What Is Causing Extra Weight? – Discussion With Mary-Lou Harris nutritionist

We would like to know what is causing extra weight, when you do not change eating habits, but you are still gaining weight. What is the secret behind the screen? We all would like to know. Could we easily improve on our health? The answer is here with Mary-Lou Harris who is our nutritionist.

According to Mary-Lou Harris (FdSc, Dip ION, ITEC) the senior nutritionist and Life Coach at the New You Boot Camp, finds that, in menopausal women, there is often an unacknowledged or undiagnosed adrenal implication.  Not only are the adrenal glands involved in putting weight on (especially around the middle) where there has been stress or erratic sugary foods in clients’ diets, but they also take over oestrogen production from the ovaries in menopause, and if the client has had a history of stress, then the adrenal glands are ‘tired’ and not able to perform this role adequately.  The repercussion in often into the thyroid gland, which exacerbates the problem by slowing down metabolism. Unfortunately, ‘sub-clinical’ hypothyroidism is often not picked up on the NHS tests.  This is only diagnosed when it becomes hypothyroidism.

What is the best way to prevent or stop this disease?

As the Life Skills Coach and Nutritionist at the New You Boot camp, Mary-Lou encourages lifestyle and nutritional intervention through looking at enjoyable ways to increase quality of life and life management tools to reduce stress responses.  She also creates individual personalized nutritional food and supplement programmes to recreate balance in the adrenal and thyroid glands.

How can you help with your weight loss?

Mary-Lou works on improving blood sugar regulation by eating quality protein and carbs at each meal, and intermittent fasting (No snacking…and ensuring that your meals keep you going for between 4 and 6 hours before the next food time.

She also suggests eating :

  • Quality oily fish at least 4 times a week (omega 3s have scientifically shown improvements in hormone health, and supports mood and stress management).
  • 2 organic eggs per day (they have natural tranquiliser properties)
  • a handful of pumpkin seeds in your meals somewhere through the day as they have magnesium, which is known as ‘Nature’s Relaxing Mineral’) and reducing stimulants (tea, coffee, alcohol and cigarettes).

Reducing wheat and dairy are also helpful to weight management in the menopause as they adversely affect digestive function, which is where oestrogens are recycled.

How can dietary supplements help with this condition?

Mary-Lou uses Adrenal and thyroid glandular supplements (Nutri West) to support the restoration of the gland tissue.  She also recommends a quality high dose B vitamin complex with magnesium (Biocare) to manage stress and the conversion of essential fatty acids to the appropriate hormones.

Because digestion is vital to both endocrine and hormone health, it is imperative to assess and correct imbalances in stomach acid (most people are too low…especially if there is heartburn or indigestion present!)  Without sufficient stomach acid, you cannot properly assimilate minerals and B vitamins that are critical to menopausal health.  At boot camp, Mary-Lou asses everyone’s digestive health as it is such a core factor to all health concerns.

Menomelt is an appetite suppressant, which Mary-Lou does not use in her practice.  Instead, she aspires to stabilize her clients’ blood sugars and satiety (feeling of satisfaction after eating) level through educating them and balancing biochemistry.  This is usually with the support of quality fibre and protein and fat at each meal, and blood sugar stabilizing foods like oat cakes and cinnamon and turmeric.  Intermittent fasting (no snacking) is also a successful way that she helps to create body system balance.

Hormone Replacement Therapy can be a solution but does it really help or just make it worst?

Mary-Lou finds that HRT causes her clients to gain weight, and instead, supports adrenal glands, thyroid and blood sugars to help reduce menopausal symptoms.

What are the most simple strategies to lose weight?

At New You Boot Camp Mary-Lou teaches clients to eat at between 4 and 6 hourly intervals, in order not to snack, as they feel satisfied from the previous meal.

This helps to balance blood sugars, leading to weight loss around the belly area, and supports the adrenal glands and digestion, and the liver, which are all essential for hormonal balance and weight loss on hips and thighs.

She suggests oily fish at least 4 times per week, as this supports both menopausal health and weight loss by improving the body’s ability to let go of fat stores.

