Case Study: Exhausted, stressed and fed-up

Meet Laura: Laura (not her real name) is a 45-year old mum of two teenagers. She has a part-time office job, runs a household, providing for her family, and a busy social life. She runs at least twice a week and takes a yoga class once a week. Laura is slim and reasonably fit, however she has noticed that a ‘muffin top’ had crept up on her in the last couple of years. There is an annoying spare tyre that didn’t used to be there and that she has been unable to shift.

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Laura doesn’t sleep well and consequently feels tired during the day, now and then injecting some energy with tea, coffee and sugary snacks. She is well aware that her diet is to blame for the extra fat that has accumulated above her waistband, but she just craves sugar and knows that another biscuit will keep her going for another little while. It’s just so hard to resist!

Her job can be very stressful and of late, Laura has noticed that she struggles to concentrate and that she doesn’t handle stress well anymore. She often feels tearful at work, a fact she feels embarrassed about, stressing her out even more. At home, it doesn’t take much for her children or husband to irritate her, and she finds herself snapping at them for the slightest thing. As if that wasn’t enough, the PMS symptoms she experiences each month amplify all of these issues even more.

When Laura gave me a call, she was exhausted, stressed and fed-up and determined to do something about it.

It was weight loss that Laura enquired about. Even though she is not overweight, she felt uncomfortable as her figure had changed. She was conscious of her tummy during her weekly yoga class and it wasn’t just the extra weight she had put on, but bloating, too, which could sometimes get in the way of certain yoga poses. So, that was what she was looking to change.

My zest4life Weight Loss Programmes are based on Patrick Holford’s low-GL diet. Balancing blood sugar is central to it, and explaining how to achieve that is always the first step when I start working with a new client. In further sessions, I support them through the transition to a new way of eating, tackle any roadblocks that might arise, and address individual health issues as necessary. It is this part that sets working with a nutritional therapist for weight loss far apart from joining a slimming club or following a book by yourself. We can see what does and doesn’t work for you, can tweak your diet to suit your personal requirements, and even arrange certain tests if progress stalls without any obvious reason.

Laura’s first week was tough: She endured three days of headaches, caused by caffeine withdrawal, closely followed by a couple of days of lower back pain. We were in touch via email and I reassured here that these were most likely detox symptoms, which should subside within a few days, and they did. On the plus side: Her sleep improved, resulting in her having more energy during the day.

I always see Laura first thing in the morning, and ever since her second appointment, she is practically skipping into clinic. Once she was over the withdrawal, her cravings had gone, which made not reaching for sugary snacks easier than she had thought possible, no willpower required.

She also noticed early on that she had become much more resilient to the stresses at work. Her job and the challenges it brought had not changed at all, but she found that she could handle it much better now, tears were a thing of the past. Needless to say, there was no snapping at family members anymore either.

By week 4, Laura had lost an inch off her waist and 6lbs in weight. That’s a fairly good and healthy rate of weight loss, nearly all of it fat as opposed to muscle. Laura’s metabolic age, which had been 43 at the start, had dropped to just 36. The metabolic age is an indicator of how well our body uses energy. As we age, we utilise calories less efficiently, the basal metabolic rate drops. Muscle, which burns energy at rest (fat doesn’t) helps increase the metabolic rate. Ideally, the metabolic age should be the same or less as the actual age. Laura was quite thrilled about her result.

But there was more: Laura had been constipated. She used to go to the bathroom only every 2-3 days. As she had never known it to be different all through her life, she thought that that was just the way her body worked. Now, however, Laura is quite regular, going to the bathroom every day and delighted about how much better she feels for it. Her bloating, too, has subsided, and she no longer feels self-conscious at yoga practice.

In week 5, Laura reported that she used to have another digestive symptom: a gurgling tummy. Again, this was something that she had lived with for her entire life, and she never thought that it would be something she could lose. But now she has.

The only thing left to tackle now are her PMS symptoms. Although she says that this month has been much easier, she could still tell that her period was coming on. But we are not finished yet, and Laura has come a long way. We’ll monitor her PMS symptoms next month and if not resolved, we will further investigate. We are not done.

Does Laura’s story sound familiar? Is this how you feel? Is your life quite similar and beginning to take it’s toll on you? As Laura’s story shows, it doesn’t have to be that way. And that best thing: It doesn’t even take long! You can experience a noticeable difference in how you are feeling in just three weeks.

Click the button below to download a short questionnaire. You’ll see that the scores should be 14 or less/16 or less. When we started out Laura scored 44/47. I have no doubt that she will reach the target scores when she finishes the programme.


If you are experiencing hormonal balances and would like to learn more about hormones and how you can get on top of them (because you can!), join me for my talk in Leigh-on-Sea on Thursday, 18 May. Click here for details and tickets.