Desperately seeking sun – Do you get the Winter Blues?

Dr Rob Hicks
Dr Rob Hicks

We may not have had much of our own in recent years, so with summer holiday bookings now going into overdrive, first ever Sunshine Index launched to help Brits escape to warmer climes

In recent years we’ve had some of the worst and most extreme weather events in our recorded history, but while we never expect much from our climate, a recent study shows that many of us are expecting even worse in 2013. Last year was the second wettest on record and the previous year one of our coldest, and the study shows 52% of us believe that British summers are getting worse every year.

With many already dreaming of summer and the chance to escape the UK, holiday companies are expecting a huge surge in bookings this weekend as people start to look ahead to time in the sun.

Over a third (37%) of holidaymakers surveyed by Thomson admit their main reason for travelling abroad is to enjoy sunshine which they can’t be certain of getting in the UK.

More than a quarter of Brits (26%) admit that good weather is the most important factor in contributing to their holiday happiness, so much so, that almost half (45%) go online daily in the lead up to their holiday to get excited about how warm it’ll be on arrival.

To help people maximise their exposure to sunlight during their holidays Thomson has launched a sunshine index of the places people are likely to get the most sunshine hours.

It’s well documented how a lack of sunshine, which gives the body vitamin D, can be damaging to our health and wellbeing, so it’s no wonder so many of us are desperate to leave our wintery shores behind at the moment. As a result, Thomson have teamed up with Dr Rob Hicks to help explain the importance of sunshine on our wellbeing and the best ways to get our much needed dose of vitamin D

The study also saw half of those surveyed admit that bad weather leads to feelings of depression, while more than a quarter say it makes them feel unsociable, and more than one in seven say continued bad weather makes them feel angry.


More than a third (34%) can’t be bothered to get up in the morning and, startlingly, almost one in every twenty (4%) doesn’t go into work as they can’t face the journey.

So how important is good weather for our health and if we’re not getting enough of it here, where are the best places to get it?

Listen to our podcast with Dr Rob Hicks to find out you can do today for your health, to overcome the nasty weather outside right now.


Julian Fisher is the host and Dr Rob Hicks is fielding the questions

FISHER It’s well documented how a lack of sunshine which gives the body vitamin D can be damaging to our health and wellbeing so it’s no wonder many of us are desperate to leave our wintery shores behind at the moment. As a result Thomson has teamed up with Dr Rob Hicks to help explain the importance of sunshine on our wellbeing and the best way to get our much needed dose of vitamin D. Now Rob, tell us a bit more about the study first of all. What were the results?

DR HICKS Well the study that was carried out online of 2,000 people across the UK came up with some very interesting results. 50% of British people think that the summers over here in the UK are a washout and they’re getting worse. 37% of people said the main reason they go on holiday is to enjoy the sunshine they can’t guarantee getting here at home in the UK and from a health point of view, what I found interesting was that 48% of people say that bad weather makes them feel sad and depressed which is something which in practice we do see at this time of the year. A number of people with the winter blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder obviously is very high at this time of year. The other interesting thing from the survey by Thomson was that 50% of people say that the bad weather makes them angry and frustrated and of course with the snow that’s going to increase and people who are angry and frustrated tend to get stressed and we all know too well how stress affects the body physically and emotionally in a detrimental fashion.

FISHER Do we know to what extent people here in the UK are actually deficient in vitamin D?

DR HICKS  There are some figures which suggest that up to 50% of the UK population could be deficient. Over the last couple of years I think we’ve increasingly identified that more people than we expected are vitamin D deficient. We’ve seen a reoccurrence of rickets in children, something that we haven’t seen in a long time, the condition that causes pain in the bones, tenderness in limbs, sometimes bone deformity and also muscle weakness. So it’s something that’s really being looked into in depth because a lot of people who might complain of general tiredness increasingly we’re finding are vitamin D deficient, something that can be corrected obviously. Vitamin D as I’m sure you know is made in the skin in response to sunlight and we can also get some vitamin D in our diet, oily fish, eggs, fortified cereals for example. But vitamin D is a very important vitamin. It’s not just for the bones and teeth, it does support the immune system and it helps the heart and circulation function properly. So it’s something that has attracted a lot of interest.

