The lovely Dr. Catherine Lindeggar gave us some of her precious time in between International Flights to chat to us! We talked nutrition, health, fitness, travel and more! Here is what Kate had to say.

Doctor Kate enjoying the snow on her break on board a cruise ship.

Doctors’ Orders!

Kate is a Health Practitioner by trade, so we thought it most appropriate to start there! What do you think is the recipe for being the healthiest you, you can be?

“I would say balance. There is nothing that is inherently bad or good, so long as it is in moderation. Although ‘health’ technically just refers to a state where one isn’t ill, what we are really striving for is well-being. This doesn’t just apply to physical well-being, but also mental and spiritual well-being!

When striving for all round health, it’s actually completely okay to indulge oneself (be it with food, socially, or even with money) from time to time, but if this is done in excess that’s where the problems start. Similarly, it’s also okay to live a life of discipline, dedicated fitness and frugality, but remember all work and no play makes Kate a dull girl. Everything in moderation, including moderation!

An Apple a Day…

Nutrition is a hot topic in South Africa. More and more consumers are being educated about the importance of eating a healthy and balanced diet. However, with all this access to information we have in the digital age, it can be difficult to weed out the nonsense from the truth… What, in your mind, does a “healthy and balanced diet” look like?

“So much of what you should put on your plate comes down to individual preference and specific health targets. I can agree that there are so many fads and unnecessary products out there, and most of the time people are just trying to make a quick buck out of vulnerable consumers. Be dubious, especially of what you see on social media!

Moderation and sustainability! There is no point committing to any diet or exercise plan that isn’t sustainable and which could potentially leave you feeling disillusioned, and like you shouldn’t even bother with trying to make such changes again. For example, I see ‘banting’ as a complete waste of time purely based on sustainability factors. Similarly, any diet where ones caloric goals are set unrealistically low is going to make you feel hungry and deflated when you can’t adhere to the plan.

When it comes to making changes in your body composition (ie losing weight or gaining muscle), or even lowering blood pressure / cholesterol, you need to realize it will take time. Small, long term changes, which are sustainable are superior to anything which promises quick results. It sounds clichéd, but if you try to see it as a sustainable lifestyle change, instead of a crash diet, you’re likely to feel more physically and mentally balance and nourished, which is ultimately the goal.”

Practicing Medicine is rated as one of the most stressful and emotionally draining careers in the world. How to you cope with the pressures of the job?

Exercise and keeping active generally (be it a walk, hike or a swim in the ocean, not necessarily a full on gym session) definitely helps counteract the mental and emotional strain of health care, and shifts the focus of caring for others to caring for myself. I find that the break which physical activity gives from the cognitive aspects of medicine to be highly therapeutic, and it’s almost meditative to be able to focus on my body and it’s movements in a particular moment in time, as opposed to being caught up in thoughts and decision making.”

Let’s get Physical!

You are no stranger to fitness and pushing the limits of what your body can do. Tell us about your experience in South East Asia practicing Yoga, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding and surfing. How did these experiences impact your overall health?

“I have been very fortunate to be able to spend several months (in divided segments over the last 4 years) travelling Indonesia, Sri Lanka and many other parts of SE Asia, dedicating time to augmenting my mental and physical being. I chose these countries partly due to their natural beauty (and availability of surfable waves!), and partly due to the fact that I knew the Eastern philosophies within these countries would foster my mental well being more than elsewhere.

Yoga and surfing were not only good for my body, but massively for my mind, and are both extremely meditative activities, which I highly recommend to anyone. South Africa is actually a wonderful spot for both of these, and so no travelling is needed. Some of my most wonderful waves and yoga sessions have been around South Africa! I also have become quite involved in “F45” in several countries, which massively improved my fitness and was not only fun, but I met many great people and discovered why and how people say exercise is addictive!

It definitely isn’t necessary to do something as dramatic as quitting your job and going to Bali to find peace and balance, it really is just about prioritizing yourself, and this can be done in far more moderate ways, like creating time to exercise, planning a weekend away or even just saying “no” to unrealistic demands more regularly.”

Cruising Through Life

Tell us about your time spent working as a doctor on cruise ships. How did you maintain your sanity out at sea for such long stretches at a time? How do you maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime living and working in that environment?

“Being on a cruise ship isn’t in fact that different to land life, in that a cruise ship is like a small, floating city! Exercise was absolutely fundamental to combatting cabin fever, and I used the on-board gyms almost every day as a way to clear my head and move my body.

I actually got into the best shape of my life at sea. To be fair, I had a cushy job, great on-board privileges, and had the time and facilities to maintain my fitness, and I know this isn’t the reality for every crew member on a ship.

Food was more of a challenge – I’m a girl who likes food, and having access to unlimited free food 24/7 meant that I had to commit to the ‘moderation’ principal, which I spoke of earlier. I certainly did indulge on certain days, but also some days had to ‘rein it in’! I would often tell myself  “the pudding trolley will still be there tomorrow, and the next day and EVERYDAY, Kate, so you don’t have to panic and have a pudding today”.”

Does she #SMAAKIT ???

Tell us about your thoughts on Tiago’s and whether you think it fits into a healthy and balanced diet compared to other fast food options out there…

“As mentioned previously, in moderation, no food is overtly bad for you, but the issue with certain types of fast food is that consumers don’t often realize how calorically loaded the meals are, which becomes problematic.

For example, if you are aware that a McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (Sorry to target you, Ronald), is 1120 kcal (more than half of a females estimated daily caloric allowance), and you then eat accordingly for the rest of the week (ie. see that as a once off guilt free treat, but limit calories on other days), that is absolutely fine! But if one isn’t informed, and eats this frequently without trying to compensate in other meals, then it’s a recipe for obesity.

What is wonderful about Tiago’s is the extra effort taken to make the food choices more nutritious and less calorically dense (while still incredibly tasty). Simple measures like grilling food is massively calorie saving, and just means these meals can be enjoyed without as much compensation or overthought needed!

The best part is they still taste great, so really can be enjoyed without leaving you feeling deprived. I applaud you, Tiago’s, for making the concerted effort to combine nourishment and enjoyment, that’s what a balanced diet is all about.”

A Bit About Kate

Kate was raised in Pietermaritzburg, KZN. She moved to Durban, after matriculating from Epworth College, to pursue a Degree in Medicine.

She graduated from the Nelson Mandela Medical School and went on to complete her Internship and Community Service in a tiny town just south of the Mozambique Boarder.

Kate’s love of adventure then led her to the Cruise Ships where she worked as an on-board Doctor for several years. In-between contracts you could find her travelling the world in pursuit of beautiful places and life experiences that often revolved around her love for exercise.

Kate met her partner aboard a cruise ship and is currently in the process of immigrating to the UK to begin yet another new adventure with him, this time for love, the greatest adventure of all!

We #SmaakIt

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