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    Volume Eating: The Pros, Cons And Nuances Of The Weight Loss Approach

    True or false: Losing weight is all about eating less and burning more calories. The answer? False in some cases. One diet plan, for example, has gained popularity for supposedly allowing you to eat more food while still maintaining a calorie deficit: volume eating.

    High Volume, Low Energy

    Volume eating is a method or approach that promotes eating high-volume, yet low-energy foods, in an attempt to create a calorie deficit without feeling hungry, says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, a registered dietitian, CEO of Virtual Nutrition Experts and the author of The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan. “By eating lower calorie, more voluminous foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, you have the sensation of fullness yet you’re able to keep calories at a minimum,” she explains.

    That said, volume eating may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as gastrointestinal disorders or those with food allergies or intolerances, says Jihad Kudsi, MD, an obesity medicine specialist, bariatric surgeon and the chairman of the Department of Surgery at Duly Health and Care. “In these cases, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to assess whether volume eating aligns with your specific health needs and to explore alternative dietary approaches if necessary.”

    Meet the experts: Jihad Kudsi, MD, is an obesity medicine specialist, bariatric surgeon and the chairman of the Department of Surgery at Duly Health and Care. Dina Peralta-Reich, MD, is an obesity medicine specialist and founder of New York Weight Wellness Medicine. Lisa Moskovitz, RD, is a registered dietitian, CEO of Virtual Nutrition Experts and the author of The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan. Amanda Sauceda, RD, is a registered dietitian and founder of The Mindful Gut.

    Intrigued about whether volume eating can help you lose weight in a healthy way? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about the weight loss method including the pros and cons and how to maximise its effects.

    What is volume eating?

    As the name implies, volume eating is a dietary approach focused on consuming larger quantities of foods that are low in calorie density but high in volume, such as vegetables and fruits, reiterates Dr Kudsi. “It’s a strategy that allows individuals to feel full and satisfied while managing their calorie intake,” he explains.

    How it works

    You prioritise foods with high water and fibre content, such as fruit and veggies, since they take up more space in the stomach, promoting fullness and reducing your overall calorie consumption, explains Dr Kudsi.

    For example, instead of eating a tablespoon of peanut butter, which is about 94 calories, you would opt for a tablespoon of applesauce at about 15 calories, says Amanda Sauceda, RD, a registered dietitian and founder of The Mindful Gut. It’s the same portion size but a sizable difference in caloric value, she explains.

    Does volume eating work for weight loss?

    Maybe. Volume eating can be effective for weight loss since it provides the fullness factor without tons of calories, says Moskovitz.

    “Most voluminous foods promoted through this approach are higher in fiber which can slow digestion, helping you feel fuller for a longer period of time and research shows that volume eating can be effective, especially for those who depend on larger amounts of foods to feel content,” she explains.

    However, it’s also crucial to consider the long-term perspective. Statistics show that within two years, most dieters experience weight regain, says Dr. Kudsi. “While calorie-restricting diets are often successful at initiating weight loss, they frequently fall short in supporting sustained weight management.”

    Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which may include aspects like volume eating or a plant-based whole-food diet, can be pivotal, but it’s also vital to recognise that obesity is a multifaceted condition influenced by genetics and hormones and may require guidance from a doctor, Dr Kudsi adds.

    Pros Of Volume Eating

    You may consume more nutrients.

    Because volume eating requires you to load up on the fruits and vegetables you will have a higher intake of essential vitamins, minerals, gut-friendly fibre and disease-fighting antioxidants, says Moskovitz. To maximise your nutrient intake, Sauceda suggests eating a variety of colors which should equate to a variety of nutrients.

    You’ll likely feel fuller for longer.

    In addition to taking longer to digest, therefore helping with the fullness factor, most fibre-packed fruits and vegetables have high water content which provides even more volume without the calories, in turn keeping you satisfied, Dr. Kudsi explains.

    However, it’s also important to incorporate protein and healthy fats into your diet to help you stay full for the long run, says Dina Peralta-Reich, MD, an obesity medicine specialist and founder of New York Weight Wellness Medicine.

    You may lose some weight.

    To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn and volume eating can help achieve this by allowing you to eat larger portions of food while simultaneously lowering your overall caloric intake, says Dr Peralta-Reich.

    Cons Of Volume Eating

    You may sacrifice quality for quantity.

    A common mistake of volume eating is sacrificing quality for quantity, says Dr Kudsi. “While volume eating can help control calorie intake, it’s essential to choose nutrient-dense options and not rely solely on low-calorie, processed foods,” he explains.

    Remember those popular 100-calorie prepackaged snacks from back in the day? They may technically be lower in cals than a handful of raw nuts (which are loaded with healthy fats and anti-inflammatory properties), but they’re also much less nutritious, notes Sauceda.

    You could experience digestive issues.

    Large amounts of fibrous foods like fruits and veggies can be hard for the body to break down and digest which may cause gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea, says Moskovitz.

    To help prevent discomfort, it’s best to introduce high-fibre foods slowly and not all at once, so your body has time to acclimate and adjust, adds Sauceda.

    You may actually end up overeating.

    Eating more low-calorie food is the goal of volume eating, but it can also make eating larger amounts of food a “hardwired habit,” says Moskovitz.