FISHER Is vitamin D deficiency related to other conditions, for example multiple sclerosis?

DR HICKS Yes, vitamin D deficiency is related to diabetes for example, it’s related to multiple sclerosis, people with multiple sclerosis are often found to be vitamin D deficient but they’re unclear what exactly that link is and how they are associated. Vitamin D deficiency is also related to high blood pressure as well so vitamin D deficiency goes beyond rickets in children and the bone condition osteomalacia in adults. So it is an area that’s attracting a great interest and I think we’re going to learn more and more about the importance of this very simple vitamin in time to come.

FISHER And how do you spot the signs of vitamin D deficiency?

DR HICKS Well from a symptom point of view in mild cases it might be somebody feels tired, they may have some aches and pains in their limbs that they really can’t put down to any other reason and of course you have a blood test and you’re found to be deficient in vitamin D. In more severe cases somebody would find that they are suffering with bone pain, bone tenderness, they might even develop the bowing of the legs which is a characteristic of vitamin D deficiency and rickets. So I think nowadays certainly in general practice when somebody comes with those sorts of symptoms, vitamin D deficiency is very much on the radar and it’s something that we’re on the lookout for.

FISHER So it’s mainly diet and exposure to sunlight that are the best ways of curing a deficiency

DR HICKS Well really for somebody with a confirmed deficiency obviously we’ll give them vitamin D supplementation but for somebody to try and avoid deficiency in the first place, about 90% of the vitamin D that we get in the body is from exposure to sunlight and is manufactured in the skin. We can get it in foods but it’s much less that we get from foods. The balance of course has to be against not over doing it in the sun and not getting sun burnt so generally speaking the recommendation is about fifteen minutes on three days of the week throughout the spring and summer should be sufficient to gain the benefit of vitamin D production whist avoiding the risks of too much sun and UV exposure.

FISHER So are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiently the same symptoms for what we know as SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder?

DR HICKS Not specifically.  There’s a cross over in that obviously with Seasonal Affected Disorder and vitamin D deficiency people may describe tiredness and fatigue but generally with Seasonal Affective Disorder it’s more emotional symptoms, so people’s mood is low, they feel unhappy and depressed they find themselves over sleeping, over eating, that they are much less active, their concentration is poor, their mood may swing from anger to tearfulness for no apparent reason.  The thing with Seasonal Affective Disorder is that it is a specific type of depression that occurs at the same time of year.  So people will get into a pattern and they say, ‘well, every time that the days start to get short, every time of year, sort of October, November time I start to feel down and then come to January I really feel low’ and that’s one of the key ways of identifying Seasonal Affective Disorder, its’ the annual pattern of these symptoms.

FISHER I know you say exposure to sunlight but many of us that say who maybe commute and work on a working week may never see the sun.  We work in the dark we come home in the dark.  Is it UV lights are they the answer?

DR HICKS Well, one of the answers is simply to get out in the day time as much as you can during the winter.  So even if you are commuting in the dark then at lunch time maybe go out into the daylight.  If you can’t get outside, then sit near a window.  Certainly for those people who have Seasonal Affective Disorder then using light therapy seems to help a lot of people.  I think, obviously one of the things to overcome the winter blues is to have something, is to get outside, keep active, have a healthy diet but also plan things that you’ve got to look forward to.  So events where you can see friends and family and ideally those might be outdoor events.  Think about taking up a new hobby or planning a holiday and certainly Thomson have created the Sunshine Index which is available on their website for listeners to have a look at where you can actually see the countries where you’re more likely to be guaranteed good weather during the different seasons.  So we need sunshine, obviously we need it in moderation but a dose of sunshine is healthy for us, it helps lift our mood, it helps keep us active and it helps keep on top of stress.  The bottom line is, I think it’s fair to say, that the majority of us, if not all of us feel a lot happier with a little bit of sun.

