Firstly, Medical Specialists Pharmacy hopes everybody has had a brilliant Christmas with friends, family and loves ones. We hope you have recovered from the frenetic, fast-paced and chaotic last few days and are settling down back to normality!
The period of the year that follows Christmas and runs into the following year is a particularly busy one for Medical Specialists. Our patient base spanning thousands upon thousands, usually expands as quickly as the waistlines of many who are seeking our help!
Yes, this is the time when all those mince pies, all those chocolate treats on offer, that fatty/sugary Christmas pudding and the endless supply of alcohol at the work Christmas party, will all make their presence felt – on the scales.
It is thought the average Brit consumes two or three Christmas dinner servings, taking in 2,300 calories in the process. This means women are consuming 115% of their recommended daily intake of calories and for men, it is 92%.
However, even prior to the festive period, most Brits will lose an average of 3lbs, usually to look their best for parties or other social events. This is all well and good until you learn that this is typically followed by severe overindulgence and a 6lb gain in weight. It seems the excess of food and alcohol simply catches up to all of us rather quickly and explains why ‘go on a diet’, ‘lose weight’, or ‘exercise more’, are included on many people’s list of New Year’s Resolutions.
Weight loss is achieved relatively easy enough, theoretically. With the right positive mind-set and willingness to achieve it, together with adopting a healthy diet and weight loss aid such as Xenical or Alli, shifting those post-Christmas pounds is rather doable.
A lax approach with food and inevitable slight weight gain is generally expected around the festive period, and sometimes hard to avoid when work colleagues are offering you treats on a regular basis. Weight gain can be reversed through dieting, however what happens when you have a lax and careless approach with regards to your sexual health?
As mentioned earlier, many want to look their best for parties and social events, which means the likeliness of attracting a sexual partner has suddenly increased somewhat. Unfortunately, sensible attitudes to sex suddenly go out the window at this time of year as people get swept up in the party atmosphere. Alcohol consumption spirals, along with sheer carelessness. Condoms and other contraception simply don’t get used or are forgotten about in the heat of the moment, and a whole host of problems are created.
This is demonstrated in the fact the Family Planning Association (FPA) say their sexual health hotline is at its busiest in January as worried individuals contact them about an unplanned pregnancy or an apparent sexually transmitted infection they have contracted.
Rebecca Findlay of FPA, spoke last year about the issue, saying: “The helpline tends to go quiet before Christmas as everyone is busy and out partying, but calls then peak in January. Most people call about STIs or unintended pregnancy.”
If women have unprotected sex and are forgetting to take daily their daily contraception of Marvelon or Yasmin, this could result in many of the pregnancy concerns reported to the FPA, especially if condoms are not being used as well – which also massively reduce the risk of STIS. Condoms should be used with or without the daily contraception pill for this very reason and if you are worried, we are able to provide you with a clamelle chlamydia test kit that you can conduct in the comfort of your own home, or even a morning after pill. The morning after pill can actually be taken up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse has taken place.
Therefore, perhaps showing more care for your sexual health could be one of your New Year’s Resolutions should you decide to create some, like 7 million others will do, as the New Year gives everybody the perfect chance for self-improvement.
So what are the common resolutions we tend to make? Some old-age common resolutions include the health-oriented goals such as quitting smoking, joining a gym, cutting down on alcohol and eating less chocolate.
In recent years, as our daily lives have become faster paced and frantic, this has reflected on the introduction of some surprising resolutions, and less emphasis on ones that were previously more highly prioritised.
Instead, there are more aims influenced by our increasing time spent on social media, with ‘Socialise more in real life rather than Facebook’ making it in at number 21 of the 2012 LA Fitness poll of 2,000 people to find what they wanted to achieve for 2013.
The top 30 New Year’s Resolutions were found to be:
1. Read more books
2. Save more money
3. Lose weight
5. Take better photos
6. Go travelling
7. Sell old unwanted stuff on eBay
8. Buy a tablet
9. Organise photos
10. Do something for charity
11. Spend more time with kids
12. Buy a Sunday paper
13. Less TV time
14. Connect my computer to my TV
15. Leave work on time more often
16. Less time on Facebook
17. Totally revamp my wardrobe
18. Try a new hairstyle
19. Get a six-pack
20. Eat less chocolate
21. Socialise more in real life rather than Facebook
22. Drink less alcohol
23. Buy less coffee from Starbucks/big chains
24. Start my own business
25. Tell someone I have feelings for them
26. Quit smoking
27. Gain a promotion
28. Learn how to use Twitter
29. Run a half or full marathon
30. Call people more than text
Whatever your hopes and aspirations are for 2014, Medical Specialists wishes you luck in your journey to get there. However, you do not have to make that journey alone and we are here to help. Whether this be through smoking cessation medication to help you to quit, or through directing you to a weight loss forum where you can share your experiences and diet tips with others in a similar position, our patients’ needs are always at the core of everything we do. Good luck and a have a great New Year!