    When there are no low-calorie voluminous foods accessible, overeating other calorie-dense foods may feel like an impulse, so it’s important to always stay mindful of quantity, quality and portion control, she explains.

    You may miss out on key macronutrients.

    High-volume eating generally increases the amount of vitamins and minerals you’re consuming, but it’s also possible to be deficient in protein and fat if not done correctly, says Dr. Peralta-Reich.

    Therefore, you need to be aware of your food choices and be sure to include portions of lean protein like fish, chicken, eggs and turkey, and whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, farro and whole grain bread, she explains.

    You may end up over restricting.

    If you find yourself hyper-focused on portion size and calories, volume eating can be problematic and could lead to unhealthy forms of restrictive eating, says Sauceda. In the same vein, if you have a history of eating disorders, volume eating should be avoided or discussed with a doctor or registered dietitian, she adds.

    Tips For Trying Volume Eating

    Eating large volumes of food can be a healthy habit as long as you’re mindful of providing your body with the essential nutrients it needs throughout the day, says Dr. Peralta-Reich. This means including a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil) to ensure you’re eating a balanced diet that provides your body with optimal nourishment, she explains.

    Another pro tip? Try pairing fruits and vegetables with heart-healthy, energy-dense foods like extra virgin olive oil, almonds, avocados, chia seeds, fatty fish, whole grains and cheese, says Moskovitz. These high-fat foods may have more calories, but they’re also important for the absorption of vitamins and they make food more palatable and enjoyable, she adds.

    Additionally, don’t get too caught up in calorie counting, says Sauceda. “Calorie counting is a different strategy and just because a food is higher in calories doesn’t mean you should eliminate it,” she explains. Volume eating is only healthy and helpful if you prioritise variety and get all the necessary daily nutrients, Moskovitz stresses. “When it comes to healthy eating, variety beats volume and quality overrides quantity.”

    Lastly, it’s always best to talk to a doctor or registered dietitian before embarking on a diet, especially if you’re hoping for long-term, sustainable results, says Moskovitz. From there, they can help you build healthy eating habits and create a personalised plan based on your goals.

    The concept of volume eating can be beneficial, but anything in extreme has its pitfalls, says Moskovitz. Your best bet? “Embrace a long-term lifestyle change by focusing on whole, unprocessed foods to not only enhance satiety and nutrient intake, but also to support sustained health and well-being,” adds Dr. Kudsi.

    This article written by Andi Breitowich was originally published on Women’s Health. More

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    How One Woman Lost Half Her Bodyweight – And Kept It Off

    Inspiring stories reach us all the time – stories about grit and perseverance. And this story of how one woman lost half her bodyweight is for sure one of them. Here’s how school teacher Tanya Laubscher lost a whopping 105 kilograms – and kept it off.

    The Gain

    At 157 kg, Tanya Laubscher felt completely out of place in her own body. She’d avoid planes, social gatherings and strategically plotted her movements to avoid looking in mirrors as much as possible. “I think for someone at that size, [there are] struggles and things that they don’t realise. It’s tough to go for a hike with your friends when you’re that big or go on picnics,” says the 34-year-old. 

    Added to that, her health was in jeopardy: she was struggling with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), type 2 diabetes as well as depression. So she saw a doctor who recommended bariatric surgery as the best way to help her lose weight and reclaim her health.

    READ MORE: How To *Actually* Lose Belly Fat With Diet And Exercise

    How she lost half her bodyweight

    In March of 2020, Tanya’s journey began with bariatric surgery. Thereafter, she needed to completely overhaul her lifestyle to see results and slim down. To start, she worked with a dietician and opted to cut out refined foods, choosing to down protein shakes in the morning and snack on fruit and healthy foods throughout the day. Since her stomach had shrunk due to the surgery, Tanya prioritised protein and vegetables to give her body the nutrients it needed.

    She followed the advice of her psychologist to deal with emotional eating and identified her triggers, then found ways to avoid or work through them. She also needed to stay active to burn fat stores. To do that, she committed to walking at least 10,000 steps daily and cycled 10 kilometres twice a day on her stationary bike. It was no easy feat, but she kept at it. “[It] was quite difficult in the beginning but as you consistently do it, it does become part of your routine. And as you lose the weight, that also becomes a lot easier to do,” explains Tanya.

    READ MORE: How One Personal Trainer Lost 30kg – And Kept It Off

    The gains

    Over a year and a half, Tanya saw the fruits of her efforts and lost 30 kilograms, then 50, then 75. With each milestone, she made a point to celebrate in different ways. For a big reward, she flew to Cape Town to conquer Table Mountain; her very first plane trip. “That was a big one. I’d never flown before because I was too scared of fitting into the seats,” explains Tanya. Other rewards included getting a new piercing or a new tattoo. 

    Now at 105 kilograms lighter and countless hours spent exercising, Tanya is the happiest she’s been. Not only has she lost over half her bodyweight, but she’s happier, too. She no longer avoids mirrors and can hike to her heart’s content. “I walk and can go everywhere and I move freely,” she says. “And I have this joy! Spending some quality time outside, dancing and not hiding away from the world any more – those are the things that make life worthwhile.”

    READ MORE: Walking For Weight Loss: Does It Work? Plus, 9 Tips To Get You There

    Tanya’s weight loss tips

    Try A Specific Diet

    Tanya found that sticking to a specific way of eating helped her shed kilos. “If those are things that are possible for you, I would suggest applying that to your life.”

