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5 Expert healthy eating and weight loss tips


February is Healthy Lifestyle Awareness Month and, with the following expert healthy eating and weight loss tips, it’s a great time to resurrect healthy resolutions and get back on track!

1. Keep it simple

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.

2. Head for the kitchen

Johannesburg based dietitian Cheryl Meyer encourages her clients to ‘head for the kitchen’. She recommends that you start cooking 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.

3. Replace bad habits and avoid triggers

Dr Sharon Johnson, from South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP), points out that bad eating habits are just that – a decision we make every day, which becomes instinctive.

She says, “The challenge is to start rewiring the brain with mindful habits. This includes 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,” says dietitian Miriam Forgan.

4. Don’t deprive yourself

Lila Bruk, Association of Dietetics in South Africa spokesperson, advises her clients to avoid cutting out entire food groups.

She warns that this only creates feelings of deprivation, cravings for these forbidden foods and deprives the body of the nutrients it needs.

5. Forget about quick fixes

‘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.

Ask a dietitian

From 15h00 to 16h00 on Wednesday, 19 February, the Association of Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA) will be hosting ‘Kick start your year,’ a Healthy Lifestyle Awareness twitter talk which gives you the opportunity to chat to health experts about nutrition, dieting, exercise and mental well-being.

To join the discussion, follow @ADSA_RD on Twitter and use the #askadietitian hashtag when posting your question.

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