Jo-Anne Campbell – My weight loss transformation

Jo-Anne Campbell shares how a major weight loss transformation has given her new-found confidence, motivation and a love for running.


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Jo-Anne Campbell (46) lives in Grassy Park, Cape Town with her husband, Wayne. They have four children, aged 29, 21, 16 and nine years old.

For most of my life, I have struggled with my weight, but the weight really started piling on during my teenage years. Nonetheless, I lived my life, got married and had children.

It was only after a health scare in January 2011 that it finally dawned on me that I needed to somehow lose weight. Severe pain in my abdomen led me to the hospital and after several tests, forty-three adenomas (non-cancerous tumours) were found on my liver. Each tumour had a three percent chance of becoming cancerous while one tumour had bled and became hard, measuring 5 x 7cm in size.

During all the tests, it was also found that I had Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

To treat these tumours, surgery was needed. However, before surgery could take place, the doctor gave me a month to lose at least 7kg and to lower my glucose levels. Thankfully, I achieved this but not in the healthiest of ways: I was too afraid to eat so didn’t and took high doses of metformin.

I underwent surgery though only four tumours could be surgically removed; the rest were inoperable as they were meshed in my liver. It was discovered that my hormones were the cause of the tumours hence why a liver transplant wasn’t viable as my body would only make more tumours. I was told I had to follow a healthier diet and exercise to improve the condition of my liver.

The surgery was successful, and I managed to lose 20kg straight afterwards but a year later, the weight once again piled back on.

During this time, a span of five years, I was prescribed various diabetic medication and was then lastly prescribed insulin. Every time I consulted with my diabetes nurse educator, she advised me to increase my insulin dose. Eventually, I was injecting myself with 120 units of insulin per day at the age of 38.

Choosing the gastric bypass route

At this stage, my diabetes was out of control and I realised that I was not going to live until the age of 50; my youngest child was only three years old at the time.

I told my endocrinologist that I feel like I am dying and so he gave me my last option and recommended I undergo a gastric bypass, a type of weight loss surgery. For eight months, I was seen by a panel of doctors, dietitians and psychologists who monitored my health and mental state until I could lose at least 6kg and was fit enough to go through with the operation.

The dietitian recommended a meal replacement shake at least once a day or have it for supper. I only managed to lose 4kg before the surgery but could still go ahead with the planned surgery. A check-up of my liver was needed before the surgery and thankfully no tumours were seen anymore.

“I have regained my humanness through this transformation.”

No quick fix

The surgery was a success and a complete life saver: my diabetes is non-existent, and my blood pressure and cholesterol all came down to normal levels. The recovery period of the surgery went very well, and the doctors were constantly monitoring me during this time.

I started taking LIFEGAIN® Advanced Nutritional Supplement, after the dietitian discovered that the meal replacement she suggested contained milk and I was lactose intolerant. Hence, I wasn’t losing any weight. So, she opted for this nutritional supplement rather.

As soon as I started using LIFEGAIN, having it in between meals, I began to lose the weight. Every day since my gastric bypass, I drink LIFEGAIN, especially for its extra vitamins as my body now struggles to absorb vitamins from the small portions of food I eat.

Life as I knew it changed drastically for me, especially after losing 35kg in 10 months. But, it’s no quick fix. In order to keep my weight constant, which has been for four years now, I have to eat clean (foods with no preservatives) and exercise. I never in my life thought I would become a runner but now I am; I’m loving it. I do weight-lifting and many other physical activities I never thought I would attempt.

The fruits of weight loss transformation

Before the weight loss, I was extremely self-conscience and insecure about my body and that had placed a huge strain on my marriage. Now, with all the new-found confidence, my husband and I have a better understanding between us and even communication with each other has improved. Though, the only negative aspect is because of being so confident I have much more responsibilities at work and personal projects, which has impacted on family time.

This weight loss transformation had a major impact on how I see myself as a person; from bordering on depression, zero confidence, self-loathing and totally demotivated, I’m the total opposite of these traits now. I have regained my humanness through this transformation.

Memoirs of a diabetic survivor

After going through this whole experience, my husband, Wayne, who supported me during my journey, inspired me to write a book, Memoirs of a diabetic survivor, about my transformation and how it has totally changed my life. I would like to share my journey with others to let them know determination and the will to live is very strong in all of us, and we should make the decision to move forward in spite of what is happening in our lives or with our health and have no regrets after.

The book will be available on E-books Amazon and on other platforms by the end of July 2024.


This article is sponsored by LIFEGAIN® Advanced Nutritional Supplement in the interest of education, awareness and support. The content and opinions expressed are entirely the patient’s own work and not influenced by LIFEGAIN in any way.


Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Feel free to email Laurelle on editor@diabetesfocus.co.za

MEET OUR EDITOR


Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Feel free to email Laurelle on [email protected]


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Seven ways to get the most out of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a kitchen staple that has several benefits including health, beauty, household, and cooking uses. Estée van Lingen tells us how to get the most out of it.


Listen to this article below or wherever you get your podcasts or visit our playlist.

What is apple cider vinegar?

It’s a vinegar made from cider; it’s made by crushing apples, then squeezing out the juice. The apple juice is then fermented to yield apple cider vinegar. Acetic acid and malic acid combine to give this vinegar its sour taste.

Note: Organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is usually the best choice. It may be cloudy and will be higher in beneficial bacteria.

Seven ways to get the most out of apple cider vinegar

Did you know that you can wash your hair with apple cider vinegar and even use it as a skin toner? Yes, you can. 


However, let’s focus on the different ways to use apple cider vinegar with food and to benefit your health.

1. Preserve food

Just like other types of vinegar, apple cider vinegar is an effective preservative. People have used vinegar as a pickling agent to preserve foods for thousands of years.

Apple cider vinegar deactivates the enzymes and creates an acidic environment that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, yeast, and mould. You can pickle various vegetables like cucumbers, onions, and olives; the tangy flavour of apple cider vinegar adds a delightful twist to pickled veggies.

It can also be used to preserve sauces, marinades, and chutneys. Its acidity helps extend the shelf life of these flavourful condiments.

There are many recipes online to preserve or pickle food using apple cider vinegar. Just make sure that you follow the instructions and that you use the correct cookware. Most importantly, don’t dilute the vinegar as the acidity will be lowered and might not be enough to kill harmful bacteria.

2. Make salad dressings, vinaigrette or marinades

Homemade dressings can be much less processed than store-bought and are often tastier too. They also don’t contain added sugars which is ideal for people living with diabetes.