FISHER I understand in some Scandinavian countries the health providers actually offer holidays to people with SAD.  Do you think that’s something the NHS should be considering?

DR HICKS Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do that at the NHS.  I think with the current financial challenges that the NHS are facing I can’t think that that’s on the immediate agenda but in the meantime that doesn’t mean that people can’t take their own steps to make sure that they either get a holiday or indeed get some sun exposure.  Simple activities like getting outside in the day time, sitting near a window for example but it would be really nice, I’d much rather write a prescription for a holiday than I would for other treatments.

FISHER So finally really, any top, quick tips on just how to make sure that you keep you vitamin D levels at a good level throughout these particularly dark times.

DR HICKS Yes.  Certainly get outside as much as you can.  Make sure your diet is rich in oily fish, eggs and cereals that are fortified with vitamin D.  You may want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement and if you feel that you may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency then have a chat with your doctor and ask about getting tested because if you are deficient then that could be corrected with supplement treatment and in the meantime, look forward to getting some sunshine, think about where you might want to go on holiday and lift spirits that way.

FISHER Dr Rob Hicks that’s great advice thanks very much indeed.

DR HICKS Thank you.

Alzheimer’s treatment in need of urgent overhaul according to new study

Alzheimer’s treatment in need of urgent overhaul according to new study


Breakthrough once-a-day drink for people with early Alzheimer’s disease

• Evidence shows unique dietary approach effective in early Alzheimer’s disease

• Research shows people with Alzheimer’s have low levels of certain nutrients needed to keep the brain healthy

• New product for the dietary management of early Alzheimer’s disease

A new medical nutrition product for the dietary management of early Alzheimer’s disease will be launched today in the UK after more than ten years of research and clinical trials that show it could have significant benefits for those diagnosed with early-stage disease.

Souvenaid (a 125ml once-daily drink) was developed by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and medical nutrition company Nutricia. It contains a unique combination of nutrients that are naturally present in food, at levels difficult to achieve from diet alone. This includes omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid, DHA; eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA), uridine (as uridine monophosphate, UMP) and choline, together with phospholipids and B vitamins.

Dementia affects over 800,000[i] people in the UK and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form. In an aging population, ministers and experts have acknowledged the need to diagnose people earlier, to help manage the symptoms and plan for the future.

The loss of connections in the brain (synapses) is one of the key features of early Alzheimer’s disease, and a combination of nutrients is required in the process of making new connections. People living with Alzheimer’s disease have been shown to have relatively low levels of these nutrients in their bodies, despite eating a normal diet.[ii],[iii],[iv],[v],[vi],[vii] This adds to a growing body of evidence that highlights how nutrition can help manage the disease, [viii],[ix],[x],[xi],[xii],[xiii] and, without consideration of its role, any advantage of diagnosing people earlier could be lost.

A recent survey of specialists involved in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease showed that only a third (33%) regularly assess nutritional status during the diagnostic process[xiv],[xv] and two-thirds do not even have access to a dietitian for people with early Alzheimer’s disease.

Often, after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, it can be difficult to stay positive, particularly when there has been no real innovation in the management of early Alzheimer’s disease in the last ten years. As such, Souvenaid offers a much needed new nutritional approach for people living with early Alzheimer’s disease.

NB. Souvenaid is a “Food for Special Medical Purposes”, for the dietary management of early Alzheimer’s disease. Foods for Special Medical Purposes should be used under medical supervision; people living with early Alzheimer’s disease must speak with their doctor, specialist nurse, dietitian or pharmacist to see if Souvenaid is right for them.

NB: several carer case studies are available through Dementia UK to talk about the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on families and people with the condition. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Notes for editors


• Designed to be taken daily.

• A food for special medical purposes and must be used under medical supervision.

• Available from 14 January 2013 in accredited pharmacies and online via <>

• Gluten and lactose free.


