chopping up vegetables

LOTL’s resident nutritionist answers your questions about sushi, getting that post-baby body into shape and healthy eating tips.

Most days I have 2 rolls of sushi with cooked tuna.  It is very filling and keeps me going through the afternoon.  Is this a good lunch or is it too heavy in carbs/fats?

Sushi is a healthy lunch – generally filling, and balanced nutritionally.  Try and make a selection that does not have mayonnaise as this adds unnecessary saturated fat.  Tuna is a wise choice as it is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are the “good” fats.  However, it is not possible to look at one meal in isolation, I should rather look at your total food intake for the day and comment on that.

I have read that to maximise the loss of stored body fat you should wait for two hours after eating before you exercise.  Is this correct?

I would definitely wait two hours after eating before doing an aerobic workout – more to prevent indigestion, cramping or reflux than to maximise the burning of body fat.  The optimum time to exercise is in the morning as this increases your metabolic rate for a few hours at the start of the day.  However, I believe in exercising whenever there is time available.  Schedules vary, no matter when you do the exercise you burn calories and it is beneficial whether morning, noon or night.

Reading about your recipes on your website, and I’m wondering what is Burgul?

Burghul also known as bulgur wheat; hulled, steamed wheat kernels that once dried, are crushed into various size grains.  It is used in Middle Eastern dishes such as tabouleh.  Burghul Wheat can be substituted with cracked wheat.  It can be bought at the supermarket or health food stores.

I am in year ten at school and I want to lose about 15kgs by November, and I am finding it hard.  Would you be able to help me by suggesting things that I could do?

You are pressurising yourself to expect such a rapid weight loss. Losing 2-3 kg per month is more realistic.  Getting into correct eating habits and exercising is advisable.  Commence by eating six small meals a day, with the smallest at night (perhaps a tuna salad or a grilled fish and vegetables).  An hour of aerobic exercise every day will speed up your metabolic rate.  A sample menu for a day would be:

Breakfast:             2/3 cup cereal

Morning tea:         a small apple

Lunch:                   sandwich

Afternoon tea:       yoghurt

Dinner:                  grilled fish and salad

Supper:                  mandarin

newborn baby lying on top of womanI recently had a baby and I am now looking to focus on my eating and exercise plan.  My target is an approx. 20kg weight loss (this is a combination of pregnancy weight as well as previous weight loss targets) and to be toned by mid-march next year when I will be getting married to my partner.  My question is: how much can I expect to lose through this plan and what are the best exercises for weight loss and toning?

On the menus on my website, you will easily come close to attaining your goal weight by mid-March.  It is a very balanced eating plan, so it is a healthy lifestyle to follow after giving birth.  Breastfeeding results in more rapid weight loss – ensure that you drink your milk allowance (as you need the calcium intake) and keep your fluid intake up to promote the continued production of sufficient breast milk.  You can do a variety of exercises to tone the various muscle groups – walk, swim, gym, or cycle.  Try and exercise aerobically for an hour every day. You should be doing stomach and pelvic floor exercises.  Only commence vigorous exercise after you have had your six-week check-up with your doctor.  Prior to that, I suggest you only walk and do pelvic floor exercises.

I am 21 and about 165cm in height, I weigh about 67 kg, this is the heaviest I have ever been and am finding it really hard to lose weight due to just being too busy at work.  I eat the right thing but just can’t get out to exercise, any hints?

You have a BMI of 24.6, which falls within the healthy weight range.  I understand you would like to be slimmer but you have to remember a simple equation:

Energy in (calories)-energy out (activity and metabolism) = body weight

Consequently, you will find it very difficult to lose weight without any exercise.  In addition, muscle is more metabolically active than fat.  You only build muscle tissue with exercise.  Often during the day you might have ten minutes before work, ten minutes at lunchtime and ten minutes after work- try and walk each time, and you are getting in 30 minutes of exercise during the day.  Everyone has a few minutes in the day, which we waste on the telephone, watching TV or socialising.  Exercise with friends instead of going for coffee!  Watch your portion sizes and the foods you select.  Adhering to the menus on my website will assist you in commencing your weight loss.