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Your ultimate checklist when choosing a weight loss programme

Your ultimate checklist when choosing a weight loss programme

10 things every weight loss programme should have

1.Is the programme recommended by medical doctors?

This is probably the most important aspect of all. If a programme is not supported by doctors or dieticians, there is probably a reason why. Weight loss may be important to you, but so is your health. Don’t choose one over the other.

2. Does the programme provide you with an eating plan that enables you to enjoy variety and taste in your food?

If not, you probably won’t last long on it. Nobody can eat boiled cabbage forever.  Changing your eating habits is ultimately a long-term commitment if you want the weight to stay off. Your weight loss plan should enable you to adapt to healthier eating habits that will help you retain your goal weight.

3. Does the programme give you options for eating in and eating out?

It’s almost impossible to be the only one in the home that is on a diet while the rest of the family continues with their usual eating. A weight loss plan should assist you to cook healthy food that the whole family can enjoy through providing a recipe book full of healthy and delicious meals.

4. Does the weight loss programme take your medical history into account?

Your weight loss programme should lead you to a healthier, more fulfilled life. Choose a programme that takes your medical history & medication into account. For example; when you are a diabetic or you have high blood pressure your condition needs to be monitored, your medication might need to be adjusted as you lose weight too.

5. Does the programme enable your body to break down its own fat?

Crash course diets that puts your body into starvation mode yield short-term results, but in the long run, your whole body needs to be part of the process. Choose a weight loss programme that enables your body to break down your body’s excess fat and teaches you how to keep the weight off.

6. Does the programme offer a holistic approach?

Choose a programme that is carefully planned to give your body the right support at each phase, which includes stimulation, detoxification, weight loss, stabilization and maintenance.

Exercise is almost always a positive enabler of weight loss; however, modern-day life often poses time constraints on this. Choose a weight loss programme that has a sensible approach to exercise, and that helps you with suggested exercises that you can adapt to fit your lifestyle.

7. Has the programme been tried and trusted for many years?

There is a reason why certain weight loss programmes have stood the test of time, and been refined many times to keep improving. Look for a programme that has been tried and trusted, so that you know your investment will be worthwhile.

8. Does the programme offer additional support to help you along your weight loss journey? 

It’s hard to walk the road alone, and there is no reason why you should. Every day, thousands of people are dealing with the same challenge as you are. Choose a weight loss programme that enables you to connect with people who are on the same path as you are, share tips, support each other, and perhaps even make lasting connections in the process via channels like a social media support group.

9. Does the programme manufacture its products locally?

There is a reason why local is lekker… local diets are also tailored to suit the climate and conditions of a country and so are their products. Having products of high standard made locally under legislation in an accredited laboratory will also give you ease of mind before just putting anything in your body.

10. Are there benefits, reported by others, who have been on the programme?

Whilst weight loss is a great benefit, there should be health benefits of losing weight too and the best recommendation is from what others experience like, increased energy levels, reduced headaches and migraines, reduced irritable bowel symptoms, less joint paint, improved sinuses, reduced asthma symptoms, less heartburn and reflux and more.

Green apple wrapped in a measure tape on a wooden table, top view, diet and weight loss concept

SO…

If you answered ‘yes’ to all of the above, you’ve probably already found Slender Wonder, the medical weight loss programme that has been tried and trusted by South African men and women for over forty years. If not, please pay us a visit and discover why we’ve been helping people live healthier lives for decades. Your journey to your best self can start today.

Eat the Rainbow to build your immunity

Eat the Rainbow to build your immunity

Rainbows have long been a symbol of hope after a storm, or optimism in difficult circumstances. But did you know that eating food in the different colours of the rainbow can actually help you build your immunity?

“This is because foods of different colours contain different groups of vitamins and nutrients! So, if you would like to know if you’re eating enough of “everything,” one of the easiest ways to do this, is to make sure you eat natural foods in all of the colours of the rainbow during the course of a week”, explains Dr Bhavna de Kock, GP.

