Archive for Weight Loss

Sports NutritionThe finish line of the 2012 Dublin Marathon in Merrion Square on 29 October marked the culmination of months of hard training for husband and wife Michele and Tony Hamilton. The training regime adopted was one where diet was as important as the miles run in the build up to the marathon.

“Myself and my wife Michele are keen runners. Not only is running a way to get fi t, it is great to release
stress from the pressures of everyday life. It is also a way to enjoy the adrenaline rush of running with thousands of other like-minded individuals on the streets of Dublin or the back roads of Limerick. We got the running bug back in 2009 and since then we have ran the Dublin Marathon four times. We have managed to shave off 40 minutes from both our first marathon finishing times in the Dublin marathon, achieving personal bests of 3hr 34 minutes and 3hr 44 minutes respectively this year.

We approached Elaine back in May 2010 to seek dietary advice in order to lose weight and to aid our training regime. Our training involves runs up to 4 times a week, starting from May to October, with distances ranging from 4 miles up to 23 miles in October. Returning home from training late in the evenings meant that we had no structure around our meals and nutrition. Initially we believed that this intense training regime would give us a passport to eat whatever we wanted, from chips to Mars Bars! We couldn’t
understand why we weren’t losing weight after all our running. We found rather than losing weight we were struggling to stay at an even weight.

We sought advice off Elaine and after she saw our eating diaries she recommended a low and controlled carbohydrate diet. We believe this decision to get help from Elaine changed our lives. We got a shock
when Elaine told us that we were “really partying” when it came to our eating habits and that if we hadn’t started the running the previous year we would both be two stone heavier! Elaine quickly recommended a complete change to our diet. We would have to learn to control our carb intake dependent upon the intensity level of the training. It meant that we cut down on unmeasured portions of pasta and potatoes, eliminated sugar in our diet in the form of biscuits and chocolate bars, and embraced our new best friend porridge. She also departed great dietary advice concerning hydration, starting food diaries, and cutting down
alcohol intake.

The results of the new food plans are that we have both lost weight – Michele 9.2kg (1.5 stone) and Tony 6.3kg (1 stone). We can now maintain healthy body weights, and stay injury free. More importantly we have been able to drastically improve our running times and are comfortable and confident both in and out of our running clothes. Visiting Elaine has changed our lives as she has taught us how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, something we feel we would not have been able to achieve on our own.

Elaine McGowan Weight Loss ClinicsWhen I attended the Clinic last Saturday, I was shocked, firstly at the amount of weight have lost, as this time last year I weighed 143kg, BMI 42 (22.5 stone) with my waist size at 51 inches, this year I am now 111kg, BMI 33 (17.5 stone) with a waist size of thirty eight inches, I know I have another two stone or so to go but I know now that I can achieve it. I was further shocked when Elaine asked if I would tell my story, as I could not believe that anyone would be interested in my achievement. So this is my story:

Even as a child I was taller and bigger built than average, because of this I have always been shy and a person of few words, as I headed into my 20’s and 30’s the weight seemed to slowly creep up on me. However, unfortunately in January 2008 I lost my father through tragic circumstances, and only a few days later became a Dad myself for the first time, after waiting thirteen years for our miracle to arrive.

Due to the loss of my Dad and all that goes with such a tragedy, I had to go on anti depressants which unfortunately made my weight balloon more. It didn’t help that during that period in my life, I had to deal with sleepless nights, the feelings of grief and negativity, I just seemed to be barely getting by each day, because of which it seemed I was unable to help myself and didn’t want to take on board that people were concerned about my growing weight.

In January, 2012 my wife asked me to go to my Doctor and see if there was anything that could be done about my weight, as we had a very happy and active four year old to consider. To my own amazement I agreed when my GP referred me to the Dietetic Clinic. My shyness had always held me back, and when I attended the Clinic Elaine made me feel very comfortable as she went through everything with me. I have to date, taken on board, all of Elaine’s advice, and at this juncture would like to thank her for her support, as Elaine helped me build a confidence in myself that I could achieve this.