• A unique combination of nutrients including omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), uridine (as uridine monophosphate, UMP) and choline, together with phospholipids and B vitamins. Whilst such nutrients are naturally present in food, such levels are difficult to achieve from diet alone.

The safety and efficacy of Souvenaid has been studied in several clinical trials.7,[xvi],[xvii] A further study in prodromal (non-symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease), called the LipiDiDiet is currently underway. This trial is wholly funded by the European Union.[xviii]

About Nutricia

Nutricia is the leading medical nutrition company in Europe. It is part of Danone, one of the fastest growing food and nutrition companies in the world. Nutricia aims to bring health through medical nutrition to those people who most need it, focusing on people with disease or age-related nutritional needs. Nutricia has an extensive portfolio of products and services, catering from nutritional needs in metabolic conditions such as phenylketonuria (PKU), to non-metabolic conditions such as allergy and epilepsy, to disease related malnutrition and frailty. Through its Homeward service and 100 dedicated nurses, Nutricia supports over 20,000 patients in the UK who require enteral nutrition (tube feeding) support in their own homes.


[i]. Alzheimer’s Society. Statistics [Online]

[ii]. Jicha GA, Markesbery WR. Omega-3 fatty acids: potential role in the management of early Alzheimer’s disease. Clin Interv Aging.


[iii]. Smach MA, Jacob N, Golmard J-L, et al. Folate and homocysteine in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer’s disease or

dementia: a case control study. Eur. Neurol. 2011;65(5):270–278.

[iv]. Glasø M, Nordbø G, Diep L, Bøhmer T. Reduced concentrations of several vitamins in normal weight patients with late-onset dementia of

the Alzheimer type without vascular disease. J Nutr Health Aging. 2004;8(5):407–413.

[v]. Lopes da Silva S, Elemans S, Stijnen T, Vellas B, Luchsinger J, Kamphuis P et al. Plasma nutrient status of Alzheimer’s disease patients

compared to cognitive intact elderly controls; a systematic review and meta-analysis. Alzheimers Dement 2012; 8(4):Supple 2 216

[vi]. Sijben J, Olde Rikkert MG, Scheltens P, van Hees AMJ, Groenendijk M, Kamphuis P. Different nutritional status in patients with mild

Alzheimer’s disease compared to healthy controls. Eur J Neurol 2012;in press

[vii]. Scheltens P, Twisk JW, Blesa R, et al. Efficacy of souvenaid in mild Alzheimer’s disease: results from a randomized, controlled trial. J

Alzheimers Dis. 2012;31:225-36.

[viii]. Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL, et al. Consumption of fish and n-3 fatty acids and risk of incident Alzheimer disease. Arch. Neurol. 2003;


[ix]. Sydenham E, Dangour AD, Lim W-S. Omega 3 fatty acid for the prevention of cognitive decline and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst

Rev. 2012; 6:CD005379.

[x]. Gu Y, Nieves JW, Stern Y, Luchsinger JA, Scarmeas N. Food combination and Alzheimer disease risk: a protective diet. Arch. Neurol.

2010; 67(6):699–706.

[xi]. Zandi PP, Anthony JC, Khachaturian AS, et al. Reduced risk of Alzheimer disease in users of antioxidant vitamin supplements: the Cache

County Study. Arch. Neurol. 2004; 61(1):82–88.

[xii]. Quadri P, Fragiacomo C, Pezzati R, et al. Homocysteine, folate, and vitamin B-12 in mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer disease, and

vascular dementia. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2004; 80(1):114–122.

[xiii]. Sachdev PS. Homocysteine and brain atrophy. Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry. 2005; 29(7):1152–1161.

