Updated 17 February 2014

Kickstart your health with nutrition chat on Twitter

On 19 February the Association of Dietetics in South Africa (Adsa) will be hosting a twitter talk on nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Good health is about balancing all the different elements in your life: your diet, exercise and time for relaxation and ‘de-stressing’. Nutrition plays a key role in wellbeing. Many South African’s know that a healthy lifestyle can make a significant difference in preventing diseases, reducing stress and improving general wellbeing, but still struggle to start or maintain their healthy lifestyle journey.

On Wednesday, 19th February, the Association of Dietetics in South Africa (Adsa) will be hosting a Healthy Lifestyle Awareness: Kickstart Your Year twitter talk, providing South Africans with an opportunity to join the conversation and interact directly with a group of dietitians, who will be discussing the importance of nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle. The talk is happening from 3pm to 4pm.

Dietitians will be answering the following questions:

 - If there is only one ‘healthy eating’ tip that you would give someone to kickstart their healthy eating journey, what would it be?
 - How do we keep our healthy eating journey on track during a busy day? (lunchbox tips and recipes)
 - What should you avoid if your goal is to eat healthily, loose weight and keep it off?

Mental wellbeing and exercise

Dr Sharon Johnson, from SACAP (South African College of Applied Psychology) and a biokineticist will be joining the conversation to chat about mental wellbeing and exercise:

 - How do we change bad eating habits that have developed over a period of time and why is it so hard? (Dr Sharon Johnson)
 - Now that we are eating healthily what are some great exercises that can be done in the gym or at home?

“In line with our continued efforts to support South African’s in living healthier lifestyles and promote dietitians as the go-to experts for any nutrition advice, Healthy Lifestyle Awareness Month is a great way to engage around healthy nutrition and overall wellbeing. The twitter talks enable us to engage directly and share tips, ideas and advice that will benefit the healthy lifestyle journey”, says Claire Julsing-Strydom, President of Adsa’s Executive Committee.

With so much conflicting information around what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and healthy diet, it is important to go back to the basics and to change one thing at a time.

Registered dietitian, Keri Strachan’s top tip is to not start something so drastic and extreme that you can’t see yourself doing it for life. Identify a few things that you can improve and work on them one by one, because small steady changes make a huge difference. ‘Assess your reasons for wanting to loose weight’ suggests dietitian Brigitte LeClercq. ‘Focus on changing for good health and more energy’.

Changing bad habits

Johannesburg-based dietitian Cheryl Meyer encourages her clients to ‘head for the kitchen’. Start cooking your own healthy meals from scratch as often as possible, using the freshest and healthiest ingredients and in this way controlling not only what goes into your meal, but also the size of the meal.

Dr Sharon Johnson, from SACAP, points out that bad eating habits are just that – a decision we make every day, which becomes instinctive. “The challenge is to start rewiring the brain with mindful habits. This includes for example making a conscious decision to plan your meals and day”.

Once the healthy eating journey has started make sure that you don’t fall back into an old habit or pattern. “Identify the triggers that will derail you and learn to avoid them, but remember that it takes hard work to change a habit that might have built up over years and years”, say dietitian Miriam Forgan.

Adsa spokesperson, Lila Bruk advices her clients to avoid cutting out entire food groups, as this creates a feeling of deprivation, a craving for exactly those foods and deprives the body of the nutrients it needs. ‘Quick fix’ solutions like slimming pills and injectables should be avoided at all costs according to dietitian Faaizah Asmal. The focus should instead be on a sustainable, healthy eating plan.

“Diets do not work. We need to start making healthier food choices and eat healthy snacks between meals. Everyone has individual needs based on their lifestyles, physical activity and health concerns”, concludes Brigitte LeClercq.

For more tips and advice follow @ADSA_RD twitter handle and join the #askadietitian conversation on Wednesday, 19th February at 3pm.

Read more:
Nutrition basics in a nutshell
Portion control: lead by example
45 best health tips ever



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