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Operation: Slim down

If you want to shake off the last of the winter padding, the best you can do is nourish and support your body with wholefoods, says Mpho Tshukudu, a dietitian based in Rustenberg and a spokesperson for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa (ADSA). And there’s not a detox in sight – if you manage your lifestyle well. It’s time to start the summer slim down!

By Claire Jacobs


Don’t think of it as a crash course. If you want a healthier lifestyle, you need to choose an eating plan and exercise regime that you’ll stick to – in the long term! If you are looking to lose a few extra kilograms, aim for 0.5–1 kg per week. If it’s more than that, it’s probably water loss, not fat loss... And that’s not healthy!


Reduce portion sizes, especially of starches and proteins. Fill half of your plate with free vegetables – these are ones low in kilojoules but high in fibre, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Load up on sprouts, cauliflower and green vegetables (cabbage, lettuce).


This is your typical farm-to-plate type of eating – the foods don’t go through processes that strip away essential nutrients such as fibre, oils, vitamins and minerals. While wholefoods are very rich in nutrients and essential fibre, processed foods are pretty much just empty kilojoules.


If you’re going whole, you have to drop the processed food. Think rolls, crackers, salad dressings, pasta sauces and Viennas. They may taste delicious, but they’re loaded with hidden sugars and unhealthy fats. You also need to cut out fried food (chips, vetkoek, chicken and fish), as they contain unhealthy fats that can increase cholesterol, cause a build-up of plaque in your arteries and also contribute to weight gain. And, sad but true, biscuits, desserts and ice creams must be cut down to an absolute minimum, if not eliminated completely.


Fizzy and energy drinks are the sneaky ones… It seems like you’re not consuming many calories, but one tin has about nine teaspoons of sugar, which will be stored as fat. The acid erodes teeth enamel and damages your bones.

You must stay hydrated, so sip on good fluids such as water and unsweetened tea. Here’s a way to figure out how much you should drink: your weight × 30–35 ml. So a 70 kg person should drink 2.1–2.5L a day.

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