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Bunjira's weight loss tips

FORMER Warriors and CAPS United forward Alois Bunjira has found home in health and fitness.

FORMER Warriors and CAPS United forward Alois Bunjira has found home in health and fitness.

Being a fitness fanatic and personal trainer, the ex Caps United star recently launched a marathon in his homeland in Manicaland dubbed the NetOne Honde Valley Marathon that opened its doors last November. Over and above that, Bunjira has also ventured into charity walks with a view of supporting talented, but disadvantaged children who would have passed 'O’ Level and struggle to raise fees for 'A’ Level.

The first recipient of this noble cause is Nokutenda Zinyama, a fine gentleman who passed with 9 'O’ Level subjects (1A, 4Bs and 4Cs) who has been enrolled at Liebenberg High School. Zinyama, a paternal orphan was unable to proceed to 'A’ Level because his mother could not afford the fees, instead, he had to do menial jobs as an assistant builder commonly known as ‘dhaka boy’ to raise funds for his schooling.

Thanks to the March 2, Albun Fitness Club’s Charity Walk from Harare  city centre to Westgate Mall that was ably supported by corporates, individuals, and fitness fanatics alike, Zinyama’s tuition, exam fees, uniforms and books are all paid up. He is working towards his dream of becoming an engineer and is studying mathematics, physics, and geography.

This week Bunjira gives vital tips on weight loss.

Intermittent fasting (IF)- (IF) is a pattern of eating that involves regular short-term fasts and consuming meals within a shorter period during the day. Short-term intermittent fasting up to 26 weeks in duration is as effective for weight loss as following a daily low-calorie diet. The most common intermittent fasting methods include the following:

Alternate day fasting (ADF):

Fast every other day and eat a typical diet on non-fasting days. The modified version involves eating just 25–30% of the body’s energy needs on fasting days.

The 5:2 Diet: Fast on two out of every seven days. On fasting days eat 500–600 calories.

The 16/8 method: Fast for 16 hours and eat only during an eight-hour window. For most people, the eight-hour window would be around noon to 8 p.m. Eating during a restricted period results in consuming fewer calories and losing weight. It is best to adopt healthy eating on non-fasting days and to avoid overeating.

lTracking your diet and exercise

If you want to lose weight, you should be aware of what you eat and drink each day. One way to do this is to log these items in either a journal or an online food tracker. Tracking diet and exercise may be helpful for weight loss because it promotes behavior changes and increases motivation. Consistent tracking of physical activity also helps with weight loss. You need to take stock of your physical activity so that you know where and when to increase or decrease when need be.

l Eating mindfully

Mindful eating is a practice where you pay attention to how and where you eat food. This practice can enable you to enjoy the food you eat and may help to promote weight loss. As most people lead busy lives, they often tend to eat quickly on the run, in the car, working at their desks, and watching TV. As a result, many people are barely aware of the food they are eating.

Techniques for mindful eating include:

  1. i) Sitting down to eat, preferably at a table: Pay attention to the food and enjoy the experience.
  2. ii) Avoiding distractions while eating: Do not turn on the TV, or a laptop or phone.
  3. iv) Eating slowly: Take time to chew and savor the food. This technique helps with weight loss, as it gives your brain enough time to recognise the signals that you are full, which can help to prevent over-eating.
  4. v) Making considered food choices: Choose foods that are full of nourishing nutrients and those that will satisfy for hours rather than minutes.

l Eating protein with meals:

Protein can regulate appetite hormones to help people feel full. This is mostly due to a decrease in the hunger hormone ghrelin and a rise in the satiety hormones peptide YY, GLP-1, and cholecystokinin. The hormonal effects of eating a high protein breakfast can last for several hours. Good choices for a high protein breakfast include eggs, oats, nut and seed butters, quinoa porridge, sardines, and chia seed pudding.

l Cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates

The Western and modern diet is increasingly high in added sugars, which has definite links to obesity, even when the sugar occurs in beverages rather than food. Refined grains undergo processing to remove the bran and the germ, which contain most of the grain’s fiber and nutrients. These include white rice, white bread, and regular pasta. These foods are quick to digest, and they convert to glucose rapidly. Excess glucose enters the blood and provokes the hormone insulin, which promotes fat storage in the adipose tissue. This contributes to weight gain. The consumption of more refined grains is linked with weight gain. Whole grains are more likely to reduce hunger and increase fullness, which could lead to decreases in calorie intake. Where possible, you should swap highly processed and sugary foods for more nutritionally dense options. Good food swaps include, whole-grain rice, bread, and pasta instead of the white versions fruit, nuts, and seeds instead of high sugar snacks herb teas and fruit-infused water instead of high sugar sodas

smoothies with water or milk instead of fruit juice.

l Eating plenty of fiber:

Dietary fibre describes plant-based carbohydrates that are impossible to digest in the small intestine, unlike sugar and starch. Including plenty of fiber in the diet can increase the feeling of fullness, potentially leading to weight loss.

Fiber-rich foods include:

whole-grain breakfast cereals, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread, oats, barley, and rye fruit and vegetables like peas, beans, and pulses nut and seeds.

l Balancing gut bacteria

The human gut hosts a vast number and variety of microorganisms, including around 39 trillion bacteria. Bacteria in the gut plays a role on weight management.

Every individual has different types and amounts of bacteria in their gut. Some types may increase the amount of energy the person extracts from food, leading to fat deposition and weight gain. Some foods can increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, including a wide variety of plants. Increasing the number of fruits, vegetables, and grains in the diet will result in an increased fiber uptake and a more diverse set of gut bacteria. You should try to ensure that vegetables and other plant-based foods comprise 75 percent of your meal. Fermented foods including sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, and miso, contain potentially probiotic microorganisms. Limited evidence suggests Kimchi may have anti-obesity effects. Similarly, studies have shown that kefir may help to promote weight loss in overweight women.

Prebiotic foods stimulate the growth and activity of some of the good bacteria that aid weight control. Prebiotic fiber occurs in many fruits and vegetables, especially chicory root, artichoke, onion, garlic, asparagus, leeks, banana, and avocado. It is also in grains, such as oats and barley.

l Getting a good

Getting fewer than five to six hours of sleep per night is associated with an increased incidence of obesity. There are several reasons behind this. Insufficient or poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat. In addition, poor sleep can promote insulin resistance and increase levels of cortisol, which also promote fat storage. How long someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain.

l Managing your stress levels:

Stress triggers the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which initially decrease the appetite as part of the body’s fight or flight response. However, when people are under constant stress, cortisol can remain in the bloodstream for longer, which will increase their appetite and potentially lead to them eating more or binging on food. Cortisol signals the need to replenish the body’s nutritional stores from the preferred source of fuel, carbohydrate. Insulin then transports the sugar from carbohydrates from the blood to the muscles and brain. If the individual does not use this sugar in fight or flight, the body will store it as fat. Insulin allows sugar from the blood to enter the body’s cells, where it can provide energy. If an individual does not immediately use this sugar, the body will either store it as glycogen, the storage form of glucose, or fat. Implementing an eight-week stress-management intervention program alongside a low-calorie diet may result in a significant reduction in the body mass index (BMI).

Some methods of managing stress include Yoga, meditation, tai chi, breathing and relaxation techniques, spending some time outdoors, for example walking or gardening.


l Exercise regularly. You should find or formulate an exercise regime. Running, walking, aerobics, and agility workouts, all promote weight loss. Do not forget to drink loads of water daily. A glass of warm lemon water every morning is key. Even better if you add a teaspoon of honey.

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