    Make Yourself Accountable 

    “Tell people what you’re busy with, why you’re doing it and ensure that your goals are set out for you. Most importantly, stick to them.”

    Set Rewards

    “I made sure to reward myself at the end of every milestone that I hit. It was a big thing for me.” More

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    How To *Actually* Lose Belly Fat With Diet And Exercise

    How to lose belly fat remains one of the top searches on our site. Everyone seems to want to get rid of their pooches, for myriad reasons. And while that may not be you, the science warns that the more fat in the belly, the more health risks become apparent. You should never feel the need to lose weight unless you actually want to. But stomach fat in particular can be harmful.

    “Stomach fat is not a good idea,” says Dr Tracy Nelwamondo, a weight loss GP. “We advise to keep abdominal circumference less than 88cm. This is not only for cosmetic reasons, but we find this puts you less at risk of disease.”

    Meet The Experts: Dr Tracy Nelwamondo is a weight loss GP and Roystinn Davids is a personal trainer.

    What are the health risks of belly fat?

    Fat cells in your stomach are made of two main kinds. The one you can see when you squeeze your tummy is known as subcutaneous fat and sits on the outer edge of your organs. The more worrying fat is the kind that lies deep within the abdomen, known as visceral fat. They’re biologically active cells that are linked to a host of chemicals in your body, further linking to a wide variety of diseases.

    Subcutaneous fat is linked to a higher proportion of beneficial molecules, while visceral fat is less so. It’s made up of proteins called cytokines, which when triggered, set off low-level inflammation in the bod. The risk? Heart disease and other chronic conditions, like dementia, asthma and even breast cancer.

    Per Harvard University, a waist circumference of 88cm or higher is considered a sign of excess visceral fat – but it may not apply to you if your overall body size is large. A better indication is an expanding waistline.

    READ MORE: Here’s Why It’s Important To Lose That Belly Fat

    So it’s clear that this kind of fat in your bod is dangerous, losing your gut can be more easier spoken about than done. But we’ve rounded up the expert advice, coupled with research, to determine the exact steps to take to minimise belly fat and keep your body healthy. The good news, per research, visceral fat responds better to diet and exercise than the fat you collect on your butt and hips.

    Exercise for belly fat

    Studies show that in order to nix belly fat, you need to be training for at least 30 minutes on most days. That includes long walks or casual spins on the stationary bike. Added to that, Dr Nelwamondo recommends at least two days of resistance training. That’s because resistance training builds muscle, which in turn works to burn fat – and it’s metabolically more active than fat tissue is.

    READ MORE: The 3 Most Important Changes To Make If You’re Trying To Lose Belly Fat

    Ab workouts won’t melt belly fat

    Keep in mind that it’s simply not possible to train only your midsection if you’re looking to lose stomach fat. Spot-training doesn’t work, and in fact, fat is breathed out from the body when you’re working out and your heart rate is high. So look to workouts where your entire body is working hard and your heart rate is higher. “There is no magic, overnight solution for losing belly fat,” says Roystinn Davids, personal trainer. “The best way to shed excess weight is by making permanent lifestyle changes. This often involves a combination of diet, exercise, stress management and other strategies.”

    Examples of fat-burning exercises include:





    Group fitness classes

    Your belly fat nixing move

    Davids recommends 20 minutes of cardio, followed by strength training. He recommends the following strength training moves to help shift the needle:


    inverted rows



    power cleans

    “Do eight reps of each, for four sets. Rest for one minute in between sets,” says Davids. When training, don’t discount the power of planking. “A plank is Ideal for losing belly fat because it engages multiple muscles at the same time, increasing metabolic rate and benefiting core strength,” he says.  

    READ MORE: Try This 7-Minute Fat-Blasting Workout

    Eating for less belly fat

    “Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats,” says Davids. “Choosing healthy options like these can make it easier to ensure you get the proper amount of micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.”

    Eliminate processed food

    While that’s easy enough to do, indulging in processed foods like chips and sodas should be avoided when trying to eliminate stubborn belly fat. “Generally, better eating always consists of incorporating fibre and protein and reducing ultra-processed foods, keeping them as an indulgence in moderation instead of making them a daily habit,” warns Dr Nelwamondo. Also, look at your hydration levels and make sure you’re not dousing your system with sweetened drinks, which spike your glycaemic load and allow fat deposits to collect.

    Get specific with your intake

    Per the American Diabetes Association, there are also specific tweaks you could make to ensure you’re eating just enough to lower your risk of holding onto belly fat. That includes:

    Keeping the total fat to only 20 to 30 percent of your overall calorie intake (calorie tracking apps like My Fitness Pal help with this)

    Keeping saturated fat to less than seven percent of your overall calorie intake (watch the fries!)

    Limiting harmful trans fats, found in doughnuts and other fried foods.

    This means that if your daily caloric intake is at 2000, 700 calories should come from fat (about 77g) and only 140 from saturated fat (around 15g). Added to this, make sure to prioritise protein in your diet. Per observational studies, people who eat more protein have less abdominal fat than those with a low-protein diet.

