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Avid cheesecake lover answers diet Q&A

I’ve been asked a few key questions repeatedly over the years while working with clients. I figured it would be a good exercise to show both the questions and answers here, since clearly these are common issues…

I’ve tried going high fat/low carb for a few months now and lost 6kg pretty quickly, but have now hit a plateau. How do I drop my weight further?

This often happens when we mistakenly believe that HF/LC = a high protein diet. Hand in hand with this is usually too-low levels of fat.  Fats terrify people (hey, it’s not our fault – we’ve been conditioned to believe its heart-stopping stuff). In fact, fats add fantastic energy into the diet, allowing you to go for longer on less food. They also provide the raw material your nervous system needs to operate efficiently. This leads to less irritability and therefore longer and happier marriages. Food is eaten more often than it should throughout the day as a result of too little fat. This adds unnecessary calories (energy) to the diet. In addition, too much protein can be a helluva thing for the body to process since it can’t be stored for later use. This means that any excess has to be excreted asap.

I’m nervous to go to food-based social occasions as I tend to overeat and am desperately trying to lose weight. How should I deal with this?

Ok, so here’s my plan of action. If it’s a braai I’m going to, I make damn sure I eat a small meal before I go. You know how these occasions go – “Be there at 5.00pm” they say. And when do you eat? 8.00pm, if you’re lucky! So, I know if I go to a braai even remotely hungry, I’ll end up literally vacuuming up any crisp, bread, dip or other tasty morsel placed anywhere on any counter in the house. If I’ve eaten though, I have absolutely no desire for food. Because I’m biochemically balanced (satisfied), even if I do decide to eat a crisp or two, it doesn’t get out of hand.

Actually, I usually do the same for most food occasions, except an actual dinner invite. It might not go down so well if I pass on the food and tell my host politely that I’ve already eaten…

I try and be ‘good’ during the week and let my hair down on the weekends, but I think this makes me overeat. Is there another way to successfully lose weight and get healthy on a diet?

Uh ha – don’t diet! It’s the perfect answer. In fact, it’s the only answer. Foodwise, you almost assuredly set yourself up for failure when you’re ‘good’ and ‘bad’. You’re trying to be perfect and perfection can’t be maintained. Not unless you’re happy to go stark-raving mad (well, that’s certainly what I’d become without access to any good cheesecake for a prolonged period of time). Why not learn to become mentally flexible with your diet habits so that when a food occasion suddenly pops up – presenting you with the dilemma of either depriving yourself by abstaining altogether, or pigging out beyond belief – you’re able to deal with it in a mature, sensible and enjoyable way.

In other words, fellow cheesecake eaters, go with the flow. Don’t be on a diet; simply try and eat foods that fuel the body well (i.e. real food) MOST of the time, and allow yourself the opportunity to eat foods that offer only in-the-moment bliss SOME of the time. What could be wrong with this approach? No diet; then no deprivation and no wagon to climb on and fall off. Sound good to you?

Tanya Wyatt, Happy Valley pond

Tanya Wyatt

Tanya has written regularly for various health and fitness magazines such as Men’s Health, Marie-Claire, Cosmopolitan and Shape (she also served on the advisory board for Shape), as well as for local South Africa newspaper publications. In 2004, Tanya wrote two internationally released health and fitness-related books, both  published by New Holland. She recently wrote her third book, currently submitted to publishers for consideration.


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2021 Tanya Wyatt / The Happy Body