Apple cider vinegar is a very popular ingredient in steak marinades because it gives a nice sweet-and-sour flavour. This can then be combined with olive oil, garlic, soya sauce, onion, cayenne pepper and fresh or dried herbs to give your meat a delicious flavour.

3. Add a burst of flavour to your food

If you are looking for a tangy sauce for your food, try adding apple cider vinegar to tomato-based sauces to give a fuller flavour.

You can also add to your favourite soup at the end if it tastes bland. Add it gradually and taste as you go, until you reach a flavour you enjoy.

4. Wash fruits and vegetables

Pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables can be a concern for many people. That’s why some people like to wash theirs in apple cider vinegar before consuming.

Although it’s not entirely clear whether it will remove more pesticides than simply washing with water, it may help kill any dangerous bacteria.

5. Ease a sore throat

Gargling with apple cider vinegar diluted in water is a popular home remedy for sore throats. The thought is that its antibacterial properties could help kill off the bacteria that is causing the sore throat. However, there is no evidence to support its use in this way.

If you try this at home, make sure you mix the vinegar with water before gargling (about 1-2 Tbsp. per half a glass of water). This is because of the acidity which can cause throat burns when consumed undiluted.

6. Increase satiety

Obesity is a significant risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, and maintaining a healthy weight is essential for managing the condition. It has been suggested that apple cider vinegar helps with appetite suppression and increased feelings of fullness. This may help you consume less kilojoules and achieve weight loss goals since it only has 12,6 kilojoules per tablespoon which is way less than standard salad dressings or marinades.

7. Regulating blood glucose levels

Apple cider vinegar has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels after meals, especially if you have insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes.

This is due to its effect of reducing a glucose spike after a meal through acetic acid that helps to inhibit the digestion of refined carbohydrates, slowing down the conversion of starches into sugars.

Insulin resistance is a key factor in Type 2 diabetes, where the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin’s action. Studies suggest that apple cider vinegar may help enhance insulin sensitivity, allowing cells to better utilise glucose from the bloodstream. This can lead to improved glycaemic control and reduced reliance on insulin.

Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.

MEET THE EXPERT


Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.


This article is sponsored by Safari Vinegar in the interest of education, awareness and support. The content and opinions expressed are entirely the contributor’s own work and not influenced by Safari Vinegar in any way.

Header image by Adobe Generated AI Image

Five ways to track your food using the mySugr app

Do you want to know how to make the most out of food tracking using the mySugr app? We have got you sorted.


Listen to this article below or wherever you get your podcasts or visit our playlist.

The mySugr app is full of handy features to help you track your food, learn from your data and identify patterns. Tools like the Photo Function and Notes allow you to add valuable details about what you’re eating. Plus, Tags and the Smart Search Function means you can easily find what you’re looking for in just a few taps.

1. Photo Function

A picture speaks a thousand words, and photos of your food provide you with valuable information and details, so you can look back and learn from your data. Plus, you’ll become a carb-calculating connoisseur as the Photo Function trains your eye to judge a food’s carb content.

To make the most out of the Photo Function:

  • Make sure you photograph your entire meal. This will help you more in the long run and allow you to judge whether your carb estimation was correct.
  • Add contextual information to each photo, including location, estimated exchange quantity, and a precise description of the meal. This way, the next time you visit your favourite restaurant, you can find it in your past entries, see exactly what you ate, how much you dosed, and whether your estimations were on target. Check your blood glucose trends in the graph to see if you hit the bullseye.
  • Use the same photos so you don’t need to take a new photo every time (as long as the portions remain about the same). Just make sure you turn on the Save photos to Photos app setting, so you can quickly select pictures from your library without having to take new ones each time.
  • Add the picture after eating. Log entries can be backdated, meaning you can snap a quick photo of your food and then dig right in. Add the photo from your photo library and describe your meal afterwards.

2. Tags

The mySugr diabetes tracker app lets you create a new food log entry with handy Tags. You can select between almost 50 small icons that describe different situations and emotions. These Tags are there to help you understand the context of each entry better. Using the Tags regularly can help you to discover patterns when using the Smart Search Function.

3. Food type 

Vegetable, fruit, dairy. If you want to keep an eye on what type of food you eat, you can easily track it with the Food Type Function. Just tap on the little icon with the plate on it in the mySugr App and you get a selection of different food types to choose from.

These food labels can help you understand the context of each entry better. You can easily search for food type tags and identify patterns using the Smart Search Function.

4. Meal descriptions notes

Add contextual information to your data by entering descriptions of meals in the text field. So, you can easily find out what, where, when and why? Every log entry tells a story, and when it comes to your diabetes, the more detail, the better. Find out all you need to know about each log entry by adding descriptions of meals and referring back to them in the future.

5. Save meals

Save meals and find out how your blood glucose is affected. It’s super handy to have your favourite meals on file so you know exactly how they affect your blood glucose. Log your meals in the mySugr app and refer back to them anytime to easily learn from your data.

Top tip: The Smart Search Function 

The Smart Search Function in the mySugr app helps you find important data faster. Remember those handy Tags we discussed above? You can find food you have previously tagged using the Search Function. Easily locate things like food types and specific meals by searching for specific tags.

So, there you have it. Logging your food in the mySugr app means that you can say goodbye to confusion at meal times and a big hello to deliciousness.

Download the mySugr app now!

You can download the mySugr app in the Google Play store or the App Store.

 

 

Please contact our customer support team to check if your mobile device is compatible with the mySugr app.

For more information, contact your healthcare professional.


For any questions related to your diabetes management, kindly reach out to your healthcare provider.

Should you have any queries about our products, please get in touch with our customer support centre at [email protected]. Country-specific contact numbers can also be found in the information below.


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Visit the website www.rochediabetescaremea.com for more information on our products and diabetes management tips.


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ACCU-CHEK, ACCU-CHEK INSTANT and MYSUGR are trademarks of Roche. All other product names and trademarks are property of their respective owners. | © 2024 Roche Diabetes Care | Roche Diabetes Care South Africa (Pty) Ltd. | Hertford Office Park, Building E | No 90 Bekker Road | Midrand, 1686, South Africa. ZA-504


Information provided is void of any representation and warranty as to the reliability, accuracy, usefulness, adequacy, or suitability of the information provided and is not a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment for medical conditions, applications of medication. For personalised medical advice, consult an appropriate medical professional for queries regarding any medical conditions.

Know your sweeteners

In a world where sweeteners have become a focus for people living with diabetes or wanting to lose weight, the Huletts EquiSweet range provides sweetness without the drawbacks of traditional sugar.


