Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Just a coffee and a snack vs ruining your diet …

Just a coffee and a snack vs ruining your diet … ☕️

Perception is everything! Many of us would probably have a coffee and a snack without giving it a huge amount of thought. When choosing a snack we may also go for the ‘healthy’ option of banana bread too right? Yet if you’d just eaten a cornetto, packet of crisps and a creme egg wolfed you might be feeling guilty, like you’d over done it and blown your ‘diet’.

Well to be honest neither is an ideal snack; they’re both rather a lot of calories and probably more than most can afford as a daily snack. However, as you can see, the coffee (a semi-skimmed large latte) and banana bread is considerably more calories than the other snacks. They also contain significantly more fat and almost as much sugar. Yes there’s more protein in the coffee option (mostly from the latte) so that may keep you fuller for longer but even so. So whilst you might be beating yourself up over the crisps, chocolate and ice cream, in reality it’s not as bad as the coffee and banana bread.

It’s all about perception – the coffee and banana bread are not only viewed as being an acceptable snack, there is also a positive perception around the banana bread as it. Whereas the other snacks are universally recognised as “junk” food.

Knowledge is power so being aware of the calorie content of things, and also of our own perceptions of the things we consume is always a good thing.

If you want the latte and banana bread, have it and enjoy it. If you want to eat your way through a creme egg, crisps and a cornetto then go for it. Just be aware of the calories so you’re making an educated choice!



Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Seasonal snacks….

Seasonal snacks…. 🐣

It’s nearly Easter – probably my favourite celebration – because I do love a chocolate egg! It’s also a symbol of new beginnings and spring. There’s loads of lovely seasonal foods around now, many of which make great snacks. A delicious seasonal snack could be some lovely fresh baby carrots (or other spring veg) with 70g humous. It’s full of nutrients – vitamin A and fibre from the carrots, good fats and protein from the humous etc and a reasonable number of cals for a snack. But you could also have an equally seasonal snack – of a creme egg (or your egg of choice!). Obviously this has a different nutritional profile – with more sugar, but fewer calories and less fat.

Both are perfectly good snacks. It doesn’t always have to be about the nutritional value of the food you’re eating. Food serves a purpose beyond pure fuel – it’s also an emotional activity. We enjoy eating and we enjoy food, and we enjoy the associations we make with food. So you could choose to snack on veg and humous. It will undoubtedly taste delicious and keep you satisfied until your next meal. Or, you may decide you’d rather enjoy a creme egg to snack on instead! Both are fine, within the context of a balanced diet overall. And as you can see from the comparison – if calories are what’s important to you – the creme egg is marginally lower anyway! lol!

So if you fancy the odd chocolate egg over the Easter period then go for it!

Happy Easter! 🐣


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Reasons you think you can’t lose weight…

Reasons you think you can’t lose weight.. 🤔

We are all used to reading or hearing about reasons why we can’t lose weight/ fat. Commonly people will blame the fact that they’re eating too many carbs, or that they need to cut out sugar. Sometimes the blame is laid at fat in the diet and that’s what supposedly needs to be cut out. Perhaps it’s those ‘toxins’ in your diet?

As well as food groups we like to blame things like our hormones (particularly towards and after the menopause), or perhaps it’s the fault of a slow metabolism or lack of exercise? You’ll also hear people blaming the fact that they eat too late at night.. or even that they don’t eat enough (and are therefore storing fat).

The reality is the only reason you aren’t losing weight is because you’re eating a calorie surplus. It is physiologically impossible to gain weight without a calorie surplus so if you’re putting fat on then I’m afraid you are eating more than you need.

Now that’s not to say these things don’t have an impact. Whilst individual food groups don’t inherently cause you to gain or not lose weight, some foods will affect your ability to stick to you calories. It is far easier to overeat if you’re having lots of fat and carb heavy foods – by which I mean things like cakes, biscuits, pizza etc etc. Despite what people tell you we don’t need to detox to lose weight – our kidneys and livers do that just fine! The only thing we consume regularly which is a genuine toxin is alcohol but even that is fine if you’re accounting for the calories.