I was finding it difficult recently especially after the Christmas, but since going back to Elaine, last Saturday I feel that I can achieve it. The only regret I have is that I did not contact the Clinic before now. It is fantastic to be able to fit back into clothes that have been waiting in my wardrobe for me to lose weight. Because of my weight loss I have new energy, and a new lease of life. I would encourage anyone who is struggling with weight to keep trying because the feeling I have these days is worth all the struggles to get there.

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Patient Success Story: Sam Meredith, Where am I now? Weight loss success follow-upWell since my last appearance here on Elaine’s newsletter in 2009, a lot has changed! Having completed my Science degree at UCD, I was inspired by Elaine’s passion for her job, and having an already growing interest in the area of nutrition and dietetics, I decided that this was a career that I would like to pursue. I am now in my final year of studying to be a Dietitian! Having first sought Elaine’s help for weight loss in 2006 at the age of 19, I never would have imagined that I would be following in Elaine’s footsteps four years later but in September 2010 I commenced my journey to becoming a dietitian. This year I will be graduating with an Honours Degree in Dietetics and have gone from being a patient of Elaine’s to helping her with a number of projects.

I have continued to lose weight since my last appearance and recently reached the 5 stone weight loss mark, however it has not been easy!

It has been a very long slow process due to my body’s difficulty in losing weight as a result of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Therefore it is a daily struggle to prevent myself from undoing all that I have achieved to date. Life events such as moving away from home, starting a new degree, increased socializing events and falling in love all appear to cause increase in food intake. Although I do allow myself to indulge sometimes, it is important to bear in mind the effort that you put into losing weight and whether it is worth having the extra helping of dinner, or the high calorie dessert for the second night in a row.
For those of you who struggle with weight I would encourage you to never give up, it is so rewarding when you reach targets that you set yourself such as buying yourself a new outfit and being able to feel and
look great because of the hard work and commitment you have invested.

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Elaine McGowan Weight Loss ClinicsTuesday the 17th November, 2010 is a red letter day for me because that was the day I first met Elaine McGowan at her clinic in Ennis.

That day was the start of a programme that has changed my life completely as far as my health and mobility is concerned. I was recovering from a road traffic accident, which left me totally immobile for almost three years. On medical advice, I had to consume all kinds of food in order to build up calcium in order to try and heal shattered bones. As a consequence my weight ballooned to over 23 stone 9 lbs (150kg).

Though I tried lots of different diets nothing worked. Coming from a background where it was thought of as unmanly or even a sign of weakness for a man to visit a doctor never mind a dietician, it took a lot of resolve and coaxing from my G.P. and my wife for me to take the plunge and boy am I glad I did.

Elaine approached my problem of morbid obesity with sensitivity, patience and above all understanding. She eventually got me to a point where I would feel that I would let her down but more importantly let myself down if I didn’t meet my target each month. The amazing thing about the diet that she devised for me was that I felt I was actually eating as much, if not more than I was before, but in the proper proportions and the proper kind of foods. After 14 months I have lost in excess of 8 stone (50kg). The difference it has made to my life and that of my wife and family is truly amazing.

I can now go into a restaurant or pub without the fear of when I stood up the chair would come with me, or go on a bus or train and not have to look for two seats for myself. I would never have achieved this without the expertise, motivation and dedication of Elaine and to her I am truly grateful.

To make an appointment to discuss your weight loss needs and concerns, please contact your nearest Elaine McGowan Dietetic Clinic.

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I was referred to Elaine as I was overweight (102kg/16 stone) with high cholesterol.

Although I was nearly 51 years of age I had recently taken up cycling in an effort to get fit and lose weight but was disappointed not to be making significant progress. My ambition was to complete the cycling event “Lap The Lough” 134km in August in a respectable time. I had the training schedule but could not shake the weight.

