Weight loss – a journey, not a destination

Today we meet Debbie de Coning who after many years of trying to improve her health and loose weight unsuccessfully, reached out to registered dietitian Monique Piderit.

She shares her journey with us, as well as some great tips for anyone embarking on a journey to better health:

Why did you decide to see a dietitian?

I had been on a quest to improve my overall health for many years and as a result had developed an interest in nutrition and healthy eating. I had already eliminated several food groups in my efforts to reduce inflammation, sinus and increase my energy levels. I had cut out sugar and refined carbs; wheat; as well as dairy – and while I did feel some benefits from significantly reducing all these – my energy levels remained low and the weight refused to move.

I had got to the point where I felt there must be a missing link somewhere and that if I could find out what it was, I was sure that I would be able to lose weight. I had tried so many approaches – and even although my health improved – the weight did not budge. Quite simply, I was tired of all the guesswork.

I kept researching, and after reading about DNAlysis, decided that I was going to invest in my health and get my weight sorted out once and for all.

Tell us about your journey with the dietitian?

I put a request out on Facebook asking for recommendations of dietitians who worked with DNAlysis. Someone tagged Monique in that post, and Monique reached out and offered to assist me on my weight loss journey.

What I really loved about working with Monique was the holistic way in which she approached this ‘project’. While we waited for the DNAlysis results, we had an in-depth consultation about relationships with food, family and friends. We also spoke about lifestyle. She found out which foods I liked and which I didn’t. We did a comprehensive set of blood tests and adjusted my supplement intake. By the time we had the DNAlysis results, we had a sound scientific platform from which to work.

The test showed that my body does not metabolize fat well. So, I went onto a low-fat eating plan. When I received my eating plan from Monique, it was scientifically worked out. There was nothing on it that I didn’t like and so it all felt pretty normal and do-able.

I now knew, that if I put something fat (good or bad) into my mouth, it wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon! I drastically reduced my red meat and chicken intake. I had to learn to use different sources of protein that were lower in fat, and had to make decisions to cut back on foods though they were healthy fats, such as peanut butter, almonds and avocados, and watch portions. No more guesswork: we had an informed strategy. Having the scientific knowledge has really helped me to rationalise making the right choices.

I really recommend working with a dietitian. Healthy living and good nutrition is a science. You need someone with the knowledge and skills to assist you, and it’s a real plus to find someone who is your champion as well.

 Tell us about your results / successes? 

In a relatively short time (8 months) and with what felt like minimal effort I lost 20kg. My waist and hips reduced by 14cm each. I also reduced my insulin by half and reduced my cholesterol count. My energy levels have also increased.

I went to see a biokineticist to get the appropriate exercises to tone and strengthen my muscles. My fitness is the next leg of the journey that I need to work on. Before losing weight, I wouldn’t have been able to complete even half of the exercises, but after the weight loss, I was able to complete all the sets of repetitions, albeit slowly.

When I first picked up the 2 x 2kg weights, I could hardly lift the 4kg. It was a shock to realise that I had been carrying five times that weight all day and every day. No wonder I had no energy!

What was the hardest part of the journey? 

Being a people pleaser, it was often hard for me to say no when being offered well-intentioned albeit wrong food choices. I had to become firm in making decisions to decline food without being apologetic and feeling the need to explain myself to others. Drinking enough water is always a challenge. And of course, who wants to offend a Lindt chocolate on offer?

What are the top three tips you can share?

