Nutrition and Calorie Tips

I don’t have time to track my calories….

I don’t have time to track my calories…. 🍏

People are desperate to lose fat/weight but often say they just don’t have time to track what they eat. Now whilst it’s perfectly possible to lose weight without tracking calories, there’s no denying that accurately tracking them is an extremely effective way to do it. And in addition is gives you an excellent foundation of knowledge for maintaining any results you achieve.

I completely understand that it can be really stressful trying to balance work, social life, childcare or caring for other family members etc and perhaps even more so right now with home schooling/home working, but I am not sure the excuse of “no time” always rings true.

On average, in 2020, people in the UK spent 2hrs and 24 mins a day scrolling social media/messaging etc, 1hr 11 mins watching TV and 1 hr 21 mins online shopping. That’s an average of nearly 5 hrs a day! Now whilst you may claim you don’t spend anywhere close to that amount of time doing those things I bet you spend more than 30 mins on these activities (or similar ones)? Studies have shown that tracking your food; whether it be in an app or physically writing it down, takes no more than 30 mins a day. That includes weighing portions, barcode scanning items that are pre-packaged and then actually entering it into the app/writing it down and adding it up.

You don’t have to devote your life to tracking food, but if you can’t spare a few minutes to think about what’s on your plate before you eat it, you won’t make changes to what you eat and drink to reduce calories. In short – it won’t work. You have to make a change.

If you’re telling yourself you’re too busy or don’t have time to put any attention on your diet, then you’re right – you don’t – but that’s not because you don’t want to, it’s because it’s not enough of a priority right now. Once it becomes a big enough priority you’ll find you do in fact have time. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re too busy to track or that it’s a bigger job than it really is, and maybe reconsider the time you spend on other activities that are perhaps not as important for you?

Enjoy 🤗

xxx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Fasted vs non-fasted Exercise

Fasted vs non-fasted Exercise… 🏃🏼‍♂️

There’s a fair amount of confusion out there about whether you’re better off exercising fasted (on an empty stomach) or after you’ve eaten something (non-fasted) and whether one is better or worse for fat loss.

The confusion arises because people often talk about how exercising on an empty stomach increases fat oxidation. This then gets conflated with fat loss. Fat oxidation is the process of using fat for energy in the body. When you eat something the body secretes insulin to aid in the processing and metabolism of the food for energy and storage. Insulin reduces fat oxidation, so less fat is used for energy. So the argument is that if you haven’t eaten anything yet that day then you won’t have secreted any insulin and therefore fat will be oxidised and used for energy.

Whilst this is true – you will have more fat oxidation, it doesn’t actually mean more fat loss. Fat loss is dependant on overall calories consumed, on average, over the day/week/month etc. Even if you exercise before eating, you still need to have a calorie deficit for that day otherwise any excess calories will still be stored as fat. So It makes NO difference to fat loss whether you choose to eat before or after exercise.

For some people they prefer to exercise on an empty stomach, but for others they need some food in their system to workout. From a workout perspective if you haven’t eaten yet then you may find you fatigue faster and aren’t able to work as hard, so you may end up burning fewer calories. So it’s very much personal preference!

Enjoy 🤗

xxx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

I need to give up sugar… or maybe sugar isn’t the problem?

I need to give up sugar… or maybe sugar isn’t the problem? 🥣

One of the many diet myths I hear a lot is that sugar is bad, and clients will often say they need to give up sugar. Now in reality this usually means they intend to give up things like biscuits, chocolate, cakes, ice cream, doughnuts etc. Very few people are mainling pure sugar! These foods aren’t just “sugar” – they all contain significant amounts of fat too.

As you can see from this comparison – 50g of sugar contains nothing but sugar. It’s 50g of carbs – no fat, no protein etc. All of those carbs are sugar and 100% of the calories it contains are from sugar. The jam doughnut on the other hand contains around 12.4g sugar which accounts for only 17% of the total calories. The majority of the calories come from fat, other carbs and a little protein. The foods that people commonly associate with sugar are a mixture of sugar, fat and salt which make them hyper-palatable. That means they’re designed to taste really good – which encourages you to eat more. Eating 50g of pure sugar in one sitting is actually not a pleasant experience (try it – I dare you lol!) and it isn’t something most people would do. Eating a jam doughnut or 2 though – well thats super easy. To consume the same amount of actual sugar as pure sugar you’d need to eat 4 doughnuts in one go.