Listen to this article below or wherever you get your podcasts.
Visit our channel mypod.zone/diabetessa

What are sweeteners?

There are various alternatives to sucrose and other carbohydrate sweeteners such as fructose and glucose. There are two different categories of sweeteners and each have a different effect on blood glucose levels and weight.

   1. Non-nutritive or intense sweeteners

The first category are products with very intense sweetening properties that are used solely to replace the sweetening effect of sugar. They have sweetness levels that vary from around 20 times to around 600 or more times the sweetness of sugar. Therefore, they only need to be used in very small quantities and accordingly contribute minimal kilojoules to the products in which they are incorporated. They also have minimal impact on blood glucose levels. Examples: aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, acesulfame potassium and stevia.

    2. Polyols (sugar substitutes) 

The second category is polyols which are sugar substitutes that provide sweetness at a lower level than that of non-nutritive sweeteners but still usually lower than that of sugars.

They are used to replace sugar in those applications where the functional properties of sugar are still required but removal of sugar is desirable for health reasons; the best examples are sugar-free chocolate and other confectionery.

Polyols have a similar structure to sugars but are not as well absorbed by the body. Hence, they have lower kilojoule contents than sugars (although contribute more kilojoules than non-nutritive sweeteners) and a lower effect on blood glucose, making them more suitable for people with diabetes. Although, it would be advisable to discuss this with your doctor before making them part of your regular diet.

Some polyols, such as sorbitol and xylitol, play an important role in dental cavity prevention as they are unable to produce the acids that can cause dental decay. The downside is that, if consumed in large quantities, they can have a laxative effect and cause bloating, wind and diarrhoea. Examples: sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and erythritol.

How does the taste of sweeteners compare to sugar?

The taste and sweetness can vary based on the type of sweetener and the blend used. Some may closely mimic the taste of sugar with a similar sweetness level, while others may have a slight aftertaste or different sweetness intensity. It often comes down to personal preference and the specific application in which it is used.

How does the Huletts EquiSweet range differ from regular sugar?

Huletts EquiSweet comprises a range of sugar substitutes from both the non-nutritive and polyol categories.

The EquiSweet non-nutritive sweeteners, known as the EquiSweet Sweetener range, are mainly intended to replace sugar in beverages and products where they only provide sweetness without any other function. The products include EquiSweet Classic and EquiSweet Sucralose which is an aspartame-free variant.

The EquiSweet polyols, known as the EquiSweet Sugar Substitute range, are designed for use in cooking applications where sugar removal is desired, but the physical properties of sugar are still needed, for example baking. The products include EquiSweet Erythritol and EquiSweet Xylitol. These are lower in kilojoules than sugar but not as low as those in the EquiSweet Sweetener range.

Huletts EquiSweet Erythritol is derived from starch and is a low-GI and low-kilojoule sugar substitute. Among the sugar substitutes, it has a higher digestive tolerance because about 90% of the ingested erythritol is readily absorbed and excreted in urine. This is why it’s called a low-kilojoule sugar substitute as opposed to xylitol where it’s kilojoule levels aren’t low enough to be called a low-kilojoule sugar substitute.

Huletts EquiSweet Xylitol is also a low-GI sugar substitute derived from plant sources. It’s slowly and partially absorbed and metabolised which results in very insignificant changes in blood glucose levels. It can assist in weight management as well as managing diabetes. High consumption of xylitol can cause digestive symptoms, such as diarrhoea, due to it only being partially absorbed.

Huletts EquiSweet range

EquiSweet Product Usage Sweetness Measure & Energy Values Comparison
Classic and Sucralose Sachets (low kJ)
  • Hot or cold beverages
  • Cereals and porridge
  • Cooking and baking
  • Sprinkle over yoghurt
1g EquiSweet Sachet =  2 level teaspoons of sugar

  • 1 EquiSweet Sachet   = 16 kJ
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar = 136 kJ
Classic and Sucralose Tablets (low kJ)
  • Hot beverages:tea and coffee
1 EquiSweet Tablet =  1 level teaspoon of sugar

  • 1 EquiSweet Tablet  = 1 kJ
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar = 68 kJ
Erythritol (low kJ and low glycaemic response)
  • Cooking and baking
  • Beverages
60% – 80% as sweet as sugar

  • Erythritol  =  100 kJ/100g
  • Sugar =  1700 kJ/100g
Xylitol (low-GI)
  • Cooking and baking
  • Beverages
1 teaspoon Xylitol = 1 teaspoon of sugar

  • Xyltitol  = 1400 kJ/100g
  • Sugar    = 1700 kJ/100g

Can the Huletts EquiSweet range be used in cooking and baking?

EquiSweet products can generally be used in cooking and baking as substitutes for sugar. However, it’s essential to note that they may behave differently from sugar when heated or mixed with other ingredients. For best results, follow specific guidelines or recipes designed for the particular sweetener you’re using.


Visit EquiSweet Archives – Huletts Sugar for recipes using their sweetener range.


Can people living with diabetes use the Huletts EquiSweet range?

Yes, Huletts EquiSweet is a suitable option if you have diabetes as the range generally doesn’t significantly impact blood glucose levels. However, it’s crucial to monitor your responses and consult a healthcare provider for personalised guidance.

Are sweeteners safe for consumption?

Sweeteners have to undergo country-specific safety assessments and evaluation processes prior to approval for use. Post-approval evaluation and monitoring of sweeteners are also conducted by regulatory agencies.

All the sweeteners in the Huletts EquiSweet range have undergone rigorous testing and are considered safe when consumed within recommended limits.

Regulatory bodies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have approved the ingredients used in Huletts EquiSweet Sweeteners for consumption.

In South Africa, there are comprehensive regulations on sweeteners and the Huletts EquiSweet products are fully compliant with these regulations.

At global level, considerable research has gone into determining the maximum desirable quantity of each sweetener that should be consumed on a daily basis. This is known as the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) and has been determined in such a way that it’s an extremely safe level of consumption.

Are there side effects associated with sweeteners?

While generally safe for consumption, some people may experience digestive issues like bloating or diarrhoea when consuming large amounts of polyols found in the Huletts EquiSweet Erythritol and Xylitol products.

It’s advisable to have a moderate intake and to be mindful of your tolerance levels. Additionally, if you have specific health conditions or allergies, please consult your healthcare professional before using sweeteners.

Sweeteners for children

Few studies have examined how non-nutritive sweeteners may affect health outcomes in children. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests not to use non-nutritive sweeteners as a strategy to reduce non-communicable disease risk in children.

