Is it just us or does dietary advice change every decade? With all the information on “Beyonce’s internet” it is a hard to keep up and stick to a diet, laments Asiphe Nombewu (29) from Cape Town.
“When I was growing up, I was this tall and petite young lady. I loved that body so much and I think when I grew fully into my adult body, I struggled to accept the new version of my body. It was getting slightly curvier, and I absolutely hated it,” she says.
Sticking to a diet became more and more difficult the more she surfed the web for solutions. “I stayed at home and convinced myself that I was an introvert. Honestly, I was also hiding from people’s comments about my body.”
Make diets work for you
Nombewu, however, believes that the idea of a “one-size fits all” diet is unrealistic. To meet your goals and remain disciplined in your diet, you simply need to find what works for you.
“Maintaining a balanced diet is not easy, but I have, somehow, managed to be consistent. I have days where I wake up and don’t feel like drinking a green smoothie for breakfast, but you will never find unhealthy alternatives in my house and that’s how I keep it.”
Nombewu’s sentiments are echoed by Gqeberha-based wellness coach Lwethu Madliki. Her secret in keeping diet discipline lies in the belief that eating healthy is a lifestyle and not a diet.
“It’s more than a diet for me. It’s a lifestyle. I eat healthy almost every day and I try to be as consistent as I can be both at the gym and with my food,” she says.
Madliki says living with her food-loving family was challenging once, but she reminded herself that she was on a journey.
‘My pockets cannot handle it’
Of the many habits you need to abandon while on a health journey, alcohol seemed to be the easiest one to kick, says Nombewu. “Quitting alcohol has improved the quality of my life so much.”
The cost of healthy foods on supermarket shelves have been challenging, though.
Nombewu says it’s easier and cheaper to eat something unhealthy than it is to eat organic and healthy food. “Can we talk about how expensive it is to eat healthy! I couldn’t believe it.
‘You are doing amazing, sweety’
Another Gqeberha-based registered dietician, Thato Maliehe, says the secret to maintaining diet discipline lies in prioritising your health. “When we talk about eating healthy and having a balanced/healthy diet we talk about optimum eating, eating the correct amount of food, food that is rich in nutrients.”
Under-eating does not mean that you are healthier than someone who overeats.
“When you overeat, you gain a lot of weight, and when you under eat you are going to be underweight and weak for a person your age, same difference.”
For our bodies to function optimally, you need to eat clean, drink a lot of water, and have a couple of vegetables in your meals and eat fruits.
Health is not a one size fits all, but a unique process for all. People feel pressured when eating clean is referred to as a diet, and Maliehe believes that diets should not be thought of as these strict routines that are set to go in a certain way.
“It is a process, and not something you do overnight. You need to first understand what the purpose is and learn the possible consequences and challenges, only then will you be able to survive those challenges and have a smooth life as a clean eater.”