Category Archives: Health

Health is closely related to beauty – if you look healthy you generally look good as well as feeling good.

Intermittent Fasting

Carrying More Pounds Than I Have To

I’m at that age where I need to be careful about a lot of things I never used to give a second thought to. Well into my forties I had little to worry about with my weight. But since then I have found that left to itself, my stomach indulges in what used to be called middle aged spread. This bothers me mainly because my self image is someone who is thin. And indeed most of the rest of me is indeed thin. If my stomach expands it is all the more noticeable.

More seriously, having a high BMI increases the risk of a number of health conditions that I still don’t really believe should apply to me. Sadly they do. And on top of that carting extra kilograms around is unnecessary work, and I don’t have the energy to waste any more.

I found a pretty good solution in the form of intermittent fasting. I went for the 5/2 option. I choose to eat only 600 calories on Mondays and Fridays. This pretty much got my BMI back into the NHS’s approved range for my height and age, and I felt generally better too. So that was a good result. It wasn’t too difficult to implement either. I could get to mid afternoon on most fast days hardly noticing I was doing it. It was more difficult in the evening though, and I breached the 600 calory limit reasonably often. But overall it was working for me and I was keeping to it.

Then came the COVID lockdown, which required me to work in my kitchen a lot. This clearly was going to make it more difficult to fast. I have a reasonable level of willpower, but not enough to cope with a nearby fridge and larder for hours on end. So I just gave up for the duration of the pandemic. I could, after all, go back to my old habits when the crisis was over.

But now we are approaching the one year mark I am beginning to realise just how bad a state I have got into. I have put on 10Kg and my weight is categorised as obese by the NHS. I don’t look it, but I know I am. I have also found my energy and concentration levels plummeting. Included in this is a loss of willpower.

We tend to think of willpower as a personality trait. But in reality it is more like a muscle. You can strengthen it a bit with exercise, but you really need the energy behind it if you want to do anything with it. I am seriously doubting that I any longer have the ability to follow my intermittent fasting regime. So what to do?

I did a bit of inadvertent research over Christmas. Due to circumstances I found myself having to move a lot of stuff out of our shop in a very limited timescale. I managed this, and to my surprise I found that when I had finished rather than being exhausted – as I had expected – I was actually more energetic than I had been for many months. Thinking it over, I realised that the physical activity combined with the tight time schedule had greatly reduced my snacking. Was there something in this?

I realised that I had been doing a less formal version of intermittent fasting. Skipping a few meals and not snacking was quite close to what is often called 16/8 fasting – only eating in an 8 hour window. The prospect of going all day without food seemed too daunting. But basically just skipping breakfast until 12 seemed doable. (I have never eaten after 8:00pm, so that was all I needed to do to get to 16 hours.)

So I gave it a try. I found that it wasn’t too difficult. In fact it was easy to skip not only breakfast, but lunch as well. As I write this, I have got through a week only eating between 5:00pm and 8:00pm. This is a very extreme sounding 21/3 pattern. I have lost an astonishing 3Kg in 8 days. I obviously won’t keep up that rate of weight loss. I don’t think even hunger strikers would generally shed pounds at that rate. It isn’t remotely sensible to lose weight that quickly anyway, but I suspect that each successive kilogram will take longer to shift.

I am going to keep up my new regime for a while and see where it takes me. If it proves interesting, I’ll post my findings.

What You Need To Know About Hand Sanitisers

Image result for hand sanitiser

There isn’t anything that really beats old fashioned soap and water for keeping your skin clean and clear of bacteria. This is comforting information. We’ve all got soap to hand so we can at least keep ourselves germ free at home. Soap has a double effect. Its cleaning action removes the invisible droplets that might contain infective material. Its high pH and disruptive effect on membranes put stress on microbes – killing or at least weakening them. This isn’t instantaneous: the medical profession recommend a 20 second contact time. Hands need to be kept clean to stop them transferring contamination to other parts of your body. So make sure that the whole hand gets the treatment. Pay attention the backs of the hands, the areas between your fingers and most importantly of all the space between your finger nails and the tips of your fingers.