Though harmful effects from the consumption of sweeteners under the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) by children or adolescents have not been reported, guidance generally remains that diet beverages should be limited, and unsweetened water and milk should be the preferred fluid source.

For children with diabetes, who follow a balanced diet and routinely monitor their blood glucose levels, substituting sugar-sweetened beverages with alternative beverages sweetened with a sweetener is an option in moderation.

Given the smaller body sizes of children and adolescents, careful planning should be given to ensure the consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners is not excessive. The consumption of sweeteners by children of less than two years of age is not recommended.

It’s a safe yes to Huletts EquiSweet range

In conclusion, Huletts EquiSweet range offers a viable alternative to sugar for anyone seeking sweetness without the added energy. While generally safe for consumption, its essential to use in moderation and consider your tolerances and health conditions.

Whether in beverages, baking or everyday cooking, understanding the nuances of these sweeteners can help you make informed choices towards a healthier lifestyle. Always consult your healthcare professional for personalised advice regarding dietary changes or concerns.

Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.

MEET THE EXPERT


Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.


This article is sponsored by Huletts in the interest of education, awareness and support. The content and opinions expressed are entirely the health professional’s own work and not influenced by Huletts in any way.


TRY THESE DELICIOUS RECIPES BY HULETTS EQUISWEET!

Roasted Spiced Butternut Soup

Who doesn’t love a roasted spiced butternut soup in winter? The added plus is this

Huletts Xylitol Cheesecake

This delicious Huletts Xylitol Cheesecake is the perfect dessert choice for family gatherings over the

Huletts Peach & Berry Breakfast Slice

This Huletts Peach & Berry Breakfast Slice is a delicious way to start your day.

Does apple cider vinegar help with diabetes management?

Estée van Lingen, a registered dietitian, explores the potential advantages of apple cider vinegar for diabetes management.


Listen to this article below or wherever you get your podcasts.
Visit our channel mypod.zone/diabetessa

What is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is fermented juice from crushed apple. It has all the nutrients of apple preserved in vinegar liquid.

Raw unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar is usually the best choice. It may be cloudy, but this means it’s higher in beneficial bacteria.

Complementary therapy for diabetes

Apple cider vinegar has various health benefits and one of those benefits is regulation of blood glucose levels. Diabetes, which is characterised by high blood glucose levels, is managed by medication and dietary and lifestyle changes. However, many people with diabetes also incorporate natural remedies, such as apple cider vinegar, to complement their primary treatment and overall management of their diabetes.

Health benefits 

Regulating blood glucose levels – It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels after meals, especially in people with insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes. It occurs due to its effect of reducing a glucose spike after a meal through acetic acid that helps to inhibit the digestion of refined carbohydrates, slowing down the conversion of starches into sugars.

Enhancing insulin sensitivity – Insulin resistance is a key factor in Type 2 diabetes, where the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin’s action. Studies suggest that it may help enhance insulin sensitivity, allowing cells to better utilise glucose from the bloodstream. This can lead to improved glycaemic control and reduced reliance on insulin.

Weight management – Obesity is a significant risk factor for Type 2 diabetes; maintaining a healthy weight is essential for managing the condition. It has been suggested that apple cider vinegar helps with appetite suppression and increased feelings of fullness. This may help to consume less calories and achieve weight loss goals since it only has three calories per tablespoon which is way less than standard salad dressings or marinades.

Supporting heart health – People with diabetes are also at increased risk for cardiovascular complications, such as heart disease and stroke. Apple cider vinegar consumption has been linked to improvements in various cardiovascular risk factors, including lower blood pressure, reduced LDL (bad cholesterol) and improved cholesterol levels. By supporting heart health, it can contribute to overall diabetic management.

Anti-inflammatory effects – Chronic inflammation plays a significant role in development and progression of diabetes and its complications. Apple cider vinegar possesses anti-inflammatory properties attributed to its bioactive compounds like phenols and antioxidants. By reducing inflammation, it may help minimise the complications experienced in diabetes and also improve overall health.

Gut health and digestive benefits – Maintaining a healthy gut microbiota is essential for optimal metabolic function. Apple cider vinegar promotes gut health by acting as a prebiotic (food) for probiotics which is the good bacteria in the gut. Additionally, it may assist in alleviating symptoms such as bloating and indigestion.

Easy and versatile – Apple cider vinegar is a versatile ingredient that can be easily incorporated into various foods. From salad dressings and marinades to beverages and condiments, there are numerous creative ways to add it into your diet. However, it’s essential to dilute it properly and not over consume it due to the potential side effects like tooth enamel erosion and throat irritation.

How to take apple cider vinegar effectively:

  1. Dilute it in water (20ml in 40ml of water).
  2. Consider taking it before meals to help control blood glucose.
  3. Make your own salad dressing or marinade by mixing it with olive oil, fresh or dried herbs.
  4. Remember that individual responses vary, so it’s essential to monitor your blood glucose levels closely.

Always consult your healthcare provider

While apple cider vinegar shows promise as a complementary approach to diabetes management, it’s essential to use it cautiously and in conjunction with medical advice and conventional treatment methods.

Incorporating apple cider vinegar (about two teaspoons per day) into a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle may offer several potential benefits. These include improved blood glucose control, enhanced insulin sensitivity, and better overall health for people living with diabetes.

As with any natural remedy, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diabetes management regimen.

Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.

MEET THE EXPERT


Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.


This article is sponsored by Safari Vinegar in the interest of education, awareness and support. The content and opinions expressed are entirely the contributor’s own work and not influenced by Safari Vinegar in any way.

Header image by FreePik

The merits of good diabetic nutrition

We learn about the six must-have foods for good diabetic nutrition and when to add a nutritional supplement to fill any nutrient gaps.


Listen to this article below or wherever you get your podcasts.
Visit our channel mypod.zone/diabetessa

Defining good diabetic nutrition

As a person living with diabetes, you may feel overwhelmed with all the things you need to do to manage your health. Good nutrition can assist to manage symptoms of diabetes that you may experience, such as weight loss, feeling very hungry and tired, sores that heal slowly, and having more infections than usual.1

Nutrition is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle to help keep your blood glucose level in your target range. Nutrient requirements for people living with diabetes are likely to be higher than those set for people who don’t have diabetes. This is due to the following:

  • People with diabetes are prone to deficiencies in magnesium and zinc.2,3.
  • Some medications used to treat diabetes can result in increased nutrient requirements.2,3.
  • Nutrition therapy is critical in the management of diabetes to ensure the maintenance of correct blood glucose levels.2,3.

