Good health’s not just for January, it’s for life!

Laura Dowling

Laura, Supervising Pharmacist Manager, Stillorgan

New year, new you! …. Screams every second Facebook post and magazine article that I have read over the past couple of weeks. The post-Christmas bulge and general feeling of guilt after a month (or more!) of over indulgence during the silly season generally encourages people to jump on the health bandwagon. Dry January, gym memberships and dieting can all contribute to a healthier lifestyle but a proper understanding of nutrition and portion sizes can lead to a healthier you for life.

Here at LloydsPharmacy we can help you to achieve your health goals with nutrition and exercise advice as well as taking regular measurements of your weight, waist circumference and upper arm. We can guide you through our eight week programme with enthusiasm and understanding. But our aim is to ultimately arm you with the tools that will help you to carry on with your new, healthy lifestyle for the months and years beyond our programme.

We will encourage you to set realistic goals when it comes to weight loss. Most calorie restrictive diets flounder after five weeks as calorie restriction in the long term is very unachievable. Life just tends to get in the way! Nights out, weddings and parties often end up with our patients falling off the weight loss wagon. Sometimes people just find it too difficult to get back on it again and they are plagued with feelings of guilt and self-loathing which in turn can lead to more overeating.

I always give my patients the following tips:

  • Meal planning and preparation with lots of vegetables, whole grains and lean meats is so important. It prevents you from overeating the wrong kids of foods when you are very hungry.
  • Experiment with new recipes: herbs and spices add delicious flavours to food, chickpeas are nourishing, very versatile, cheap and so easy to add to recipes.
  • Alcohol provides empty calories that does not satiate and often causes overeating, so limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Correct weight loss involves 80% diet and 20% exercise. Pounding away in the gym is of little benefit if your diet is not healthy and portion controlled.
  • Portion size is so important. The correct portion size for rice, pasta and potatoes is the cooked amount that would fit in the palm of your hand. This is considerably less than the large platefuls of pasta that we have become used to eating. You can bulk up your plate with fresh veggies and salads to satiate your appetite and fill your belly!
  • Increase your activity levels. Get your heart rate going and break a sweat! For some this can be as simple as a 20 minute brisk walk every day. You will achieve your weight loss goal quicker and healthier if you do this.
  • Focus on inches lost rather than kilograms/ pounds lost.

The ‘feel good’ factor of living a healthier life should not be underestimated.  A healthy lifestyle can lead to elevated mood, increased energy levels and libido. Clothes will fit you better and you will look much better too. The health benefits are numerous:  lower blood pressure, less likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol, lower incidences of depression and anxiety… the list goes on.

Vitamin and mineral supplements can really help you to achieve your goals too, especially in the first few weeks of the program. They can boost your energy levels (Revive Active, Quinton Cell Nutrition, Oxylent), decrease your sugar cravings (Miss Fit Crave, Pharma Nord Chromium) and help to increase your overall feeling of wellbeing. A good Vitamin D supplement can also help with mood elevation as we definitely do not get enough sun in this dreary part of the world, especially during these cold and dark winter months.

I will end by reassuring you that everyone falls off the wagon at some stage. At LloydsPharmacy we are here to help you to get back up onto it. We don’t judge, we just offer sound advice and empathetic encouragement. Good luck!

Laura Dowling is the Supervising Pharmacist Manager at LloydsPharmacy in Stillorgan Shopping centre.  She is a health and wellbeing enthusiast and mum to three young boys.


What is ‘Change Your Health Direction’?

Lisa Walsh Headshot Corporate

Lisa Walsh
Life Coach and Training Specialist for LloydsPharmacy

Change Your Health Direction (CYHD) is a FREE 8-week programme offering you the opportunity to visit your local LloydsPharmacy, where one of our trained in-store coaches will speak with you on a weekly basis about your health goals. Our instore health advisory services include smoking control support, blood pressure and BMI checks, weight management diary, lifestyle and health coaching sessions. 