[xiv]. 100 specialists were surveyed online. Fieldwork was commissioned by Nutricia Ltd and conducted by MedeConnect Healthcare Insight 2–

16 November 2012.

[xv] Bajwa, J, Coleman, G, Lawton, M. The importance of nutrition in the management of early Alzheimer’s disease. 2013,

Supported by Nutricia Advanced Medical

[xvi]. Scheltens P, Kamphuis PJ, Verhey F, et al. Efficacy of a medical food in mild Alzheimer’s Disease: a randomized controlled trial.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia. 2010;6:1-10

[xvii]. Shah R et al. Souvenaid® as an add-on intervention in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease using Alzheimer’s disease

medication: results from a randomized, controlled, double-blind study (S-Connect) . CTAD, San Diego, November 2011; J Nutr Health

Aging (Nov suppl.).

[xviii]. European Commission website. LipiDiDiet: [Accessed December 2012].

Could your negative ‘fat talk’ sabotage your weight loss dream for another year?

Read our exclusive interview with Anna Richardson a (Journalist, TV Presenter) and Janet Thomson (a positive attitude expert and author of Think More Eat Less) who tell us a bit about recent research into dieting.

As millions of women embark on a New Year Diet, new research shows they could be setting themselves up for failure by describing themselves as fat, heavy and chubby

Women should cut out the negative “fat talk” if they want to successfully lose weight in 2013, a new report has revealed.
With millions of women now a week into their annual New Year diets, most will be focusing on their food and calorie intake and new exercise regimes, but how many of us will take into consideration the impact negative thinking and ‘fat talk’ has on our success or lack of?
Health and nutrition experts are now of the opinion that it’s not just ‘you are what you eat’ but ‘you are what you think’, when it comes to successful weight loss. That means if you constantly describe yourself as fat, heavy and overweight, have a negative self image and are not convinced your dieting will make any difference, then you are wiring your brain to keep you stuck in a weight-rut.
According to the study released today, eight in ten women believed a positive attitude is the key to losing weight even though over half of women said when starting a diet they are more likely to be self critical and use words such as “fat”.
The research revealed over two thirds of women use the word “fat” to describe an area of their body although six in ten say it makes them feel more negative about themselves than more positive words such as “curvy”. Furthermore, only a third of women actually start a diet believing they will lose weight and three quarters have daily negative thoughts about their body. However, over two thirds of women said when they have successfully lost weight in the past they have had a positive attitude and “talked themselves up”.
Four in ten said they talked more negatively about their body when they were with friends with a quarter admitting these open ”flaw exposing” conversations bring them down. However four in ten women said they felt more motivated if a friend had lost weight or had a more positive attitude to their body. Almost half of women surveyed by Special K said words such as beautiful, gorgeous and sexy made them feel most positive about themselves and a quarter said being described as a “real woman” made them feel good.
So if you’re determined to get into shape this year, have you considered how your attitude could be the key factor? And if you’re constantly focusing on what you need to lose and not what you will gain, are you keeping yourself stuck in the never-ending diet trap for years to come?
Teekshana Smith interviewed Richardson and Thomson on behalf of PatientTalk.