Eating healthy foods in the right amounts at the right times so your blood glucose stays in your target range as much as possible is key. It’s also important to eat foods that helps prevent diabetes complications like heart disease.

Figuring out the best foods to eat when you have diabetes doesn’t have to be tough and you can also include a nutritional supplement to make sure you’re filling any nutrient gaps.

Some of the best foods for people with diabetes are high in protein and low in sugar like avocados (consume in moderation) and grilled fatty fish.

The must-have super six

The following foods can help manage your blood glucose levels:

  1. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have major benefits for heart health.
  2. Leafy greens are low in digestible carbs.
  3. Avocados have less than a gram of sugar, few carbohydrates, a high fibre content and healthy fats.
  4. Chai seeds are extremely high in fibre which reduces hunger. They are also low in digestible carbs.
  5. Beans are rich in B vitamins, beneficial minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium) and fibre.
  6. Broccoli contains only 3g of digestible carbs.4

Adding a nutritional supplement

If you’re considering using any supplements if you have diabetes, it’s important to get nutritional advice from your healthcare professional prior to using anything.

More than likely, once you have gotten the go-ahead from your healthcare professional, you may choose a nutritional supplement on the merit of the scientific facts of the product as well as what others have to say about it.

For this reason, here are all the beneficial facts of adding LIFEGAIN® Advanced Nutritional Supplement to your diet as well as patient testimonials.

LIFEGAIN® Advanced Nutritional Supplement is scientifically formulated to offer beyond everyday nutrition that can support chronic illness. The Triple Protein Formula in LIFEGAIN® can help you to feel fuller for longer and assist with recovery of muscle tissue and a healthy weight.

The Lifegain® formula:

  • High in energy, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • 24 minerals and vitamins, several being key for immune support.
  • High in iron and zinc.
  • Contains fibre.
  • Trans fat-, gluten-, lactose-, and cholesterol-free.
  • Low in carbs (no refined carbs).
  • No added sugar.

Patient testimonials

Monique Mentoor

(On behalf of her dad)

My dad’s health was deteriorating fast in October 2019. He is a diabetic and hypertension sufferer and has had two transient ischaemic attacks due to not managing these illnesses. He was constantly tired, and his quality of life was so poor as he was sleeping all the time. I insisted he come live with me and offered only nutritious meals and added LIFEGAIN® Advanced Nutrition Supplement to his diet – and I believe this was the perfect compliment.

Within weeks there was a noticeable difference in his health and the lethargy was improving too. Throughout the lockdown my dad continued taking his LIFEGAIN® Advanced Nutrition Supplement and he has not looked or felt better in years. ​

Tebogo Maesela

(Caregiver of his father who has diabetes)

I love Lifegain® Advanced Nutrition Supplement vanilla flavour. I currently use Lifegain® to boost my body and support my immune system.

My father is a diabetic patient, and he uses Lifegain® to boost his immune system. My journey with Lifegain® started two years back when my father was very sick, he was losing weight and he couldn’t eat anything. At that moment we thought that we were losing him. His body was small and frail. Then a family friend suggested that we buy Lifegain® supplement for my father. We did, and he started to eat again, and regained energy. Since that day Lifegain® has been our supplement.


References

  1. Diabetes Symptoms.2022 Dec 30. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/symptoms.html
  2. Walker, A.F., 2007. Potential micronutrient deficiency lacks recognition in diabetes.
  3. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity. Accessed: 05/08/2020.
  4. Kelly E. Diet for People Living with Diabetes: The Best Foods to Choose and More. 2023 Feb 23. Healthline.com Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-best-foods-for-diabetics      
Header image by Adobe Stock

Exploring the delicious world of Fabulite

Dietitian, Esteé van Lingen, explores the added benefits of including the tasty Fabulite range of yoghurts into your eating plan.


In the realm of dairy products, the Fabulite range stands out as a brand that truly understands the art of combining health and indulgence. Fabulite is a range of yoghurts, which is South Africa’s number one fat-free yoghurt.

With a wide range of products that cater for the diverse taste and dietary preferences of people living with diabetes, Fabulite has established itself as a beloved choice for those seeking both flavour and nutrition.

Nutritional information

Benefits

  • Rich in calcium: Fabulite yoghurts are good sources of calcium, a vital mineral that supports healthy bones and teeth. Since a lot of people have started reducing milk intake for various reasons, consuming these products can contribute to your daily calcium intake, promoting strong and sturdy bone health.
  • High-quality protein: Protein is an essential component of a balanced diet, and Fabulite yoghurt contains between 3,2 – 3,8g per 100g. These dairy delights offer a convenient and delicious way to incorporate protein into your diet, which is essential for muscle development and overall health.
  • Fat-free and no sugar added: Making it the ideal snack or addition to a diabetic meal. The sugar that is in the product is the lactose (milk sugar) that is found naturally in milk.
  • Halaal approved

Fabulite yoghurts are versatile and can be consumed with any meal or snack. It can even be used as a dessert alternative or added to dressings or sauces, without compromising on the taste.

Nutritional value

Nutritional info (per 100g)

Yoghurt Plain fat free Fat free fruited Fat free vanilla
Energy (kJ) 200 210 210
Protein (g) 3,8 3,2 3,4
Glycaemic carbohydrates (g) 6 8 6
Of which total sugar (g) 3,1 3,1 3,1
Total fat (g) 0,2 0,1 0,2
Calcium (mg) 110,9 102,9 100,2

What does the range consist of?

Whether you prefer the classic taste of plain yoghurt or the sweetness of fruit-infused yoghurts, you’re sure to find a Fabulite yoghurt that tantalises your taste buds. With its creamy texture, sweet taste and added benefits, this yoghurt makes for a perfect snack, breakfast option or even an addition to main meals or sauces.

You can choose from:

  • Fat free plain
  • Fat free strawberry
  • Fat free blueberry and pomegranate
  • Fat free black cherry
  • Fat free vanilla flavour

Each flavour is available in 1kg, also a select flavour range in 175g for single portion convenience, as well as a 6 x 100g multi-pack if you’re looking to indulge in more than one flavour.

Fabulite has won the hearts of consumers by offering a wide range of yummy yoghurts that also provides numerous health benefits. From plain to various flavours of yoghurts, Fabulite has something for everyone. So, next time you’re in the yoghurt aisle, consider Fabulite for a delightful and nutritious addition to your daily diet. Enjoy the best of both worlds with the exceptional yoghurts from Fabulite.

Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.

MEET THE EXPERT


Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.


This article is sponsored by Parmalat in the interest of education, awareness and support. The content and opinions expressed are entirely the health professional’s own work and not influenced by Parmalat in any way.


