Archive for Patient Stories

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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patients-story-ibs“I first noticed symptoms in March of last year. I read up on them and they seemed to be typical of someone with IBS – bloating, gas, abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation (alternating bouts of both).

“The diarrhoea was awful as it occurred three to four times each day, while there were about two episodes of constipation each week. The bloating was constant, along with a lot of gas and unpleasant abdominal pain and spasms continuously after eating.
“The fatigue was a major part of it. Life had become very limited for both me and my six year old son, Sean, in the sense of going anywhere as the diarrhoea and pain had become so bad that, at various times in the day, I would often have to lie down and I would have no energy at all. I had stopped calling to friends’ houses as the symptoms had become so embarrassing.
“Depression definitely became part of the problem too as I just didn’t want to leave the house at all at times and I lost my motivation and my get-up-and-go. My son and I usually loved doing things together and he needs to have his life too, so it was getting on top of me. I also lost any interest in socialising because even just having a few bottles of beer would lead to vomiting plus having to spend the next day in bed with abdominal pain, gas and even more severe bouts of diarrhoea.
“I felt I couldn’t live my life in this way, and nor could Sean – it wasn’t fair. I felt that life was passing me by and became very withdrawn from my friends. It was unlike me, especially when I was usually known as the person full of life and energy.
“The solution finally came when I was referred by my consultant gastroenterologist to Elaine after I had my colonoscopy done to receive information on IBS and the diet I needed to follow. To be honest, I never believed in the usefulness of dietitians before this because I considered my diet to be sufficiently healthy already but I was prepared to at least listen to what she had to say.
“Elaine is fantastic at what she does – she has a very kind and sympathetic manner and is so thorough in her approach. She guided me along with very detailed advice on the best foods for my condition and also the worst foods – the ones to avoid. She also seemed to totally understand how I was feeling; Elaine explained exactly what IBS is and how to control it.
“Now my symptoms have disappeared – that is why I say Elaine is a miracle worker! The fatigue is non-existent and, after a year of being unwell, myself and my son are now enjoying life again. I am feeling great mentally also.
“I enjoy the diet and cooking has become so much more enjoyable as I make most things from scratch now, as opposed to out of a jar. I’m actually more experimental in that I’m trying more foods than I would have before and, if I’m going anywhere, I now bring a few snacks with me to prevent symptoms returning. Plenty of water on a daily basis was also recommended by Elaine and that seems to be working.
“I would recommend Elaine to anyone because she is very down to earth and understands how difficult your life becomes with this condition and reassures you that your life will return to normal again. And she was right – my life did return to normal. Now I thank Elaine for giving me my life back.”

“I first noticed symptoms in March of last year. I read up on them and they seemed to be typical of someone with IBS – bloating, gas, abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation (alternating bouts of both).

“The diarrhoea was awful as it occurred three to four times each day, while there were about two episodes of constipation each week. The bloating was constant, along with a lot of gas and unpleasant abdominal pain and spasms continuously after eating.

“The fatigue was a major part of it. Life had become very limited for both me and my six year old son, Sean, in the sense of going anywhere as the diarrhoea and pain had become so bad that, at various times in the day, I would often have to lie down and I would have no energy at all. I had stopped calling to friends’ houses as the symptoms had become so embarrassing.

“Depression definitely became part of the problem too as I just didn’t want to leave the house at all at times and I lost my motivation and my get-up-and-go. My son and I usually loved doing things together and he needs to have his life too, so it was getting on top of me. I also lost any interest in socialising because even just having a few bottles of beer would lead to vomiting plus having to spend the next day in bed with abdominal pain, gas and even more severe bouts of diarrhoea.

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Jan
07

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.

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“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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Nov
19

Patient Story: PCOS Sufferer

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Sam Meredith, 22 years old

“It was Elaine who suggested that I be tested for PCOS after I was attending her for a few months with weight problems. I was finally diagnosed when I was 19 years of age.

I had been having irregular periods for a number of years and, when I did get periods, they tended to be extremely painful.

The acne and the problem of not being able to lose weight, even though I was trying, left me feeling very down and depressed all the time. Even though I had all of these symptoms, I never really thought that it could all be connected so if I had not been attending Elaine then I would never have been diagnosed.

When I was deciding what I was going to do to lose the weight a few friends had suggested things like Weight Watchers and Unislim, but I know that if I had tried one of those I would not stick to it. I think the idea of a one-on-one appointment, where everything is suited just to your needs is a much better way to go and I knew that was the only way I was going to lose any weight.

