect us from sun damage. These are specially designed to filter UVB light rather than UVA because UVB is more powerful, more aggressive and causes more cancers than UVA. UVA on the other hand, though less aggressive and cancer-forming, can penetrate further into the skin – inducing allergic reactions, destroying collagen and your beautiful good looks.


Since the Renaissance, when a porcelain-pale skin was the height of fashion, women would dust a semi-lethal blend of lead and carbonate onto their skin. Many died.
We’ve come a long way baby.

The more sun we receive, the worse our skin will look when we get older and the more prone we are to developing skin cancer. Therefore, why bother getting a tan? It will only fade in a few weeks, but will leave you with lasting skin damage.

There are some cases where it IS recommended to have a small amount of sun exposure….Vitamin D deficiency for instance, although this is rare these days. Or certain skin diseases like psoriasis, atopic eczema or dry skin. The rest of us need to cover up.

All scary stuff, but the answer is simple. Do everything you can to avoid sun damage, after all, the pharmaceutical companies have spent a lot of money developing brilliant fake tans which can give a tan worthy of two weeks on a yacht in the Med. But remember that most of these offer no protection whatsoever, so if you go into the sun you will need to wear a sunscreen. Which is what all the experts have been telling us to do anyway…make sun protection a part of our daily routine. Every single day of the year.

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Losing It! Week 10

Well, what goes up, normally has to come down so it serves me right in gloating that I felt so well last week.  

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel bad, but I feel like I have plateau-ed. I know that this is normal in any diet but it is frustrating because I have been incredibly good in keeping to my new regime. So good in fact that even my husband is impressed…he didn’t think I would stick to it for this long…but I told you I was determined this time.

I am supposed to be shopping for a fabulous outfit to wear to my son’s wedding but put that on ice as I feel rather menopausal…mini hot flushes for instance. I checked the situation with Angela who said:

 

“Hot flushes and many of the menopausal symptoms are caused by high Cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, because, after the age of approximately 45 your Adrenal Glands slowly take over the job of the ovaries to produce the three sex hormones Oestrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone.

 

If you are stressed and produce too much Cortisol you create what we call a “Cortisol steal” so your Adrenals struggle to produce all the sex hormones which your body needs.   Cortisol also steals DHEA too and this normally provides the building blocks for all the sex hormones.   A double whammy!

 

Oestrogen is dominant, followed by Progesterone ….so high Cortisol often equates to low Progesterone and this can lead to the usual unpleasant menopausal symptoms.   Low Testosterone leads to a reduced libido.

 

Reducing your Cortisol levels is important which is why I suggested that Lesley eats a little protein every 3 hours, meditating for just 15 mins a day. I also recommended that she restores the health of her Adrenals by taking a personalised supplement “

 

So I did as Angela suggested although it’s difficult to introduce meditation when your work load is so full but as it’s all about my health I was determined to restore my fledging Adrenals and achieve my goals. Angela quoted the Dali Lama “the busier you are the longer you need to meditate”

 

Your Adrenals have huge need for Vitamin C so something as simple as taking 500mg morning and evening can support their function, the Adrenal glands are also responsible for balancing blood sugar levels so to allow them to rest and restore eating a small amount of protein every three hours allows them to reduce Cortisol production, B Vitamins and Chromium also help to balance blood sugar levels.

 

So I implemented the changes, tried to meditate and stay calm, endeavoured to avoid my “energy robbers” took the Adrenal support supplements prescribed by Angela and was surprised by my new found calmness.

 

She also suggested I try this soup as it is soothing as well as so easy to make and you can literally drink as much of it as you like. I tend to make this and keep it in a flask so that it is to hand when I feel the need for something warm and comforting. Beats chocolate!

 

Alkaline Detox Broth

3 stalks of celery

2 carrots

2 teaspoons of cashew nut butter (protein)
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic

2 small potatoes

Handful of fresh spinach

Bunch of parsley
1 litre of water
2 bay leaves

Kallo vegetable stock cube

 

Chop all vegetables, cover with water, add the bay leaves simmer for 20 mins, strain and drink throughout the day or blend the soup and sip throughout the day.

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Ask Lesley – a question about Acne

