Most lifestyle changes start with DESIRE. Nothing will force or encourage you to change if you don’t want to!
So if you’re healthy, energetic and motivated … well done! Read this to be simply entertained. But if you say, ‘Yes, I need to wake up to myself!’, I will give you simple steps to take you where you want to be.
The way we feel is the result of what we eat, what we do and how we think.
What should we eat or drink?
- Remove or slowly reduce sugary soft drinks. If you’re addicted to the 3pm-Cola-fix, try diluting it (like I did). You’ll make a bad face, but you will wean off it. Maybe replace it with tea and milk, or black tea with honey and lemon. By eating less sugar and more ‘real’ foods, you help your cells to burn glucose and fat.
- Your default go-to drink should be water, preferably filtered. You should restrict your regular coffee or tea fixes to no more than 2 to 3 cups a day.
- Drink water before you feel thirsty. Thirst is your warning signal – don’t wait for it. Drinking enough water is important, especially in dried-out air-conditioned rooms. Headaches are mostly caused by dehydration. Have that glass of water before reaching for paracetamol or aspirin. Your kidneys will have a few extra years of life!
- Remove or reduce ‘empty’ carbs falsely glorified as ‘comfort foods’ – e.g. muffins, scones, croissants and ice cream. Instead, keep a variety of good quality, crafted bread – e.g. seeded, sourdough, rye, turkish or pita. Denser, grainier breads are more satisfying, so you eat less. Their low GI means they are digested slowly and will keep your blood sugar levels stable. Have a look at a range of low GI foods.
- Reduce consumption of red meat, chicken and high-cholesterol seafood. Low-fat turkey breast is better. Also have quality fish such as sardines, salmon or flathead more often. Watch me cook succulent chicken breast. I marinate it with a little soya milk, Moroccan seasoning and Keens Curry Powder for 1 to 2 hours, then pan-fry with olive oil. Enjoy!
- Stock your pantry and fridge with fresh veggies and wholesome foods. With healthier eating, your cravings for super-refined and colon-harming foods will slowly disappear.
- A quarter or half a grapefruit or orange with pith, and 500mls to 1L of warm water. The abundance of antioxidants in citrus piths cannot be overstated! (If pressed for time in the mornings, cut up the fruit the night before, cover with cling-wrap and refrigerate.) Here’s my fruit prep video again.
- Follow with enzyme-rich fruits like red papaya (with a squeeze of fresh lime), kiwifruit, an apple or a mandarin – but not bananas. Eat bananas alone or with nuts. They are richer in carbohydrates and take a longer time to digest than other fruits.
- Have nothing else for at least 30 minutes. You won’t feel hungry because the sugar in the fruit will sustain you and will be nicely metabolised when you have your ‘real’ breakfast. Contrary to what you’ve been told, fruit eaten this way will not make you fat: it will help detoxify your liver and cleanse your system!
- Breakfast suggestions: Rolled, spelt or multigrain oats with honey/bananas/raisins/dates OR whole-grain/sourdough toast with ricotta/cottage cheese (or whatever you prefer) AND/OR an egg cooked any way you like. (I’m not following Dr Walker’s suggested combinations here, as I found my breakfast choices didn’t cause discomfort. Fruit first thing in the morning, and avoiding carbs rich in sugar and additives are more important.)
- Full-fat yoghurt (not low-fat, it has too much sugar). ‘Natural’ Greek yoghurt is good, but always check the sugar content (avoid anything over 8g). A small tub is fine. Sweeten your yoghurt with a little honey if needed.
- A large green apple with the skin – perfect if you’re constipated.
- You can now have your banana and 2 to 3 dates, with a handful of walnuts or almonds. Or try Ryvitas (1–2 slices) or Vita-Wheat with Vegemite, banana or honey. Ditch the bickies – this has more fibre, little salt and almost no sugar.
- Resist buying your lunch, except on special occasions. Save your money, and lose the weight (and the wait).
