Updated 20 October 2015

Taking charge of your health

Ladies, let’s get real; there is no magic pill to pop when it comes to your health and weight loss or weight maintenance. Here's what you should do.


Constant dieting is bad for your health and instead you should embrace an exercise and healthy eating programme that work together to help you achieve your goals.

Embarking on an exercise plan is a positive step towards improving your overall health. Diet plays a significant role in helping you to achieve your goal weight.

If you are overeating, a balanced diet together with exercise will help you to lose weight, but remember that you do need to eat enough to provide you with sufficient energy for your training – a restrictive diet can decrease your energy levels and be counter-productive.

Set yourself a goal

If you are serious about making real, long-term changes, invest in assistance from professionals instead of in gimmicky weight loss pills. It’s advisable to ask for assistance from a biokineticist who can conduct a body fat analysis, measure your weight, and advise you about exercise programmes.

Diet guidelines need to be tailored for specific needs, and should you require an individualised eating plan, it should therefore be calculated for you by a dietician.

HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat. There are many changes we can make to our behaviour and approach to eating that can assist in weight loss.

Here are some tips:

Eat REGULAR meals and snacks during the day as this will provide constant energy and will reduce cravings, so that you will be less tempted to overeat at mealtimes.

• Eat slowly and chew your food thoroghly. This may sound obvious but it’s an important strategy that you can use to control your food intake. When we eat too quickly we tend to overeat, so take your time, enjoy your food, which will help control your appetite.

Cooking methods are extremely important in helping to control your overall energy intake. Preparing foods mostly at home helps you to control what goes into your meals. Fried and fatty foods can lead to weight gain over time, therefore be vigilant not to prepare foods in this way, in order to encourage weight loss and maintaining your goal weight. Rather steam, boil or stew foods, and if you pan-fry them, use a small amount of oil in non-stick pots or pans. 

• When eating out, rather choose a lean salad as a starter which will help satisfy your appetite; then choose a small main meal, and stay away from the rich desserts.

• You don’t have to avoid carbs, but if they are eaten in excess and are not utilised during exercise/training, they can cause weight gain, especially if they are prepared with fat, e.g. fried doughnuts, biscuits, chocolate or excess sugar in the form of sweets. Enjoy these only as occasional treats! Choose high fibre carbs such as brown rice, oats and sweet potato.

• Keep proteins lean and enjoy a good variety of vegetables/salads.

Fruit is nature’s perfect health snack for in between meals.

• What you drink on a daily basis can make a big difference to your overall energy intake. If you consume a few fizzy cold drinks and some tea or coffee with sugar every day, you could be adding over 1000 unnecessary and non-nutritious kilojoules to your diet! Train your taste buds to accept less sugar by slowly cutting down in your tea and coffee. Dilute fruit juice with water (half juice, half water) because it contains energy in the form of fruit sugars. Replace fizzy cold drinks with sparkling or still water. If you find this boring, try adding lemon slices and even sliced cucumber, apple or sprigs of mint to "liven up" the taste of water.

What about alcohol? If included on a daily basis it can contribute significant amounts of energy/kilojoules to your diet, which can affect your weight. Limit alcohol to one or two drinks per week. Opt for a light wine, whiskey and water/soda, or a vodka and sugar-free cold drink mix.

Here's to a healthier you!

Read more:
Cook healthily, live longer

Protein quality really does matter

Low carb vs low fat diet - which is best for weight loss?