In the previous article, we discussed the need to prepare for conception and we started to talk about the nutrition and how to determine your BMI. Hopefully by now you have calculated your BMI and know whether you are overweight, underweight or have normal weight. If you are overweight or underweight, do not be alarmed. There are a few steps you can take to improve on your weight. But please remember that you should not go any crash diet or stuff yourself with fatty and sugary foods.

If you are overweight, make these few changes to your diet and lifestyle:

– Remove or reduce the sugary foods in your meals and snacks

– Do not skip breakfast because it sends you into a hunger spiral through the day. A healthy breakfast stabilizes your sugar and energy levels for a good part of the day.

– If possible, grill instead of frying your foods. Alternately boil instead of frying. Did you know that if you boil chicken or beef on low heat, you will only need to add very little water? This is because the meat has already lots of water. The end result is reliably 'fried' meat cooked in the meat's own oil and water. No need to fry your meat with any extra oils for that fried taste.

– Reduce your usual food portions little by little. Nothing too drastic otherwise it will not be a sustainable habit. So instead of 3 slices of yam, for example, have two.

– Chew your food properly and eat slowly. It takes the brain about 10 to 15 minutes to register that your stomach is full so you might find that you eat more than you need when you eat quickly since your brain still tells you that you are hungry.

– Try to add a little more exercise to your daily routine; again nothing too grand otherwise you may want to give up after a few days. Is it possible to walk up the stairs at your office instead of the escalator, or sometimes get off one stop before your final bus stop and walk the rest?

If you are underweight, make a few changes to your life as follows:

– Increase your food portions slowly. So again, if you will normally eat 2 slices of yam, go for 3 slices until you get used to eating more food at a sitting.

– Switch to full fat products such as full fat yoghurt and milk. These are usually healthy food options.

– You do not have to over-indulge in sugary or fatty snack even though the occasional snack will not hurt.

– If you exercise a lot, see if you can reduce your exercise style instead of stopping your exercise. Exercise is still very good for you when done in moderation. So for instance, instead of jogging, you could jog less and walk more.

– Try to make sure you take out some time to relax and unwind. For many people, a very busy lifestyle usually leads to high metabolism and weight loss. For instance, aim for about 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night and weekly recreational activity where you are not actively working mentally or physically.

These tips to lose and put on weight may sound simple but when you do them consistently, you'll see a gradual increase or reduction in weight which is healthier and and more sustainable than crash diets.

In addition, some people might need to undergo a detox program. This is usually the case if you have any of the following symptoms:

– Indigestion

– Bloating

– Bad breath

– Diarrhoea

– Flatulence

These symptoms may indicate a digestive problem. In some cases, a detox program can be useful every 6 months to make sure that your body gets rid of toxins & waste is operating on an optimal level. A detox program involves eating certain foods such as vegetables, seeds, nuts and avoiding others such as sugar, red meat and biscuits.

If you think you might be pregnant, you should not go on a detox program and if you have any medical conditions eg diabetes, discuss it with your doctor first. The first few days of a detox program, may leave you weak, and with some aches. This is normal and would only last a few days.