    READ MORE: 5 Ways To Burn More Fat During Your Walking Workouts

    Lifestyle tips for excess belly fat

    Quit smoking

    Seriously! Even vaping moves the needle towards a larger waistline. Per studies, heavy smoking increases insulin resistance and is associated with increased fat deposits in the midsection. In another study published by PLOS One, authors note that among smokers, there appears to be “more metabolically adverse fat distributions”. Translation: the heavier the smoker you are, the more harmful your fat can be.

    Sleep well

    Never getting to sleep at a reasonable time? If you always find yourself in sleep debt, this could be one thing that is contributing towards your expanding waistline. Per one study, a lack of sleep majorly boosts the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases the hormone leptin, which suppresses your appetite. The result? You’re constantly hungry, leading to overeating.

    Another 2022 study found that among people who slept only four hours a night had a nine percent increase in subcutaneous fat and an 11 percent increase in abdominal visceral fat, compared to people who got nine hours of shut-eye.

    READ MORE: Is Your Sleep Schedule Making You Fat?

    Boost your mood

    Per studies, people with larger bellies have an increased risk for both anxiety and depression. Plus, another study found that the older you get and the more body fat you accumulate, the less mental flexibility you’ll have. That mental flexibility refers to reasoning, thinking laterally and problem-solving.

    It goes the other way, too: long-term stress is linked to increased abdominal fat. There are tons of ways to find your way to a calmer – and hopefully slimmer – bod. Try meditation, journalling, exercise (it really does wonders) and delegating more tasks.

    The good news? It turns out that people who meditate are less likely to be obese and have less belly fat, per one study. That might be because getting zen lowers cortisol levels and regulates emotions, leading to less emotional eating. More

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    Is Psyllium Husk A Cheap Ozempic Alternative? Dieticians Explain The Fibre Supplement’s Benefits (And Limits)

    Ozempic has been a buzzy medication for more than a year. The prescription type 2 diabetes drug caught fire on social media after people said they lost significant amounts of weight on it. Then, a slew of speculation surfaced online that certain celebrities were using Ozempic off-label for weight loss.

    The medication has faced shortages for months. And because it’s designed to be used for people with type 2 diabetes, most health insurances won’t cover it off-label (i.e. weight loss).

    Plus, you need a prescription, which requires a trip to your doctor’s office, hanging in the waiting room for ages and more hassle. It’s no surprise, then, that plenty of people are looking for a less expensive and more easily accessible alternative to Ozempic.

    Enter psyllium husk.

    Dubbed “the poor man’s Ozempic,” this fibre supplement is suddenly getting a lot of attention. But what is psyllium husk and is it ~actually~ like Ozempic?

    Meet the experts: Jessica Cording, R.D., is the author of The Little Book of Game-Changers. Keri Gans, R.D., is the author of The Small Change Diet.

    Women’s Health went straight to registered dieticians to answer all your questions about the so-called “natural Ozempic.”

    What is psyllium husk?

    Psyllium husk is a type of fibre—specifically, soluble fibre, which means it attracts water and turns to gel when it’s being digested, explains Jessica Cording, R.D., author of The Little Book of Game-Changers.

    “It’s typically used as a fibre supplement,” she says.

    Psyllium husk is found in the seeds of a herb grown in India called Plantago ovata, says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet.

    What are the psyllium husk health benefits?

    There are a few different perks of psyllium husk, Gans says, including:

    Constipation relief

    Blood sugar management

    Lowered cholesterol

    “Sometimes you’ll see it in the context of weight management products or supplements for weight loss because the fibre helps you to stay full,” Cording says.

    READ MORE: ‘Nature’s Ozempic’: What Are The Benefits Of Berberine?

    Can you lose weight by taking psyllium husk?

    If we’re looking for Ozempic-level weight loss, the answer is no.

    “If someone is making other changes to their nutritional intake or their exercise routine and they’re using psyllium husk as part of that, it can be supportive of weight management because of the impacts on fullness and blood sugar regulation,” Cording says. “But just introducing psyllium husk is not enough to cause weight loss.”

    Gans says you might lose a little weight while taking psyllium husk, simply because you’ll be more satisfied.

    “Fiber, overall, may help with satiety,” she says. “The more satisfied and full a person feels at mealtimes, the less likely they are to overeat.”

    Is psyllium husk safe?

    In general, yes.

    “For most individuals, psyllium husk is completely safe,” Gan says. “However, if on any medications or being treated for an illness, one should always check with their primary physician before adding any supplements to their diet.”

    You can also overdo it on psyllium husk or any type of fibre, Cording says.

    “As with anything, too much of a good thing is possible,” she says. “Some can be beneficial, but you don’t want to go above and beyond the recommended dosing.”

    READ MORE: How To Lose Weight If You Don’t Know Where To Start, According To A Dietician

    Can you take it every day?

    Yup, you can take psyllium husk every day if you want, Gans says. Be sure to follow the recommended dosing on the label.

    If you’re new to fibre supplements, it’s best to start with a small amount, like ½ teaspoon in a 250ml glass of water once a day, according to Mount Sinai. Then, you can gradually increase your dosing as needed.

    Does psyllium husk work like Ozempic?

    Not really. Ozempic mimics a protein present in your own body called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and activates GLP-1 receptors in your body, Cording explains. The activation of these receptors causes an increase in insulin, which helps escort glucose to your cells, where it’s converted to energy.

