You asked for more details.
(I am neither a dietician nor a nutritionist and make no recommendations for you!)
Please do not assume that what I do will work for you.
My take on meetings with Dr. Sophie and Emma (see their comments at the end):
• I am healthy, my heart age is three years younger than me.
• I should lower my sugar/sugar substitute intake to keep my diabetes test within the normal range.
• I must consume enough calories to maintain my weight ie, do not go below 53kg. For bone health.
• Less saturated fat, maybe.
• Always check supplements with a Doctor before self-medicating. I am now on Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, and Vitamin D (in one tablet). My levels are good on all of these but I am covering all bases mainly for my bone health.
I have good genes and a love of style. I weigh myself but the measure is in how my clothes fit. I feel at my most elegant when I am slim.
It is definitely harder for me to remain at 53kg (I am 5’6”) as I get older but I will do everything I can to remain there, it is my happy place. During ‘lockdown’ I hit a high of 57.9kg.
Even when I didn’t need to diet I would join the girls at work in the ‘Egg diet’, the ‘Popcorn’ diet, etc. I have great willpower as we all have if we want something enough. I miss the camaraderie of shared goals.
As a teenager, I used to jog to work and ate whatever appealed to me.
In my 20’s and 30’s, I did the ‘Jane Fonda’ thing (lots of lycra) and also jogged.
In my 40’s I joined a Military Bootcamp and cycled.
In my 50’s it got tougher but still doable. Ultra Marathons, long slow runs. This is the best way for me to burn fat. I also swim 1km every day.
I don’t drink alcohol, mainly because my husband doesn’t. Having said that my poison of choice would be a Mescal Margarita or a glass of good champagne.
I am strict with my food intake from Monday to Friday. I don’t beat myself up if we go out for the evening, that’s life. At the weekend I eat a little of whatever I fancy. I don’t binge, but I relax ‘the rules. This has worked well for the last few years.
Food Diary (a normal week – a snapshot)
Sunday is the first day of the week in the Middle East. Therefore the day after my weekend of minor cheating. I have to kickstart the week with hard rules:
5 am coffee latte with soya milk before my run. 7km.
7.30 am coffee latte with soya milk.
200g Mature cheddar cheese eaten throughout the day.
3 pm a mini packet of wholewheat biscuits.
Coffee, latte with soya milk
Sparkling water throughout the day
6 am coffee after my run.
10 am Diet Pepsi
11 am a leftover homemade pork burger (meat, sage, egg)
Sparkling water all day.
6.30 pm Homemade beef stew.
7 pm Coffee, latte with soya milk
5.30 am coffee
11.30 Diet Pepsi
Sparkling water all day.
1 pm 75g salted cashews. (I don’t normally weigh my food. This is for only for this blog)
2 mouthfuls of Tabouleh
A small cold chicken breast
Supper with friends
2 glasses of champagne
Late-night last night. No run this am.
7 am coffee
9 am Diet Pepsi
12 pm coffee
2 pm one lonely burger
1 beef rib
5.30 am Coffee
9.50 Diet Pepsi
Cauliflower and broccoli bake
Salt and vinegar crisps
Diet Pepsi and sparkling water
Coffee and liquorice tea
Thin crust pizza
Chili crisps (potato chips)
Diet Pepsi and sparkling water
Coffee and liquorice tea
6 Twizzlers (red liquorice)
Homemade chicken soup
I lived on Diet Pepsi for most of my life. From breakfast time to bedtime, no other liquid at all. When I stopped it cold turkey in 2019 I replaced it with coffee (through Hypnotism). I felt no different other than the withdrawal headaches. My running stayed the same, my skin, no change.
It has been a year and I am back to diet drinks now but in moderation. I know it’s bad but I like it.
I know that I would be shot down in flames if I publicly said anyone can lose weight. But it’s what I believe. If one doesn’t eat and expends energy, then how do you put on weight (other than being on a medication that causes you to retain water, etc.)? If you are healthy and exercise consistently there is no excuse. It is a mindset, however; you have to want it more than cake! I am reminded of the famous Kate Moss quote: Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels!
