I am 42 and pretty fit (I run between 16 and 20 miles a week). I am not a big eater, but do tend to get out of control and binge. I eat quite a bit of sugar, sometimes substituting chocolate for lunch; I also eat lots of carrots, peanut butter, salads, olives and some protein. I almost always eat a good meal at night with veggies and protein. I think that maybe I drink too much white wine -a bottle or two at the weekend while I am cooking. Am I horribly undernourished? Sometimes I take diet pills like PhenQ. I feel fine, if a bit tired sometimes. My skin is also quite dry.
Phillipa McDonald, by e-mail It sounds to me as though you'd like me to tell you that you're not nourishing yourself well, so you can allow yourself to be kinder to your body. Your behaviour is a little mixed, because on the one hand you're exercising, which is healthy, but on the other you're pushing your body pretty hard if you are always keeping such a tight note of what you do, not allowing your body much slack, especially bearing in mind your erratic, binge-style eating. If you are exercising regularly like this you need to feed yourself well during the day as well as in the evening, and bingeing or expecting your body to survive on sugary snack foods isn't the best idea. Sugar will cause your energy and mood levels to swing around, which can play havoc with your perspective of your eating, and this can trigger binges. Your body really doesn't need quickly absorbed, sweet foods. You'd be better off eating a complex carb such as porridge in the morning, or a wholegrain cereal (although cereals are more quickly absorbed than porridge I still think they're a good start to the day -they can get your energy and mood levels off on the right foot, making you less likely to want to pick and binge).
If the idea of carbs and starches freaks you, try a fresh fruit smoothie (easy to make by throwing a handful of fresh fruit into a blender with some yoghurt) and a few handfuls of organic nuts and seeds and see how you feel. Or, at the weekends, cook some eggs with lean grilled bacon and then, once you notice how much better you are feeling, start introducing complex carbs such as porridge.
Lunchtime needs to be changed. I guess a sandwich made with wholemeal bread, salad and a lean protein such as ham would be too much to ask, but how about a soup, followed by some fresh fruit? Many women don't like eating too much starch at lunchtime because it bloats them or makes them too sleepy, in which case try fresh ready-made soups, sushi and salads, or pack some cheese or cold cuts in a box to take from home. This will all help you to find a good routine with consistent energy levels.
Dehydration can be a cause of dry skin, as can a lack of good fat from olive or hemp oils. Finally, while cooking with a glass of wine in your hand is a lovely idea, try to drink water or a spritzer and save the wine until you have real food in your stomach.