    Ozempic also slows your digestion, making you feel fuller, longer, and therefore less likely to overeat. Psyllium husk works differently in your body.

    “Everything is being called the ‘new Ozempic,’” Cording says. “Psyllium husk can help with reducing blood sugar and it can help you to feel more full so you may not be as prone to snacking or eating quite as much. But it’s not the same as Ozempic.”

    What kind of side effects might you have when consuming psyllium husks?

    The biggest risk is the risk of developing gas.

    “If a person is not used to consuming fibre in their diet, it may cause gas and bloating at the start,” Gans says. “Therefore, I would recommend starting slowly, less than the recommended dose and also drinking plenty of water to help acclimate one’s body.”

    You can even end up constipated if you take too much psyllium husk and not enough water, Cording says—so make sure you’re having plenty of H2O if you use the supplement.

    Overall, experts say psyllium husk can be a supplement worth your time—just check in with your doctor first. And manage your expectations.

    “A supplement can be part of a comprehensive approach to weight management but it’s not the end all, be all, Cording says. “Most healthcare providers also recommend dietary and lifestyle changes.”

    This article was originally published by Korin Miller on Women’s Health. More

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    Here’s How Better With Balance Influencer Michaela Mallett Healed Her Relationship With Food

    Healing your relationship with food while trying to lose weight is no easy task. Just ask influencer Michaela Mallett, who’s known for her healthy eating hacks on Insta. She managed to heal her eating habits and shed 22kg in the process. Here’s how.

    The gain

    When Michaela Mallett, 28, signed up to study culinary arts, she didn’t expect it to worsen her existing binge-eating disorder. In high school, she’d begun a cycle of restrictive eating which eventually led to binge-eating. During her time studying, she was once placed in a restaurant where she was the only chef in the pastry department. It set her off on one of her biggest binges – eating 17 croissants in one sitting. In a YouTube video about her binge eating disorder, Michaela Mallett details how this became a pivotal moment for her. “It was one of the big binges that made me realise that something was wrong and I needed to get help,” she shares.

    READ MORE: The Healthiest Times To Eat If You Want To Lose Weight

    Despite this, Michaela continued her restrictive dieting, followed by periods of binge eating. “My bingeing kind of went up and down. I would have several reverse transformations a year. I would basically lose a good couple of kilograms and then I’d gain double, if not triple the amount of weight. It got to a point where I was like, 20kgs going up and down,” she explains. At her heaviest, Michaela weighed 80kgs. 

    [embedded content]

    The change

    Things eventually came to a head and Michaela checked herself into rehab for a month. But she felt that the experience didn’t give her the tools to really heal her relationship with food. “Although it was very controlled and very structured, I still felt like it didn’t teach me how I would get better when I left rehab,” she explains. 

    After being discharged, Michaela decided to try something different. She opted to take in all the calories she would usually eat. But this time, eat them healthily. She opted for whole foods instead of junk food. She also incorporated structure into her mealtimes by eating at scheduled times, thus not allowing herself to become hungry and binge. “I would have loads of potatoes, butternut, vegetables, lean protein, obviously still incorporating whole grains, fruits and vegetables,” she says. 

    To feel like she was restricting herself, she also prioritised dessert. “Every single night before I went to bed, I would have ice cream or fruit and yoghurt with crushed biscuits, or a cupcake, or whatever it was that I felt like on the day. I just had to make sure that the dessert was incorporated.”

    Michaela Mallett, now at 58kg

    A healthier her

    It took her between 10 months and a year to finally feel like she was healing her relationship with food. While her goal was never to lose weight, she found herself in the sustainable, healthy weight of 58kgs and is now able to maintain that through healthy food. 

    Through her qualification from Precision Nutrition, Micheala has set up a coaching business where she’s a lifestyle and weight loss coach who helps others heal their relationship with food. And she swears by healthy eating habits. “It definitely comes back down to building the lifestyle and that’s also where a lot of people struggle. They want the weight to come off but they’re not willing to build the habits that come with a healthier lifestyle. And that’s exactly me as well, I kept going back to gaining and losing because the lifestyle wasn’t there.” Now, she helps others smash their #BodyGoals – dessert and all.

    READ MORE: “I’m Not Healed From My Binge Eating Disorder, But I See Food As Fuel Now”

    Michaela’s tips

    Get Support 

    “You need to have a good support team, be it coaches, family or your partner.”

    Develop A Routine

    “Focus on your habits and your day-to-day routine. Knowing what time you’re waking up, going to gym, having your meals and delegating tasks throughout the day is important.”

    Prep Your Meals

    “If, for instance, you have a crazy life in a corporate job, making sure that you’re prepared for the day really helps a lot.” More

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    How One Personal Trainer Lost 30kg – And Kept It Off

    Trying to lose weight is no easy feat. Almost everything you do comes into play, from working out, eating well and even sleep. But personal trainer Kelly Smith lost 30kg – and kept it off. Here’s exactly how.

    The gain

    At one point personal trainer Kelly Smith, 27, weighed 100kg. She felt uncomfortable in her body and out of place at work – where the super-fit roamed and reigned. “I was instructing people to do all these exercises: push-ups, burpees and thought to myself, ‘I can’t even do that myself’,” she recalls. “What kind of trainer am I when I can’t do anything physically myself? I chose this profession. I need to look the part.” These thoughts formed the impetus that pushed Kelly to pursue weight loss as a goal. To start, she already had access to a free gym membership as a trainer, so she followed the script she’d been handing out to countless clients. 