Header image by FreePik

Reducing postprandial blood glucose levels

Here are simple ways to lower postprandial blood glucose levels as well as the benefits that comes along with it.

What are postprandial blood glucose levels?

Postprandial means after a meal so postprandial blood glucose levels is your glucose level after eating a meal.

Glucose is the primary source of energy for your body and the cells in your body rely on this energy to function. Balancing your blood glucose levels can contribute to manage cravings, fatigue, hormonal and fertility issues, skin conditions, ageing/wrinkles, poor sleep, menopause and mental health symptoms.

Glucose control isn’t only necessary for people living with diabetes. Everyone needs to improve their knowledge and implement skills to ensure optimal blood glucose control and prevent spiking glucose levels that contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation, which have a magnitude of negative implications on human health. 

How is glucose metabolised?

When you eat a meal, the carbohydrate gets broken down into simple sugars (glucose). The glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream which can either result in a stable release or a spike (often referred to as hyperglycaemia or high blood glucose) of glucose, depending on the type and quantity of carbohydrate you consumed.

As the blood glucose level rises, so does the level of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that carries glucose from the blood into the cells so that it can be used where it’s needed for energy.

Why should blood glucose spikes be avoided?

Hyperglycaemic spikes can impact inflammation by contributing to an increase in inflammatory cytokine concentrations more significantly than continuous high blood glucose levels. These up and down, roller-coaster blood glucose levels may lead to cravings, fatigue, poor sleep and low mood which can affect you on a daily basis.

The consequences of increase in inflammation are being highlighted as a key concern when assessing overall health because the associated inflammatory response and oxidative stress are root causes of lifestyle diseases that develop when there is a constant state of chronic inflammation.

Moreover, prolonged high blood glucose levels after meals is usually the first indicator of a defect in glucose tolerance which may pose as a contributing risk factor in the development and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic diseases.

With persistently high blood glucose levels, protein glycation occurs which further contributes to complications, such as vascular dysfunction (damage to retina, kidneys, nerves) and the generation of free radicals which cause further harm to the cells, fibrosis and skin aging.

The effect of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels

Carbohydrate-rich meals are the main drivers of glycaemic spikes throughout the day. The quality and quantity of carbohydrates can be categorised according to their effect on blood glucose. This measurement of how a certain carbohydrate will impact blood glucose levels is known as the glycaemic index (GI).

Carbohydrate food items are compared to glucose and can be categorised into the following groups: high-, medium- and low-GI; with high-GI foods (white bread roll) exerting a higher effect or spike on the blood glucose level when compared to eating a low-GI food (rolled oats).

The portion of carbohydrate consumed is just as important as the quality of the carbohydrate, as the quantity ingested will contribute to the amount of glucose available for absorption.

Tips to reduce postprandial blood glucose levels

  1. Carbohydrates: quantity and quality

Be mindful of the type of carbohydrate and portion eaten at a sitting. A portion of starch is normally about ½ cup of cooked starch. Give preference to low-GI foods over high-GI foods. For example, unprocessed high fibre carbohydrates (more than 6g of fibre per 100g) will generally have a lower effect on blood glucose levels.

Aim to eat foods in their natural, unprocessed form. Give preference to eating fresh fruit as opposed to having fruit juice or uncontrolled portions of dried fruit. Be cautious with dried fruit; all the fluid has been removed, and the portion size equivalent to 1 fresh fruit is a whole lot smaller.

  1. Adding natural food adjuvants

Mulberry leaf (ML) and mulberry leaf extract (MLE) have numerous biological properties, such as regulating glucose and lipid metabolism, reducing blood glucose, and increasing insulin secretion. These benefits may be attributed to the phytochemicals they contain. Mulberry leaf extract is best taken with a meal as you want the MLE to reach your small intestine at the same time as the carbohydrate so that it can compete for glucose absorption. MLE has been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose and HbA1c in a recent systemic review. Taking mulberry leaf extract preparations pre-meal appear to be safe and tolerable solutions in preliminary studies, longer term research is required.

  1. Apple cider vinegar

Add to your meals or salads as a dressing, or consume apple cider vinegar (diluted with water) prior to meals. This may aid in stabilising the glucose and insulin response. However, evidence supporting the long-term use is lacking; one of the concerns is the demineralisation of teeth and therefore it’s recommended to avoid taking in large amounts.

  1. Whey protein

Eating this 30 minutes before a meal lowers the glucose peak by delaying gastric emptying without stimulating insulin secretion whereas eating whey protein with a meal leads to a lower postprandial glucose level by increasing the insulin secretion. Therefore, more insulin is available to carry glucose from the bloodstream into the cells.

  1. Cinnamon

Adding to your meals may lower the postprandial blood glucose response by increasing the insulin sensitivity.

Leveraging food combinations

Adding slow-release carbohydrates, more fibre, protein or fat to a higher GI carbohydrate slows the absorption of the glucose from the carbohydrate and leads to a lower postprandial blood glucose level.

  • If you do eat a high-GI carbohydrate, combine it with a low-GI carbohydrate to slow the glycaemic response of the meal. For example: add milk and berries to instant oats porridge and other high-GI cereals.
  • Pair carbohydrates with proteins or fats. For example: serve an egg or avocado with a slice of wholemeal toast instead of with butter and jam or serve meat/chicken/fish/eggs/plant protein with grains/pastas/potato mash and prepare the meal with olive oil.
  • Add more fibre to your meal by adding a salad or vegetables (colour) to the plate; topping breakfast cereals with oat bran, nuts or seeds; or adding lentils, beans or pulses to soups and stews, or all in one dish.

Food order

Eating foods in a particular order, for example, eating the vegetable/salad/protein/fat portion before the carbohydrate portion on the plate appears to reduce the postprandial glucose release when compared with other meal patterns by stimulating a lower insulin and higher glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) response which plays an important role in maintaining glucose homeostasis.

Physical activity

A non-dietary way that is known to help reduce the postprandial blood glucose rise includes exercising after eating. Only 10 minutes of activity: walking; bench stepping; taking the stairs or clearing the table and cleaning the dirty plates instead of being sedentary is an effective way to burn the glucose that has been absorbed into the bloodstream. The exercise duration and intensity will no doubt impact the glucose response, however, it’s evident from research that moderate exercise is sufficient to improve the glucose response to a meal.

The benefits

The overall benefits of keeping blood glucose levels more stable include less cravings, improved energy and sleep, slower ageing due to reduction in inflammation, improved gut and mental health, improved glucose tolerance, reduced risk for disease and promoting remission from Type 2 diabetes.