Are Floral Waters A Health Hazard?

Are Floral Waters A Health Hazard?

Are Floral Waters A Health Hazard?

I think this is a universal truth, but it is certainly true in labs.  The most stressful role is middle management.  I enjoyed my time as a bench chemist doing the actual work.  I enjoy supervising projects at a higher level.  But most of my bad memories of my career are when I was in between – managing  a team but reporting to senior management.  Continue reading

Are Other People’s Perfumes A Problem?

There is an article I have seen posted on Facebook a couple of times that highlights the health risks of synthetic fragrance ingredients. I won’t link to it, but if I am seeing it there is a good chance you will have seen it too. The thesis it proposes is that synthetic chemicals in fragrances are toxic and might be dangerous to people who inhale them in public places, even if they aren’t actually wearing the fragrance themselves. Continue reading

Cannabidiol (CBD) In Skincare

Fashions come and go in the cosmetics and personal care world, and everyone is keen to be on the latest trend as soon as possible. The latest buzzy thing seems to be Cannabidiol or CBD. This has an interesting background, being a derivative of hemp which is also the source of cannabis – which has been a popular if illegal recreational pharmaceutical since the sixties. So CBD comes with ready made notoriety. But it is currently being sold not as a gateway into a counter culture, or even as an aid to relaxation, but as a substance with health benefits. Continue reading

Flawless Beauty, LLC Issues Voluntary Recall of Unapproved Drugs

what is the difference between a drug and a cosmetic

What is the difference between a drug and a Cosmetic?

The simple answer is it depends on the claims you make for it.  So if you sell a shampoo to treat dandruff, it is a cosmetic.  If you say it cures psoriasis then that makes it a medicine.  The more complicated answer is that if you present a product in such a way as it seems to be making medical claims then there is a good chance that the regulators will take notice and take action.  This rule is pretty much a universal one.  There are differences from market to market on just what will trigger off an enforcement, but the principle is always the same. Continue reading

What Do All These Labels Mean?

We now live in a world where information is freely available in quantities much greater than we can possibly need. But information is not knowledge. Knowing facts isn’t much use without the knowledge of how to use them. A story I came across made this clear to me.  A gentleman had bought a deodorant specifically because it had a big ‘alcohol free’ splash on the pack, and he reacts to alcohol. But in fact he still had very bad reaction to the product. When he looked at the ingredient list he noticed it contained benzyl alcohol. So, he concluded, the product was not alcohol free at all! Continue reading

Rosemary Water – Is It Good For You?

I am not religious, but I was struck once by something a Catholic priest said on the radio.  He was talking about a seminar they had just had on morality.  “It’s easy to agree on principles.  The arguments start when you get into the details.”  Well I don’t know about morals, but that is certainly true when it comes to cosmetic claims.  The principle is pretty simple.  You are only allowed to sell your product on the basis of legal, decent and truthful declarations.  No argument there.  The problems start when you actually start making those claims. Continue reading

Why You Shouldn’t Use A High SPF Moisturiser

use low spf for anti aging

Glorious as it is, the Sun is the skin’s worse enemy.

There is no doubt about it. The biggest thing that makes your skin look old is sunlight. There is plenty of academic backup for this suggestion, but most of us can prove it simply by looking at ourselves. Areas of skin that are routinely exposed to light always look older than parts that don’t. In my case I have the habit of rolling my sleeves up in summer and the skin just below the join is rougher, darker and more hairy than above. Continue reading

Grey Hair Gene

Grey Hair Gene

Grey hair may not be inevitable in the future

Grey hair is something we can all look forward to.  That the genes have something to do with it is pretty clear.  Some people go grey in their twenties – a few put it off until their fifties or even later.  And it is very rare that someone goes grey and then turns back again.  So it is a pretty safe bet that this is not strongly an environmental thing.   Continue reading