When I met with Elaine her approach was simple and practical without any special or expensive foods required. She advised me on how to change my eating habits so I was never hungry even when out for long spins on the bike. She gave me an understanding of the right types of food to eat before and after cycling as well eating well on a normal day. In all cases portion control proved to be key. Yes I needed to consume carbohydrates before a long event but not too much.

I followed Elaine’s advice and was monitored regularly. My weight reduced from 102kg/16 stone to reach my target weight of 83kg/13 stone and I successfully cycled “Lap the Lough”. I attend Elaine every six months and now weigh 83kg (13 stone) and enjoy a 100km cycle on a regular basis. With the change in my eating habits I can now maintain my weight.

The eating plan outlined by Elaine has proved to be practical and effective and my cholesterol is now normal without having to take any medication.

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My name is Garrett MacNamee. I’m 22 years of age and I once weighed a staggering 24 stone (336lbs, 153Kg).

Since visiting Elaine McGowan and under her guidance, I’ve lost over 10 stone (140lbs, 64Kg) over the past two years.

After a routine check up with the doctor, I was told to stand on the scales. To my surprise, it
showed that I was only four stone. The doctor’s face wasn’t one of confusion, but more disbelief.

The scales had done a full circle and that four stone was my weight on top of the 20 stone maximum to which the scales had been calibrated. After blood tests a plenty, I received news that my liver was depositing fat at an alarming rate and I was well on the way to Type 2 Diabetes. That wiped the smug look off my face. I had convinced myself that I was big, but not too big. Ignorance was bliss.

So what got me to this point? One word; addiction. I got hooked on everything I possibly could. Coca-Cola, chips, biscuits, chicken fillet rolls (with extra taco sauce). At one point I was knocking back 6 litres of Coke a day. Delicious. But it was killing me. Simple as that. Pints on top of this made it a horrible cycle. I’d eat crap during the day, drink at night-time with the lads and then have that hangover binge the next day.

So a combination of binge drinking, that sense of togetherness with the guys coupled with that beautifully demoralising sense of self-loathing created the 24 stone behemoth that didn’t care what he ate, drank or looked like.

Well I’m happy to say he no longer exists and to everyone out there who prefers to live in denial and not care anymore, I say to you; there is hope. Take things one day at a time and remember; every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around.

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When I first approached Elaine to help me with my quest to reignite my career as an amateur jockey, I was full of expectation and innocently naïve. The task Elaine was about to undertake would test her professional
expertise and skill.

I am sure when I walked into Elaine’s office she must have thought “am I mad, do I really need the hassle of this”. My wife Gwen accompanied me to the first introductory meeting with Elaine (to make sure Elaine knew Gwen’s true feelings about this venture) with a healthy skepticism of the whole adventure. Gwen has a passion for healthy home cooking and is an avid believer in home cooked is better cooked. She is renowned as a cook
and is an accomplished host. The idea her 51 year old hubby was going to lose 3.5 stone, alter the whole house’s culinary experience did not sit well with her.

The issues were as follows:

  • Age: 51
  • State of health: Good.
  • Fitness: below par.
  • Last race: 14 years ago.
  • Gwen’s concerns: He’ll get killed, broke up or do himself an injury just trying to lose the weight.
  • Height: 6 foot.
  • Weight: just short of 14 stone.
  • BMI: 27.
  • No Jockeys license: Had to retrain and apply for a jockey’s license with the rest of the 16 year olds.
  • Time line: Racing at the Punchestown Festival meeting in 7 months at 11 stone 3. lbs.
  • Spare time………NONE.

Elaine agreed to take me on and developed a diet sheet for me and selection of foods that would sustain me with sufficient strength to train, lose weight, get fit and stay healthy. I met with Elaine on a two week cycle for the first few visits and I was surprised how steady the weight began to reduce and move toward the target. While determination, motivation and discipline are required I can honestly say the whole experience was not difficult. It became a focus in its self. I enjoyed the whole experience, the weight loss, the newly found fitness, the jockey status, the thrill of race work and developing the skill necessary to do the assessment for the license. I rode that first race at the Punchestown festival and wore
a head cam to provide TV coverage of the day.