Here is a quick guide to the different food colour groups:

Red and Pink

  • These foods help fight heart disease and some cancers. They are helpful in regulating blood pressure levels, reducing tumor growth, lowering bad cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. Full of vitamins A and C.
  • Examples: Red apples, Red cabbage, Cherries, Cranberries, Red grapes, Red peppers, Pomegranates, Radishes, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Watermelon


Yellow and Orange

  • Yellow and orange foods help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and can even improve your immune system. Vitamin A also keeps your eyes healthy, which is very important.
  • Examples: Apricots, Carrots, Grapefruit, Lemons, Mangoes, Pumpkin, Sweetcorn, Nectarines, Oranges, Papayas, Peaches, Yellow peppers, Pineapple

Green

  • Healthy greens are excellent sources of folate, a B vitamin that helps reduce risk of birth defects and can help prevent heart disease. They also help reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related blindness.
  • Examples: Asparagus, Avocados, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Kiwi, Lettuce, Peas, Spinach, Kale, Green apples


Blue and Purple

  • Blue and purple foods add health-enhancing flavonoids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that protect your cells. They also help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
  • Examples: Blackberries, Blueberries, Eggplant, Figs, Plums, Prunes, Purple grapes, Raisins

White and Brown

  • White and brown foods help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease, stomach cancer and stroke.
  • Examples: Bananas, Onions, Cauliflower, Garlic, Potatoes, Ginger, Turnips, Mushrooms

A few tips to boost your diet in this way:

  • A colour a day – pick a colour and eat for the day, try to get all in a week
  • Make different vegetable dips and mash
  • Enjoy some smoothies – you can pack so many ingredients into one!
  • Add fruit to your cereal and muffins
  • Snack on veggies in between meals, baby carrots, celery or baby tomatoes
  • Blend fruit and freeze into popsicles
  • Add veggies to pasta and pizza dishes

Slender Wonder is a tried and trusted medical weight-loss programme, that helps people reach an optimal BMI and to live their best lives. Contact De Bhavna today, to find out more: honeydew.dr@supremeaesthetics.co.za or contact your practice to book an appointment.

Eating to lift your mood during lockdown

Eating to lift your mood during lockdown

Has Lockdown got you feeling blue? Let’s face it, it is very tempting to spend half the day snacking when you are working at home, and close to the fridge. As soon as you get bored, you no longer like your usual foods and you may start craving foods that aren’t the most healthy. Now is a good time to understand how what you eat affects your mood.

There is an undeniable connection between your nutrition and your mental health. In particular, eating certain whole, natural foods can help to nourish your mind and ensure a healthier mental state. Below are a few foods that Dietician and Geneway practitioner Dr Christa North suggests as good options during this time:

Salmon – Fatty fish like salmon are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which may lower your risk of depression. Omega-3’s contribute to the structure of your brain, improving the fluidity of your brain’s cell membrane and play key roles in brain development and cell signalling.

Brazil nuts – are one of the best sources of the mineral Selenium, and studies have shown that people who are low in it have increased rates of depression with increased irritability, anxiety and tiredness. Brazil nuts are nutritional powerhouses and support brain function.

Bananas – are high in vitamin B6, which helps synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters like Dopamine and Serotonin and prebiotic fibre. Bananas are a respectable source of Vitamin C, and give you energy.

Water – is extremely important for our bodies to function properly. Even the smallest degree of water loss can impair our physical and mental wellbeing. When you’re dehydrated, it can really your ability to concentrate. Water also cushions the brain, spinal cord and other sensitive tissues.

Coffee – A cup of caffeinated coffee can boost your mood in both short and long term. On a short-term basis, the caffeine provides an immediate pick-me-up – and can provide a mood boost. Plus, a review of data from 12 studies of caffeine and depression suggests that coffee may help protect against depression. According to the results, the ideal is about 2 cups (400 ml) of coffee per day.

