Q. At 5ft 2in I weighed 21 stone 7lb and dropped to 10 stone. I did this by cutting out sugar products and exercise.
To tone up, I joined a gym and I do cardio four days a week and also weights. I want to lose another stone as over the last two years I have gained a few pounds and feel weights are bulking me.
Any suggestions would be great. I know I have achieved a lot but I want to do more. Maria, Cork
A. WOW, that is an amazing weight loss! To lose that amount of weight is fantastic and can show just what an impact high-sugar diets can have.
It is also great to see that you lost your weight by combining exercise and diet as opposed to just diet alone. This is always the best way to lose weight, as it increases the lean muscle tissue as well as reducing your fat mass. So a big well done!
In terms of the results you have got from your training regime, I always think that it is important to assess the changes in your body since you started.
Did you get measured when you started? If so, you should re-measure the same body parts with the same instructor and see exactly what changes have occured.
This will tell you if you have increased or decreased in terms of size and exactly where the changes have occured.
If your instincts are right, and they probably are, then it is time to change your programme to one that will suit your body better. There are different types of physiques and they react differently to exercise.
If the exercise you are doing is bulking you up, then it's time to change to something different.
For some, heavier weights can cause bulk and bumps where you don't want them, so its advisable to switch to a lighter and higher rep programme that is more tailored to tone and shape the body.
Looking at diet is also important and ensure you aren't overloading your body with protein.
High-protein diets are popular at the moment and can work but, as ever, bodies are all different so for you you might not need as much. General protein guidelines are 1.5g per kilo in body weight.
So I think by looking at these two aspects you should be well on your way to changing your body shape back to the way you want it.
Q. I GAIN a lot of fluid at "that time of the month", which makes me feel and look fat. Would you have any tips to help with this? Joan, Mayo
A. DON'T worry, you aren't alone. Women can gain anything between two and seven pounds around their period. The good news is you can dramatically reduce this by getting healthier! Here are some of the best tips that I know will make a big difference:
Limit sodium intake to around 1000mg a day. Focus on eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid processed foods, including table salt. Table salt is simply providing taste and little else. Breakfast cereals are surprisingly high in sodium, so take a look at your cereal tomorrow morning and check out that label.
Aim to exercise at least three times per week for one hour each time. Walking, swimming, running or weights are all great ways to improve circulation and reduce your pms effects.
Eat small meals at regular intervals, no longer than three hours. Choose plenty of wholegrain carbohydrates (eg bread, crackers, pasta, rice) to maintain adequate blood sugar levels and also keep your spirits up.
Drink plenty of fluids, but not sugary drinks. Aim to drink a minimum of two litres of water and reduce your tea/coffee intake, although herbal teas can certainly help. Adding some lemon, lime or apple cider vinegar to your water can help too.
Eat a diet high in colour. Fruit and vegetables that are full of colour are high in anti-oxidants and fantastic for your body, but remember, it needs to be real colour, not artificial
These simple tips will make a big difference, but the underlying rule generally is that the healthier you are the less the effects will be!