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Tiny Little Words

Don’t let these little words scare you!

Allow us to help you cope, control and manage their associated health risks.

Written by Dr Arien van der Merwe, medical doctor and author specialising in natural medicine, co-owner of the Weight Control Clinic and Holistic Health Counsellor


Such a tiny little word.  But if you have been fighting this little word all your life, it becomes an ominous monster ready to tear you apart at the seams.  And this little gremlin won’t be satisfied to only tear you limb from limb, oh no – it wants to destroy your relationships, your health, your self-worth and your summer holiday…if you allow it!

I am writing to you, not as a doctor, but as a fellow soldier in the battle against the bulge.

And while everyone will try and inspire you to lose weight to “get your bikini body back” (gmpfff!), I want to approach our shared little monster from a different angle.

Losing weight, especially fat weight, is not only about a better looking body, but more importantly, about managing the health risks that can pose a serious threat to your health and wellbeing! Losing as little as 5% – 10% body fat, have shown phenomenal health benefits much more effective than any medication can ever be.


Strange that all these loaded words are such short, seemingly benign little characters.  Take DIET, for example. 

The word ‘DIET’ brings out the inner rebel in me. I associate it with strict rules and guilt if I don’t stick to them. The strangest thing is that I then start craving all the wrong things when I tell myself I am going on a ‘DIET’. Eating as a lifestyle choice, is different. Eating is not only essential for survival, but is an integral part of our social interaction with others. Food is there to enjoy. Making friends with food and following a tasty, healthy eating plan is key in the battle of the bulge – not another DIET!

Getting your head and especially your mind, around the fat loss journey is the first step.

Losing fat weight is like investing in your future wellbeing and happiness.  Losing weight is just more difficult if you have to go it alone.  The good news is that we are here to be your cheerleading squad to help you on this life-changing journey.  I have intimate knowledge of what it takes to lose weight, especially fat weight, the effort that goes into it, hence our well known program, as well as the Mind Solutions Course I developed to help you thwart those subconscious saboteurs loaded with old emotional eating habits and baggage! 

You can run, but you cannot hide – the yo-yo effect       

A very good friend of mine always says that she keeps on losing weight but somehow it ALWAYS finds her again!  Fat seems to be a very persistent thing.  You can starve yourself like a hunger striker, lose weight, feel fantastic and as soon as you resume your normal life again, Fat comes in without even having the decency to knock.

This yo-yo process trips us up before we even begin our weight loss journey. This, however, does not have to be true for you.  Like any other process, weight loss has to be managed and maintained.  Have you heard about set point*? Not understanding this concept and fact, is the main reason for the yo-yo effect and all the many ‘diets’ you’ve been on over so many years! Yo-yo dieting over a few years, is probably the worst risk to your health and longevity!

*Set point: when you start on a fat loss program, your weight is at a certain point. This is like a set point default program inside your brain of the weight you’ve been at for a while. It will return to this set point weight, if you do not maintain the fat you lost, for a certain period. When you reach your target weight it is important to maintain it for at least 6 months, so that it can become your new set point weight! It then makes it so much easier to maintain the fat you lost.

Lose fat, be healthier!

Losing even a little weight can be especially beneficial for people who store their excess weight around their abdomen (apple shape), rather than their hips (pear shape). Fat stored around the waist and in the liver, is more metabolically active, which makes it a high risk trigger for heart disease, but also easier to lose.

Important medical screening tests for men and women with 5-10kg or more excess fat weight and/or fat accumulation around the waist area (men >102cm, women >88cm) – you might have metabolic syndrome:

  • fasting blood glucose
  • fasting insulin
  • waist circumference (WHR)
  • body fat percentage
  • body mass index (BMI)
  • blood pressure
  • lipid profile incl. total, HDL- and LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides
  • HbA1C to estimate if glucose has been elevated for a longer period.

At the Weight Control Clinic Hermanus (started in Pretoria by Dr William Gauché in 1974), we aim to address your health risks, especially insulin resistance and the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. I refer you for the relevant screening and help you manage the identified risks through our Weight Control Clinic program and my Holistic Health Counselling process. After 3 months, the lowering in your health risk factors can be measured. A short time investment in your health, for long term results: 2-3 months to notice a difference in fat weight, risks, the way you feel and your energy levels! Our healthy, medically supervised, effective fat loss program supports and assists patients who have as little as 5kg of fat to lose, to many kilo’s, safely and effectively. The only proviso: you have to take the self responsibility to do this, by making the mind shift and firm decision to follow the program. For examples of our many successful losers, click on testimonials:

Health risks associated with overweight and obesity

Not everyone who is obese will develop these health challenges. The risk increases if you have a family history of one of those conditions. If your weight is carried mostly around your stomach (apple shape), it may put you at higher risk than if the weight is distributed around your hips and buttocks (pear shape)


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