The New Year is a wonderful opportunity for us all to align our health goals and lifestyle habits to keep us on track with everyday healthy living and wellbeing practices. Rather than taking something away from your life as a resolution, I love to ‘take on’. This year I am taking on healthy habits that will improve my lifestyle and wellbeing.

So I am super excited to be part of the ‘Change Your Health Direction’ 8 week programme. What I adore about CYHD is that it gives me 8 weeks to monitor the healthy habits I wish to commit to with the support of a Health Coach in my local LloydsPharmacy and it’s for FREE! Yes, I can have a one-to one mini consultation session with the CYHD coach on a weekly basis all for free!

After the Christmas eating, TV watching and couch cuddling, I am ready to increase my exercise levels again, monitor my immune system, care for my skin more and focus on eating a balanced nutritious diet.  The first step is to meet with my LloydsPharmacy Health Coach and set realistic achievable goals. I can’t wait to ‘take on’ the CYHD programme.

Small changes can make a big difference. Whatever change you choose to ‘take on’ your LloydsPharmacy Health Coach is there to support you as you introduce healthier habits into your lifestyle.

Happy New Year to you all and best of luck with whatever you choose to “take on” for 2018.


Welcome to our Smoking Control Quitters’ Blog!

Hi everyone. My name is Naomi and I’m the Health Strategy Manager here at naomiLloydsPharmacy Ireland.  I’m delighted to kick off the first post in our Quitters’ Blog, in line with the launch of our Smoking Control Service.  I and some fellow quitters have nervously agreed to share our quitting journey with you this January, hopefully giving you some inspiration to quit the habit yourself or offer some moral support in your efforts to give up smoking too.  By following along on our paths, maybe you’ll find something in common with us that will help you…

Before I introduce you to my fellow quitters, let me give you a quick run-down of my smoking story.  Today is my first day off the dreaded cigarettes and I’m just about holding it together!

I started smoking as a teenager so at 33 years of age, I am now smoking almost 20 years – that fact alone scared me into seriously considering giving up.  I was once a ‘social smoker’ but in recent years as work got busier and life got more stressful, it quickly turned into a way of relieving tension and worry.  I have never genuinely wanted to give up before now.  I like smoking.  I like the way it makes me feel and the relief and satisfaction I get from it.  I have no children and no pets so who am I giving up for?  Well, it’s for my friends and my family.  I’m one of very few smokers amongst my friends and I know they all hate it.  A close friend was touched by cancer last year and I know it kills her to think of something happening to me.  My father has also suffered from lung cancer in the past so it’s really important to me that I give my family one less reason to worry about me (I give them plenty of stress already!).

The cigarette I’ll miss most is first thing in the morning with my first cup of tea and I know I’ll find it difficult in the car on long journeys.  I’m also very worried about weight-gain, having lost two stone last year.  So my tactic is going to be use of a nicotine inhaler, along with increasing my level of exercise and eating lots and lots of chilli to boost my metabolism.  Apparently sucking on Fisherman’s Friends has worked well for others so I’m going to try that too!  My boyfriend and my friend are quitting with me so I’m hoping their support will help too.

So, I’ll keep you updated over the coming weeks and months to let you know how I’m getting on.  My fellow bloggers will be doing the same and we’re all committed to keeping this honest and realistic.  If we mess up, we’ll tell you!  Because that’s life, isn’t it?!  Let me introduce you to the folks you’ll be hearing from next.  We really hope our experience helps you in your fight!

Alison is the manager of our branch in Raheny and today is her first day quitting too:

‘I’m 31 years old and I’ve been working in Raheny almost a year and have been working in alison cropthe company the last 12 years. I’ve been smoking almost 16 years, usually 20 a day. The cigarette I will probably miss the most is my lunchtime one…  just after eating! My plan is to go for a walk on my lunch to try to avoid missing the cigarette and eating too much!! The reasons for wanting to give up are:

Money – on an average month I am spending €300 – I’m in my own house the last 5 years and I keep thinking what I could have done with the money had it been put into my home!!

Health – I feel like it’s finally taking its toll on my health… also my features have started to change…stains on my teeth, skin has grey tone etc. etc..!!