The bug had struck and it did not stop there. By the July meeting in Leopardstown I rode in four weekly summer races on the flat at 10 stone 4 lbs.!! I rode in the Galway festival meeting and again in Ballinrobe. In all I rode 6 times but my main ambition was to Race over the Fences and Hurdles and this was achieved on February 16th in Clonmel over a 2 mile 1 furlong, my first race over the sticks where I finished 3rd within length of the winner. What a spin…….

If any of you are starting out on your goal to lose weight take time to read this again and place your faith in Elaine to get you there. I am now 54, fit holding my weight at 11 stone and loving every minute of it. I have also the added pleasure of listening to my grandson telling his friends about his granddad winning races. Go ahead and stick with the objective and you WILL get there.

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IBS-Patient-Story“I’d always been a big girl with little confidence, but this began to change the day I was referred to Elaine. At the age of
22 I was a sufferer of IBS and was weighing 17 stone at 5ft 4in tall. My Limerick based Gastroenterologist referred me to Elaine. She carried out investigations and diagnosed IBS. She advised that I required a dietary approach to treat my IBS and for weight management.

When I first met Elaine I barely spoke to her or even lifted my head, now when I go to see her she can’t shut me up. Before I met Elaine my social life was nonexistent and having to buy clothes was always an upsetting experience. I would never shop in Penneys, as the only thing in the shop that would fit me were the socks!

Elaine gave me a plan of what foods I should avoid with my IBS and what foods I could eat and what foods I couldn’t eat.
By following this and doing some exercise, I managed to clear my IBS symptoms and lost weight each month. As my waistline began to shrink the opposite was happening with my confidence. It’s been a long journey, but I couldn’t have done it without the help and support from Elaine, my family and friends.

It is two years later now and I currently weigh just under 10.5 stone and have lost 7 stone. I just want to let people know that you don’t have to have surgery or use diet pills to lose weight.

Personally, I have tried the diet pills and from my own experiences I would never recommend them and as for surgery why spend a fortune and put yourself through the pain, when following a specialized diet and doing some exercise can get you the same results.

People don’t recognize me anymore and it’s not just about my physical appearance, I have changed as a person, I have
become more confident and outgoing. I now actually have a social life and going shopping is no longer a chore, it’s
something I love to do!”

“Predictable is one way I would certainly not describe my life, or my diet. My job means that I could be in Dublin today, Galway tomorrow and Cork the next day. This is all very exciting and ever changing for me, but unfortunately my diet suffered as a result. I would go long periods without eating and then would crave convenient, usually sugary foods which provided an instant lift.

As with all things that give an instant lift, the result of any
boost may also mean a come down. This come down would
leave me feeling bloated, sluggish, lethargic, and
began to affect my mood. I
suffered with Irritable Bowel
Syndrome (IBS) which was
often exacerbated by the
unpredictable hours I ate.
Days could pass and
still there would be no
release from this feeling of
bloatedness and I would suffer
days on end of constipation.
My waistline was also feeling
the effects of this. I’m fi ve
foot and always had a small
frame but in later years the
clothes sizes just seemed to
be going up with the older I
got. My fi nal breaking point
was when I was going away
for a weekend and I spent
hours packing clothes trying
to mastermind ways to hide
my lumps and bumps. I went
away for the weekend and
normally I am the fi rst on
the dance fl oor, not needing
alcohol or encouragement,
but this time, I felt my
confi dence wouldn’t allow
me to get up off the chair. I
decided maybe I needed a
few new clothes to boost me
a little, so I went shopping,
but all I could fi nd were
clothes that reminded me of
something people climbing
Mount Everest might use
for accommodation!! When
I tried on a top and the
only top that would fi t was
a size 20, I knew action had
to be taken. AT 5 foot, I
was getting as wide as I was
tall, and my confi dence was
I attended Elaine in
April 2010, and weighed
over 12 stone. I explained
to Elaine that my lifestyle
was not something that
would allow me to hours
on end over steamers or
blenders concocting magical
diet recipes from different
variations of green vegetables
and drinking something
which resembled product
from an underground sewer!
Thankfully, the diet was
practical and easily fi tted
into my daily routine. I
was given a plan fi rstly to
target my IBS, and within a
week, I was feeling results,
the constipation was easing,
and my energy levels were
getting a genuine boost,
without the comedown I’d
experienced previously from
sugary foods. This gave me
the motivation to continue
and that persistence was
rewarded when I returned
to Elaine after 3 weeks and
had lost 7 pounds. I was
ecstatic!! I followed my plan
and was able to introduce
light exercise, which involved
swimming. I would have never
described myself as a strong
swimmer, but I started out