Hormones and your natural resting metabolic rate (and how it changes as you age) will have an impact too. They affect the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight – so all that means is you have to adjust your goal down a bit to lose. The time of day you eat has zero impact except in terms of your own behaviour and likelihood to over or under eat. And no, you definitely aren’t eating too little – if you were you’d be losing weight!

No matter what the underlying cause, a calorie surplus is always the reason for lack of weight loss.



Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Reasons to lose weight… and why I talk about calories so much…

Reasons to lose weight… and why I talk about calories so much… 🍔

Many of my posts talk about calories, tracking and fat loss , so you could be forgiven for thinking that my main goal for myself and clients is weight or fat loss. It’s true that for a large proportion of my

Clients fat loss is a goal, but it’s not everyone’s goal. I have clients for whom building strength, increasing fitness, improving mental health and well being etc are their goals.

Knowledge is power and whatever your goal is it is important to be aware of the caloric values in various foods. For many that could involve tracking calories , as it’s almost always the most successful method of long term, sustainable fat loss. But the beauty of tracking is that you don’t have to do it forever because by the very act of tracking you become aware of the calories in foods and can then adjust your diet, should you want to. And that’s what it comes down to. Do you WANT to lose weight/fat? If the answer is yes then the knowledge of calorie content will help that.

However, it’s worth considering what your reasons are for wanting to losing fat. If it’s because someone’s told you to, or commented on your body shape, or because you think you need to because ‘everyone’ is a size X then consider whether they’re really important enough reasons? If losing weight becomes so all consuming that you can’t possibly maintain the weight without being super restrictive with your food, or cutting food groups, if you’re irritable and miserable all the time, if you’re skipping social events, if you’re female and your periods have stopped, then maybe, just maybe losing more isn’t such a good idea?

Medical conditions aside, at the end of the day, YOU need to weigh up the pros and cons. Does the pursuit of weight loss outweigh the pleasure you get from food? Does being a size X make you happy enough to overcome the necessary restrictions in calories?

How can you do any of this without knowledge of calories? So please remember that, whilst my posts often focus on calories, knowledge is the main goal of these posts – not a never ending pursuit of fat loss at all costs.



Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Carbs are bad… so I can’t have Pizza…. 🍕

There is a common misconception that carbs are inherently ‘bad’ and that in order to lose weight you need to cut them out or avoid them completely. I often hear people complain that they feel really bloated after eating things like pasta/pizza etc “due to all the carbs”.

Pizza is definitely placed firmly in the “carb” camp, but In reality that large pizza that you consider to be carbtastic is actually mostly fat and protein (from the toppings). The reason you may feel bloated isn’t necessarily the base, but the combination of rich, fatty cheese, with other toppings and the sheer quantity of food. As you can see 38% percent of the 1,144 calories from this pizza come from carbs, whilst the remaining 61 percent are from fat and protein (with a small % from other nutrients). So actually it’s mostly fat and protein, not carbs, and let’s be honest, you wouldn’t eat that quantity of naked pizza dough without any toppings right? So perhaps it’s time to stop demonising the carbs?

In reality there is no reason at all to cut carbs (or pizza) from your diet. You can lose weight with or without carbs of any sort; it’s all about calories. Now obviously some people have medical reasons to avoid things like gluten in some carb-based foods (coeliacs etc) but for the majority of people these foods are fine. The reason you may see less bloating and more weight loss when cutting these sorts of carbs is simply because you’re reducing your overall calorie intake and reducing consumption of that rich combo of fat and protein. However unless you never want to eat carbs again then you’re not really setting yourself up for sustainable, long term weight management.

Different carbs do have different pros and cons; complex carbs will keep you fuller longer, whilst simple carbs (fruits mostly) will provide a faster hit of energy, you’ll get different nutrients from the different types too. It’s important to have a balanced diet, including a range of carbs – from pizza to fruit! Cutting out whole food groups is never a sensible or sustainable approach though.

Eat the carbs you like and enjoy and just be mindful of the calories! 🤗