Cape Community Newspapers editor Chantel Erfort Manuel shed 33 kilos in just over a year.
At the beginning of last year, I decided it was time to get into shape. While every weight-loss and fitness journey is a personal one, and everyone has different strategies that work for them, I’m sharing my top five strategies in the hope that they, or variations of them, will help you get and stay on track.

* Get into the right head-space: I have tried - and failed - to lose weight many times, so many people have asked me how I managed to get it right this time. The only answer I have is this: I simply got into the right head-space.

To do this, consider carefully why you want to lose weight, how you plan to do it, what help you’ll need and how you’ll sustain it.

The push I needed was seeing a friend who looked absolutely amazing after losing a huge amount of weight and taking up running. When I decided to start my weight-loss journey, I spoke to her, arming myself with information.

* Create an enabling environment: When hubby and I decided the Paleo lifestyle worked for us, we also decided to truly commit to our new lifestyle; we would clear our cupboards of anything not Paleo-friendly. This meant saying goodbye to sunflower oil, chickpeas, legumes, crackers, peanuts, cheese, milk, cake flour and our wide variety of sauces - including mayonnaise (ouch!). The Paleo diet excludes all grains, sugar, legumes and dairy. I know it sounds a bit extreme but the situation was extreme. I was 40kg overweight.

I must also emphasise how much it helped to have my husband commit to the same lifestyle I was following. It also got us back into the kitchen, not only eating meals together, but also spending time cooking and baking together and taking control of what we were putting into our bodies.

But, of course, we do not spend all our time at home and had to find a way to ensure we stayed on track even when we were at parties or having meals with family. We always cook a Paleo-friendly meal and dessert to take along. This way there’s always something for us to eat, without imposing on our hosts, or making them feel uncomfortable by declining everything offered to us.

* My three bags: Before bed I ensure my three bags are packed: my work bag, my gym bag and my food bag. I don’t literally pack my food bag the night before. But I do ensure my meals for the next day are prepared and packed in the fridge so I can pop them in my bag before heading to work.

* Meal prep: While it’s always more enjoyable to eat freshly prepared meals, sometimes this isn’t possible. There is nothing worse than getting home after a long day at the office and still having to cook.

I also prep meals so I can pack in lunches for work and not be tempted to pop out for a takeaway at lunchtime.

* Keep it simple: When I switched to the Paleo diet, my key strategy for success was to keep it simple, particularly while I was becoming accustomed to the lifestyle and getting comfortable with having excluded so many food groups from my diet.

What this means is that I didn’t immediately launch into baking Paleo-friendly treats or desserts or making Paleo variations of dishes which traditionally contain sugar, dairy, legumes or grains.

In the beginning, my meals were simple combinations of a protein source, lots of fresh veggies and salads. I also made sure at least twice a week I ate fish instead of red or white meat. I planned so I didn’t have red meat with more than one meal on any given day.

These are some of the strategies that worked for me, and I hope they help you too.

* To read the full version of this article, and for more on health, wellness and Paleo, go to www.editedeating.co.za or follow @editedeating on social media

Weekend Argus