  1. Be pedantic about portion sizes. Have a good food scale and measuring cups to make sure you stick to your portion sizes. If it’s 80g of chicken, then it’s 80g and not 95 or 100g. Also, split portions to allow for variety and texture. Instead of a full starch portion of mealies, have half mealies and half couscous. This helps to make food interesting with a variety of colour and texture. The minute food becomes boring, you are sabotaging yourself and feel hard done by.
  2. Embrace the new normal. I only told a few people about my weight loss journey while I was in the trenches, those I knew would support me. I did not want people watching me, watching what I was eating and passing judgement. There will always be pessimists and naysayers. Limit your exposure to them. It was a personal journey and I just wanted to get on with it. Sometimes the downside of setting a goal is thinking that when you’ve reached it the journey is over. Embracing the new normal means exactly that. When you’ve reach your goal weight, your healthy lifestyle continues.
  3. Celebrate a range of milestones. It’s not just about the weight. Celebrate reducing your insulin or centimetres lost. I celebrated cleansing my wardrobe and adopting a minimalistic capsule wardrobe approach. It’s not about buying things to reward yourself necessarily. You are making a conscious lifestyle change, so why do you need to be rewarded for that? Celebrate mindshifts and lifestyle choices. They are rewards in themselves.

What the dietitian says 

Monique says: “A key lesson is how Debbie approached this change in her life as a journey and not a destination. Right from the beginning, she chose to embrace the process of change by eating healthier, controlling portions, and making better food choices every day and at every meal, consciously avoiding dieting and the deprivation that it entails. Debbie’s dedication to her health is a great inspiration to other women. I am so proud of you, Debbie!”

To find a registered dietitian in your area, visit the ADSA website!

2 thoughts on “Weight loss – a journey, not a destination

  1. 1.Building Muscles

    When you first time go to the gym and try to take heavyweight your body starts building new nerves to be able to carry this load.

    It starts building nerves from the brain to muscles, from the brain to your foot, and so on to other parts of your body back and abdominal.

    After a week or two, you won’t feel pain because your organs will be supplied by a lot of nerves that augment the ability of your body to carry more heavyweight.

    Then your muscles will start to grow these men, For women won’t grow big muscles due to lack of testosterone hormone which increases the muscles. But her body will be tensioned and tuned No large abdomen.

    There are a lot of misconceptions about fat burning some people say take a fat burning supplement, drink water in the morning and, so on. A fat Burning supplement may increase your burning a little bit but won’t be that much.

    The best thing to burn fat well is to build your muscles which enhances metabolism, prevents bone fracture, and therefore increases fat burning.

    If you build your muscles to burn fat you’ll notice that your overall shape will change to thin but the weight stays the same because you burn fat and build muscles this is one of the best benefits of sports. You will build a thin strong body and, tuned.

    2. Stress
    In your body, you have a gland called the hippocampus which responsible for controlling stress when you do sport this gland will grow and increase in size to release more hormones to control your stress. Sport is important to factor to control your stress.

    3. Improvement of Sleep

    When you go to the gym after your exercise you release a neurotransmitter called GABA which relaxes the muscles and makes you sleep.

    If you have anxiety, stress and, so on just do sport.

    3. Happiness
    The hormone responsible for happiness and mental status is dopamine, serotonin, and, noradrenaline which called hormones of happiness.

    These hormones will be released during exercise after the exercise you will feel happiness and relaxation.

    Sport increases the responsiveness of cells to insulin and, then treatment of diabetes type 2.

    Sport increases testosterone in male and estrogen in female and then decreases stress.

    Also, increases the growth hormone this is the hormone responsible for the growth of your cells and organs if you do sport constantly your cells will grow constantly.

    Affect of sport on the brain
    Sport increases the release of a substance called DNF which enhances your brain growth and improves your memory in thinking and memorizing.

    Now let’s talk about

    Hormones of Thyroid Gland
    The thyroid gland releases thyroid hormones T3 and T4

    The thyroid hormone responsible for metabolism it determines whether your body burns fat or not, Your body healthy or not.

    Any changes in thyroid hormone will result in a negative effect.

    The thyroid hormone may increase or decrease.

    If your thyroid hormone decreased you’ll be calm, feeling tiredness, low blood pressure, sleeping too much and will result in obesity because there is no fat burning.

    If the thyroid hormone increased you’ll be nervous, lack sleep, high blood pressure, and weight loss.


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