Am I right in saying that most of us would like to live a healthy, comfortable life free from disease, pain and uneasiness?  We want to look and feel good consistently?  We want to feel young and vibrant and have lots of energy?

These days we are bombarded with so much information on ‘health’ and weight loss and so much of it is contradictory and confusing.  All people want to do is lose weight and look hot, without bothering about how they do it and how safe it is for them.  We feed our bodies with so much crap on the market that we are brainwashed to believe is good for us, all in the name of EGO.  We think that being thin is healthy and this is not necessarily true (please don’t mistake this for “it is healthy to be fat” because that is not the case either.  We all know that there are health hazards from being overweight and the pressure it places on one’s organs.)  Health is so far removed from weight-loss in today’s times, it is frightening.  You will find there are hundreds of products and supplements on the market when we should be looking to what nature gave us for health and vitality: FOOD.  We literally are what we eat in every sense of the word.

We are living in a time of instant gratification and would rather lose weight fast in and unhealthy way than do it properly focusing on vitality and longevity.  The problem with this is two fold: Firstly you will not keep the weight off and Secondly, the long term effects on one’s health are quite scary.  Have you ever heard people say that “it is a lifestyle and not a diet”?  Well they are right!  As soon as we shift our mindset away from ‘being on a diet’ to ‘living a healthy lifestyle’, will you start to experience long term results.
Our health is not enough of a priority to us anymore and it is sad.  We only have one body and one life.   Think about it this way: each cell needs good nutrients, vitamins and water in order to perform and keep you charged and energised.  If they do not get this, they are like batteries that run flat.

For me it is simple, we should be focusing on getting HEALTHY and the weight loss will come naturally and automatically.

My guidelines for healthy weight loss:
*Note: I have gone into a bit of detail on each point.  I find often that people will not make changes unless they know WHY they are making the change.

1.  Eat natural, organic, GMO-free WHOLE foods
Now many people wonder why the whole hype with organic and non-GMO is all about.

  • Firstly almost all of the fruits and vegetables in the supermarket are laden with insecticides and toxic chemicals.  What does this mean for you?  More chemicals, more health issues and illness.  Simple!  This is also bad news for the environment and millions of bees are dying because of it.  “If the bee disappears from the surface from the earth, man would have no more than 4 years to live” -Albert Einstein. Here are the Top 10 reasons to eat Organic. If you cannot buy organic, then wash your fruit and vegetables with Fruit and Veg washes or add some vinegar to a sink full of water and wash them in there.  It will strip the food of harmful pesticides
  • Milk and animal products these days are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics to get them fatter quicker.  A lot of them are also force-fed so they grow faster.  Chicken is also injected with brine in order to make it weigh more.  It is no wonder that these days we are becoming immune to antibiotics, getting sicker and experiencing more health issues than ever before.  We also wonder why more and more kids have ADD!    What we put into our bodies has a direct effect on our health.  It is all linked and we need to realise this.
  • GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) is not real food!  How do we expect to nourish our cells for life and vitality with food that we feed our bodies is fake.  The pesticides in the GMO’s destroys heathy bacteria in the body. Whole foods are foods that are grown and not made by man and do not contain preservatives.  ie. grains, vegetables, fruits, natural sources of protein etc.
How do you do this…
– Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths are stocking more and more certified organic whole foods.
– Also try to find an organic market in your area.  Some areas also have box schemes that deliver to your door.
– Grow your own veggies at home.  It is easier than you think and the food tastes better too.
– Order free-range chicken and eggs, free-range grass fed beef and lamb directly from the farm or from an agent. In Johannesburg:
If it's not safe to breathe...
2. Elimiate unhealthy foods
Cut the following foods out of your diet as they cause excess fat, inflammation, acidity and poor digestion:
  • Sugar (this includes foods that contain sugar).  Substitute with Xylitol, Stevia or unheated raw honey.
  • Wheat and gluten (you find many substitutes these days at Dischem and health shops)
  • Dairy.  (The human body does not digest and metabolise cows milk properly.  Cows milk is meant for baby cows). Alternatives to cows milk: Nut milk, Rice milk, even Goats milk is a better option.
  • Processed and refined foods (including processed meat)
  • Salt.  Substitute with Himalayan rock salt that is packed full of beneficial trace minerals.
  • Artificial / Flavoured / Coloured / Preservatives.  Anything in a box or bottle basically.  Eg. Mayonnaise, boxed cereals, juice mixes, flavoured milk, sauces, canned food high in sodium.
  • Genetically modified foods.
  • Bad fats.  To cook use: Avocado oil, Coconut Oil and Macadamia Nut Oil.  Olive oil is best unheated as it changed chemical structure once heated.
  • Limit alcohol.  Red wine and whiskey are better choices in moderation.
Eat less crap...
3.  Portion control / Do not skip meals
Over-eating stretches your stomach and next time you eat, it will take more to satisfy your hunger.  Stop eating before you are full.  Appreciate your food.  Eat slowly and chew properly.
Eating 5 smaller meals each day is by far better than eating fewer large meals.  Your system gets thrown out of sync when you eat a large meal and the body has to work harder at metabolising it.
If you skip a meal the body will go into overdrive when you do eat again and the energy will be stored as fat.