She encourages her clients to assess their Candida and stomach acid status as the Candida yeast overgrowth can lead to hormonal imbalance and subsequent weight gain, or inability to lose weight. Stomach acid is essential to assimilate the minerals and protein that is vital for menopausal health.

Mary-Lou strongly advises against alcohol, and tea and coffee as they can so easily bring on hot flushes and negatively impact weight, due to adrenal stress.

We can use menopause as a time of life to stop worrying about weight gain and bring out the best in oneself.

This is the time when you can take up new sports or hobbies that you never had time to think about before…whether it be horse riding, tennis, salsa dancing, a walking or running club, etc.  Explore your sensuality…it is surprising how many women rediscover themselves and even embark on new relationships when they have been single through choice, or divorce or widowed.  This the time of your life when you have Life Experience behind you, and usually take less nonsense and make more sensible choices, leading to a more fulfilled life, fuelled by greater self-awareness..


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Why Did We Choose Cadiz?

So when we decided to set up the latest New You Boot Camp, why did we decide to hold it in Spain, and why Cadiz?

The answer is pretty simple. We’ve traditionally moved our overseas camps from country to country, and Spain has long been on our list. In Cadiz, we found a site that exceeded our – pretty demanding, I’ll admit – list of requirements. First of all, it’s surrounded by the magnificent Andalucian countryside. This is where we like to take our visitors on stunning hikes that will help exercise your body while de-stressing your mind.

Also, the grounds and garden (complete with swimming pool!) are simply stunning. This is what sealed the deal for us, especially as we knew there was plenty of room and the perfect climate to grow a range of organic fruit and vegetables.

This brings us on to our next reason. The Mediterranean diet is famous for being healthy and tasty, with a unique combination of aromas and flavours and proven benefits for your health. A mixture of fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses filled to the brim with vitamins and fibre is the staple of the region’s cuisine.

When setting up the Boot Camp we were truly inspired by local recipes and our chefs keep coming back to Mediterranean meals such as our frittatas, our vegetable mousakka and Mediterranean chicken with quinoa.

As great as exploring Cadiz is, it’s also a perfect jumping off point for exploring the rest of Andalucia. There’s a great train service just up the coast to Malaga, a city whose roots go back even further than Cadiz’s to the Phoenicians 2,800 years ago! If you are arriving from elsewhere in Spain, it’s easy to jump on a ferry too.

All in all, we think of Cadiz as our home, and we’re sure that before long you’ll feel at home here as well.



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Modernity makes our life easy, but there are also so many disadvantages which effects our health. The human body can produce too many free radicals when it is exposed to sickness, stress, agricultural chemicals, processed food and drink, air pollution and ultraviolet rays. Diet has got an important role in prevention, let’s see how can we fight for cancer and other diseases.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are substances that inhibit the oxidation process and act as protective agents. They protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals which attack healthy cells, and changes their DNA, allowing tumours to grow.

Increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables provides the greatest protection from cancer and diabetes or serious heart disease – and certain foods are especially protective – including carrots and tomatoes. Generally speaking where you find the most colour and flavour in a fruit or vegetable (such as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries) you will also find the highest anti-oxidant levels. Eat seven or more servings a day of fruit and vegetables – organic where possible.

We found some great tips from Patrick Holford.


Antioxidants that can prevent cancer:

Vitamin A is a powerful free radical hunter. Not only do they boost the immune system, they also prevent abnormal cell growth and promote healthy cell growth. Sources include broccoli, carrots and fruit. While there is a recommended dietary allowance for vitamin A (safe upper limit = 25,000IU or 15mg), there is not one for beta carotene. Examples of some foods high in beta carotene include the following: carrots, squash, collards, spinach, sweet potatoes.

Eating foods rich in beta carotene is recommended to possibly decrease the risk of developing stomach, lung, prostate, breast, and head and neck cancer. It is not recommended to overdose beta carotene as large doses can cause the skin to turn a yellow-orange colour, called carotenosis. High intakes of beta carotene in supplement form may actually cause lung cancer in people at risk, such as smokers. Just by including foods that are listed above this will absolutely help to prevent cancer.