DR SOPHIE RACKTOO
Consultant Family Medicine at Kings College Hospital London in Dubai
MBChB, BSc, CCT (RCGP, UK)
Caroline came to see me for general health screening blood.
Screening is done to detect diseases in people who may not have any symptoms of the disease. We can prevent disease this way or detect it early enough to treat it effectively.
We ran a diabetes test and cholesterol check. Raised cholesterol and Pre diabetes/diabetes are conditions we know we can treat with lifestyle change initially.
I worked out Caroline’s cardiovascular risk based on lots of parameters including weight, age, and cholesterol levels. This calculation is useful when we are deciding about starting medication to lower cholesterol.
It gives us an idea about the risk of developing a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years. Caroline had a low cardiovascular risk score. Her score actually came back lower than the score we would expect from a healthy person of the same age, sex, and ethnicity.
Additionally, we ran some vitamin/bone health tests, liver tests, kidney tests.
Health checks for adults need to be tailored for the age and medical history. Unnecessary tests such as whole-body scans might pick up things that don’t necessarily need treatment and could then cause major stress. So it’s very important to check your screening tests are evidenced-based and that you understand what they might pick up before proceeding.
Emma Bardwell: Nutritionist
⁃ Think about adding into your diet rather than taking away.
⁃ What you eat over weeks, months, years is more important than what you eat in 24 hours, so don’t stress over one day’s intake.
⁃ Bone health is critical for women at all ages but especially perimenopausal women (we reach peak bone mass in our late 20s).
⁃ Food intake is just one part of the ‘health puzzle’. Genetics, environment, medical history, and economic status play a role too.
⁃ Food isn’t just fuel, it’s for enjoyment and for socialising too.
⁃ Try to avoid terms like ‘cheat days’ or ‘guilty pleasures’. Enjoy all your food all the time as much as possible.
⁃ A multivitamin can be useful if you don’t think your diet hits all your nutrient targets.
⁃ Heart disease is the biggest killer of women post 50. Watch your intake of saturated fat (red meat, cheese, coconut oil) and salt.
⁃ Swap coffee for green tea sometimes. It still contains caffeine but also L-theanine which provides energy without the jitters
⁃ The single biggest thing you can do improve your health is to eat more plant-based foods (but you do not need to go vegan).
⁃ There’s too much fear-mongering around food. We need to try to stop demonising certain foods.
⁃ Get your nutrition info from evidence-based sources, rather than influencers on Instagram or Netflix docs. (Irony! – Caroline)
⁃ Caffeine has been shown to decrease calcium stores but as long as you’re hitting your calcium target daily (1200mg if you’re over 50) the caffeine won’t have a detrimental effect.
⁃ The best diet is one that you can stick to; one that fuels your day and works around your family, job, and lifestyle.
⁃ As a general rule, most of us need to eat proper, satiating meals and graze/snack less.
⁃ Our brain shrinks 1% every year as we age. Exercise can not only halt this but reverse it.
⁃ Low carb means low fibre which can impact gut health/bowel movements.
⁃ There’s no such thing as a perfect diet.
⁃ We’re all unique and have individual energy and diet demands.
For a personalised nutrition plan, get in touch with @emma.bardwell
Registered Nutritionist and Health writer is known as the @menopausenutritionist
300g chopped Kale. 0.1g carbs, 7cals
100g Parmesan. 4.1g carbs, 431cals
100g Walnuts. 7g carbs, 654cals
50g Raisins. 35.8g carbs, 150cals
100g serving 5.1g carbs, 127cals
Ranch dressing Options
Hidden Valley 2g 140cals
Homemade 1g 60cals (I had no idea how easy this was and it tastes great)
I added some almond milk to help it coat the kale better)
Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake
500ml cooking cream, full fat
Salt, pepper, chilli flakes
Butter and coconut oil to cook
I like to use a pan that can be put in the oven to save on washing up.
Fry the onion, add the chopped vegetables. Toss them around a bit, browning some edges. Add everything else and make sure all the vegetables are covered in some cream or cheese. Sprinkle the tomatoes on top.
Bake @180 for 20-30mins or until golden brown.