But the good news is, there are natural weight loss solutions that work, without having to go to extreme measures. Although weight loss might be a challenge, maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to protect your overall health and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa. Being a healthy weight also reduces your chances of developing serious health conditions like heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. So, it’s worth the effort in the long-run!
These expert weight loss tips can help
In the quest to boost weight loss and improve people’s overall health, experts continue to search for answers. When it comes to a healthy diet, one of the most important factors to consider is portion control, as well as what you choose to put in your mouth.
To get the lowdown on healthy, sustainable weight loss, we chatted to registered dietitian and co-founder of Nutritional Solutions, Claire Julsing Strydom to get her expert opinion on the healthiest weight loss tips you can follow.
Eat a variety of fruits and veggies
A good weight loss strategy is to focus on a plant-based diet and to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, explains Claire. Each fruit and vegetable is a different combination of nutrients, and if you always eat the same food, you’re missing out on some important stuff.
“What I often tell my clients is to make a list of the produce they ate in a week. When they go shopping for the following’s week’s groceries, buy fruit and veggies that aren’t on that list. That’s the best way to make sure you’re getting all you need.”
It’s also crucial to eat as many different colours of fruit and vegetables as possible. “Different colours contain different phytonutrients, so you need a good mix of everything.”
Don’t forget about fibre
Many people aren’t getting enough fibre, says Claire. “You need 25g of fibre a day, and you need a combination of soluble and insoluble fibre.” Soluble fibre absorbs water to bulk up waste, lowers cholesterol, and is found in foods like oats, oranges and nuts.
Insoluble fibre is like the “broom” that cleans your gut and keeps it healthy. It’s the roughage that can be found in high-fibre cereals, the pips in fruit, and anything “wholegrain”.
Both are essential for gut health, and each person has different needs. If you struggle with constipation, then more roughage is necessary. If you have a problem with looser stools, then you need more soluble fibre, says Claire.
Know your portions
The rule for the perfect portioned meal is to fill half your plate with veggies, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with starch (preferably wholegrain, high-fibre starch).
A serving of protein is roughly the size of a deck of cards, and a serving of starch is about the size of a computer mouse, explains Claire. Generally, a serving of fruit or vegetable is an average sized fruit, like an apple or a naartjie, and for veggies it’s about a cup for leafy veg and half a cup for cooked veg like butternut.
Per meal, you can also include added fat depending on the amount you specifically require. Keep in mind that portion control is important here as these servings are much smaller, because fats and oils are so energy dense. “A serving of added fat is a teaspoon of olive oil, two macadamia nuts or five cashew nuts or almonds.
Eat more vegetables
“Although the message is clear, we still aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables,” says Claire. “We should be eating two to three servings of fruit, and four servings of veg a day.”
She says most people she sees are far from getting enough fruit and vegetables. Not only are these foods packed with nutrients, they’re also low in fat and high in water and fibre, making them the ideal snack!
Supplements have their place in the diet, Claire explains. “Supplements should be used strictly to fill nutrient gaps, like pregnant women taking folic acid.”
But generally, it’s better to consult a dietitian. “Nutrients and vitamins are more readily available in food, and too much of one nutrient can be toxic,” she says. “No standalone nutrient can replace the complex health matrix found in food.
It’s also important to steer clear of any weight loss supplements that promote fast weight loss. These can often wreak havoc with your hormones and disrupt your delicate endocrine system. Stick to natural weight loss methods that are healthy and sustainable long term.
DISCLAIMER: Before starting any diet, you should speak to your doctor. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.