Vitamin C reduces tissue damage responsible for increased presence of free-radicals and disease conditions. It may also prevent the growth of cancer cells. Dietary sources include crest, broccoli, cabbage,  cauliflower, citrus fruits and strawberries.

one medium orange – 69 mg

1 cup orange juice – 124 mg

1 medium raw green pepper – 106 mg

1 cup raw strawberries – 81 mg

1 cup cubed papaya – 86 mg

1 medium raw red pepper – 226 mg

1/2 cup cooked broccoli – 58 mg

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin C has recently been increased to 75 milligrams per day for women and 90 milligrams per day for men. Safe upper limit  = 2.000mg


Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin which has eight different types. The most biologically potent form of vitamin E is Alpha-tocopherol, which is a powerful biological antioxidant. You can get it from , seeds almonds, and whole grain cereals. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin E is 15 milligrams per day. The adult upper limit for vitamin E is 1,000 milligrams per day. Good sources of vitamin E (and the amount each serving contains) include the following:

1 ounce sunflower seeds – 14 mg

1 ounce almonds – 7.4 mg

1 ounce hazelnuts – 4.3 mg

1 ounce peanuts – 2.1 mg

Since some sources of vitamin E are high in fat. Very high doses of vitamin E can also interfere with the way other fat-soluble vitamins work. Also, large doses of vitamin E from supplements are not recommended for people taking blood thinners and some other medications, as the vitamin can interfere with the action of the medication. To make sure you are meeting your needs, eat a varied diet that includes the above foods and cereals.


Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that is similar to vitamin E. It plays a vital role in the production of energy within cells, it also stimulates your immune system, and increases circulation which in turn benefits the whole cardiovascular system, also it is a vital ingredient for beauty product such as anti wrinkle – or moisturizing crèmes. CoQ-10 is found in all plants and animals.

Melatonin is a quite newly discovered antioxidant, and this hormone has been shown to be probably the best free radical hunter identified so far. Each cell has a nucleus and Melatonin enables damaged cells to repair by protecting the DNA in a cell’s nucleus.

Selenium protects blood cells of the heart, lungs, and liver. It also stimulates the production of antibodies to fight infection or inflammation. Selenium can be taken as a supplement. It reduces the symptoms of overactive thyroid, such as ophthalmopathy. It is caused by the reaction of antibodies and certain white blood cells called lymphocytes, with proteins in eye muscle, the connective tissue and fat around the eyeball  due to an effect of excessive thyroid hormones. Selenium can be found in fish, chicken and grains and seeds.


Make sure you eat liver friendly foods so your liver can efficiently detoxify harmful chemicals. For example onions, garlic, artichokes, watercress and rocket. Also include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radish and mustard. Turmeric has also been shown to prevent the growth of cancer.

Try to boost your immune system and ensure you get enough sleep and natural sunlight and eat vitamin rich food including whole grains and fruit and vegetables.

Salvestrols are compounds found in plants that target cancer cells and kill them. They are rich in a wide range of fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and vegetables although their potency varies depending on how and where they are grown. Always go organic to minimize your exposure to herbicides and pesticides. Try to eat organic foods and avoid processed meats and burned or browned food. Eat more raw foods and steam or boil food, rather than using high-heat cooking such as microwaves.

Try to cut down on saturated fats from meat and dairy for lower inflammation and increase omega-3 fats – the best sources are salmon, mackerel, herring, kippers, sardines and anchovies. Vegetarian sources include seeds and nuts.

Get most of your protein from fish and vegetable sources and keep your intake of dairy products and meat low.

Fundamentally, cancer is on the rise but there is so much you can do in your daily life to help you fight this horrid disease and prevent it. “Food is thy medicine”

We have some delicious recipes that will help you get on track with your healthy living and we hope you enjoy them as much as we all do!


This week we have seen a very inspirational young man, Stephen Sutton in the press. He may have lost his battle with cancer but his inspiring endeavours to raise money for The Teenage Cancer Trust have been incredible and will always be remembered. Here is a link to his justgiving page and if you have even a £1 it would be amazing to continue his efforts and support his family. https://www.justgiving.com/stephen-sutton-tct





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