In summary

Eat for more fibre, protein and fats with all meals. Give preference to unprocessed carbohydrates in sensible quantities. Pre-load with add-ons (apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, whey or mulberry leaf extract). Eat the carbohydrates last, start with vegetables and protein and opt for a walk after your meal.


References

  1. Alpana P Shukla et al., “Effect of food order on ghrelin suppression,” Diabetes Care 41, no. 5 (2018): e76-e77,https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/41/5/e76.
  2. “Impact of nutrient type and sequence on glucose tolerance: Physiological insights and therapeutic implications,” Frontiers in endocrinology 10 (2019): 144,https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2019.00144/full#B58.
  3. Bellini, Alessio, et al. “Walking attenuates postprandial glycemic response: What else can we do without leaving home or the office?” International journal of environmental research and public health, vol. 20, no. 1, (2022): 253, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36612575/.
  4. Patrick Wyatt et al., “Postprandial glycaemic dips predict appetite and energy intake in healthy individuals,” Nature metabolism 3, no. 4 (2021): 523-529,https://www.nature.com/articles/s42255-021-00383-x.
  5. Biplab Giri et al., “Chronic hyperglycemia mediated physiological alteration and metabolic distortion leads to organ dysfunction, infection, cancer progression and other pathophysiological consequences: an update on glucose toxicity,” Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy, no. 107 (2018): 306-328,https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332218322406#fig0005.
  6. Zheng Zhou et al., “Glycemic variability: adverse clinical outcomes and how to improve it?,” Cardiovascular diabetology 19, no.1 (2020): 1-14,https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12933-020-01085-6
  7. Chezem, J., Fernandes N., et al “Effects of Ground Cinnamon and Apple Cider Vinegar on Post prandial Blood glucose levels in healthy adults.Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vol 112, issue 9, suppl: A43, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2012.06.148
  8. Singh VP, Bali A, Singh N, Jaggi AS. Advanced glycation end products and diabetic complications. Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2014 Feb;18(1):1-14. doi: 10.4196/kjpp.2014.18.1.1. Epub 2014 Feb 13. PMID: 24634591; PMCID: PMC3951818.
  9. Gheldof, N.; Francey, C.; Rytz, A.; Egli, L.; Delodder, F.; Bovetto, L.; Piccardi, N.; Darimont, C. Effect of Different Nutritional Supplements on Glucose Response of Complete Meals in Two Crossover Studies. Nutrients 2022, 14, 2674. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14132674
  10. Mohamed M, Zagury RL, Bhaskaran K, Neutel J, Mohd Yusof BN, Mooney L, Yeo L, Kirwan BA, Aprikian O, von Eynatten M, Johansen OE. A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Study to Evaluate Postprandial Glucometabolic Effects of Mulberry Leaf Extract, Vitamin D, Chromium, and Fiber in People with Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Ther. 2023 Apr;14(4):749-766. doi: 10.1007/s13300-023-01379-4. Epub 2023 Mar 1. PMID: 36855010; PMCID: PMC10064401.
  11. Lown M, Fuller R, Lightowler H, Fraser A, Gallagher A, Stuart B, et al. (2017) Mulberry-extract improves glucose tolerance and decreases insulin concentrations in normoglycaemic adults: Results of a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study. PLoS ONE 12(2): e0172239. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0172239
  12. Takahashi M, Mineshita Y, Yamagami J, Wang C, Fujihira K, Tahara Y, Kim HK, Nakaoka T, Shibata S. Effects of the timing of acute mulberry leaf extract intake on postprandial glucose metabolism in healthy adults: a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2023 Apr;77(4):468-473. doi: 10.1038/s41430-023-01259-x. Epub 2023 Jan 17. PMID: 36650279; PMCID: PMC10115625.
  13. Phimarn, W., Wichaiyo, K., Silpsavikul, K. et al. A meta-analysis of efficacy of Morus alba Linn. to improve blood glucose and lipid profile. Eur J Nutr 56, 1509–1521 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-016-1197-x
  14. Kamruzzaman M, Horowitz M, Jones KL and Marathe CS (2021). Gut based Strategies to Reduce Postprandial Glycemia in Type 2 Diabetes. Front. Endocrinol. 12:661877. Doi:10.3389/fendo. 2021.661877.

The perfect low-kilojoule squash for your lifestyle this summer

Today we share the story of why Low-Cal is the perfect beverage for you and your lifestyle. Read below and find out what makes this beverage the best healthier alternative for you. 

Taste Life with Brookes Low-Cal Squashes.


Since the late 18th century, Charles Brookes started delighting South African’s and quenching our thirsts with a range of fruity squashes, including the iconic and South Africa’s most loved squash brand Oros.

Later on, in Brookes’ illustrious history, they identified the need for a beverage that caters to those seeking a healthier alternative without compromising on flavour, enter Brookes Low-Cal.

Brookes Low-Cal

Brookes Low-Cal is not just another drink; it’s a commitment to your well-being. With low kilojoules and minimal sugar content (ranging from 0.0 – 0.7g per 100ml, compared to the average 4g per 100ml), this fruity squash is the go-to choice for anyone conscious of their diet, especially those living with diabetes. And here’s the icing on the cake, it proudly carries the endorsements of both Diabetes South Africa and The Heart and Stroke Foundation, assuring you that it’s not just delicious, but also a healthy choice.

Each 1L bottle of Brookes Low-Cal dilutes into four litres of delightfully fruity refreshment. With a variety of flavours: Orange, Grapefruit, Mango & Orange, Lemon & Lime, and Passion Fruit. Brookes ensures that you’re never short of a diabetes-friendly option to tantalise your taste buds and quench your thirst.

But Brookes Low-Cal is not just about a satisfying sip. It’s about bringing families with a focus on a healthier lifestyle together, promoting health-conscious choices, and making every moment special. It’s a drink that fits seamlessly into a diabetic or low-calorie diet while offering the goodness of a deliciously guilt-free beverage.

Brookes Low-Cal Skinny Lemon Lime Mocktail

Why not make extraordinary family moments with Brookes Low-Cal Skinny Lemon Lime Mocktail


Brookes Low-Cal is available at all leading supermarkets.

Follow us on IG for more exciting recipes and updates: @lowcal_sa

Getting into shape

It’s not only the journey of getting into shape, but also the journey of staying in shape that is important. This transformation will improve your physical well-being and your mental and emotional health.


To follow a healthier lifestyle, you have to firstly decide why it’s important to you, so the goal is more than wanting a number on the scale. By defining this, it will help you keep focus in achieving your health and fitness goals.