My daughter – she is now 3 years old and I hate that she knows that when mum is going out the back garden she’s having a dirty cigarette! It would kill me if she grew up to be a smoker just because she had seen me doing it all her life.

My partner – he has never smoked and hates that I do! He is really into his fitness and it’s something that I would like the two of us to do together!

I’m giving up on 13th January, after my holidays. Wish me luck!’

Ciara is 25 and is one of our sales assistants also from our Raheny branch:

‘I’ve been smoking since I was 14 years. I was off them once before for two months and went back on them; I smoke twice as much now. ciara

I would smoke ten cigarettes a day, sometimes more if I’m on a night out. I really want to give them up.

Here are my two main reasons why:

  1. To improve my health. I suffer really badly with my stomach and heartburn so smoking could be the main reason for this.
  2. To save money. The amount of money I spend on smokes is ridiculous! I could have myself a nice car or a holiday.

I will miss the morning smoke break in work and a smoke after my dinner with a cup of tea 🙂 But the hardest will be when I go out drinking!!

I’m going to use the nicotine inhaler to help me and join the gym to get fit and healthy.

Here’s to 2014 and a new me 🙂 ’

Kayleigh also works in our Raheny branch as a sales assistant:

‘I’ve been smoking the past 5 years since I was 15. I was off them for a few months but it didn’t work out and I went back on them. I would smoke ten a day and on a night out I kaywould smoke a full box. The reasons why I want to stop is I’m sick of coughing all the time and having a sore throat.  The 2nd reason is the money I spend is ridiculous. It kills me having to hand over a tenner every second day. I want be fitter and not be out of breath when I go up and down the stairs. I’m going to go cold I believe it’s all in your head if you want to stop you will 🙂

The thing I’ll miss the most is going to be the first smoke in the morning with a cup of tea or a smoke after my dinner. I think I’m going to find it very hard when I’m on a night out with all my friends as they all smoke and that’s where we would spend most of the night.

I really hope cold turkey works and I have the will power to say no 🙂 ’

Lyndsey is the manager of our branch on Main St., Blanchardstown:

‘I’m 27 years old and I’ve been smoking more than 10 years.  There are two main reasons I want to give up:lyns

  1. Like everyone, I need to start saving money; when I add it up, the money that I’ve been wasting on smoking is scary.
  2. My hubby is a real anti-smoker and I’d love to have another baby but the deal is that I’ve to be off them for 3 months before we can plan to have another child, which is fair I suppose as if the shoe was on the other foot I’d be the same.

I think I’m going to miss the morning smoke the most more as there’s nothing like a cup of tea and a smoke while driving to work with no kids in the car and the radio on full 🙂

I think I’ll find getting used to not needing/wanting the smokes as the hardest part, like before you leave the house it’s Keys…Phone…Purse…and then Smokes.  I’ve decided to use nicotine patches to help me quit.

So here’s to a smoke free 2014 with more money in my pocket and more kids under my roof 🙂 ’

And finally, we’re delighted one of our customers David has also agreed to share his journey with you:

‘OK here’s my smoking life story. I’m 33 years old and have been smoking on and off for about 20 years. I smoke about 4-7 on a normal day and might smoke 20 in an evening if I go out drinking. My favourite brand is Camel Blue. dave

The reasons for wanting to quit smoking are because I am getting older and more and more likely to be struck down with some form of smoking-related illness – be it the coughs, sore throats, sinus infections or chest infections that happen every year from smoking, or else something more serious. Sport and fitness play a big part in my life so it definitely makes a huge difference to my ability to go for a big run or swim or anything where you breathe heavily. Also as I am a teacher, I am supposed to teach children of the dangers of smoking so it is quite hypocritical to arrive in the morning smelling of smoke.

This might be the 20th time that I have quit and I have gone cold turkey, used gum and also patches. I always seem to start again when I am out for a drink so this time I will give up alcohol for the first month so that I won’t be tempted! I’ve also decided to use nicotine patches to aid in my efforts. The cigarette I will miss most is the one right before bed.’

Best of luck to our brave bloggers and to all of you taking the plunge this January!