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How to achieve ideal weight, health and body shape

Some time ago, I was asked to look at the topic of fad diets; in particular, the Dukan Diet was mentioned (I’d never even heard of it!).  If you stop and think about it – as a species, we’ve lost the plot when someone else has to tell us what, when and how much to eat!  As humans, we have an innate ability to tell what’s right/wrong for us, food-wise, but we’ve been so conditioned, over the years/decades that we can no longer tune in to this instinctive ability.  In order to attain ideal health and weight, the diet basics are simple…

Real food and water

Stick to real food; avoid foods that don’t occur in nature (yes, wheat grows in nature, but you don’t find fields full of bread loaves!).   Don’t avoid good quality fats; diets that advocate low fat products (like the Dukan Diet) are not adhering to the principle of consuming naturally-occurring foods.  Think about your ancestors and what foods they had available to them. In addition, drink clean, filtered water appropriate to your body weight and level of physical activity (0.033 X kg for your base-level intake, before exercise).

Genetic biochemistry

If, for example, they were Indian or African, they would have been exposed to less fatty and more ‘white’ proteins than European descendants (who would have eaten fattier, darker proteins), but whatever dairy was consumed by either group would have been unpasteurized and full fat. A good diet is more than just about avoiding processed foods; it’s also about ensuring you eat the correct ratios and quality/type of protein, fat and carbohydrate.

Lifestyle factors

There are always going to be other factors to consider when tackling health and weight issues and they relate to the habits you perform on a daily basis.  These cover exercise, sleep quality and quantity, mindset, breathing technique and one or two others.  It’s often only when you address all the relevant factors and make some changes in these areas that you’ll be able to shift body fat and health considerably.

Diet vs exercise

And remember, exercise is not what keeps our weight down – diet does!  This may be news to you, but diet accounts for about 80% of our body shape; exercise is the 20% cherry on top.  This means that much more focus needs to be placed on what you eat, and far less on ‘burning’ a poor diet off at the gym. In addition, many people mistakenly believe that an effective gym session requires a minimum of an hour at a time, at a high intensity of effort.  This is an outdated belief – there are ways to be much smarter about how you train which will allow you to exercise for much shorter periods of time, but with far more effective outcomes.

Benefits of fasting

Relatively recent research has suggested that we can gain huge benefits from going without food for brief-to-prolonged periods of time (14-36 hours) – called intermittent fasting.  This is something that would have naturally occurred back in the days when we had to hunt for, or gather, our own food.  It’s highly unlikely that we ate first thing in the morning, but we’ve been condition to do just that and it has the potential to play havoc with our blood sugar levels.  This is because it tends to occur at the same time our cortisol levels are naturally rising.  Historically, we probably ate later in the day once we’d found our food and so instinctively exercised in a fasting state. Evidently, when exercising on an empty stomach you’re able to maximize the impact of certain cellular factors and catalysts that force the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy, forcing your body to burn fat without sacrificing muscle mass.

In summary

Apply all the above and you should start to experience unbelievable energy improvements, clear and radiant skin, body fat loss, mental clarity and total dietary satisfaction, amongst many other benefits.

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