Guidelines to assist you along the way

  1. Set realistic goals

Before you start any health journey, you need to know where you’re heading. You’ll feel like you’re running in circles if you have no clear goal. Decide what you want to achieve and set a realistic time frame by looking at past experiences and talking to experts.

Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, improve fitness, increase endurance or just improve overall health, clear goals will provide you with motivation and a sense of direction.

Instead of having the goal to lose weight, define it better. For example, I want to lose visceral fat (fat around and in between organs), reduce body fat percentage by 5% and be able to walk 5km without being out of breath. I want to do this in a period of three months.

Also add in goals for general health, not just weight loss. This may include increasing fitness levels, lowering blood glucose levels or improving energy levels and sleep.

  1. Start with smaller changes first

Most people follow an all-or-nothing approach which may put you at either end of the spectrum. Both can be damaging. This leads to confusion, exhaustion, depression, and burn-out.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, start with smaller, more manageable changes. Slowly introduce healthier habits into your daily routine while cutting out bad habits. For example, reducing coffee intake to two cups per day and adding in two glasses of water rather than trying to cut out all coffee and drink three litres of water a day. This way you build in doable changes, and it will be easier to maintain in the long run. Then slowly build on that foundation as you go.

  1. Incorporate an exercise routine

Make sure that you start off with or incorporate exercise that you enjoy in small amounts, to keep you motivated. Then build on that by working in variety and a balance between cardiovascular exercises (running, cycling, swimming) that are good for heart health and fat loss as well as strength training (weights, body weight or high intensity interval training) that helps to prevent muscle and bone loss as you get older.

The more muscle you have, the more energy your body uses to maintain it versus fat that is dry mass and not adding any benefits. Stretching is also important to prevent injuries and keep the muscles flexible.

Start of small with 10 – 15 min of exercise three times a week. Then increase to daily exercises, including stretching of 10 – 15 min. Next you can increase the duration of the sessions to 20 – 30 min three times a week while still doing 10 – 15 min stretching in between.

Depending on your health, you can ask healthcare professionals or personal trainers to assist and work with you on the level you are at.

  1. Follow a well-balanced diet

Most people see this as the most important step in getting into shape, but if everything else is not in place and you don’t have clear goals, unfortunately, you won’t see progress or won’t able to stay on track.

Together with exercise, sleep, water intake and managing stress, a nutritious diet is important in improving health and getting into shape.

With every bite you take, you make a choice between: health or harm. Start by reducing or cutting out processed foods and focusing on incorporating more whole foods (food in its most natural form).

Ensure you add in variety of food groups including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and grains. Unhealthy foods like sugar, fats and processed foods can negatively affect your health and prevent or slow down progress. Also focus on eating smaller more regular meals with snacks like fruits, nuts, seeds or Fabulite Fat Free Yoghurt. The key to adopting a healthy balanced diet is moderation.

Allow yourself the occasional treat but ensure to eat healthy foods most of the time. Fabulite Fat Free Yoghurt Range is the perfect treat as it has the same sweet taste without the guilt.

  1. Drink enough water

This might sound like a simple thing to do, but the impact of drinking enough water during the day can be massive. Your body consists of about 70% water, so you need to maintain these levels as the body is consistently using water in all body processes.

When you don’t drink enough water, your body has to compensate in ways to try and maintain these processes. This causes unnecessary stress on the body. Constipation is prevalent if you aren’t consuming enough water. Any drinks that contain sugar or caffeine can’t be counted as water as caffeine dehydrates the body. Also ensure that you drink enough throughout the day (especially during and after training) and not all at once.

  1. Ensure sufficient rest and sleep

Sleep helps your body recover from stress and exercise; it’s the healing and recovery time for your body. Thus, if you don’t sleep enough, your body can’t function properly, leaving you exhausted and causing more stress on it. You need about 7 – 9 hours of good quality sleep at night.

You can always build up to this by making a few changes in the house to allow your body to switch off earlier. For example, this can be by turning off electronics earlier in the evening, dimming the lights, closing the curtains, having a cup of chamomile tea before bed and avoiding eating before bed.

Rest is another piece of the puzzle where you’re relaxing your body and mind to better handle the rest of the day or week. Rest includes spending time in nature, reading, listening to music, sitting in the sun with a cup of tea, spending time with loved ones, or going for a leisurely walk. Both rest and sleep are important in losing weight as well as improving health.

  1. Consistency and patience

Consistency is key in anything you want to change. You can’t do everything perfectly one week and then the next all the good intentions go out the window. Rather make the changes slowly and maintain them so that when times get tough, it’s easier to sustain.

You also need to be patient with yourself and the process. Your health didn’t decrease overnight, so you can’t expect your body to heal and get into shape overnight. The more you feed it with the right habits, the better and faster it will also heal and the more progress you’ll see.

Stay focused on your goals by keeping them where you can see them and celebrate small achievements, not only the end goal. P.S – just not by eating more chocolate.

  1. Tracking you progress

Find ways to track your progress so you can see how far you have come throughout the journey. You can do this through measurements (weight, centimetres, blood glucose readings) or you can take before and after photos to measure goals visually as well.

Tracking helps you to adjust where you might not be seeing the results. Keep a journal of diet, exercise, sleep, water intake as that will allow you and your healthcare professional to find ways where you might be lacking or overdoing something.

Every bit of progress adds up, so don’t get discouraged if you only lose 1kg in a month.

  1. Find a support system

Doing anything alone is not easy or fun. Add in the fun by doing it together with someone. Who said healthy competition can’t be good? You can also identify someone close to you to stay accountable to, to keep you motivated when things get hard. They can also celebrate the small achievements with you. These positive enhancements will help you stay on track and continue moving forward.

It’s a rewarding journey

Getting into shape can sometimes be a tough but rewarding journey. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people to walk the journey with you, keeps you motivated and helps you stay focused on your goals.

Everyone’s journey is unique so don’t compare yourself to others, and monitor your progress for where you are at. Keep consistent and one day you’ll look back and see how far you have come and thank yourself for the decision you made. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Go out and get into shape today.

Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.

MEET THE EXPERT


Estée van Lingen is a registered dietitian practicing in Randburg and Fourways, Gauteng. She has been in private practice since 2014 and is registered with the HPCSA as well as ADSA and served on the ADSA Gauteng South Committee for 2020 – 2022.


This article is sponsored by Parmalat in the interest of education, awareness and support. The content and opinions expressed are entirely the health professional’s own work and not influenced by Parmalat in any way.


Header image by FreePik