One morning 2 months ago, I grabbed a pair of old jeans which I wear during the winter months when I am working in the garden and got a shock. I pulled the jeans up and it got stuck on the upper leg area where I struggled and had to pull in my stomach and squeeze my bum muscles to get the jeans right up. AND then I could not breath – honestly I thought my body organs would burst if I breathed in.

I have never been small or thin but all my life I have been fairly constant in my weight. I got on the scale and was in disbelief. Momentarily I thought the scale was faulty. I had picked up 8kg since last December.

I think I know how I picked up the weight, after my operation I took 4 months off and did not do any physical work and then every day I took an energy bar to work, not realizing that energy bars contain a massive amount of oil.

I did sense that perhaps my clothes were shrinking but did not realize the extent of the problem. It was winter and I was wearing loose fitting wooly clothes.

Ok, I knew this would affect my heart and without delay my diet started immediately. No excuses, no postponement. I had my goal: getting myself back into those old jeans.

I took a tape measure and measured my waist.  This is another way of checking that you are losing weight/cm and is a great way to inspire yourself to carry on with a diet.

The last time I did any exercises was several decades ago when I was at school. I decided that a few exercises would make this whole process work a bit faster. A colleague at work was telling us she lost 500g a day by exercising on a stationary exercise bike. I headed off to buy myself one only to discover that it came in 30 pieces which needed to be assembled. The price was too much for something that I had to build. I scrapped that idea and decided to Google warming up exercises and I started there. Simple movements to start off with,  after a week I was able to see a difference. All the time spent in front of the computer had not done me any favours, my limbs had become unfit and stiff.

The Diet

Firstly I cut my sugar intake by more than half, when I decided on this I said to myself “You are being too ambitious, you have a sweet tooth and will not be able to do it.” The first day was weird, coffee tasted different. By the second day my taste buds had already adjusted and I was fine with the cut in my sugar intake.

I stopped eating bread and allowed myself two slices of bread a week. This is hard! If you think that I starved myself you are wrong I ate a lot of food.

See my diet below as a guideline, I eat red meat almost every night because I am anemic but you can tweak the diet to suit your diet requirements and what is available in your country. My diet is also dairy free.


1 cup cereal with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and raisins, a little low fat powdered milk

1 mug coffee with half the amount of sugar your normally take (sugar can be reduced as you progress)


Packed lunch

Don’t buy anything while at work!

Make a sandwich with one slice of whole-wheat brown bread and any non fattening filling. Peanut butter is very good for you (but don’t have it every day), remember to steer clear of processed foods. Aim for natural foods.

The first month I took ten Bakers VitaSnacks (made with rice) with me to work each day to snack on so that my stomach could adjust gradually to the smaller amount of bread I was eating.

Pack a leafy green salad, tomatoes and green pepper (no dressing, light sprinkle of salt). Provita or healthy low fat crackers eaten with the salad will make you feel full and satisfied.

Remember if you starve yourself during the day you will lose control when you eat dinner.

Take 1 banana to work every day. Ignore those who say it contains fat. Your body breaks down natural fat faster than processed fat you get in takeaways. Bananas give lots of energy and fills your stomach, the benefits make it an essential part of your diet.

Create a power pack for snacking on which takes away the hunger pangs and provides energy without spoiling your diet. Place the following ingredients into a sandwich bag:

  • ·         6 pieces of dried fruit of your choice eg. apples, apricots, pears, prunes or peaches. Cut into bite size pieces.
  • ·         A sprinkle of pumpkin seeds (most important ingredient)
  • ·         A sprinkle of dried cranberries or raisins
  • ·         3 Provita/crackers (optional)


available at Checker Hyper (Padkos)



Take a plate slightly smaller than your usual plate to control your portions. Eat anything you like for dinner provided that it does not have a large amount of added sugar and is low fat.


The moment you feel like something sweet or snacking after dinner grab a huge apple, sweet naartjie or a bunch of grapes. Any fruit is allowed.


While searching on the internet for help regarding my diet I came upon a site explaining that the time you drink water is very important.

As soon as you get up in the morning drink a glass of water. Don’t gulp it down. This boosts your organs and encourages oxygen flow in your body.

Before meals drink another glass of water, it helps prevent constipation and also makes you feel full sooner and prevents you from eating too much.

A squirt of lemon juice or a slice of lemon helps peel away the kilos.


Never binge. If you feel very hungry eat two apples they do not affect your weight.