Weighty ways to shed ki­los – and keep them off

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - HEALTH - Chantel Er­fort Manuel

AT THE be­gin­ning of last year, I de­cided it was time to get into shape. While ev­ery weight-loss and fit­ness jour­ney is a per­sonal one, and ev­ery­one has dif­fer­ent strate­gies that work for them, I’m shar­ing my top five strate­gies in the hope that they, or vari­a­tions of them, will help you get and stay on track.

Get into the right headspace: I have tried – and failed – to lose weight many times, so many peo­ple have asked me how I man­aged to get it right this time. The only an­swer I have is this: I sim­ply got into the right head-space.

To do this, con­sider care­fully why you want to lose weight, how you plan to do it, what help you’ll need and how you’ll sus­tain it.

The push I needed was see­ing a friend who looked ab­so­lutely amaz­ing after los­ing a huge amount of weight and tak­ing up run­ning. When I de­cided to start my weight-loss jour­ney, I spoke to her, arm­ing my­self with in­for­ma­tion.

Cre­ate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment: When hubby and I de­cided the Pa­leo life­style worked for us, we also de­cided to truly com­mit to our new life­style; we would clear our cup­boards of any­thing not Pa­leo-friendly. This meant say­ing good­bye to sun­flower oil, chick­peas, legumes, crack­ers, peanuts, cheese, milk, cake flour and our wide va­ri­ety of sauces – in­clud­ing may­on­naise (ouch!). The Pa­leo diet ex­cludes all grains, su­gar, legumes and dairy. I know it sounds a bit ex­treme but the sit­u­a­tion was ex­treme. I was 40kg over­weight.

I must also em­pha­sise how much it helped to have my hus­band com­mit to the same life­style I was fol­low­ing. It also got us back into the kitchen, not only eat­ing meals to­gether, but also spend­ing time cook­ing and bak­ing to­gether and tak­ing con­trol of what we were putting into our bod­ies.

But, of course, we do not spend all our time at home and had to find a way to en­sure we stayed on track even when we were at par­ties or hav­ing meals with fam­ily. We al­ways cook a Pa­leo-friendly meal and dessert to take along. This way there’s al­ways some­thing for us to eat, with­out im­pos­ing on our hosts, or mak­ing them feel un­com­fort­able by de­clin­ing ev­ery­thing of­fered to us.

My three bags: Be­fore bed I en­sure my three bags are packed: my work bag, my gym bag and my food bag. I don’t lit­er­ally pack my food bag the night be­fore. But I do en­sure my meals for the next day are pre­pared and packed in the fridge so I can pop them in my bag be­fore head­ing to work.

Meal prep: While it’s al­ways more en­joy­able to eat freshly pre­pared meals, some­times this isn’t pos­si­ble. There is noth­ing worse than get­ting home after a long day at the of­fice and still hav­ing to cook.

I also prep meals so I can pack in lunches for work and not be tempted to pop out for a take­away at lunchtime.

Keep it sim­ple: When I switched to the Pa­leo diet, my key strat­egy for suc­cess was to keep it sim­ple, par­tic­u­larly while I was be­com­ing ac­cus­tomed to the life­style and get­ting com­fort­able with hav­ing ex­cluded so many food groups from my diet.

What this means is that I didn’t im­me­di­ately launch into bak­ing Pa­leo-friendly treats or desserts or mak­ing Pa­leo vari­a­tions of dishes which tra­di­tion­ally con­tain su­gar, dairy, legumes or grains.

In the be­gin­ning, my meals were sim­ple com­bi­na­tions of a pro­tein source, lots of fresh veg­gies and sal­ads. I also made sure at least twice a week I ate fish in­stead of red or white meat. I planned so I didn’t have red meat with more than one meal on any given day.

These are some of the strate­gies that worked for me, and I hope they help you too.

To read the full ver­sion of this ar­ti­cle, and for more on health, well­ness and Pa­leo, go to www.edit­edeat­ing.co.za or fol­low @edit­edeat­ing on so­cial me­dia.

My key strat­egy for suc­cess was to keep it sim­ple

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