People in Mzansi have different ways to keep in shape without sweating it out in gym. It starts with what is on their plates and a few share their eating regimen. Dietitian Lila Bruk weighs in on the matter.
Although many people are tempted to follow extreme, restrictive diets to lose weight, these are often impractical and unsustainable.
This is according to Lila Bruk, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Association of Dietetics in South Africa. Bruk suggests you focus on a balanced diet that is full of nutrients and a little bit of movement daily instead.
Health for Mzansi spoke to some Johannesburgers to find out how they keep healthy and fit without going to a gym.
Hold the beef
Keamogetswe Matlala (21) says she turned into a pollotarian diet six months ago. A pollotarian is someone who eats poultry, turkey and fish.
Her diet also includes high protein and low-fat meals to maintain stable blood sugar levels. She explains that she opted for the pollotarian diet after she grew tired of the bloating and heart palpitations she gets from other meats, and more especially red meat.
Bruk says Matlala’s choice of avoiding red meat could potentially be beneficial, as this would mean limiting saturated fat intake.
“A high saturated fat intake has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and heart disease, and thus limiting saturated fat intake is prudent. It is very much possible to have a healthy, balanced diet with all the essential nutrients while avoiding red meat,” adds Bruk.
“The fact that avoiding red meat has helped her digestion is an indication that she is definitely on the right track and her current dietary changes are positive,” Bruk says.
Also, the right carbs which are high in fibre or unrefined choices certainly have a place in a balanced diet and there is no need to avoid them.
“Carbs are an important food source and if unrefined grains are chosen, they provide fibre as well as B-vitamins, zinc and magnesium. If she spaces out her carbs evenly throughout the day and keeps to small portions, she may find that her energy levels are boosted and her digestion improves further,” Bruk advises.
Boipelo Hlapane (26) meanwhile doesn’t believe in the concept of a “full breakfast” to start the day and eats her first meal around noon. This is usually with a cup of tea with no milk or sugar.
“Many people don’t enjoy eating early and prefer to eat breakfast later in the morning or skip it completely. Breakfast is often the time when the most fibre is consumed and thus it is certainly a beneficial meal,” says Bruk.
“I would recommend that she takes a close look at her day’s eating to ensure she is getting sufficient macronutrients such as protein, fat and carbohydrates, as well as micronutrients consisting of vitamins and minerals,” Bruk suggests.
Going the keto way
Keabetsoe Matshediso (31) follows a keto diet, which is low-carb and high in plant-based foods, like almond and coconut milk or flour.
Bruk says she generally finds that different ways of eating work for different people and if it works for Matshediso, then that is acceptable.
“Many people find that the keto diet is a very effective way of losing weight. Regardless of the type of diet chosen, there must be some sort of calorie deficit created to allow for weight loss.”
“If someone is following a keto diet but is having an excessive calorie intake and taking in many more calories than they are expending, then this won’t be ideal for their weight,” Bruk elaborates.
She concludes by emphasising that exercising is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and there is no specific eating plan that is specifically intended for someone who doesn’t or can’t exercise.