Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Are all calories created equal?

Tuesday Tip: Are all calories created equal? 🤔

You may hear that calories from certain foods are ‘better’ for weight loss than others. But is this really the case?

Food is made up of macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates and fats and the energy is contained in the chemical bonds of their molecules. When the bonds are broken, energy is released – measured in calories. We commonly call them calories but they’re actually kilogram calories (kcals- the amount of energy required to heat 1kg water up by 1 degree).

So are all calories equal? Well yes, in theory they are. In absolute terms a calorie is a calorie; it’s a unit of measurement, just like a kg of soil is the same as a kg of feathers.

In reality it’s more complex. All foods contain calories but those foods may be metabolised (digested and absorbed) in different ways e.g. the metabolic pathway for protein is less efficient than carbs and fat. Protein contains 4 calories (kcal) per gram but a large portion of the protein calories are lost as heat when it is metabolized (up to 30%).

Different foods also have different effects on the gut-brain axis meaning differing results on appetite and satiety. The desire to eat (appetite) can change depending on the composition of a meal/food. Protein-rich foods reduce appetite more effectively which may reduce overall intake of food.

Some foods affect satiety (feelings of fullness) more than others. This in turn has an impact on how many calories are consumed. Foods high in protein and fat make you feel fuller for example.

Large amounts of refined carbohydrates can lead to greater spikes in blood sugar which can lead to cravings and increased food intake and reduced feelings of fullness. So you’re likely to overeat.

So whilst all calories are the same, the foods containing calories are very different and this can have an impact when trying to lose weight. This doesn’t mean certain foods are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for weight loss – they just may affect your ability to stick to a calorie deficit in different ways so it’s worth being aware of how they impact you.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: It isn’t failure

Tuesday Tip: It isn’t failure 😖

How often do you start on a new weight loss ‘diet’ only to give up because you have a bad meal/day/weekend and think you’ve failed? Is it really failure though? Or could it be reframed?

Lots of things we do are hard to start with – learning a new hobby, learning a musical instrument, starting a new job, learning to drive a car, and so is making changes to your food and lifestyle. And just like you might make mistakes when learning to play the piano etc then you’re quite likely to make mistakes in your nutrition too.

Some people are more likely to be prone to perfectionism then others and may find mistakes harder to manage. When it comes to weight loss years of following diet fads where there are strict ‘rules’ about what you can eat can make you fear these mistakes even more.

Accept that mistakes are a normal part of life and learning. The next time you make a mistake, instead of labelling yourself a failure, ask yourself what you can learn from it instead? Why did you make that mistake? Do you need more support? Were there specific barriers/issues/situations that you need help overcoming? Does the approach you’re taking at the moment need tweaking? Are your goals as important to you as you thought they were? Was it a specific situation that triggered it and how can you change that next time? Etc

Instead of labelling yourself or your ‘diet’ a failure when you make a mistake, ask yourself what you can learn from it, and you’ll be better equipped the next time you face a similar situation.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Don’t go too low

Tuesday Tip: Don’t go too low 📉

It’s tempting when you start trying to lose weight to panic and cut calories drastically – because surely a bigger deficit means quicker results right? To a degree yes but…. It never really works and this is why.

Our bodies are designed and have evolved to essentially make losing weight and fat hard. Fat loss goes entirely against our main drive to survive so conserving energy and maximising fat storage is a good evolutionary strategy. If energy consumption (calories) are reduced drastically the body will adjust processes to ‘fit’ the calories you consume. Now this doesn’t mean you can put on weight if you eat too little – that’s just a myth. What it does mean though is that the body compensates for a lower energy intake by reducing energy expenditure.

It does this in two ways. Firstly it reduces NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), – these are the subconscious incidental movements and processes in your body e.g. your heart rate may slow, body temperature may change, and hormones such as leptin, T3 and T4 adjust to reduce energy expenditure. As a result your BMR may decrease.

In addition you will subconsciously move or fidget less than you usually would. So you may find you don’t stand up or tap your feet etc as much, you may be less inclined to take the stairs and take the lift instead, you may find you drive instead of walking places as much, you might not get up to go get things you’ve left in other rooms (e.g. not going upstairs to get the hoodie you want to wear and grabbing whatever is handy downstairs instead), not getting up to get a glass of water if you’re thirsty, feeling generally low motivation to exercise/walk etc. You probably won’t even notice you’re doing any of this.

So as you’ll be expending fewer calories the deficit you think you have becomes smaller. In addition you’ll feel low, hungry, tired and tend to obsess over food. This means the tendency to binge/overeat either when you have a ‘cheat’ day or when the diet ends is high. This is why you often find any weight you’ve lost will come back quite quickly.