Teekshana Smith: Welcome to Patient Talk. As millions of women embark on their New Year diets, new research shows that they could be setting themselves up for failure, by describing themselves as fat, heavy and chubby. Joining me today is Anna Richardson, journalist and TV presenter and Janet Thompson who is a positive attitude expert and author of ‘Think More, Eat Less.’ Welcome! To start first, can you tell us a little bit more about the study and how it was conducted?
Anna Richardson: Well this is a really fascinating study that’s come out through Special K and they did a national survey of women. Just looking at how a positive attitude can positively affect their weight loss and this is really what we are talking about today is actually the fact that the secret to losing weight all starts in the mind. Now here’s a couple of very interesting statistics, according to the survey over 70% of women they spoke to use the word fat to describe their body which is immediately a very negative connotation with actually who you are and what you are about and then just 34% of women who start a diet think they are going to successfully lose that weight. Now, this is the point, if you start off thinking you are going to fail, you will fail and this is, in a sense, what Janet and I are trying to talk about today is the fact that if you want to make a change in your life, whatever that change may be but particularly with weight loss you have to truly believe that you are going to be able to do it in order to effect that change.
Teekshana Smith: In particular a lot of the audience from Patient Talk felt that losing weight is one thing separately to completely keeping it off. Is that something you found?
Janet Thompson: Yes it is and the problem with that is that it is seen a bit like a course of antibiotics that you go on and you feel better so you come off because you’re cured and that’s how some people view the whole concept of a diet. In reality the word diet just means what you eat so all of us that eat are on a diet and when we’ve had experiences of restricted diets we make negative associations. So if you’ve been on a restrictive diet and you’ve not been allowed this and you’ve not had your favourite foods and you’ve not eaten enough because you’ve been hungry and you’ve constantly craved things and you’ve had to eat differently to the people around you, that’s a lot of negative association. So when you then try and do another diet your brain automatically says, hang on a minute, we’ve done this before, it was really unpleasant, we didn’t like it and look what happened, in the end we regained the weight anyway. So it will try and self-sabotage. So you get this cycle of dieting, losing weight, big sigh of relief, back to normal, etc. You know, I did a television programme last year about weight loss and at the end of filming one of the girls who had been working with the personal trainer at the end of filming and she’d lost lots of weight. Literality ran over to the food bar and stuffed her face with cakes because filming had stopped and that was the mind-set, I can do it for this long but I can’t sustain this as a long term lifetime choice. So we have to stop thinking about it as a course of antibiotics, it’s not something you do short term that clears the infection and then it makes you better and stays away. It’s about making changes that are sustainable and that might well mean a slower rate of weight loss but you have to get over that, that’s a good thing because if you are doing something that is not negative, that doesn’t make you feel bad, that is bringing positive results then you are going to be able to sustain it without any effort at all. No need for willpower, overcoming anything, you know making big heroic changes you are just doing stuff that isn’t difficult to do.
Teekshana Smith: I know that the survey was about women but do you think this negative talk is also potentially affecting men or is it just women because we discuss it more openly?
Anna Richardson: Oh of course it affects men as well. Essentially what we are talking about here is the brain. So anybody that actually thinks and has a mind. It’s going to apply to them so that is the entire population. So yes, man, woman you know, beast or fowl it is going to apply to them. If you think that you are going to fail at something, then you will.
Teekshana Smith: Would you say that’s the same for exercise?
Anna Richardson: When you say, is that the same for exercise in terms of sticking to it and you know, going into a gym all guns blazing and giving up a week later?
Teekshana Smith: Yes, exactly.
Anna Richardson: Well I think, well I’m quite passionate about this because I see it all the time on Secret Eaters and the other diet shows that I’ve worked on. People tend to try and substitute healthy eating with exercise and then they get really, really frustrated because they go to the gym five times a week, hammer away at it and then they can’t understand why they’re not losing any weight. In fact I had somebody recently on Secret Eaters, really fit girl she was a marathon runner this girl but she was overweight and she couldn’t understand why. And we secretly filmed her going for a run, she went for a 10k run, she came back into the house and she said I’ve just been running for two hours and I’ve burned up 1260 calories on that run and we then showed her the evidence of what she ate immediately after that 10k run and it turned out that she ate 1600 calories after it, so it completely negated everything that she’d just done by going out for two hours, slogging away, she even admitted she didn’t particularly enjoy doing this, she saw it as a kind of punishment, a kind of way of controlling her body. So really people substitute healthy eating for exercise and the two should kind of go hand in hand. You cannot lose weight going to the gym if you’re not addressing your diet in the first place so really it should be symbiotic.
Teekshana Smith: How would you describe the best way of controlling your diet or what healthy eating plan would you recommend?
Anna Richardson: Well really what I recommend, what worked for me and literally having tried every diet going professionally nothing worked for me until I went for one session of hypnosis and that changed my mind set. So in a sense it’s not even about recommending what diet to go on because all diets if you like succeed in that they are all about calorie deficit. Where you have to start is with yourself and with your own mind set and if you have the correct mind set then you will succeed at whatever eating plan you choose to go on. Don’t you think that’s right Janet?