    But Kelly had a deep-seated penchant that she’d been cheekily avoiding – she loved junk food. She was convinced that she could out-train her diet of Coca-Cola and chips (a habit she’d honed since her tertiary days, where cheap chip rolls were easy to obtain and even easier to consume). During her studies, she’d tuck herself away and enjoy KFC away from prying eyes. Working in the health and fitness space made Kelly ashamed of her habit. “I thought, ‘If I train extra and don’t diet, it’ll be fine,’” she says.

    The change

    As a trainer, her eating habits hadn’t changed much and her fledgling efforts at the gym weren’t showing the results she’d hoped for. So, she enlisted the help of a trainer for extra motivation and found a nutritionist who could curate her diet. “I realised you kind of have to diet to get to where you want to be,” she says. 

    But it was a big change. The first to go? Sugary drinks. As a substitute, Kelly opted for sugar-free options and found healthier substitutes such as protein pumpkin doughnuts, instead of the refined kind. She also recorded everything she ate using a calorie tracking app and kept at it, through trial and error for two years. 

    Her training involved lots of weighted workouts and only 20 minutes of cardio. On top of that, she joined in on the daily HIIT classes she taught. “I think that’s what pushed me to get to my weight loss goal as fast as I did,” shares Kelly. 

    She would send her coach her data and, together, they built options into her menu. So, she could pick between a chicken salad for lunch or tuna and vegetables. They also built ‘fun foods’ into her diet: 200 calories that Kelly could play around with, so she didn’t feel too restricted. This often included chocolate protein bars, something she relished. “This made it enjoyable for me to not keep going back to my old habit of getting quick little takeaways,” she says.

    A new lease on life

    Now at her ideal weight of 70kg and having lost 30kg, Kelly feels fantastic. She also started competing in bikini fitness competitions and has gone on to become successful in her field – having won six gold medals, four overall trophies and even represented South Africa on the world stage. “It’s been a long journey with its fair share of downfalls and uprisings, but I feel it’s a story that a lot of women could be inspired by,” muses Kelly. 

    Kelly’s tips

    Find Substitutes

    “There are substitutes for everything that you like. Yes, it doesn’t taste the same, but spice it up a little and you’ll get there.” 

    Be Consistent

    “Anything is possible once your coach understands you, as well as your training and your eating habits.” 

    Be Accountable

    “I had someone that was checking my form for me, someone motivating me to get to all the things I needed and then in that, found a gym community.” More

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    How To Lose 1kg A Week: Safe & Healthy Exercise & Nutrition Tips

    Figuring out how to lose weight in a week is no mean feat, let alone how to lose 1kg a week. Perhaps you don’t know where to start, or you’ve done some research into the best diets and now feel overwhelmed. Working out what your goal is in the first place is an achievement, so to then turn to the plethora of conflicting information on the internet (including some incredibly suspect advice 👀 ) can make it seem impossible.

    Before we go any further, we want to get something straight: the 1kg you’re hoping to shed does not define you. It doesn’t define your worth and it doesn’t define your beauty. Fact. It’s vital you identify the reason you’re hoping to lose 1kg a week.

    Plus, why did you pluck 1kg as the number you’re aiming for? Get clear about your health goals and what benefits they could bring to your life.

    Next, get realistic.

    If you’re on a mission to better your body composition – lose body fat, build muscle and tone up – for health reasons, then spoiler: the route to success does not include fad and crash dieting, restriction or deprivation.

    Shrug off the detox tea ads and actively escape from the ‘fat burning’ supplements section of whichever shady internet site has you cornered – we’re about to lay down expert science-backed advice on how to lose 1kg a week safely.

    How many calories do you need to burn to lose 1kg?

    OK, let’s crunch the numbers and then we can get into the nitty-gritty of exactly what you should be doing for healthy weight loss per week.

    A pound of fat – fat is usually measured in pounds – is around 3,500 calories of energy. That means if you want to lose 1kg weight a week (a healthy and sustainable amount for most, although it’s not advised to shoot for more than this) you would need to create a 7,700 calorie deficit over the course of a week.

    Is losing 1kg a week healthy?

    Providing you go through the right guidance with a fine-tooth comb (starting with why you want to lose 1kg a week and if you’re in a position to do so in the first place) and follow it to a tee, yes.

    Losing 1kg a week isn’t going to be right for everyone, though – you simply might not have that amount of excess fat to lose in the first instance and so could end up underweight. Think about the reason you want to lose weight. Is it really going to make you any happier or healthier?

    The most important thing to say here is that there is no use in comparing your journey to another’s. Everybody is entirely unique and your results really do depend on your starting weight, activity levels, nutrition and sleep as well as other factors such as stress and hormonal fluctuations.

    Can you lose 1kg a week for multiple weeks?

    No matter your starting point remember, losing 1kg a week healthily is about remembering that not every week will be the same and trying not to get too stressed about it. Just focus on getting what you can right.

    Plus, while 1kg might be a healthy weight loss for a lot of women, keep it mind that it’s just a number. Aiming for 1kg per week for several weeks would require a lot of commitment (and may not actually be healthy!); leading your healthiest lifestyle possible will yield the right results for you.