“Predictable is one way I would certainly not describe my life, or my diet. My job means that I could be in Dublin today, Galway tomorrow and Cork the next day. This is all very exciting and ever changing for me, but unfortunately my diet suffered as a result. I would go long periods without eating and then would crave convenient, usually sugary foods which provided an instant lift.


As with all things that give an instant lift, the result of any boost may also mean a come down. This come down would leave me feeling bloated, sluggish, lethargic, and began to affect my mood. I suffered with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which was often exacerbated by the unpredictable hours I ate.

Days could pass and still there would be no release from this feeling of bloatedness and I would suffer days on end of constipation. My waistline was also feeling the effects of this. I’m five foot and always had a small frame but in later years the clothes sizes just seemed to be going up with the older I got. My final breaking point was when I was going away for a weekend and I spent hours packing clothes trying to mastermind ways to hide my lumps and bumps. I went away for the weekend and normally I am the first on the dance floor, not needing alcohol or encouragement, but this time, I felt my confidence wouldn’t allow me to get up off the chair. I decided maybe I needed a few new clothes to boost me a little, so I went shopping, but all I could find were clothes that reminded me of something people climbing Mount Everest might use for accommodation!! When I tried on a top and the only top that would fit was a size 20, I knew action had to be taken.

AT 5 foot, I was getting as wide as I was tall, and my confidence was imploding. I attended Elaine in April 2010, and weighed over 12 stone. I explained to Elaine that my lifestyle was not something that would allow me to hours on end over steamers or blenders concocting magical diet recipes from different variations of green vegetables and drinking something which resembled product from an underground sewer!

Thankfully, the diet was practical and easily fitted into my daily routine. I was given a plan firstly to target my IBS, and within a week, I was feeling results, the constipation was easing, and my energy levels were getting a genuine boost, without the comedown I’d experienced previously from sugary foods. This gave me the motivation to continue and that persistence was rewarded when I returned to Elaine after 3 weeks and had lost 7 pounds. I was ecstatic!!

I followed my plan and was able to introduce light exercise, which involved swimming. I would have never described myself as a strong swimmer, but I started out doing 4 lengths in the pool and progressed it every week. I can honestly say at no stage did I feel hungry…. infact the opposite, I was constantly full.

I now go to the swimming pool about 4 times a week, and despite my unpredictable schedule, I always seem to find time for it. My energy levels are unrecognisable to me, I’ve not had this much energy in a long time. My confidence as result of losing weight and feeling good has really been the driving motivation to continue the exercise and healthy eating. My IBS has improved dramatically and I rarely suffer with constipation now.

I am now down to 10 stone and am buying size 10 and 12 clothes. The compliments I’ve received since losing the weight have been real encouragement to me, but it’s the confidence, energy and zest of life again that has really been the motivation to keep going.

My lifestyle is still as hectic as ever, but this time my eating has adapted healthily into that whirlwind schedule! The only problem now is -Dragging me off that dancefl oor!”

Charles from Leitrim, 51 years old

“I was referred by my GP to see Elaine, mainly due to the fact that I was having problems with varicose veins and he advised me that I was overweight and that it was time to cut it back. I had stopped smoking after being a heavy smoker for over 35 years and the weight just piled on. I’m happy to say that I’m still a non-smoker though.