Fermented foods – like kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut are rich in probiotics that support gut health. Dietary fibre, such as in plant foods such as cereals, fruits, vegetables, dried peas, nuts, lentils and grains also stimulate the production of probiotics. Probiotics can do more than improve your gut health. They also may enhance your brain.  

The gut and brain are connected, a partnership called the gut-brain axis. The two are linked through the digestive tract, via the Vagus nerve, the longest nerve in the body, which runs from the brain through the face and thorax to the abdomen The gut has been called a “second brain” because it produces many of the same Neurotransmitters as the brain does, like Serotonin and Dopamine which play a key role in regulating your mood. In fact, 90% of Serotonin is made in your gut. What affects the gut often affects the brain and vice versa.

When your brain senses trouble, often known as the “fight or flight” response, it sends warning signals to the gut, which is why stressful situations can trigger digestive problems such as a nervous or upset stomach. On the flip side, flares of gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic constipation may trigger anxiety or depression. A healthy gut helps cushion these responses.

Research has found that probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function and lower stress and anxiety. Geneway’s Probiotic contains 9 strains. Geneway’s DNA test also tests for genes that are responsible for gut health as well as the genes that must produce, transport and bind Serotonin, and the fight or flight genes (Adrenaline genes) and how your body metabolises caffeine, your “selenium” gene called GPX.

Healthy Snacking – How to…

Healthy Snacking – How to…

Bernice Venter – Dietician & Geneway Practitioner

Before you snack, ask yourself: why do I feel like a snack? There are many reasons why you may feel peckish, but believe it or not, hunger is generally near the bottom of the list. Did you see someone eating on TV? Did you smell your neighbour’s cooking? Or worse, a braai? Did you walk past something delicious in the pantry?

Feeling like a snack is sometimes related to our eating behaviours eg habitual eating, emotional eating and is often related to your hunger gene. There is a gene in your DNA that affects your leptin sensitivity. This is the gene that tells you when you are full, and if it doesn’t work properly, you may always feel hungry and tend to over-eat. 

So, always ask yourself this question first – do I need this snack?

Next, try drinking a glass of water. The reason for this is that the body often confuses dehydration for hunger. You will be amazed at how much better you feel after a glass of water!

If you are going to add snacks to your diet, make sure you include these snacks as part of your daily food regimen. This prevents you from exceeding your daily calorie intake. For example, Do not make snacks as big as your main meals and plan to include snacks as part of your overall calorie intake. If you are going to snack on an ongoing basis, consider changing your habits to eating five smaller meals for the day, of which the snack is one.

Snacking is not a bad thing. It is just about fitting it into your daily diet and choosing healthy snack options.  Here are some healthy snacking options:

  • Cooked apple in the microwave with cinnamon
  • Make your own frozen yoghurt – simply freeze your favorite flavor
  • Make frozen yoghurt buttons. Fill yoghurt in a plastic bag, cut the corner and pipe small buttons on a tray and freeze.
  • Fat free cottage cheese with vegetables sticks
  • Rice cakes with peanut butter and banana
  • Rice cakes or provitas with cottage cheese and cucumber (remember 3 provitas is equivalent to 1 slice of bread)
  • Peanut butter balls made from dried fruit and rolled oats (there are some great recipes online)
  • A glass of homemade fruit smoothie
  • A handful of dried fruit and nuts
  • A small tub of low fat plain yoghurt with a dash of honey (or dried fruit) and sunflower seeds
  • Rice cakes with cottage cheese
  • Apple fingers with peanut butter
  • Sugar free date balls
  • Guacamole (make your own) with red pepper
  • Dark chocolate (limit the amount blocks though)
  • Cucumber chunks with hummus
  • Cherry tomatoes with mozzarella – on toothpicks
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Popcorn

Bear in mind that you may be less active at certain times, so be cautious not to eat more than usual. It is very easy to snack through-out the day, but before you know it, you could have eaten 6 meals per day!