I started going to see Elaine in 2006. At the beginning I went every two to three weeks. I still go to see her now every five to six weeks as it is the only way I feel I will keep the weight down and she always has great advice and ideas to help you out if you do happen to hit a patch where the weight loss levels off.

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Elaine loves what she does, she puts so much effort into her work and she knows how to get you motivated and keep you on track. If you go to visit her and you’ve lost weight she gives you such a boost that that it makes you want to just keep going, and when you may have had a bad week or so Elaine would always have something new to try or some other great words of wisdom to put you back on track so it never seems boring like a lot of diets around do.

To date I have lost just over four and a half stone under Elaine’s guidance. I have so much more confidence now, whereas I had none before I lost the weight. I have so much more energy, and generally just feel a lot better about myself. My skin has cleared up big time and my periods are now regular so they’re not as painful which is a huge help!

I try to walk whenever I get a chance and to keep up the healthy eating as much as I can. I had planned on joining a gym but I think that is quite hard to maintain, whereas the walking can be done whenever and wherever you like.

“Thanks to Elaine, I was fi nally diagnosed with PCOS and her treatment plan brought about more regular periods, clearer skin, a weight loss of four and a half stone and more confidence - I couldn’t ask for more!”

I am now going on to study to be a dietitian myself as Elaine’s insight and encouragement has been a huge inspiration to me. My life has improved dramatically as a result of consulting with Elaine and that has led me to develop a real interest into the link between diet and health.”

how to get you motivated and keep you on track. If you go to visit her and you’ve lost weight she gives you such a boost that it makes you want to just keep going, and when you may have had a bad week or so Elaine would always have something new to try or some other great words of wisdom to put you back on track so it never seems boring  like a lot of diets around do.
To date I have lost just over four and a half stone under Elaine’s guidance. I have so much more confidence now, whereas I had none before I lost the weight. I have so much more energy, and generally just feel a lot better about myself. My skin has cleared up big time and my periods are now regular so they’re not as painful which is a huge help!
I try to walk whenever I get a chance and to keep up the healthy eating as much as I can. I had planned on joining a gym but I think that is quite hard to maintain, whereas the walking can be done whenever and wherever you like.
I am now going on to study to be a dietitian myself as Elaine’s insight and

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, ability to have children, hormones, heart, blood vessels, and even her appearance (with weight gain and acne being among the symptoms). About one in ten women of childbearing age has PCOS, and it is the most common cause of female infertility.

What causes PCOS?

It is not known why some women develop PCOS but it is believed that genes could play a part. Researchers also think that insulin could be linked to PCOS. Insulin is a hormone that controls the change of sugar, starches and other food into energy for the body to use or store. For many women with PCOS, their bodies have problems using insulin so that too much insulin is present in the body. Excess insulin appears to increase production of androgen – levels of androgen that are higher than normal can lead to acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain and problems with ovulation.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms are many and varied – some women may have irregular menstrual cycles or may have difficulty getting pregnant, while others may also struggle to lose excess weight, have unwanted facial and body hair, thinning hair, ovarian cysts, adult acne, depression, pelvic pain and serious medical conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), Type II diabetes and heart disease, if left untreated. It is important to consult with your GP if you have any of these symptoms.

What is the treatment for PCOS?

Because there is no ‘cure’ for PCOS, it needs to be managed to prevent associated problems. For women who are not trying to get pregnant, a doctor may prescribe birth control pills with an anti-androgen to help reduce symptoms. The drug Metformin, usually used to treat type II diabetes, has also been found to help with PCOS symptoms and to stimulate ovulation so your doctor may prescribe this. You could also explore the possibility of using alternative, natural remedies to alleviate certain symptoms.

How does Elaine Treat Symptoms of PCOS?

Since PCOS is a hormonal issue, it causes many women to experience problems with losing weight. The increase in hormones can cause a woman to gain excess weight or simply struggle to maintain her weight when dieting and exercising. “Keeping a healthy weight by eating healthy foods is another way to help manage PCOS,” says Elaine. “I treat many women with PCOS who are overweight. I study their food diaries and highlight their weak areas. I then devise a diet plan which guides them towards a healthier, lower GI diet, one that is focused on fewer processed foods and foods with added sugars. The plan relies heavily on wholegrain options, fruits, vegetables and lean meats to help lower blood sugar levels, improve the body’s use of insulin and normalise hormone levels in the body. The results are usually extremely positive, as is Sam’s case on page 1. I have discovered that even a 10 per cent loss in body weight can have a huge effect – with many women finding that their cycle becomes more regular and symptoms are reduced. So I can tell my clients that there is good news – with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, it is possible for women with PCOS to lead an active, normal life.”

Categories : Patient Stories, PCOS
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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.