    Also, if you’ve found that your health journey or healthy habits have been put on pause because of various work/life commitments, don’t stress. It’s easier said than done, we know, but give yourself the freedom to relax your goals slightly.

    Can you lose 1kg a week without exercise?

    You can – losing fat, amongst other factors, is mostly about creating an energy deficit so that your body will then use body fat for fuel. However, fat loss without muscle might not give you the results you’re after, nor will you reap the health rewards that exercise brings.

    For the healthiest body, a good plan can be to pair a nutrient-dense diet with regular strength training, like weightlifting, reformer Pilates or standard Pilates and cardio exercise that implements progressive overload. We’ll come on to the best way to do this shortly.

    Not only can you lose fat and build muscle with exercise, but there are also a myriad of other benefits to getting sweaty. According to the NHS, it’s medically proven that women who do regular physical activity have:

    Up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke

    Up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes

    Up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer

    Up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer

    A 30% lower risk of early death

    Up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis

    Up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture

    A 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)

    Up to a 30% lower risk of depression

    Up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

    Phew! That’s a lot of benefits. Not sure where to start? Let us guide you.

    How to lose 1kg a week with exercise

    Most experts agree that the best exercise to lose weight in a week is the one you actually do. It’s all well and good having a watertight plan, but unless you actually do it, it’s not worth anything.

    ‘Whether that’s sweating it out every day or a couple of times a week, it’s more important to focus on the quality of your workouts over their quantity,’ says PT Aaron Vine.

    With that being said, a plan that combines strength workouts to build lean muscle and high-intensity interval training – HIIT – sessions to burn fat, as well as low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio (walking, jogging) will suit you best.

    ‘Ultimately, the more muscle you have, the faster you’ll burn fat,’ explains Vine.

    Plus, let us all not forget that there are plenty of benefits of exercise beyond body composition. Everyone can reap rewards from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. And regular exercise can help manage or prevent many health issues including:


    High blood pressure

    Type 2 diabetes



    Many types of cancer


    It can also help boost your sex life. Yup.

    The best nutrition tips to support healthy eating

    Firstly, creating long-lasting healthy habits relies on taking everything in moderation – including moderation! That means not falling into the trap of cutting out entire food groups or believing that you’ll ‘eat this way’ until you lose the weight and then ‘go back to normal’. It might give you a quick fix and help you lose some weight in a week, but you’ll quickly regain it.

    Instead, focus on what you can add to your daily diet for health gains – like actually using your reusable water bottle and drinking more water more regularly.

    Here are five handy tips to get you on the right nutritional foot:

    1. Drink more water

    Aim for at least eight glasses a day. Feeling hungry? Drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes – it could just be thirst.

    2. Slow down your eating

    Research shows that the longer you take to chew your food, the less you will consume.

    3. Fill up with fibre

    Whole wheat bread, potato, nuts and grains will keep you feeling satisfied for longer.

    4. Slightly cut down your portion size

    By just a little. This will decrease your calorie intake while being easy to maintain.

    5. Eat high-protein meals

    Especially within 30 minutes of a workout. This will help you feel full for longer and aid muscle repair.

    What should you eat to lose 1kg a week?

    To figure out exactly how much you need to be eating to hit your body composition goals as well as stay satiated and happy – working out your macros might be a good shout. Not familiar with macros?

    It stands for macronutrients and breaks down food into three key categories of nutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fats. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve – lose, maintain or gain weight – how you manipulate your macros can be a serious benefit.

    For example, those looking to gain lean muscle might have a higher amount of protein in their diet compared to someone looking to gain fat, who might go heavier on the carbs.

    To figure out the perfect macronutrient split for you, use this handy infographic:

    If eating according to your macros is a step too far, focus on getting smaller things right. E.g. make sure each meal you eat contains protein or be more mindful about the snacks you’re scarfing between meals.

    When should you eat to lose 1kg a week?

    Meal timings are an individual thing. If your schedule has you getting up at 5 am some days and 11 am other days, you’re not going to stick to a hard and fast routine and everyone’s days are slightly different. That being said, there are some timings that could help you hit your goals if you’re on a 9–5 schedule from home.


    First thing after waking up

    Now’s the time to down some water – 500ml, in fact – according to a German study that found it boosted metabolism by 24% for 90 minutes afterwards. This is due to the fact your body must expend extra energy to bring the cold water down to your core temperature. Easy hack: pop a bottle in the fridge before you head to Bedfordshire so it’s ready for when you wake up.

    Before breakfast

    According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, getting a sweat on before you tuck into your morning bowl of oats might be the better choice if you’re trying to lose fat as you can burn nearly 20% more if you exercise in a ‘fasted’ state. ‘Your blood-sugar levels are low, so your body has to use fat as fuel for your muscles to work,’ says Dean Hodgkin, international fat loss and fitness expert.

    However, fasted workouts don’t work for everyone. Give it a go and see how it makes you feel and check out our guide to eating before a morning workout.


    This might only be for the stronger-stomached person, but breaking your fast with a lean protein – be it a turkey breast or a steak, even – could be the key to burning more fat and may well help you on your way to losing 1kg in a week.

