Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Being ‘good’ and having the weight watchers digestive biscuit instead of the ‘bad’ normal version…

Being ‘good’ and having the weight watchers digestive biscuit instead of the ‘bad’ normal version…🍪

Most people would assume that the weight watchers (or other weight loss brand foods) are automatically a more virtuous choice of biscuit. Whilst tucking in to a couple of normal chocolate digestives would be considered ‘bad’. In reality they’re almost the same in terms of overall calories per 100g and have similar sugar levels. The main difference is the price and the actual serving size itself. The weight watcher’s biscuits are much smaller – so you get less calories per biscuit BUT it’s so noticeable that you’re likely to end up having more biscuits to compensate. So it’s just a way to trick you in to thinking they’re better. The other major difference is price – over twice the price for the weight watchers biscuits!

So if you really love a chocolate digestive you’re probably better off getting the real ones, enjoying one or two, within your calories and feeling like you’ve had what you actually want. If you actually like the weight watchers ones then obviously go for it, but don’t automatically assume these weight loss branded foods are always the better option. Sometimes they’re the same or worse than other brands. If you enjoy them then definitely have them, but if you’re only having them because you think they’re ‘good’ then think again.

Read the labels and look at the calories and then make your choice.

No foods are good or bad, enjoy the ones you actually want to eat, and just be aware of the calories! 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Snack Triggers

Tuesday Tip: Snack triggers 🍪

Snacking can be a real issue when trying to lose fat. Being aware of the triggers can help to keep it in check.

# 1. Social Media

A recent study showed that socialising online with friends (via Facebook, Instagram etc) causes more snacking. It temporarily raises your self esteem, which lowers your self control, leading to increased snacking afterwards.

# 2 The News

Another study showed a link between watching/reading ‘bad’ news and high calorie snacking. The survey found that contemplating economic hardship and being subconsciously primed with messages to ‘live for today’ makes us seek out higher calorie foods.

# 3 Environment

The environment can trigger food cravings. A study showed that moviegoers would eat the same quantity of popcorn regardless of whether it was fresh or very stale, simply because they were ‘at the cinema’. In the same way sofa time after dinner can trigger snacking on chocolate or crisps etc.

# 4 3.23pm

3.23pm is the most likely time we are to snack, usually due to boredom, stress, and a dip in energy levels. To combat this have a balanced lunch (with protein and fats), plan in a healthy snack and save more enjoyable tasks for after lunch if you can.

# 5 Stress

Lower levels of serotonin when stressed also lead to carb cravings. Salt inhibits the body’s responses to stress. Craving salty food is the body’s way to cope with stress, so a salty, carby snack can help.

# 6 Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep reduces your self control and willpower, and stimulates production of the hunger hormone ghrelin and lowers leptin levels (the satiety hormone). Studies found that those who are sleep-deprived eat 300 more calories per day.

# 7 Red 

The colours red, yellow and orange are appetite stimulants, making you snack and eat more. Research shows that eating in a blue room reduced calorie consumption by 33 %. So try going for bluer hued lighting, blue crockery etc.

Being aware of the possible triggers can help you to not only recognise why you’re snacking more than you want to, but make changes to prevent it.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Just a banana…’

‘Just a banana…’ 🍌

Bananas make a fab snack option or addition to your breakfast or lunch. They’re full of carbs for energy and a reasonable amount of fibre and are a great source of potassium. They’re also easily portable and have their own in build packaging so are handy for when you’re on the go.

However, if you are trying to lose fat/weight and watching those cals then it’s worth just being aware that bananas can pack a punch when it comes to calories and they also vary wildly. If you’re using a calorie tracking app you’ll often find entries like ‘one small banana’ or ‘one medium banana’ with the associated calories. You’d probably just enter that and assume you were pretty much right. But how small is small? What exactly is ‘medium’? Small to me may be medium to someone else and the calorie differences are pretty large!

The difference between these two bananas is nearly 100g and both are sold as ‘bananas’ – not small or large. So if you were regularly snacking on the larger one you’d be taking in almost 80 extra calories every time. That may not sound like much but over the course of a week or month that will add up. I’m not suggesting you stop having bananas – they’re fab! But just have a go at weighing the next banana you have and see exactly how many calories it does contain.

Knowledge is power right? And if you’re trying to lower that bodyfat then every calorie counts! The more aware you are of what goes in to your mouth the better!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Is a calorie just a calorie?

Tuesday Tip: Is a calorie just a calorie? 🍫

This is a very common argument when talking about calories, calorie deficits and which foods you use to meet your daily calorie goal. Often people will say ‘ah yes but a calorie isn’t just a calorie, some calories are better than others’. People will claim 100 calories of nuts isn’t the same as 100 calories of chocolate for example…

So is that true? Are some calories different?

Well technically – no – a calorie really is just a calorie. A calorie is simply a unit of measurement – it measures energy. So yes, 100 calories of nuts are exactly the same as 100 calories of chocolate in terms of the energy they provide.

However, food is not just food and the composition of those calories is where differences can arise. Different foods do have different metabolic effects. Some foods are easier and quicker to digest, some require more energy to digest (e.g this is the thermic effect of food – but don’t get too excited – the difference is pretty small so unlikely to make a massive difference to calories burned etc).

Different foods also have different effects on satiety (how full they make you feel). The nuts for example are more likely to leave you feeling fuller as they’re higher in fat and protein than the chocolate. Foods that take longer to eat will also affect fullness levels.

Also don’t forget that foods have different emotional and psychological effects too. Humans are very much driven by emotions and whilst nuts may theoretically leave you fuller there will be times when no amount of nuts will stop you wanting that chocolate bar. In those cases you’re far better off going for the chocolate bar!

