Healthlines: Change your weight

Published — Wednesday 6 February 2013

Last update 8 February 2013 5:17 pm

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To change your shape you must want to lose weight for yourself, not for your husband, your children or anyone else. It has to be you that want to be slimmer because it is important to you and to your health.
The amount you need to eat varies from person to another and depends upon how active you are, but the average woman needs about 2,000 calories to maintain her body weight, and for a man this figure is near 2,500. If you consume more calories than your body needs, then you will gain weight and put fat on your bones. The reason for being overweight is eating extra calories daily. Most people who are obese are eating just a few extra calories each day. Take Suzanne for example: She simply gave up eating her daily chocolate bar and 2 packets of chips and after 3 months she lost weight.
Losing weight will bring you a very big smile, slimmer figure, a healthier body, more energy, improved confidence and a rise in self-esteem. You have achieved something of value.

Get in Control
The early months of the year are a period when we think about getting back into shape. Once festivities such as Diwali, Eid and Christmas are out of the way, we have time once again to think of taking care of our bodies. It is the time to say, “It is payback time for my body”, which means: Fresh healthy food; exercise; water; relaxing time and keeping junk food to a minimum. For those of you whose eating habits may have got completely out of control, try my plan to get back into the driving seat with my one week of “I’m in Control” plan.
Early morning cleanser: Hot water and lemon
Breakfast: Fresh juice, medium bowl porridge oats and skimmed milk; or fresh juice, shredded wheat and skimmed milk or fresh juice, Muesli, yogurt and fruit.
Mid-morning: Banana or apple.
Cup of soup, sandwich (filling choices: Egg and cress; turkey slices and tomato salad; tuna and cucumber salad; or Salmon and cucumber) just allow a teaspoon of low calorie mayonnaise. Freshly squeezed juice or tea if needed.
Mid-afternoon: Boost flagging energy levels with a low-calorie cereal bar.
Mid-evening: Small handful of plain nuts (Almonds, Brazils etc.)
Supper: Lean protein (Grilled meat or fish, or vegetable protein – with up to three boiled vegetables.)
Desert: Small size low-fat plain yogurt mixed with brightly color fruit pieces.
Before bed: Glass of milk or hot milk and honey.
Drinks: Try to limit coffee to mornings only, and caffeine drinks, such as tea, to a maximum of four cups in the day. Drink water any time and at least eight glasses of water a day. Cut out fizzy drinks and alcohol but have as many fresh fruit juices as you want.

Try to sit down and let your body enjoy your meal. Don’t eat while sitting at your desk.
Take a lunchtime stroll and get some fresh air.
If you are cooking for the family, just add rice, potatoes, or pasta to their evening meal to make it easy for yourself.
Observe your fat intake. Middle Eastern and Asian cooking contain high levels of fat and salt
The “I’m in Control” plan gets rid of all those decisions about what to eat. This eating plan is designed to pay back your body for all the festive and junk food eaten over the festive period. This eating plan will also help snackers get back into eating by a set routine. Your body loves a regular routine and a balanced blood sugar level, which reduces cravings.

Ask Alva
I am so desperate to lose another 15 kilos to reach my ideal weight. I always read your column and it gave me courage to consult my problem. Last September my weight was 75 kilos and I lost 5 kilos in a month with diet and exercise. My diet consists of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and chicken without any fat. No carbohydrates in my diet and still I am having a plateau weight. What diet should I follow to lose 15 kilos in two months? I have to attend a wedding in May.
— Depressed

You sound as though you have been on a low-calorie diet that is too low. These rigid low-calorie diets do not work in the long term because they slow down your metabolism, which is the rate at which your body burns up calories. Your body feels there is a famine and reacts by slowing down the metabolism so you burn fewer calories. This is the result of crash dieting — the body feels under stress.
Follow these guidelines and you will gradually lose weight and become healthier and stronger without suffering. And what’s more, the changes will become part of your daily routine.
Begin a program of exercises for 20 minutes every morning — start slowly and do a little more each day. Mail me at [email protected] for a free copy of my 20-minute Mini-Morning Workout.
Try to walk, swim, or skip with a rope every afternoon.
Follow the eating guidelines in the article above.
— Alva

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