Arlene's Way How to break the habit of being a “night eater”

I have a problem in that I eat so much at night.  I am good all day with my diet but I eat from the minute I get home from work till I go to bed.  All my attempts at weight loss are a disaster because of this.  What can I do to stop my bingeing?

There are several areas that need to be discussed here.  Firstly, eating at night is probably a habit.  Try doing some exercise immediately after work – this will help you relax after a stressful day.  The exercise will also serve to break a pattern.  Your attitude to food will change after you have had a good workout.  Secondly, what are you eating during the day?  Are you starving yourself? Do you have balanced meals? Try eating small meals throughout the day to stave off starvation at night.  Thirdly, be prepared for your hunger when you return home in the evening.  Make a salad in the morning so you can eat this as soon as you get in the front door.  Keep a pot of soup in the fridge so you can always have some while preparing dinner.  Eating in moderation is the key!

I am 52 years old, and seem to be putting on weight by the day.  I am so uncomfortable, all my clothes are tight – and my weight is actually making me terribly unhappy.  I have just gone onto hormone therapy, and am wondering if I should go off it.  My doctor says I should persevere with it as my family has a history of heart disease and I suffer from high blood pressure.  In addition, I have low bone density, so he is worried I may get osteoporosis.  What do you think I should do about my weight?

Research results support that menopause is a particularly dangerous time for women in terms of weight gain.  However, I must add, that this is not automatic.  Weight gain can be controlled by changes in lifestyle.  At this stage of life one tends to increase the amount of socialising one does (all of it generally revolves around food), decrease the activity level as ones family commitments change, and then added to this there is a natural decrease in metabolic rate with age.  I believe you would benefit in consulting a dietitian who would give you a meal plan outlining the quantities of food you should be consuming for your age and activity level – walk regularly, swim, go to the gym, discover an exercise program you enjoy! Be positive about what you can do, and you will surprise yourself by the weight loss you achieve.

I am getting married in three months and need to lose weight really quickly.  Do you think I should take an appetite suppressant?  What diet do you suggest?

Stop looking for miracle cures and start making changes to your lifestyle.  You should aim to lose between half and one kilo each week.  Eating sensibly and exercising regularly you are more likely to stick with a lifetime of healthy eating.  Follow the NW Diet Club menu and your weight loss will be consistent, and you will learn good eating and exercise habits.

Eight weeks pregnant and feeling rotten!  I am tired, nauseous and not enjoying being pregnant one bit.  I am supposed to be excited about the whole thing, but at the moment I just feel sorry for myself, and wonder how women can have more than one child if they suffer from morning sickness. What should I be doing food wise?  You must have some advice? I am desperate!

The women who enjoy the first three months of pregnancy are usually the ones who do not experience morning sickness.  You are not alone!  Most women, who do experience morning sickness, do so in the first trimester.  Very few women experience queasiness throughout their pregnancy.  Dry crackers (water crackers, cream crackers, dry toast) are the best way to beat morning sickness.  Chilled juice or water will prevent you getting dehydrated and will be more easily tolerated.  Iced watermelon usually helps severe morning sickness. Eat small, frequent meals, as you will be less likely to get nauseated.  Taking Vit B6 (25mg) can help some women!

I enjoy Thai food, and we tend to go to Thai restaurants quite regularly.  I am trying to watch my weight and was wondering if you could give me a few tips for making good choices from the various dishes on offer at a Thai restaurant?

Stir-fries and steamed dishes are generally low in fat.  Choose a dish that has been prepared with a chilli-based sauce rather than a satay sauce.  Steer away from deep-fried and battered dishes.  Remember that coconut milk is high in fat.  Dishes that contain a large amount of vegetables such as snow peas, beans, bamboo shoots, and eggplant are preferable.  Boiled rice is a good selection as are the hot or cold salad dishes.  Fresh fruit, including mangoes, lychees, watermelon or bananas, is always a very refreshing and a healthy way to end a meal!