Six steps to boost health and ban dread disease

John Hamlett, a fitness expert, shares six steps to boost health and ban dread disease.

According to the most recent South African Demographic and Health Survey, almost 70% of South African women are either overweight or obese, as are 13% of our children. More than double the global average of 5%.

While heart disease and diabetes are directly linked to being overweight or obese. There is evidence that a causal link exists between excess weight and cancers of the oesophagus, colon, rectum, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, breast, ovary, kidneys, thyroid gland, and even leukaemia.

It’s clear that South Africans need to take stock of their health, and their approach to regaining control of their weight – and what’s more, they need to take more action than signing up for a gym membership in January, then never using it.

“The slide to being overweight or being obese does not happen overnight. It’s the culmination of months and years of unhealthy eating, inactivity, and avoiding the right food and exercise choices for a variety of reasons,” says John Hamlett, a fitness expert and TomTom Athletics Club founder. “Losing the weight won’t happen overnight either – but doing so is vital if you are to reduce your risk of contracting a life-threatening disease, such as cancer or heart failure.”

Six tips and tricks to boost health and ban dread disease:

  • Limit your calorie intake. This doesn’t mean you need to stop eating. It means you need to make healthier food choices. Consult with your doctor or dietitian to find out what your daily calorie intake should be, and base your food choices on achieving that with the help of this handy online calorie counter.
  • Get out and about. One of the best ways to feel better about yourself is to get active – and you don’t have to go from zero to cardio hero to see the benefits. Track your movement with a TomTom Touch Cardioentry-level fitness tracker, which helps you monitor your daily step count, number of calories burned, as well as sleep and active time. Set yourself daily or weekly challenges, and decide on rewards before you start each challenge, to give yourself time to plan something healthy.
  • Ditch the diet drinks and choose water instead. Water hydrates the body, giving you a healthy glow, reducing wrinkles, and boosting weight loss. Drinking coffee or tea doesn’t count towards your daily recommended intake of eight glasses – you want to choose pure, unflavoured water for the best results.
  • Love the food you eat. It’s true that you’ll have to give up some types of food, but if you balance your food choices within your targeted calorie range, you can still enjoy tasty, filling meals. Veggies are low-calorie and include fibre (which makes you feel full) – but you can do so much more than just boiling them as part of a healthy eating plan. Steam them, roast them, bake them, spice them up with chilli or other fragrant spices. Healthy food certainly doesn’t have to be boring.
  • Up your game. Getting active by taking a walk around the office park at lunchtime is a great start – but you’ll see better results in your weight loss and health programme if you push yourself a little more each week. Take a jog at lunchtime instead of a walk, or use your newfound fitness as a foundation to make that gym membership worthwhile. If you’ve been tracking your progress on your TomTom fitness device, you can set yourself new goals (and rewards) to boost your activity even further.
  • Be prepared. Plan your meals in advance. Make sure you have all the required ingredients to prepare lunches for work in advance and have a good breakfast. A good breakfast will help you avoid those mid-morning nibbles, and a packed healthy lunch will reduce the temptation to eat unhealthy convenience foods during the day.

MEET OUR EXPERT - John E. Hamlett

John E. Hamlett is the Founder and Designer of John's New Lifestyle and is the coach of the TomTom Athletics Club Elite Athletes. He has been a professional athlete, teacher, electronic engineer and intelligence colonel; qualified as a specialist in nutrition and fitness (studied in Russia and the USA); was a physical training instructor in the military, qualified aerobics and swimming coach instructor, tri-athlete coach, gym instructor.