Ultimately it’s about balancing all of these things in a way that lets you stick to your calorie goals. So sometimes that will mean going for the more filling option of nuts and sometimes it will mean going for the chocolate you actually want, but being aware that you may feel more hungry later and being prepared for that.

So yes, a calorie is in fact just a calorie, but food is not just food!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: How to Get a Flat Stomach

Tuesday Tip: How to Get a Flat Stomach 🙌🏼

Everyone wants a flat stomach or visible abs right? Social media is full of pics of 6 packs selling miracle supplements, teas, exercise programs, or ‘waist’ trainers which can supposedly make you lose belly fat. But sadly there’s no quick fix – if you want a flat stomach it’s going to take more than some magic tea or a load of ab exercises.

First off; everyone has abs – the muscles may be tiny or weak but that 6 pack is there. They’re just hidden under a layer of fat for most people.

Fat does NOT turn into muscle; they are two different things. You could have strong abs, but if they are buried under fat no amount of exercise will give you a flat stomach or a 6 pack, because it doesn’t address the fat on top of your muscles.

A flat stomach only appears when you have a low enough bodyfat percentage.

But ab exercises and magic teas are a lot more exciting to market than ‘eat less, move more’ … so it’s not surprising there are so many products out there making these claims.

So if you’re punishing yourself with endless sit ups every day – stop – it’s not going to give you a flat stomach. You can’t target or spot reduce fat from anywhere. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work those muscles, it’s important to work the ab muscles to protect your back etc.

So how can you lose belly fat? Everyone loses fat from certain parts of their body in different orders depending on age, weight, sex, genetics etc. You can’t control where it goes from first. Women will tend to hold more fat in their belly, hips and thighs, whilst men tend to store more in the belly and butt. You may not lose it from those areas first; it may go from your arms or legs etc.

All you can do is aim to lose bodyfat generally and once you lose enough of it you will see it go from everywhere eventually! The only way to do this is to consume fewer calories than you currently are. So track your calories, find out how many you’re currently eating and then reduce it! And stick with it for weeks or months (not just 5 days!). If you’re at a calorie deficit you will lose fat and at some point that fat will come off your belly too!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

How weight loss actually works….

How weight loss actually works….

Most people measure their fat loss progress by stepping on the scales. The scale can create an all or nothing mentality and can impact not only your happiness but your behaviour. If the scales don’t go down when you’ve been ‘good’ then what’s the point? You may as well throw the towel in and enjoy that cake!

But scale weight isn’t a great measure of progress, mainly because it can’t differentiate between muscle, fat, water or anything else. It just measures the relationship your body mass has with gravity. Sometimes body composition can change without any weight change, e.g. if you gain additional muscle, lose bodyfat and improve hydration you could see minimal weight change. Fat and muscle weigh the same but 1kg of fat is approx 4 times larger than 1kg of muscle, meaning you could very well be smaller and heavier.

Your weight also fluctuates wildly every day. Between morning and afternoon your weight can fluctuate up to 6kg depending on what you eat and drink, and how you exercise. If you drink 2-3 litres of water a day that’s up to 3kg. Then how much do you pee, sweat and breathe out over the day? It’s impossible to measure. Our bodies are mainly water so changes in hydration cause significant weight fluctuations.

In addition a bowel full of food, fibrous or salty meals, and hormonal changes can all influence weight and cause greater daily fluctuations so real change can be hidden. For example, I weighed myself Saturday night, then first thing Sunday and again at 1pm – there was 2kg increase overnight, but a 3 kg loss during Sunday morning! I obviously didn’t put on 2kg overnight or lose 3kg of fat in 6 hours. Depending when I weighed could massively impact how I felt about myself and my progress.

We’re conditioned to focus on weight but instead try to use other measures e.g. items of clothing and how they fit, or cm measurements etc. If you really can’t help stepping on the scales then look at averages over time rather than individual daily variations and focus on trends the long term. 🤗 xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Easy Calorie Cuts

Tuesday Tip: Easy Calorie Cuts ✂️

When you’re trying to lose weight it’s all about being in a calorie deficit so finding ways to cut calories easily without leaving you hungry is key. Here are a few easy cuts that you’ll barely notice.

# 1 Non-stick Pan

Cooking with oils can adds 100s of calories to a meal without contributing much to the taste. So invest a a good non-stick pan and some light 1 cal oil sprays and you can cut those cals without even noticing.

# 2 Skip the condiments

Often we don’t even consider the calories in sauces and dressings. Avoid these sneaky calories by skipping them or going for smaller amounts, or swapping for a lower cal version. Things like balsamic vinegar, mustard and salsa are great options that are lower calorie but pack a punch.

# 3 Reduce liquid calories

We often forget the calories we drink but they can really add up e.g. milk in coffees/teas, soft drinks, smoothies, and booze. Try swapping milky coffees for Americanos, teas for herbal tea, soft drinks for diet versions, and lower calorie alcoholic drinks (e.g. slimline gin and tonic instead of beer)

# 4 Fill up

Opt for more filling foods whenever possible whilst still being mindful of calories. Foods higher in fibre and protein will keep you fuller for longer (but do check the cals). A recent study found foods such as potatoes, fish, oats, apples and oranges, wholewheat pasta, beef, beans, grapes, popcorn and wholemeal bread kept participants fuller for longer so consider including these in your meals.

# 5 Alternatives

Find alternatives for the foods you like that taste good but have less cals. Try swapping your normal ice cream for low calorie ice creams or swapping your dessert/snack to strawberries and 0% Greek yoghurt. If you’re a savoury fan opt for things like popchips instead of crisps, and low fat cheese for a savoury snack (e.g. light mini babybel)

# 6 Spice it up

Adding herbs and seasonings to your meals can add extra flavour to your food and give your meals a kick, without adding any extra calories. Studies have shown it also increases perceptions of fullness.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx