Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Why you think you’re struggling with weight loss ….

Why you think you’re struggling with weight loss …. 🤔

If you’re struggling to lose weight you may look to things like your metabolism, stress levels, hormones, lack of sleep, amount of water you’re drinking etc as the reasons why you can’t achieve your goals.

It’s true that all these areas can and do have an effect and some will certainly impact on things like your appetite and ability to ‘stick’ to a calorie deficit. However it’s actually rare that these are the main reasons behind stalled progress. They do however get a lot of attention – why? Because they are much easier to accept than ‘You’re eating too much’. It’s a lot easier to focus on the idea that your metabolism or stress levels are preventing your weight loss rather than a heavy social life being the issue.

Of course things like snacking, increased portion sizes and booze can be a response to lack of sleep or stress, or hormones, but it’s far better to focus on these habits instead. Why? because they’re the direct cause, they’re tangible and easily identifiable and they’re the thing that needs to change. Rather than trying for some vague notion of ‘increasing sleep’ or ‘reducing stress’.

Obviously nutrition and weight loss can be complicated but if you try focusing on things like reduced portion sizes, fewer or lower calorie snacks, less booze you will see progress. Managing meals out or reducing them (it’s extremely hard to eat out multiple times a week and maintain a calorie deficit without some proper planning), and increasing general activity (note this isn’t just exercise sessions but general activity – walking, fidgeting, moving more!) are also things which are tangible ways to help make progress. You will probably find that despite any issues with sleep, stress, hormones etc you will be able to make progress. Certainly my clients can and have done! So if they can, so can you!



Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Calorie calculators …

Tuesday Tip: Calorie calculators … 🧮

I often hear people tell me that they’ve been in a calorie deficit but haven’t lost weight… and then go on to blame something else (bread/ carbs / metabolism / hormones ) etc to explain why their body is ‘hanging on to fat’ despite a deficit. Now assuming they have actually been eating the amount of calories they think they have (and that’s a whole different topic!) and tracking accurately then what’s going on?

Well the simple answer is – they’re not at a calorie deficit. A true calorie deficit will aways lead to fat loss (over time). Usually people have created their calorie goal using an online calculator. The thing is whilst these calculators are useful tools they’re just an estimate and a starting point. You won’t automatically be in a calorie deficit just by typing your details into a calorie calculator.

Being in a calorie deficit doesn’t mean eating an arbitrary number of calories that an online calculator gave you. It means being in negative energy balance. In order to know if you’re actually at that level then you need to test the number of calories you get from these calculators for a good 3-4 weeks – consistently (so that means no big weekend splurges etc – average calories per day need to be at the amount or under the amount you’ve been set). If after 3-4 weeks you’re not losing fat and you really have stuck to it accurately then you know that for you that number is too high. So you tweak it down and test again. If you start to see progress then you know you’re now at a deficit!

That’s why with my clients I will always wait for at least 4 weeks of consistent tracking before we even contemplate changing the calorie goal.

Sadly there’s no magic formula and no quick solution – but also there’s no need to over complicate it. If you’re progressing you’re at the right calorie level, if you’re not… you need to reduce it! Simple!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

What your weight measures…

What your weight measures… 🧐

We are obsessed with the weight on the scales, when it goes up we berate ourselves, feel guilty, feel like we’ve failed.. when it goes down we congratulate ourselves, celebrate it, think we’ve succeeded. The scale going up must mean we’re getting fatter (putting on more body fat), and therefore if it goes down we must be losing fat right? And if your goal is body fat loss then scales going up signals disaster in your mind….

We need to remember that the weight on the scale measures a lot of things, and only a small portion of that is actually your body fat. It measures the amount of lean muscle you have, the amount of water in your body (hoe hydrated you are), it measures your organs, your bone mass, amy food in your digestive system etc. It simply measures your relationship to gravity at any one time.

The thing it doesn’t measure is your entire self worth! A number on the scale doesn’t define you. Whether you’ve gone up 2kg or down 2kg you’re still the same person. You are not ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depending on how that scale swings. Those swings are also totally natural and often nothing to do with body fat losses or gains.