    Research in the British Journal of Nutrition found eating high-protein meals such as meat and nuts at breakfast time led to a greater feeling of fullness. Try pairing a turkey breast with a handful of almonds – a great source of monounsaturated fat that helps to burn belly fat.



    Lunchtime might be the meal that it’s best to up the portion size, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity that found those who ate 40% of their daily calories from carbs and protein before 3 pm, dropped an average of 11% – compared with 9% of those who ate their biggest meal at dinner time.

    Lunch might also be the meal that it’s best to take your probiotic with. A study in the European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that taking the probiotic lactobacillus gasseri for 12 weeks reduced belly fat by a total of 4.6 per cent. Taking your probiotic mid-meal will also ‘boost satiety and the feeling of fullness,’ says nutritionist Carrie Ruxton.


    Rich in plant compound ECGC, green tea can promote the burning of fat. In fact, three cups a day could cut your weight by nearly five per cent, says a French study. Plump for matcha green tea powder – it can increase the body’s rate of calorie burn by up to 40 per cent.



    Best to dish up early, if you’re trying to lose fat, as the extra hours before bed not eating will help your body digest and get into a rest state before sleeping. To maximise fat loss, eat dinner early, then fast for around 14 hours until breakfast the next day.

    After dinner

    After you’ve had dinner, it could be beneficial to go for a 10-minute walk as light post-meal exercise can lower blood sugar and stop you from storing fat. If you don’t live somewhere where you can venture out safely and at a social distance of two metres to others then this yoga pose is also known to relieve indigestion: lie on your back with your hands on your knees, exhale and hug your knees to your chest; gently rock from side to side for 5-10 breaths.


    Those who consistently get poor quality of sleep are more likely to suffer major weight gain – so try to aim for at least seven hours each night to keep cortisol levels in check. ‘This [cortisol] hormone regulates appetite says trainer Christianne Wolff. ‘If it’s out of sync, you’ll never feel full,’ she explains. Please

    The takeaway?

    Before embarking on any “weight loss” plan get clear on why “weight” dominates your goal and don’t forget: weight is not a synonym for health.

    This article was originally published by Morgan Fargo & Birdie Wilkins on More

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    Boxing Training With Connie Ferguson

    Two-time South African and international boxing champion Xolisani ‘Nomeva’ Ndongeni, also Connie Ferguson’s boxing trainer of five years, meets our cover star twice or thrice a week for some scintillating boxing action at his gym, north of Johannesburg. “She already had a lot of interest in boxing when I met her. Her father was a kickboxer so boxing was easy for her to get into,” he says. He adds: “Connie’s always interested in perfecting her moves and getting her form right.” In short, Connie’s persistence (and commitment) is any trainer’s dream! 

    READ MORE: Connie Ferguson’s Favourite Strength Training Workouts

    A boxing rookie? Nomeva is quick to point out that unlike in conventional exercising, boxing doesn’t have one set move with a name. “In boxing training, we have combos where you have to listen closely to the trainer’s instructions in order to execute and have a basic understanding of the moves and posture required.”  So just how easy or difficult is it to master this sport? On the outside, boxing seems difficult but once you start practising it, it’s quite easy. “All you need is one or two sessions of learning the basics and you’re set,” promises Nomeva. 

    Describing the 53-year-old legendary actress as passionate and consistent, Nomeva says boxing training aligns with Connie’s goal — which is to tone her upper body. Below are a few general tips on boxing and some of the moves that keep Connie’s bod in tip-top condition. 

    Boxing Bennies

    Some people box to release stress or calm down from a hectic day (yes to therapy and fitness in one!), while some take up boxing for self-defence purposes. Whatever your reason, the benefits are immense. “Because you’re using your body,  legs, hands, legs, eyes and also engaging your core, boxing offers a full body workout with great cardio benefits,” shares Nomeva, who adds that it may seem like a waste of time or a game but it’s a fun way of training once you get the combos right.

    READ MORE: What is Pilates?: A Complete Guide for Beginners, Inc. 34 Exercises + 15 Best Online Classes

    Whether punching a bag, running circuits, sparring or practising your footwork, your body requires strength to execute each move. “Boxing also teaches discipline, independence and being able to adjust to so many situations,” adds Nomeva. When preparing for a fight as a professional boxer, you need to understand various situations and challenges and adjust accordingly. 

    Some Connie Flow Drill Combos To Try Below

    Known as a flow drill (see examples below) — or the combo that keeps our cover star in top shape as we’d like to think of it — it helps improve hand-eye coordination as well as reflexes. Flow drills tend to be lengthy, meaning they can also improve overall fitness levels. “Boxing drills allow you to learn a boxing skill or group of skills by repeating that skill or group of skills with a critical eye.  Boxing drills are about precision of execution, with speed of execution secondary to precision and technical accuracy. Lastly, the aim is to train the body and mind to work in a particular way under fight conditions,” according to

    A flow drill usually starts off with a basic combination, then builds up from there. For example, a 232 (cross/left hook/cross) would be the starting point, then more punches that expand the combination will follow.

    Our July/Aug 2023 cover star Connie Ferguson swears by the flow drill, with varying combos added to constantly keep her on her toes.

    READ MORE: 4 Postpartum Exercises That’ll Give You A Tighter Core

    Nomeva has been a professional boxer for 13 years. He is a two-time South African, world and international champion, as well as a three-time African champion. More