So this combo of sugar, fat and salt is what makes doughnuts and other snacks so easy to over eat. That’s not to say doughnuts are bad but they have the potential to derail you from your goals because they’re calorie dense (i.e. more cals in a smaller package) and as I said they taste great so you’re likely to eat more. So it’s not the sugar thats causing this – its the combination of ingredients in these products. So vilifying sugar is pointless and a misunderstanding of where the real issue lies. In fact sugar is actually an important nutrient and the brain’s main fuel source.

In sum, sugar isn’t “bad”, it isn’t causing you to gain fat in itself and you don’t need to give it up. If you have a balanced diet then having the odd “sugary” snack like doughnuts etc is fine – just account for it in your calories.

Enjoy 🤗

xxx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Sometimes the “bad” option isn’t so bad…

Sometimes the “bad” option isn’t so bad… 🌯

So obviously getting a chicken wrap from a takeaway restaurant is always going to be more calories than making one at home and I’m certainly not suggesting a KFC or Nandos are the healthiest meal choices. But fast food is definitely something you can have now and then as part of a balanced diet if you want to.

There seems to be an underlying assumption that compared to somewhere like KFC, Nandos would provide a ‘healthier’ or ‘good’ takeaway option. Certainly their chicken wrap would generally be considered a healthy choice. It’s a grilled chicken breast, in their signature sauce, in a wrap.

In contrast the KFC Flamin’ wrap would probably be considered a ‘bad’ option. It’s deep friend in a batter, and comes with cheese as well! However the reality is it’s actually considerably fewer calories, around 200 fewer in fact! The KFC wrap is 335 cals and the Nandos one is 537 cals. Now I don’t know about you but that surprised me!

Both these restaurants have all their calories on their website so it’s very easy to check before you order. Both are perfectly good lunch or dinner options, but it just does go to show that we need to consider our preconceptions about certain foods and whether the are “bad” or “good” and remember that ultimately it’s the calories that count.

Enjoy 🤗

xxx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Reasons to run… or not…

Reasons to run… or not… 🏃🏼‍♂️

Everybody runs…. don’t they? Well it often seems as though they do!

I often hear clients say they ‘really should start running’. There seems to be a bit of unspoken social pressure to run and enjoy it, and that it’s the ‘best’ exercise you can do, especially during lockdown. I thought it might be handy to remind you of a few reasons why you should run, and perhaps why you shouldn’t?

Reasons you should definitely run; first and foremost, because you enjoy it! If you love running and it’s your thing then that’s brilliant! Enjoy it! If you’re training for a specific event, triathlon, half marathon etc then you should definitely be running – you’re going to need to! It is extremely convenient; you can do it anywhere and don’t need anything but a pair of trainers, and you can tailor it to the length of time you have available. If you’re trying to catch a bus, get somewhere faster or escape zombies then yes please definitely run! 🤣

Reasons not to run though… I’m not going to say running is ‘bad’ for you, it isn’t when done properly, in moderation and combined with other strength based exercises (too much of any one thing can always be ‘bad’!). But just because ‘everybody’ is running doesn’t mean you need to, you really don’t need to feel like you ‘should’ run! There are tonnes of other things you can do to keep fit.

Running to lose weight is another bad reason. It’s food that counts not the exercise you do. You can’t out-exercise diet and if you run regularly you will quickly adapt to it, which is why running to ‘burn more calories’ is a common misconception. You can actually burn more cals overall by being generally active and walking etc. Exercise should be for health and well being, not to justify eating, so running to ‘allow’ you to eat more isn’t a good reason. You don’t need to ‘earn’ foods you enjoy. If you’re injured then it’s a definite no! Pounding the streets when you have an injury is a bad idea, seek physio advice instead. The most important reason not to run is if you don’t enjoy it! Exercise should be fun and if you’re going to stick to it then it needs to be. There are SO many fun ways to exercise – find yours!

If you do decide to run and are new to it then try using something like the couch to 5k app that will build up the running safely and gradually, and consider also including some other forms of exercise as well to keep you fit and injury free!

Enjoy!

🤗

Xx