So yes, of course, if you WANT to reduce your body fat because you want to fit into a certain clothing size, or be fitter and healthier to be around to play with your grand children etc then that’s brilliant, and that’s an awesome goal! But you haven’t failed at that, and the rest of your life, just because your weight may fluctuate on the way to that goal!

It’s worth trying to focus on goals that aren’t just a number on the scale. I often talk about using body measurements (mainly because they’re a good way to see body shape change – which correlates with decreased body fat and increased lean muscle), but how about other goals – being able to piggy back your nephew, being able to play football with your mates, being able to run for the train comfortably, reducing your blood pressure, being able to lift your suitcases in and out the car boot etc etc.

These goals are just as, in fact they’re probably more important than an arbitrary number on the scale that will fluctuate depending on how much water you drink, whether your last meal was salty, your hormones etc etc.



Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Why am I burning fewer calories?

Tuesday tip: Why am I burning fewer calories? 🏃🏼‍♀️

If you wear an activity monitor / heart rate monitor / smart watch you may have noticed that over time you burn fewer calories when exercising.

These monitors measure calories burned based on your heart rate during exercise.

There are wrist and chest strap versions. The chest strap ones measure electrical impulses from heart (like an EKG). The wrist based ones use an optical sensor to measure heart rate based on blood flow. When your heart rate increases blood flow increases so the sensor uses this change to estimate heart rate. Due to this any exercise that impacts blood flow to the wrist will reduce the accuracy of the heart rate measure e.g raising arms above the head, burpees, planks etc. So there are already inaccuracies in the measure anyway.

Regardless of which method you use over time you will find you burn fewer calories than you used to. The body is designed to adapt and hardwired to be as conservative as possible with energy output (it’s an evolutionary adaptation to survive). If you stimulate it with physical stress (exercise) it’s gets better at handling that stress. The heart itself is a muscle and it strengthens. As it strengthens it can cope with more physical stress at a lower heart rate.

So whilst you may view it as a bad thing that you’re burning fewer calories in your spin class / Hiit workout etc it’s actually a fantastic measure of progress and fitness. It takes you less effort over time to perform a task that used to require much more physical effort. This should be celebrated!

It’s also a great reminder not to get too obsessed with those calorie burns. Aside from the fact that they’re not very accurate anyway, they will decrease over time and that’s a good thing! Yes you’ll burn fewer calories, but as I’ve often said you shouldn’t be eating back those calories anyway, they’re just a great measure of activity levels and progress! So if you’re exercising regularly and noticing this pattern don’t be sad – be proud! You’re getting stronger!

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

A day of snacks…

A day of snacks… ☕️ 🍫

There are lots of strategies you can use when trying to stick to your calorie deficit to lose weight/fat. Being aware of the calories in the foods you choose to consume and swapping to lower calorie foods which you also enjoy is an obvious option. As well as the calories though it’s worth considering the quantity and volume of the food you’re choosing.

Snacking is a common problem and an easy way to extra calories to sneak in. It’s not hard to accumulate over 1000 cals of snacks in a day. A coffee when you get to work with a couple of biscuits (medium semi skimmed latte and chocolate digestives), a ‘healthy’ snack mid morning of 30g cashews and an apple, a Mars bar to give you a bit of an energy boost in the afternoon, and a small bag of kettle chips when you’re waiting for dinner. None of that will seem excessive at the time, in fact you may not even notice much if it. You can see, however, how easily it could take you over your calories for the day.

There are some easy swaps you could make that won’t impact too much on your satisfaction, still allow you to follow your preferred pattern of eating but save 500 cals. In this example you could swap the coffee to a flat white and the digestives to a couple of lotus biscuits. You could just have the apple for your ‘healthy’ snack, swap to a curly wurly to give you an afternoon boost and some pop chips pre dinner and you’ll save over 500 cals, and it’s still a lot of snacks so you won’t feel deprived.

Obviously you may decide instead to cut a few of the snacks and have the higher calorie options, but that’s where knowing the calorie content comes in! You can have whatever you want, if you can fit it into your calories, this is just another strategy to add to your toolkit to help you stick to those calories.

Enjoy 🤗