Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Just a walk…

Just a walk… 🚶🏼‍♀️

I shared this back in the summer but as this second lockdown progresses I’ve noticed a lot of my clients are beating themselves up over not doing “enough exercise”. In many cases they’ve been trying to work from home again, and run the household etc. Some days they’re managing to fit in a workout, others they’re not and they’re feeling guilty about it, and worrying about the loss of those activity calories they “should” be burning.

During this time one thing most people are can manage is to walk more, making the most of the allowed outdoor exercise. This is often not viewed as something which contributes to those activity calories, but it’s actually doing more good.

It’s natural to associate cardio workouts with burning loads of calories; you feel sweaty and breathless so you feel like you’re working hard. A 45 min HIIT for example is very tough and regardless how hard you’re working you’re going to be feeling it. However, it may be hard to motivate yourself to commit to a 45 min session at home when there are so many other things shouting for your attention (children (literally!), work, house chores etc). In contrast an hour’s walk doesn’t feel particularly strenuous, it may be something you do anyway to walk the dog, get the shopping or get out the house for bit, and it in fact burns more calories than the workouts.

I did this experiment on myself back in the summer so the numbers will vary according to your age, height, weight and fitness levels but the principal is the same (independent studies show this too). A one hour walk a day will burn significantly more calories than a 45 min HIIT workout. So if you’re not managing a workout every day – don’t stress, especially if you’re managing to go for a walk. In addition 7 days of HIIT workouts is actually NOT a good idea – studies have shown these workouts impact negatively on sleep if you’re doing too many a week. Obviously there are cardiovascular and health benefits to the HIIT workouts which are equally as important as calories burnt so don’t ditch them completely but my point is that you shouldn’t feel guilty if all you manage is a walk on some days.

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Healthy alternative.. or what you actually wanted?

Healthy alternative.. or what you actually wanted? 🍫 🥜

When trying to lose weight people will often go out of their way to force themselves to choose a “healthy” alternative. If you really fancy a snickers bar you may think you’re better off choosing chocolate covered peanuts instead (nuts are healthy right)? There are nutritional differences between the two options – the chocolate peanuts have higher protein and lower sugar levels, but also higher fat and overall calories.

Both these snacks contain relatively high levels of sugar and significant amounts of fat. The peanuts may have more “good” fats but when it comes down to it the source of that fat makes very little difference to how your body processes it – especially in the context of this example. Both taste good, but if you are really craving a snickers and instead force yourself to have the chocolate peanuts you’re taking in more calories. Now that’s fine if that’s where it ends, but often that craving will still be there. Also the peanuts come in a larger bag so you may not stop at the 50g portion, and end up with the whole bag which is 578 calories! The snickers on the other hand may also give you an emotional boost, as well as an energy one.

So if you’re choosing the chocolate nuts in an effort to lose weight, then think again. If you’re choosing them because you like them then brilliant – keep having them. If you fancy a snickers then have it!

There are no good or bad foods – all foods can be accommodated within a balanced diet. Being aware of the calories in different foods empowers you to make that choice.

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Protein drink vs “just a” drink….

Protein drink vs “just a” drink…. 🥛

There are lots of brands out that that are using the marketing power of “protein” to sell their products. The unspoken idea is that protein = better or healthier etc. The reasoning behind this is the fact that increased protein can help with improved satiety (feelings of fullness) so CAN help to prevent overeating. Also those working out may want to focus on protein to help with muscle building. For most people a balanced diet will contain enough protein so you don’t need to go out of your way to take in extra protein unless you’re a bodybuilder or professional athlete. However you may still wish to focus on higher protein foods and snacks to help keep you feeling full.

So you may well see this protein fruit drink and think it’s a good option. However, it isn’t actually particularly high in protein, with only 2.2g per 100ml and it also has a significant amount of sugar (9.4g).

In contrast the strawberry milk probably wouldn’t be perceived as “healthy” nor a high protein drink. Yet the strawberry milk contains more protein (3.6g) for very similar calories, and contains less sugar. In addition the strawberry milk is over 3 times cheaper!