Janet Thompson: Absolutely yeah and we have nutritional requirements, we need carbohydrates for energy, we need protein for growth and repair and we need fat for energy and for cell structure so we need all of these things. And any of these extreme diets that prohibit or drastically restrict any one of those are potentially harmful. And the problem is that people are looking for the next quick fix, the next miracle cure. We already know what we should be eating, we’re just eating too much of it.
Teekshana Smith: And on that note, what would you say to maybe missing out a meal or some of those new crazes about fasting for a few days. Is that not really a good idea?
Anna Richardson: Janet and I were talking about this earlier on because it is such a craze at the moment and I don’t know whether we differ a little bit on this. I mean the way that I would look at this is that any diet, as long as it’s a healthy diet, any diet that creates a calorie deficit is going to work. And intermittent fasting is simply about overall reducing your calories, it’s just a kind of new, unique way at looking at it and doing that. What do you think about it Janet?
Janet Thompson: Well I think we have to take for example the case of smoking. If you just said to somebody don’t smoke on a Monday, a Wednesday and a Friday and you’ll be a non-smoker then that wouldn’t make them a non-smoker and so what we have to do, if you want to stop smoking, you’ve got to get your head around the fact that you don’t smoke any more. You are a non-smoker; your identity is I am a non-smoker. So when you’re looking at food if your identity becomes I am a healthy eater, even healthy eaters have chocolate sometimes; even a healthy eater will have a crème Brule for pudding. They just don’t do it every day. So for me it’s more about getting in a mind-set that you can sustain every day without effort and I know certainly I wouldn’t want to fast for two days a week because I love my food. I absolutely love it, but I am in control of it enough to know, I’ve just had within a ten day period Christmas, New Year, my birthday and my partner’s birthday so I’ve done my share of over eating and I get it that now for a while I’ve got to eat a little bit less and probably move a little bit more to not have that muffin top that I really don’t want. It’s about doing things that I can sustain every day so that that becomes my default setting.
Teekshana Smith: I think that’s completely correct. So the basic message of this is to completely get in the right mind set to then be able to achieve the goals
Janet Thompson: Yeah the principle is, if you want to change your body, you have to change your mind.
Teekshana Smith: Where can our audiences go to find out a bit more information about the survey and everything we’ve discussed today?
Anna Richardson: There’s a fantastic website which is a great resource: which is free and it is just full of tons of information to set you on the right path in terms of positive thinking and how to make those positive changes for positive weight loss.
Teekshana Smith: Well thank you both of you very much for your time today. Thank you for listening to PatientTalk.

You can listen to an interview of Smith interviewing Anna Richardson and Janet Thompson here Podcast:

Postnatal Depression – Watch our WebTV show to learn how to spot the warning signs in yourself and others


Postnatal depression is a spectrum which can be as mild as “baby blues”- weeping for several days after childbirth, to at the other end – puerperal psychosis, which can manifest in delusions, hallucinations and impulses to hurt the baby or the belief that there is something wrong with it. In the middle of these two extremes is what the majority of new mothers experience at some point; profound lows, as they struggle to deal with the new challenges that life as a mother presents.

Earlier this year, the Government announced more NHS help for women with postnatal depression to the tune of £400m, recruiting more health visitors across the country who will be trained to spot the early signs of postnatal depression. This means that for the first time, there will be more focus on the emotional wellbeing of the entire family, not just concentrating on the practical ins and outs of looking after the baby. But is this enough?

With statistics suggesting that roughly a quarter of women experience depression in the first year after childbirth, experts believe that the true figures are probably far greater, as postnatal depression is often misdiagnosed or missed. The most important thing is to be to able to recognise the symptoms in yourself, spot the warning signs in others and not to feel alone or that you are failing as a parent.

Health & Wellbeing mutual, Benenden Healthcare Society has acknowledged this issue and are inviting you to take part in a discussion on the issues surrounding PND. Joining us in a live and interactive WebTV on 20th December at 1pm are Liz Wise from The Ceder House support group and The Association of Postnatal Depression Committee and Natalie Ellis from