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Teri Leigh Bovell-Dieffenthaller

Accepting the health challenge for Carnival 2013 and beyond

By By Nicole S Farrell

The Carnival season has rolled around again and there are those who have adopted the 'headless chicken syndrome' in an effort to lose many pounds by Carnival Monday, if not before — again.

Coming off of the Christmas season where every possible fatty, high cholesterol comfort treat was eaten, causing maybe a ten-pound weight gain, one may have gone from being nonchalant about poor eating habits to being aware of what enters one's mouth.

Teri Leigh Bovell-Dieffenthaller, a young woman of many professional hats, is the spokesperson for the local health challenge that is headed by Nestle. She has always maintained 'her truth' with regard to her everyday life and is one who has been guilty of "falling off the wagon" of proper eating habits. However, she has re-acquainted herself with the right lifestyle through the Nestle health and fitness 14-day challenge but she has taken it well beyond that period of time.

Embracing strength in truth, she disclosed, "You know, after getting married last year and going on the honeymoon, I would eat pastries and pizza and all that. I 'fell off' so bad. I really got into a comfortable state and really put on some pounds!

"This time around it was a little easier getting back into that healthy mode though. I was more mentally prepared although it was a bit challenging at times because my body was adjusting. The good thing with the fitness cereals is that you are eating more frequently but it is about eating properly. So you have breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner and so on. After getting back on the programme I began to feel better. I didn't feel so sluggish anymore. Hearing compliments from people too was proof that it was working."

Trying to control her laughter as she continued, she said, "Don't get me wrong; I am not saying that it is all easy! At times your body will be like 'What is your body doing?!' There were days when I wanted to say 'Away with that, yes!' I am not lying!

"I realise that it is more mental than physical. Around October or November of last year, I was at a get-together and strangely enough, I realised that a habit had formed. I looked at my plate and I hardly had any major stuff. I would usually take two scoops of potato salad and all that but I only took one scoop. I was very impressed with myself!" she exclaimed. "I realised that I started to feel full after only eating a little food. We can train our bodies."

Bovell-Dieffenthaller wanted people to appreciate the fact that everyone's body is different and everyone loses weight differently. "Everyone has their own ballpark. Don't judge yourself by how another person is losing weight. Don't focus on other people's standards or someone's progress. We can't be too hard on ourselves. Some people might lose weight in two days, some two months. It's how your body reacts.

"What you should remember too, is be aware of your activities. If you are doing strenuous stuff, you need to put back into your body what you took out."

"You will still have your cravings, trust me. I have a system. I might pass an ice cream place and feel for some but I'll say, no, maybe not today, maybe tomorrow and then I'll just have one scoop whenever I do have some. You see, it's not about tormenting yourself."

Shaunelle Mieres, a nutritionist attached to Nestle, has been accompanying Bovell-Dieffenthaller to various venues throughout the country. Said Mieres, "This year, we want to reinforce the nutritional benefits. We help consumers to see where they are in terms of weight and what goals they should set. We don't believe in a quick fix or fad diets. People tell you about losing 20 pounds in one month. That's very unsafe. The maximum weight to lose per week is two pounds. That's healthy and realistically speaking, it sounds easy. Your body takes 14 days to form a habit."

"Of course, we suggest that you exercise but we recommend only 30 minutes for the first two weeks and then you can increase as time goes on. Drink a lot of water and cut out sodas, fried foods and things with high sugar content. Include vegetables in your meals. Don't 'super-size'. Drink a glass of water before a meal so you'll feel fuller quicker. "It's simple things to put into practice."

Mieres had a warning. "You know how Trinis like our bellies? They like a big, deep bowl. Please don't use a big bowl of the cereal; there's a serving size that we recommend. Eat one piece of chicken instead of three. We have menus on the cereal boxes to guide people as to what is healthy. It's food that we're accustomed to so you can still enjoy what you're eating."

The range of Nestle fitness cereals consists of those with regular whole grain, a honey and almond combination and dried fruit. There is also a variety of skimmed milk options.

Their range of cereals also extends to children, with healthier but tasty treats for the young ones. "We want to ask parents to encourage their children to eat properly too. Cater to the entire family. Be a role model."

Bovell-Dieffenthaller's advice is to lose weight in a healthy manner while still enjoying some of your favourite foods.

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