Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Most common weight loss mistakes …

Most common weight loss mistakes … 😝

These are the most common mistakes I see with clients trying to lose weight.

# Cutting out favourite foods/food groups

Being over restrictive and cutting out favorite foods/ food groups is unnecessary and means it won’t be enjoyable. You’re setting yourself up for failure and it won’t be sustainable long term.

# Looking for a quick fix.

There are no quick fixes. You didn’t put weight in overnight so you can’t expect to lose it that fast either. Think long term lifestyle as opposed to short term fix.

# Jumping from diet to diet

It’s not about the next fad diet – it won’t be sustainable long term. Just stick to a modest and consistent calorie deficit.

# Too little protein/fat

You don’t need to go overboard on protein or fat, and calories are definitely the most important but protein and fat can help satiety (feeling full) so can prevent snacking and overeating and help recovery.

# Going cardio crazy.

Punishing yourself with hours of exercise won’t help. It will exhaust you and make you hungry. Just include exercise you actually enjoy, ideally a range of resistance training and cardio, and keep generally active.

# Eating back exercise calories.

I’ve written in detail about this but essentially we always overestimate what we burn and our bodies adapt to exercise (as do smart watches – up to 93 percent over!) so eating back exercise calories will usually mean you’re over eating.

#Assuming healthy foods are low calorie

I often hear people proudly telling me they’ve swapped their unhealthy snacks for nuts instead, not realising they’ve actually doubled their calorie intake. It’s easy to carried away with ‘healthy’ but calorie dense foods like nuts, nut butters, avocados etc.

# Estimating calorie intake

Estimating calories generally results in getting it wrong. Studies show that most people grossly underestimate their caloric consumption (even qualified nutritionists and dieticians). Best approach – weigh portions and track accurately. Assume you’re not good at estimating and weigh things rather than assuming you’re always right.



Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Skinny’ chocolate spread vs Nutella

‘Skinny’ chocolate spread vs Nutella 🍫

This is another great example of how manufacturers have tapped into the weight loss industry to market their products. The natural assumption is that the skinny chocolate hazelnut spread is going to be a lower calorie option and perhaps a ‘healthier’ choice.

In reality there is actually very little difference. The skinny spread is marginally lower in calories at 23.2 cals per 5g compared to 26.7 cals for Nutella. Their fat content is also very similar. The only difference is in sugar content. It’s also worth noting that the skinny spread displays a 5g serving size (who has a 5g serving?!)- whereas the Nutella displays a 15g serving size so if you were to do a quick comparison you may not spot that that and that makes the Nutella look far worse! The skinny spread is also considerably more expensive than Nutella.

So in reality, unless you’ve been medically advised to reduce sugar intake, then you’re better off just going with the spread you enjoy and saving your pennies! Don’t automatically assume these weight loss branded foods are always the better option.

Read the labels and look at the calories and then make your choice. If you’re trying to lose weight then go for the lowest calorie option, that you actually want to eat!


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Most commonly under-reported food and drink items when tracking…

Most commonly under-reported food and drink items when tracking… 🍷

If you’re trying to lose fat and are working on reducing calories then you’re probably going to be recording your cals somehow. But are you really recording everything accurately? It’s very easy to overlook some things because they seem so insignificant or to under estimate certain things.

In studies the most commonly under-reported foods and drinks include things like spreads, sauces, dips, gravy, salad dressings etc. All those little extras in meals seem pretty insignificant and so people often either don’t record them at all or they’ll estimate them and usually those estimates are too low. For example a scraping of mayonnaise on your lunchtime sandwich may not seem much but if you have it 3 times a week that’s still at least 300 cals, and the gravy on your Sunday roast is probably another 200 cals, whilst a drizzle of salad dressing 3 times a week is another 540 cals. That’s already an extra 1000 cals that you may not have bothered to record or have under-reported. Oil for cooking is another key area that people underestimate – a slug of oil when you cook is at least 120 cals – but most people use more than that and estimate far less.

Liquid calories are something people often ignore or underestimate e.g. the dashes of milk in teas and coffees, soft drinks, juices and alcohol. These are easily overlooked or under estimated and can really add up across a week. The little nibbles – bites, licks, tastes, extra spoonfuls or foods or snacks are rarely tracked and of course can really add up (an extra spoonful of granola (40-50 cals), a lick of peanut butter (30 cals), a bite of the kid’s muffin (60 cals) etc etc).

A sensible calorie deficit for fat loss is around 200 – 300 cals per day. With this little lot you’ve wiped out your weekly deficit without even noticing. All these little extras sneak in without really affecting how full we feel and without us noticing but they can really add up. So whilst I wouldn’t want people to become overly obsessed with tracking the minutiae, at the same time if you’re not seeing progress then perhaps it’s worth just going back to basics and paying attention to some of these areas to see if you’re underestimating or overlooking them.



Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Healthy vs unhealthy starter?

Healthy vs unhealthy starter? 🥟

If you’re trying to watch your calories or lose weight then restaurant meals can be tricky (although considerably easier now larger restaurants have calories on their menus). We often have a number of preconceived ideas about which the ‘healthier’ option is and equate that with lower calorie. In reality sometimes things aren’t quite as you’d expect.

A great example of this is the classic Wagamama starter or side of edamame beans with chilli garlic salt. These yummy little beans are a popular dish and definitely a healthy choice as they’re full of nutrients. I think most people would order them thinking they were the best option calorie wise, and probably not even really think about tracking the cals (because they’re just veg right?). You’d probably munch on these without even thinking about it before you had your main starter and meal. Or you may even avoid another starter or side you actually prefer to choose these instead in the belief they’d be lower calorie.

However that’s not actually the case. It would be natural to assume that the pulled pork gyoza starter was a ‘worse’ choice in terms of calories. In reality that dish is actually lower calorie and fat than the edamame beans. The difference isn’t huge but it is there nonetheless. It also shows that those beans are a significant addition to the overall calories of the meal. So they are definitely worth counting and not something to have as an extra unless you actually want them!

Enjoy 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Weekday restriction = weekend overeating

Weekday restriction = weekend overeating🍕

This is an extremely common pattern I see – being overly restrictive during the week and then overeating at the weekends. It’s tempting to go for lower calories during the week so you can ‘relax’ at the weekend. There’s nothing wrong with this and it is a strategy I employ with some clients, so sometimes this CAN work, but it rather depends how much you restrict and relax!

For example, let’s say you have a cal goal of 1800 cals. So Monday to Thursday you go extra low and only eat 1500 cals. By Friday you’re feeling deprived and craving the foods you’ve avoided, and then Saturday and Sunday you totally “relax” and have a few “treats”, because it’s the weekend right? You’ve been good all week so it’s fine… Things like two weekend breakfasts, a pizza, a few glasses of wine, some crisps, Sunday evening ice cream and chocolate etc are easily well over 1500 extra calories and take you to 14,750 calories for the week

That makes a daily average of 2100 cals and is why you won’t be losing fat. These sort of weekend ‘treats’ aren’t crazy or particularly over indulgent. I’m sure we’ve all had weekends like that right? But if you’re overly restrictive during the week you’ll find it even harder to restrain yourself over the weekend.

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 restricting during the week and ‘relaxing’ at the weekends. Have the things you enjoy but in moderation and within your overall weekly calorie target – all week.

Choose a sensible calorie goal that you can include some treats in and stick to it every day – being overly restrictive during the week rarely works and almost always results in over eating at the weekends.

If you do have events or meals out to plan for at the weekends you can still reduce your weekday calories a little to give you a buffer for the weekend but 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.