Goals, goals! We have set them and now is the time to act. Just don’t buy into the whole fad diet quick fix. This is the view of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) who says slow and steady wins the race.
It is only natural that you want to see that pandemic bulge shrink, it has been two whole years. But that is not how sustainable weight loss works.
Lila Bruk, a registered dietitian based in Johannesburg and spokesperson for ADSA, tells Health For Mzansi the key to sustainable weight loss lies in our patience and commitment to our goals for 2022.
“Set small achievable goals with the aim of achieving a loss of 0.5 to 1kg per week,” she says.
Zamantungwa Khumalo, who is based in Madadeni, in Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal, is also a registered dietitian. She echoes Bruk’s sentiments and says,”You cannot change years of poor eating habits in just one week or one month. A healthy, balanced diet is the way to go, along with lifestyle changes such as increased regular physical activity.”
Meanwhile, registered dietitian Retha Harmse says a focus on building healthy routines rather than restrictions and deprivation help you stay focused on your health goals.
Avoid these pitfalls
Thinking about trying these trends in 2022? Well, the dieticians have some tea for you to sip on. Here are the five New Year health trends to avoid in 2022:
Stay away from the supplements
With promises of the fastest, easiest results, weight loss supplements can be tempting. But Bruk warns that most of these “natural wonders” are poorly regular and not scientifically tested for efficacy.
“Many of these products contain potentially harmful ingredients including stimulants, laxatives, diuretics and even banned substances,” she says.
“The only way to achieve successful weight loss and maintain your healthy weight is to follow a sustainable, balanced eating plan combined with regular physical activity.”
Carbs are not the enemy
Carbs are just that kid everybody loves to hate, and we really give them too little credit. And in Harmse’s books, “Demonising carbohydrates for causing weight gain is like blaming cars for all accidents.”
“It is a bit more complex than that!” she says.
The key to an optimal diet lies in portion control, she advises. “Carbs are important sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals. For weight loss eating plans, choose wholegrain and complex carbohydrates as far as possible. Carbohydrates have the same energy density as protein at 17 kilojoules per gram, and you can easily reduce your daily kilojoule intake for weight loss without eliminating carbohydrates.”
Staying fuller for longer
There’s nothing like hunger to derail your efforts to lose weight, and so preventing hunger is an important strategy when you are following a weight loss eating plan.
Fibre is the plug says Bruk. “High fibre foods include legumes, fruit, vegetables and whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa. Protein and fat also add to the satiety of a meal. To feel satisfied with your meals, ensure that half your plate is covered with vegetables and salad; a quarter of your plate is a serving of lean protein such as chicken, legumes, or fish; and the last quarter is fibre-rich whole grains. Include a small portion of unsaturated fats such as olives, avocado, nuts, seeds or olive oil for a fully balanced and filling meal that will enhance your weight loss.”
How to eat clean?
Clean eating trends have become increasingly popular and are often taken up by those committed to healthy lifestyles, wellness and self-care. According to Khumalo, clean eating includes a variety of the different whole-foods such as fruits and vegetables, lean meat, skinless chicken and fish.
Cooking methods also determine how clean your food is.
Do not buy into the fear associated with the eating style warns Harmse.
“Following clean eating regimes can elicit so much food fear, food guilt and cause people to become overly restrictive and anxious about food. It’s important to take a balanced approach that enables you to enjoy your food as you make the best food choices that are available to you at the time, and rather avoid radicalism which causes unnecessary stress around food and eating.”
The ’I’ in Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting regimes focus on when you eat rather than what you eat. They demand lifestyle changes and should not be done without consultation with your doctor first as fasting is not safe for all people.
Harmse says, “Fasting shows quick weight loss but it is not sustainable. It can lead to muscle breakdown; a slower metabolic rate and interference with your liver enzymes. When we are in a fasting state, the body’s energy first comes from glycogen, the glucose stores in our muscle and liver, and then from your muscle in a process called *gluconeogenesis.”