So rather than heading straight in to an aggressive 800-1000 calories a day diet (for the umpteenth time in the past few years) try aiming for a higher number of calories with a smaller deficit. A smaller deficit allows you to thrive and stick to the newly acquired habits you need to stick to, consistently, to move towards your goals. Work more on delayed gratification. Something that takes longer but feels easier is far more likely to work out the way you want it to.

If this resonates but overwhelms you at the same time, that is also completely normal. We are designed to want instant gratification and results so it’s ok if it feels counterintuitive to start with. But trust me, stick with it and you’ll reap the benefits – play the long game!

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Booze 101

Tuesday Tip: Booze 101 🍸

Many people are trying ‘dry January’ at the moment or considering cutting back. I never tell clients to give up booze, life would be miserable without that if it’s one of your go to ‘treats’ – I do however suggest it could be one way to ‘easily’ cut calories by reducing the amount they consume. Mainly because it’s a discreet, easily identifiable thing to reduce, but also because alcohol can affect weight loss in other ways.

Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram (vs 4 cals for carbs and protein,and 9 for fat). More alcohol means more calories. So alcohol by volume, or ABV, is a good guide for how calorific your drink is relative to others. Drinks that are sweeter will also generally pack more calories (and remember mixers too!).

Unlike food, alcohol contains little to no nutritional value. Alcohol calories don’t fill you up like food calories do, or provide many micronutrients. This isn’t an issue in a balanced diet but just worth remembering when prioritising what you choose to consume.

Alcohol calories are processed differently too. Alcohol is a toxin so the cals are used immediately to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to detoxify it. This detoxification is a labour intensive process so the liver ‘shuts down’ and stops processing fat, carbohydrates and protein because it needs to deal with alcohol. Hence why you get the munchies, because the detoxification of alcohol inhibits gluconeogensis (breaking down of our internal food stores). So not only does alcohol inhibit fat burning it also encourages over eating. The lack of inhibitions associated with alcohol also make it more likely you’ll ‘stuff the diet’ and eat more than you intended; so it’s a triple whammy!

In addition many alcoholic drinks aren’t labelled with calories and they can vary widely so it’s almost always an estimate e.g a can of beer ranges from 100 – 320 cals. If you’re consuming a lot it could impact on whether you manage to maintain a calorie deficit.

Tips to help:

– Alternate drinks with water.

– Use small glasses to make it easier to keep track.

– Swap to spirits with low or zero cal mixers or a dry white wine/ rose etc

– Eat first to keep hunger at bay and make you less likely to overeat later.

– download the ‘Try Dry’ the dry January app if you’re a fan of tracking – it gives you the cals and money saved etc

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: A few home truths

Tuesday Tip: A few home truths 🏠

A few things you might need to read this January.

#1 Absolutely any food or drink can fit into your diet – if you control the amounts you eat.

#2 There are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods – stop moralising food itself. It’s all about quantity – anything in excess is bad.

#3 Weight loss and health are not the same thing. Your health is a result of lots of factors over time. You can eat for health and you can eat for weight loss, or you can do both! Your health expands beyond what you eat though so take a holistic approach.

#4 Exercise is for physical and mental well being – not to burn calories / lose weight. Separate the two.

#5 Fat loss happens when you’re consistently in a calorie deficit over time – not days, not weeks but months. How you achieve that calorie deficit is up to you but if you want it to be something you can sustain long term then the best approach is to include all the stuff you enjoy eating, just in smaller quantities.

#6 Beware of following ‘meal plans’ to

lose weight without changing your habits and behaviours to help you maintain that loss long term.

#7 You don’t need to be starving to be losing fat but you do need to expect some

hunger if you’re genuinely eating at a calorie deficit. You can help by prioritising high volume foods and including plenty of fibre rich foods, proteins and fats to keep you full. However don’t cut out the carbs as you need them for energy.

#8 If you want to be successful long term then don’t focus on calorie and exercise targets, you need to change your mindset too. Be kind to yourself and try to stop the the all or nothing mentality

#9 Before you rush to follow the advice of some fitness/nutrition guru ask yourself what do they have to gain? Are they selling a book? Are they marketing supplements? Are they touting for online clients? So before you jump on another diet fad stop and consider who actually benefits from it. The basic information you need to lose weight is simply a calorie deficit. Eat less. If you’re not losing weight you’re not in a deficit. Simple. Whether that’s because your target is incorrect, or your calculations of what you’re eating are incorrect, or whether a medical condition is impacting your calorie requirements.. the basic principal remains. No weight loss means no calorie deficit.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx