See Q&A below
This is a free nine week internet based course, fully supported by an email helpline. Each week you will receive a link to a slide show and commentary giving you all the information you need. At various points you will be able to download diet sheets, portion information and record sheets that will help you manage and monitor your eating. The diet is free, but in order to make the most of the diet and ensure your weight loss is safe, you will need an accurate weighing machine that analyses body composition.
This diet has been specially formulated for women over forty. At about that age our hormones start to change. It is the time of life when many women are facing busy careers, their family commitments may be changing and on top of all of this the change of life looms. And it is about that age when we start to notice a thickening of the waist and perhaps the first grey hair. The bathroom scales may be rising, just a tiny bit, week by remorseless week.
Statistically at forty, or even at fifty you are not half-way through your adult life. Many women live well into their eighties, and a significant proportion live a lot longer than that. In 2018 there were 400,000 women living in Britain who were over 90 and almost 700 who had reached the age of 105*. Even the ravages of Covid-19 hasn’t wiped out this generation. Though some have sadly died, many have survived and there have been some heartening stories of centenarians getting through it. The difference is resilience. Dr Jenny Harries, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer and the woman who we all saw at the No10 press conferences during lockdown, recently advised Brits that the major risk factor that we can all do something about is being overweight**. You can’t roll back the clock and grow ten years younger, but losing weight might have that effect.
Apart from the menopause, which is a fact of life, I don’t believe that anyone should be pigeon-holed by their chronological age. The body is designed by nature to flourish. We now know that there is no inbuilt, or genetically programmed, ageing process. Scientists now realise that the menopause is a preservation system. It prevents women from over-exhaustion from late childbirth, when they are more useful to society for their sagacity and to pass on learned skills. However, life does change as we age and our diets need to respond to those changes.
In 2020, during lockdown, I couldn’t see any clients face to face. It soon became clear that the double whammy of age and obesity were making people more vulnerable to the virus. Like a lot of practitioners, I realised that I owed it to all those people who have tried and failed, and all those women who still struggle with their weight, to put the word out, as best I can – free and in a form that will be easy to follow. I hope the NHS soon starts to offer better weight loss services, but in the meantime, this nine-week course is the best that this one woman can do to help her sisters.
Q and A
Is this diet for everyone?
This diet is formulated for women, over 40 who are overweight or obese, but not over 40kg/m2 BMI. You need to take a short questionnaire first to establish whether you are eligable for the diet.
Do I have to pass a health test?
In the questionnaire you’ll be given direction as to who should and who shouldn’t take the diet. In short, you need to be in general good health and any conditions you may have, such as diabetes type 2 or high cholesterol, need to be under control. If you are in any doubt you are welcome to email me. People who have pacemakers or similar cannot take the course because they might interfere with the body composition analyser.
Is it free?
The nine week course is free and supported by email. But you do have to own a body composition analyser (a special type of scales).
Why do I need to buy a special pair of scales?
If your scales measure muscle mass and fat percentage as well as weight, they are fine. Though some are more accurate than others. The result of this diet will be loss of weight, but we want that to be achieved as healthily as possible. By recording muscle mass as well as fat, you can ensure that you remain healthy and resiliant throughout the diet.
Will I need to buy anything else?
You will need a tape measure (to record your body shape). I do sometimes recommend a food that I have found particularly helpful, but essentially this diet relies on normal fresh foods that can be purchased anywhere.
Who covers the costs?
The costs of your course and this website are covered by the social enterprise SayTomato! run by me, Wendy Shillam. If you feel that you’d like to support this website, and help me to help other women, then please leave a contribution in the tipjar – thank you.
Who is Wendy Shillam?
I am a qualified clinical nutritionist and science writer. I make no commercial gain from recommending products, I don’t work for big food or big pharma and I adhere to the professional codes of conduct of the organisations which I belong to, including the Association for Nutrition and the Royal Society for Public Health. As well as running SayTomato! I write about nutrition and have a private practice based in London and Spain.
* Office of National Statistics
** Dr Jenny Harries, ITV This Morning 8th July 2020