Keep this list of healthy snacks close at hand.

Geneway offers a range of lifestyle DNA tests, including the GeneDiet test that help unlock your genetic code, and provide a personalized eating guide, based on your DNA. Visit our website for a list of accredited practitioners.

The Geneway tests are available at Supreme Aesthetics.

10 Ways to Eat on a Budget During Lockdown

10 Ways to Eat on a Budget During Lockdown

Some great tips from Bernice Venter, Dietician & Geneway Practitioner

  1. Replace a meal by having a protein shake for lunch.

Not only are some protein shakes balanced and nutritious, they keep you full for longer rather than refined carb-driven meals, and help you with calorie control. If you struggle to “drink” your meal, you can have a few starch free vegetables such as peppers, cucumber, lettuce or tomato with it (a small salad). Your protein shake meal should be the meal you tend to over eat on or struggle to control your calorie intake.

  1. Find some plant-based meals that you enjoy

Have these instead of meat one or two days a week. Plant based proteins eg chickpeas, lentils or beans keep for long in the cupboard, often coming in tins or packets.  There is a great health benefit (these have anti-inflammatory properties, reduced calories, are a good protein source) and they are more delicious than you think. A compromise is to have half the meat portion you usually do and add a portion of plant-based proteins to make up your protein quota for that meal e.g instead of a full chicken breast with your salad add half a chicken breast and add some chickpeas to make up the other half of the protein. The same concept can be applied in pastas, stews or curries.

  1. Include more vegetables in your meals.

This one is really simple. Instead of having 2 vegetable servings, have 3, and a smaller portion of meat. Find some recipes for vegetables that you enjoy. Vegetables are very affordable (you can even opt for the frozen ones) and offer wonderful health benefits as they are packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins and fibre. Vegetarian cooking is all the rage at the moment so there are plenty of vegetarian recipes online.

  1. Pre-cut mixed vegetable packs are usually cheaper than buying each vegetable individually.

The stir-fry and soup packs that are available give great variety with plenty of nutrients, plus they are a huge time saver with everything already cut. Check the prices and you will be surprised. This will especially be beneficial for small families, couples or if you live alone.

  1. Avoid buying cold drinks and sugary drinks.

These are unnecessary sugar, and offers empty calories in your diet. Make your own ice teas. Create your own water flavours with ice, lemon, apple slices or even herbs. Water is key!

  1. Don’t buy things that you would never have bought before.

Try and stick to your normal habits as much as possible. Don’t buy any unnecessary food or snacks.  Remember, if you don’t have it, you can’t eat it.

  1. Make full, nutritious meals so that you don’t constantly feel hungry and want to snack all the time.

Rather spend time making a proper, nutrient-dense meal that is high in protein, vegetables and even fibre. High protein and high fibre meals will improve your satiety and help you feel fuller for longer. Don’t spend too much time on making interesting snacks as these can easily become a full meal and lead to over-eating.

  1. Make your own breakfast cereals

An easy option is by soaking oats & grated apple in milk over-night. Overnight oats is a great alternative and requires no cooking. (You save a huge amount of electricity by not having to cook it).

You can also make your own muesli by mixing together some bran flakes, raw oats, cranberries, nuts and seeds and a hint of granola. Cranberries offer fibre and that hint of sugar to your cereal so you don’t need to add honey or sugar.

  1. Make use of left overs

Depending on the size of your family, making use of leftovers can minimize wastage. 

Use left over proteins for lunch, blend fruits into a smoothie for breakfast or as a snack drink. Freeze over-ripened fruit and bake with it (eg banana bread). You can treat this one as a MasterChef mystery box challenge.

  1. Food choices are always important

Remember to ask yourself am I making the most of this meal? Does this give me all the nutrients I need? How can I prevent myself from over-eating? Is there a variety of foods on my plate? Think before you eat, always.

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