Neither are particularly “healthy” and neither would be classed as high protein. In terms of weight loss both will probably do the same basic job – they are very similar calorie wise and that’s what matters most. So don’t be swayed by the “protein” label – actually check the nutritional info and then choose the drink you want!

Enjoy

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Weekdays vs Weekends

Weekdays vs Weekends 😇

This is an extremely common pattern I see in my clients, and myself. Weekdays are often “ok” calorie wise or even good, and then weekends it goes a bit off track.

You may think that if you stick to your fat-loss calorie target for most of the time (5 days a week) that it’s ok to just relax at the weekend. Now sometimes this can work, but it rather depends how much you relax lol! In this example I’ve assumed a daily calorie goal of 1,800 cals for fat loss, or 12,600 calories per week. So Monday to Friday you hit those calories, or perhaps are even a little under (8,555 cals during the week in this example). Then on Saturday and Sunday you “relax” and have a few “treats”, because it’s the weekend right? You’ve been good all week so it’s fine… In this example I’ve included two weekend breakfasts, a pizza one night, a couple of glasses of wine, some crisps in front of a movie, sunday evening ice cream and chocolate etc. That’s 5,241 calories and doesn’t even include a full weekend of eating and drinking (especially if you start on Friday evening.. or even Thursday). Just those treats on top of the weekday calories take you to 13,796 calories for the week. So you’re already over by nearly 1,200 cals.

That extra 1,200 cals (or more) is why you won’t be losing fat. It’s very easy for that to happen. The things I’ve described for weekend treats aren’t crazy or particularly over indulgent. I’m sure we’ve all had weekends like that right? Now I’m definitely not suggesting you don’t enjoy some of these foods from time to time, but if you really want to lose fat then its worth getting away from the idea of weekends being focused on food and drink “treats”. Have the things you enjoy but in moderation and within your overall weekly calorie target.

Ways to do this include, reducing your weekday calories a little to give you a buffer for the weekend (be cautious with this though as if you take them too low you will find you tend to binge at the weekend which is counter productive so only aim to save 100-150 cals per day max). Also try going for smaller options of the weekend treats, a small bar of chocolate, a single portion bag of crisps, low cal ice cream etc. Pick one meal you want to let your hair down with rather than the entire weekend and keep tracking over the weekend so you can see where the extra cals are creeping in.

OR decide that life’s too short and you don’t want to restrict your calories over the weekend but then accept that you won’t be able to lose fat (which is absolutely fine too! You don’t need to lose fat – no one does).

🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Unhealthy or Healthy Mashed potato?

Unhealthy or Healthy Mashed potato? … 🥔 🍠

I often have clients telling me they’re having mashed potato, but it’s sweet potato, so that’s ok. The common perception is that white potatoes are “unhealthy” and a bad choice, whilst sweet potatoes are inherently healthier and therefore a good choice to go for.

Sweet potatoes are good – they have a lower glycaemix index than white potatoes (though it’s not actually ‘low’) which means it has a lesser impact on blood sugar levels. It’s also a great source of vitamin A, C, B6 and Potassium and also fibre.

In contrast white potatoes have a higher glycaemic index, slightly less fibre and less vitamin A but are also good sources of Vitamin C and B6. But they aren’t unhealthy.

Despite the higher glycaemic index it’s not the individual foods that matter in that context but rather the glycaemic index of the whole meal so it will depend what you’re eating with the potatoes. Combined with other low GI foods, protein and fats the overall GI of the meal will be lowered.

In addition, as you can see, when made with exactly the same recipe the mashed sweet potatoes actually contain more calories, carbs and fat than white potatoes. So from a fat/weight loss perspective – when it comes down to calories you’d be marginally better off having white potatoes.

So if you’ve been tucking in to sweet potatoes thinking they’re better for weight loss then perhaps think again. In reality the difference is pretty small, and the calorie impact is fairly similar.If you prefer the taste then definitely go for the sweet potatoes – just have the potatoes you actually enjoy!

🤗

Xx