Q: I suffer from acne and have tried most of the products available over-the-counter but nothing really seems to work.  Trying to get clear skin is turning into a bit of a mission and is driving me crazy, so have you any recommendations as to what actually works?  Jean Watson.  Manchester
A:  I see a lot of acne-sufferers in the Clinic, Jean, so I see first hand how much the condition can affect people.  It is not just a few spots as most people think, and it has nothing to do with being dirty.  It’s caused by hormones that stimulate oil production and it can affect you at any time in life if hormones are out of balance.  There are different forms of acne, but all of them case a great deal of distress for sufferers.  Acne can totally wreck your confidence and self-esteem and I often see between 6 and 8 cases every day and sometimes those clients have put up with it for ten years or more.
Luckily acne is a pet subject of mine as family members have suffered over the years.  For me, the acne drug Roaccutane is off the agenda as it’s been linked to thinning of the skin, bleeding and even depression, but there are lot of ways you can clear acne, with perseverance, support and the right products and (perhaps) medicines.
There are varying degrees of acne – from whiteheads and blackheads to nodules and cysts..so here’s what to look out for and how to treat it.
* Whiteheads.  These are formed when pores are blocked, so the oil produced by the skin is trapped inside along with dead skin cells.  Bacteria then grow and, as the pore becomes more blacked and over-filled, you see a small white raised lump on the surface of the skin.
* Blackheads.  These are caused when the pore is blocked and the sebum at the surface oxidises so that it looks black. They are at the mild end of the scale but they can often take a long time to clear.
* Papules.  These are inflamed, red sore bumps with no head.  I KNOW it is tempting, but don’t squeeze a papule as it can leave a nasty scar.
* Postules.  Are inflamed red spots with a white or yellow centre.  These ‘zits’ can be popped, but only when they are ready to burst,  Pop them with a sterile needle, then wrap a clean tissue around each of your index fingers and squeeze gently.  Best to do this after a warm shower for facial steaming as they’ll be softer.  If clear liquid or blood starts to appear, it is time to stop squeezing.
Nodules.  These are large, hard, painful bumps under the skin which often last for months.  NEVER squeeze them as this can cause permanent scarring.  Best thing to do is to have them injected with cortisone which works by killing bacteria and reducing inflammation.  It is something we do regularly at the Clinic, in fact many of our celebrity clients pop in to have a spot injected so that it retreats speedily before a red-carpet event.
* Cysts.  These look similar to nodules except that they are full of pus.  They are usually very painful and can leave scarring.  Squeezing cysts can cause a deep irritation and very painful inflammation which will last much longer than if you had simply left it alone  Again, cortisone injections can help and the cyst usually disappears after 48 hours.
My tips:
Take a supplement of Omega 3,6and 9 oils to nourish your skin from the inside
Find ways to reduce stress as this will only stimulate the production of androgens – the hormones that stimulate oil.  Easier said than done, I know but it definitely works.
Try a course of light peels at the clinic as these will get rid of dead skin cells for smoother, more even skin.
If you have bad scars you might need to consider a laser resurfacing treatment..but discuss this option with your Clinic first.
Use a gentle product to clean your skin.  Resist the urge to scrub as this will leave skin dry and flaky and your body will try to counteract the dryness by producing more oil. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a very good one.
And finally, I have just discovered this great product.  It is a specifically formulated to disinfect, care and protect post-procedure recovering skin but is also brilliant to help keep acne at bay.  Called Clinisept+ Aftercare, it contains the latest antimicrobial technology to protect against infection and provide ideal conditions for skin regeneration and recovery.  Used up to three times a day, it is a steal at £15 for a 100ml spray and we should all have one as part of our skincare arsenal.  Available from harleystreetskinclinic.com
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Losing It! Week 9

I feel rather well. I’ve got more energy, sleep better, don’t feel cranky or have mood swings and I’m happier and enjoying my life much more. My hair’s thicker, my skin is less dry and my eyes are clearer…I feel fabulous!

Plus I have lost another 5 lbs!

I think the mid-morning Orange Shot helps as is zingy enough to take away all thoughts of a sugar boost. Try it yourself!

The Orange Shot

4 Carrots
1 inch square of Ginger.
2 oranges
Juice and drink immediately.   Simple as that.

And Despina is obviously happy with my progress as she has added in these little horrors:

4 Point Superman – Working on balance and co-ordination. Great core exercise to engage the glute muscles (bum) and lower back. Start on your hands and knees. Rise one arm and the opposite leg at the same time as high as you can. Be sure to clench the glute (bum) muscles and abdominal muscles to keep good balance and posture. Lower them back down and repeat to the other side.

TRX Row – Upper body exercise targeting to strengthen your back muscles back muscles, shoulders and biceps. Grab the handles of the TRX and stand straight. You will then walk your feet forward until you arms are straight and there is tension in the straps. Have your palms facing each other. To begin the movement, retract your shoulder blades back and down. Now, pull your torso towards your hands keeping your elbows close to your body. Your body should remain rigid and your palms and wrists should stay neutral. Lower your body back to the starting position and repeat.

That’s in addition to the other exercises! Mind you, I must be getting fitter because I add these into the routine rather happily.

I feel fitter than I have for ages, plus the weight around my tum is definitely going.

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CLEAR, BRIGHT SKIN – INSTANTLY

If you have over-indulged during the party season, it’s not just your waistline that suffers….the skin’s barrier can become more fragile, leading to blocked pores and breakouts.

 

The bacteria that cause spots can lie deep in the pores so a weekly Glycolic facial peel can help detox skin.      Suitable for all skin types, this gentle, non-abrasive exfoliation formula will decongest and detoxify the skin tackling blocked pores and excess oil to reveal a smoother and more radiant complexion. Combined with PDT, (a light-based treatment)  this will also help brighten and clarify the complexion, encouraging fresh, healthy, clean skin from the inside out. From £60 a peel with PDT treatment around £200 per treatment from most clinics or call 0207 436 4441


 

Tips:

*
Anything that reduces oil production can help stop breakouts. Research says that diets high in refined carbohydrates can increase skin sebum so cut out sugar and eat more wholegrains, fruit and vegetables.  

 

*Zap existing spots in two minutes with Neutrogena Light Therapy Targeted Acne Spot Treatment (£29.99 boots.com), which kills bacteria and reduces inflammation directly on blemishes using red and blue light therapy.  

 

*Start using a retinol cream at night. Retinol helps to increase cell turnover keeping skin clear and will also stimulate collagen and elastin production. Try one of the high street serums like Super Facialist Retinol or for super Anti-Ageing Night Cream Monroe Night Recovery Serum £64.99 www.monroeoflondon.com

 

*Try sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your side or stomach allows oil from your hair to come into contact with the skin, which can lead to breakouts. Dirt, dust, and oil can collect on your pillowcase so change regularly.
 


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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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