“I began my consultations with Elaine in June 2009, and reached my target weight by March 2010 – I had gone from 21 stone to 13 stone 12Ibs in just nine months – giving a weight loss of over seven stone.

“The success is down to the fact that I simply did everything that Elaine told me to in terms of the eating plan and a bit of exercise. I actually didn’t find it that difficult and, after three to four days, I didn’t even feel hungry anymore.

“Elaine had encouraged me to keep a food diary and, when I brought it into her, we sat down together so that she could show me where to make changes. One of the big changes I made was to cut right back on bread and potatoes. I used to eat a huge amount of bread but now I’ve reduced that a lot which has made a big difference.

“Elaine gave me a chart to explain the calorie content of certain foods and she advised me on healthier options, even going as far as to show me the products to buy, with visual examples, which made it very easy in the supermarket – this is especially important for us men!

“I also took home Elaine’s newsletters and recipes to read which were full of good advice. I soon discovered that I’d been bingeing on foods that were filling me up with high calories but now I’ve learnt to eat lower calorie foods, but I’m still managing to keep the hunger at bay and to keep the weight down.

“I’m going to continue seeing Elaine for consultations two to three times a year to keep an eye on my weight and to help keep things stable. Elaine has advised me to weigh myself no more than once a week and, if I see the scales going up, then to cut back straightaway.

“The difference in my everyday life has been huge. My stomach is now so much smaller which means,  for the first time in years, I can actually bend down to pick something up, instead of having to go down on my knees and even simple things, such as tying my shoes, have become so much easier.

“With the help of Elaine, people aren’t now looking at me, they’re looking for me! I’ve had to buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes and I feel so much better overall. I would recommend Elaine to anyone wanting to lose weight as it’s been extremely helpful to me.”

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Patient Story: Aiden Fallon, 42 years old

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“In my early teens, I played all sorts of sports and was incredibly fit. Unfortunately, due to knee injuries, I had to stop sports, which happened to coincide with a promotion in my career so there was a shift in the way I spent my time.

“For the last 20 years, I have worked 12 or more hours each day. My main time to eat food is in the car, on the run, or late in the evenings. I don’t really have a sweet tooth so I can avoid chocolate and sweets fairly easily but my big downfall is starchy foods like bread and potatoes.


“My weight slowly began to creep up and, initially, I didn’t mind as the weight had plenty of places to hide since I am over 6 foot 2 inches with broad shoulders. But I soon began to become very conscious of my weight and, even though I exercised on most days of the week, I just could not drop the weight. I tried everything from joining my wife in doing Weight Watchers to other diets and I even tried enrolled on a vegetarian cookery course but nothing really worked.

“I found myself exhausted at the weekends and spent a lot of time on the couch with no energy. As tired as I was, I never slept very well and tended to be awake at night, thinking about work. I began to think seriously about seeing someone on a one-to-one basis as, at 18 Stone 10 Pounds, I honestly felt like a beached whale. The Michelin Man didn’t have a patch on me!”

“One day in January, when I was walking out of my dentist’s clinic, I saw a card for Elaine’s clinics and that was the beginning of turning things around.

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About Elaine

Elaine graduated from Trinity College with a B.Sc., (Hons) in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. She gained wide experience working as clinical nutritionist in several hospitals prior to establishing her first private dietetic clinic in 1992.

Private Practice Experience
Elaine has gained vast experience specialising in providing private individual dietetic consultations for her clients in her clinics for the past 17 years. In recent years, her main areas of interest are weight management, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and nutrition and gastro-enterology.

Elaine is an active member of the INDI and was chairperson of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic weight management interest group from 2005 to 2007.

Dietetic and Nutrition Consultancy
Elaine has provided dietetic consultancy to a wide range of industries including private hospitals, hotels and catering companies. She has designed, piloted, implemented and coordinated workplace wellbeing programmes for several prominent companies and large international corporations.