WELCOME NOTE:

I am very excited about my website; I hope to use this blog page to communicate interesting snippets of information that I come across, and also some of my views on various aspects of health.

Each week I will try to spend a few minutes discussing topical issues that have come to the fore, or that I think are worth sharing. I do hope that you will enjoy it!

- Dr Ali

Golden Slumbers, or Sleep Glorious Sleep!

We all do it, we all need it, some love it, some hate it, but there is no escaping the fact that we all feel better after a good night’s rest.

There are many reasons for insomnia, but most of the time it is due to excessive stimulation during the day, and not allowing ourselves to switch off in time.

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Reducing your carbohydrate intake- made simple!

As we discussed last time, Prof Noakes has opened a can of worms by admitting that he believes that refined sugars, and not fats, are responsible for the epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease that is affecting the westernised world today, and the evidence is that he is correct. The ‘prudent diet’ so long recommended by agencies all over the world, including the American dietary association, has resulted in a calamitous increase in obesity and all its accompanying disorders.

So, what now? The extreme carbohydrate restriction advocated by Prof Noakes is perhaps not for everyone, but we should all be trying to reduce our sugar intake. One person recently suggested that sugar should be regarded as being as dangerous to health as smoking and excess alcohol!

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CHANGING BAD HABITS

We all have a bad habit or 2, and may or may not be aware of them; likewise we may or may not care about the need to change them! Perhaps there is pressure from outside to change, or perhaps you have come to a point where you think it would be a good thing.  Change is not always so easy to achieve, so how do you go about it? James O. Prochaska, a psychologist,  has identified that people who successfully change their behavior go through a series of five stages -and usually cycle through these stages three to four times. (The sixth stage, Termination is at the end of the cycles.) It is important to recognize where you are in the cycle of change, so that you can set appropriate goals and action steps, as each stage requires different strategies. If you set goals that you are not ready for, you set yourself up for failure. Similarly, if you choose goals that you have already mastered, you will delay your progress. But if you match your goals to your stage of change, you will maximize your ability to achieve change . Where do you fit in?


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Made any resolutions this year?

The holiday has come and gone and for most of us its back to the grindstone, plus the bother of a few extra kilos picked up along the way! Perhaps, like many, you have made a New Year resolution to lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more, drink less alcohol, work harder, work less, improve your family life …. or some other noble ideal!  So often those resolutions are forgotten by the end of January, so what went wrong? Let’s have a look at a few ways to motivate yourself, and stay motivated.

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A good start!

In my last blog I talked about what and when to eat when you exercise, but what about the rest of the time? What is a really healthy diet? There are so many confusing opinions out there, but I will outline what you should, and more importantly should NOT be eating and drinking!

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STRESS

Stress is something we all experience from time to time, but some of us cope better than others. Much depends on our background; if part of our life is calm, then we are better able to cope with a storm elsewhere. If there are storms all around it will be like living in a tempest! The source of the stress may be psychological, but can also be physical. Even a minor operation or illness can also take its toll if another part of our life is in turmoil.

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Carbohydrates; what is the hype about?

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I am sure that many of you are aware that carbohydrates have been in the news recently. Our own Professor of Sports medicine at UCT, Prof Tim Noakes, had an ‘epiphany’ after reading Gary Taubes’s books and experimenting on himself, that carbohydrate, and not fat is the cause of today’s health problems such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. So what are his ideas based on? Is he realistic?

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Giving Up!

After discussing how to motivate yourself I thought I’d use the example of giving up smoking. Smoking is highly addictive, and most people I meet in my practice say that they want to stop, but don’t know how to start. This does not of course apply only to smoking, but to any bad habit that you find difficulty in quitting!

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Holiday time

Help! Its holiday time, and you are surrounded by food! Everyone is offering cakes, pastries and all sorts of tempting but unhealthy delicacies, what to do?

Don’t panic! There are numerous ways that you can stay in control, and the first way is to decide that you can and you will!

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Eating on the run. Should you or shouldn’t you?

Now that you have started your exercise plan, you need to learn how to get the most benefit from it. What should you eat, if anything, beforehand? What and when should you eat afterwards? Does it matter? The answer is yes, it does make a difference, hence this newsletter!

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