- Prepare a large bowl of salad a day before to have for lunch and dinner. It takes 30 minutes tops, and keeps for 2 days in the fridge. Grate the apple only when the salad’s ready. Varieties of pre-washed packaged salads are available in supermarkets (but watch those use-by dates!).
- If you really want a sandwich but want to lose weight, slowly limit sliced bread. You could leave out carbs entirely, but you’d probably be ravenous in an hour and become twitchy. I’ve stuck to 2 thin slices of any one of the breads I mentioned before with plain butter or Proactiv. Add the salad after toasting your sandwich; using a sandwich press makes it that more crisp and delicious!
- Make your sandwich fillings one of these: avocado, cheese, chicken, tuna or ham. An avocado and salad alone will keep you full if you don’t want bread.
- In my experience, I believe food metabolises faster if you stick to a single protein with your salad; Dr Walker wouldn’t agree with adding bread, but I found it didn’t affect my weight or digestion as long as I kept to this combination. Adding protein in your sandwich will also keep you full for longer.
Right food combinations = faster metabolism = weight loss!
- THAT’S the time we crave sugar, caffeine, or worse – nicotine. (Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have half-hour siestas at work?)
- Again, avoid those empty carbs I listed earlier. Replace with quality breads (seeded, sourdough, rye, turkish or pita). Toast a slice, and add cheese or peanut butter. It’s much better to snack on this between your main meals. (If you must have your slice of cake, this is the best time to have it.) Adding a few almonds or walnuts will slow down sugar absorption.
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of full fat yoghurt OR an apple, pear or kiwifruit. Remember: always eat fruit alone.
- Also a good time to have complex carbs like dried figs, apricots and pears – high in fibre, calcium and abundant minerals, great for weight loss. Have 2 to 3 a day with a handful of almonds or walnuts. (Soak dried fruit overnight to remove its high sugar content.) Include dates – one of the richest forms of natural carbohydrates. They are highly alkaline (i.e. non-acid forming), and a great gluten-free snack. Watch my dry fruit prep video.
- Firstly, do have a large salad, even in winter!! I’ve ditched the soups and now have salads instead.
- Follow with semi-cooked or steamed vegetables, adding garlic and/or ginger but no salt. A little oyster, teriyaki or soy sauce will do instead – you’ll actually taste the richness of the vegetables!
- Add lean, simply-cooked proteins. I prefer less fatty chicken or turkey breast, but Scotch Fillet or Porterhouse beef are OK (cheaper blade cuts are fine too). Good oily fish like salmon or sardines top the list – which you can either stir-fry, broil or grill.
Your (easy) prep
- This is the key. Most importantly, always have salad vegetables in the fridge. Celery, fennel, cos lettuce, carrots are perfect – if you’ve no time to be creative, just wash and chomp while cooking the rest of your meal. Watch my earlier video here.
- When I was working, I’d set aside 30 to 45 minutes to prepare my meals the night before, i.e. my morning citrus, a salad (with enough for dinner), and sandwich for lunch, and midday snacks.
- Marinate meat, chicken or fish ahead of the evening dinner. Know your side dishes. The worst thing you can do is to come home hungry, wondering what to eat!
You will adapt to this new routine and find your rhythm.
You’ll get a bit peckish around 9 or 10pm, especially if you’ve had an early dinner. Most diets forbid eating after 9, but I don’t think it matters as long as you are smart with your food choices.
Here are 3 suggestions:
- Dried pear, apricot or figs (always pre-soaked to leach out the sugar) with a small dollop of fresh cream … so delicious.
- A tablespoon of plain yoghurt with half teaspoon of raw honey … very soothing, especially before bed. (Dairy products contain the amino acid tryptophan, which promotes good sleep.)
- A slice of Ryvita with cream cheese, vegemite or peanut butter.
Give it a few weeks, and you’ll see a new you – simply by eating affordable and available food. You’ll have more energy and sleep better.
And need I mention better-looking poo? Your reward for giving up some of your ‘slouch on the couch’ and screen time.
IT WILL BE WORTH IT.