Shed winter weight
Summer is coming, with the panic to fit into the bikini that’s been at the back of a drawer for months. Here’s how to do it
With spring in the air and summer around the corner, many people will start looking for ways to shed extra fat around their waist and hips. Some will hit the gym and eat healthily while others will try every crash diet under the sun. Not all diets, exercise routines and medical treatments show the same results for everyone. Experts warn that the weight-loss plan you choose must be healthy and sustainable.
A healthy diet is based on controlled carbohydrates (no sugar and refined carbs), and includes a moderate amount of protein and enough healthy fats, says Dr Peter Hill, a specialist in metabolic syndrome.
Refined carbohydrates are foods made from grains and sugars that have been extensively processed. They include white bread, pasta, biscuits and crisps. When eaten, refined carbs increase blood-sugar levels and result in a person feeling hungry quicker.
City Press has put together some healthy weightloss programmes with the help of a dietician and a personal trainer. For those who prefer quick results that may not last long, we have included the latest crash diet that is on everybody’s lips. Eating to a slimmer you
Johannesburg-based dietician Lynn Odendaal says nothing beats healthy eating when you want to shed those extra kilos.
“It begins with limiting your sugar and refinedcarbohydrates intake. It might sound like you have to stop eating all your favourite foods, but it will be worth it at the end,” she says.
“I always advise my patients more fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens.
“Lean proteins, such as meat, poultry and eggs, are a must because they give the body much-needed nutrients and make the person feel full for longer.
“Proteins also trigger glucagon, a hormone which has a fat-burning effect. However, the consumption must be moderate because too much of anything is bad for your health.”
Odendaal emphasises the importance of drinking water and eating food high in fibre while on a diet.
“The body needs at least eight glasses of water every day to optimise digestion,” she says.
“If pure water is not that appealing to you, try including fruits, such as sliced strawberries and lemon, to add flavour.
“Cucumber with some mint leaves also work, but lemon is what I recommend most because it purifies the blood.”
Explaining the importance of fibre, Odendaal added: “A high-fibre diet normalises bowel movements and helps maintain a healthy weight.”
Foods high in fibre include nuts, legumes and whole-wheat. Liquid crash diets
Liquid diets are the latest craze on the weight-loss scene. Everybody is talking about them because more celebrities keep coming out in support of the concept.
Punted by celebrities including Naomi Campbell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Oprah Winfrey, juice diets promise to flush out toxins and unwanted kilograms by reducing your food intake to only pressed vegetables and fruits.
How long you remain on such a diet depends on how many kilos you want to shed. Some people do it for three days; others a week.
What’s important about this crash diet is you only drink juice and water and take supplements to replace the myriad nutrients your body needs. Aniston shed 3kg in seven days.
However, Joburg dietician Robyn Reese is not a fan.
“Liquid diets are nutritionally unbalanced and leave out important nutrients, such as protein and essential fats, as well as fibre. They can lead to low bloodglucose levels [hypoglycaemia], which make people feel dizzy, cause mood swings, impair concentration and lead to food cravings,” she says.
So be warned. Fitness fabulous
While exercise will help you lose weight and keep it off, doing exercise alone may not give you the desired results as quickly as you want, says exercise physiologist Ronald Abvajee.
“Exercise alone is not going to help lose a lot of weight,” he says.
“But when that exercise is combined with a cut in kilojoule intake, the weight loss can be as high as 7.5kg in just 12 weeks.
“While diet is more effective for short-term weight loss, scientific evidence suggests a continuing exercise programme outweighs the value of diet in the maintenance of weight loss over two or more years,” he says.
Abvajee explains that, when you exercise, your muscles release a hormone known as irisin, named after the Greek messenger goddess.
“Irisin increases the metabolic rate and is thought to have potential anti-obesity effects. When irisin levels rise through aerobic exercise, the hormone switches on genes that convert white fat into ‘good’ brown fat,” he says.
“This is beneficial because brown fat continues to burn off more calories beyond just the energy used to do the actual aerobic exercise. This helps people maintain a healthy body-mass index and avoid obesity and conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
“Exercise increases your brown fat levels and brown fat burns calories rather than storing them – keeping you not just slimmer, but healthier,” he says.
So what does Abvajee recommend to achieve a bikini body before the summer holidays?
“My recommendation for those aiming for weight loss and fat loss is to do moderate- to high-intensity cardio exercises for about 30 minutes on day one. Day two should be about strength, which means controlled exercises with the correct technique for 30 minutes, of which 10 must be cardio warm-up.”
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