Introducing our new resident healthy foodieArlene Normand, a dietitian, has built a strong business over ten years dealing with thousands of clients from all walks of life with a common goal – to lose and maintain weight loss.

I have read that drinking fresh cabbage juice is good for stomach ulcers. Do you know how much juice should be consumed each day? Thanks for your help!

While one small and ancient (1949) study found that cabbage juice helped people with ulcers, that’s not currently considered a viable treatment. March Seabrook, a gastroenterologist in Columbia, South Carolina and spokesman for the American College of Gastroenterology, explains that ulcers are caused by two things: either a kind of bacteria called H. pylori or the class of medications called NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Treatments today include taking medications to reduce stomach acid (to promote healing), taking antibiotics to eradicate the bacteria and/or stopping the consumption of NSAIDs. Though cabbage juice might have had some antibacterial quality, Seabrook says, and “while physicians recognize the utility of complementary and alternative medicine, the true effect of cabbage and cabbage juice is poorly studied” so we don’t have enough information “for it to be used alone to treat gastric ulcer”

What do you think of skipping as a form of exercise?  It is so difficult – I get out of breath so quickly.  How many calories does it burn?

Skipping is a great form of aerobic exercise. It works both your upper body and your leg muscles.  Every time your feet land on the ground you are making those thigh muscles work.  Skipping is hard work!  You need to start at around 2-3 minutes and only do 20-30 skips in one go, then march on the spot for a few seconds to keep your heart rate up, before doing another 20-30 skips.  This will help you build up the time slowly and means you won’t give up at the first hint of breathlessness.

The good news is that skipping burns calories at an amazing rate of 12 calories per minute.  If you can skip for 15 minutes each day you are clocking up approximately 180 calories – 30 minutes means an energy expenditure of approximately 360 calories – more than if you went jogging!

I am at a school where swimming is compulsory.  I am so embarrassed to get into a costume because I am overweight.  How should I cope with it?

The only way to cope is to make a concerted effort to lose your excess weight.  You have to go swimming and you have to wear a costume – you should get to a stage where you are happy with your body so you feel comfortable and confident getting into a costume.   Start eating six small meals a day, keep your portions small and reduce your fat intake.  Try eating more fruit, vegetables and salads.  Commence a fitness program of one hour of aerobic exercise each day.

Consider swimming as an extra boost to your exercise regime.  If you are not certain of the quantities you should be eating, use the meal plan on my website ( as a guide to commence with, and the kilos will start dropping off!

I seem to do so well during the week and always lose weight by Friday, however, the weekends throw me totally off the rails and I gain more than I lost during the week.  My weight is slowly increasing and I feel so revolting.  How can I control my weekends?

You have taken the first step in recognising the impact of the weekend on your weight – now you have to balance your eating and exercise on the weekend. Weekends are not routine which often makes your eating pattern more difficult.   Your weight loss program is a lifestyle, not a diet.

You might have a meal when you overindulge, but it should not be the entire weekend.  If you have a bigger breakfast than normal on Sunday, eat a light dinner (plate of soup/ tuna salad); if Saturday night was an eating or drinking fiasco compensate by doing an intense exercise workout on Sunday and eating a light dinner.  Allow yourself one generous meal on the weekend (but don’t go mad).  The rest of the weekend you should adhere to your normal eating and exercise pattern.

Weigh yourself on Friday and Monday to ensure you do no damage to your weight on the weekend.  Aim for your weight to remain the same on the weekend and drop during the week – this is a recipe for success!

I am sixteen years old and have just started gaining a lot of weight.  I am feeling really awful, none of my clothes fit and I don’t want to go out.  I do not know where to start – please help!

The first step is to write down everything you are eating.  You can then analyse where you are going wrong.  Perhaps you are snacking too frequently? Your consumption of high-fat foods may be excessive? Your portions are too large?

Try and make a change each week, and build on these improvements.  In addition, commencing an exercise program.  Gradually build up time and intensity – you might start walking, going to the gym, swimming.  As your fitness level improves you should be doing an hours exercise each day.  With the adoption of better eating habits and increased exercise, the kilos will start to drop off, and you will feel terrific!

I am a dreadful binger.  I will diet very well for a few days, and then go mad. When I have one wrong thing I cannot stop eating.  I can gain 2 kilos in a day, and then feel guilty, ugly and bloated.  I also get in a dreadful mood.  How can I stop bingeing?

Forget “dieting”, start living.  There is no such thing as “good” food, “bad” food – merely the portions you are consuming.

Make a few rules that you adhere to:

1. Never eat unless everything you are eating is on one plate.
2. Never eat unless you are sitting down.
3. Never eat when you are tired or stressed.
4. When you feel the urge to binge, do not go near food – rather do an activity that relaxes you (walk, massage, sew).

Remember it is normal to have chocolate, cake, biscuits, chips occasionally, provided you keep your portions small.  If your overall eating pattern is good, the odd indulgence will do you no harm and you will continue to lose weight.  You should feel good every day – remember a minute feeling ugly and guilty, is a minute loss of happiness.  Always think of the consequences of what you are consuming, and if these are not desirable, keep yourself busy doing other activities.