4. Alkalise your system
A pH that is too acidic is dangerous and causes weight gain.  (I will go more into the dangers of an acidic state on a separate post altogether, because this post is geared towards weight loss).
How does acidity cause weight gain you ask?
Acidic foods cause acidity in the body – quite easy to grasp.  Because acidic blood is dangerous to the organs, the body creates fat cells to direct the acid away from the organs.  It also causes insulin resistance.  Voila…excess fat!
How can you alkalise your system?
Eat alkalising foods!  You can few a list of alkalising and acid forming foods here.

My advice is to make small changes as follows:

  • Cut out or limit highly acidic food (meat and animal products are highly acidic)
  • Drink freeze dried greens or juice your own greens every single day!  These will not only assist in alkalising the body but will give your cells a major boost of nutrients that are easily absorbed by the body.  Side-effect: increased energy! If you want to buy freeze-dried greens look for Green Vibrance at health shops and The Real Thing: Green Power from health shops or Dischem.
Eat. Energize.
5. Hydrate
I cannot stress how important drinking enough water is everyday.  Water cleanses and revitalises as well as flushes out toxins.  Here are the top 6 reasons to make sure you stay hydrated:
  • Maintain a balance of fluids (your body is made up of 60% water)
  • Controls calories
  • Energise muscles
  • Keeps skin looking good
  • Detoxes the kidneys
  • Aids digestion
Here is a wonderful hydration calculator to work out how much you should be drinking everyday.
*Try to drink water out of a glass bottle that is distilled.
6. Limit animal protein 
Animal protein is highly acidic and does not digest properly in the body.
There are many vegan sources of protein that we are not even aware of.
7. Try not to combine animal protein with complex carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, pasta etc) digest in an alkaline environment and animal protein digests in an acidic environment.  When you eat these two food groups together, the digestive system starts digesting the heaviest first i.e. animal protein.  The stomach acids that have digested the protein then ferment the carbohydrates which cause gas, bloating and an array of other gut issues.  So that means…Spaghetti Bolognese out I’m afraid.
8. Eat more raw (and chew it properly)
I know what you are thinking…what is up with this RAW fad?
Well it is not a fad, here is some info on why it has so much credibility…
When you cook food over 46 degrees celcius, you kill all the nutrients and digestive enzymes.  Your body has to work very hard to digest a cooked meal.  Microwaving food is even worse.  How is your body supposed to digest it let alone use the nutrients to fuel your cells and give you energy?  And how are you going to lose weight effectively if your food isn’t digesting properly?
  • Aim to eat 70% raw and 30% cooked and if you are going to eat a cooked meal, start with a small salad.
  • Make a fruit smoothie with frozen fruit, water, raw seeds, goji berries, raw vegan protein or hemp protein powder.  You can also add a handful of spinach or kale, and you won’t even taste the difference.
  • Juice your raw fruits and veggies.  The body digests and absorbs the nutrients best this way.
  • Eat raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, cashews, macadamia’s, walnuts) in moderation for a source of good fats and protein.  Peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes and are very difficult to digest.  They are also very high in carbohydrates and fat.
Eat Right
9.  Digestive Enzymes
Due to the fact that a lot of food we eat these days is not digested properly, and the digestive enzymes in our bodies are no longer sufficient due to stress, pollution and an intake of chemicals, the body needs assistance with digesting food.  It is a good idea to drink a good quality Digestive Enzyme before meals.  I like the Food State brand.
10.  Exercise
Although 80% of weight loss is purely diet and nutrition, exercise assists in the process.  Getting fit and toned helps with losing centimetres and makes you feel good at the same time.
Toning and weights are extremely important in assisting with weight loss.  Building muscle assists the metabolism and helps burn calories.  So if you are only doing cardio, think about alternating other days with some good old fashioned weight training and core strengthening.
I personally like to mix things up and believe that variety is the spice of life.  I do my best to alternate cardio, weight training, core strengthening, yoga and running to get all the benefits of each one.
Get fit in the gym, Lose weight in the kitchen

11. Change your mindset
If you don’t believe you will ever lose weight or be healthy, then chances are you probably won’t.  Health comes from within and you will only see changes on the outside when you make changes on the inside.  Stop making excuses and just start somewhere.  See, feel and tell yourself you are healthy, fit and slim.  If you aren’t ready to make changes to invest in your health, then results will always be out of your reach.  Commit and just do it!

Your Body hears everything your Mind says

Now I am aware that these are major changes to make and they cannot all be done at once.  I have made small changes over the last 2 years and now it has become part of my everyday life.  It is a way of life now and if I eat one bad meal, my whole body feels it for days afterwards.

Like anything, it is difficult in the beginning to make changes because you are not used to it.  Most of the time it is a belief system telling you you cannot do it or it is too difficult.  If you are serious about getting healthier then changes have to be made, so if anything start by changing your mind.

It is also not always possible to keep these changes up all the time.  Don’t be hard on yourself if you indulge now and then.  Life is also there to be enjoyed, so a cheat now and then is really not the end of the world.  Just do the best you can with what you have.

And remember: Keep things simple and take it day by day!

Bronwyn x