Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Merry Christmas!

Tuesday tip: Merry Christmas! 🎄

It’s Christmas Eve! So my only tip today – is to enjoy your Christmas tomorrow! However you are spending the day – have a lie in, spend time with friends, family, (or animals) that you love, maybe take a gentle walk, enjoy yummy food, watch Christmas tv etc.

If you’re working then take some time out when you can to do something that you enjoy. Don’t stress about what you’ve eaten, or how little exercise you’ve done, just enjoy the tastes and yummy food, a day or two won’t kill you! Get back to your normal eating and training pattern afterwards and you’ll be back on track in no time.

Hope you have a lovely Christmas 🎅🏼🎄xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Just a quick festive drink…’

‘Just a quick festive drink…’ 🥤

At this time of year all the coffee shops bring out their range of festive coffees and hot chocolates. You’re out Christmas shopping, or meeting up with friends and family, so you just grab a quick festive drink to enjoy and get you in the festive spirit. You’ll drink it in minutes, and possibly have a snack with it, without really thinking or noticing. But that’s ok, because it’s just a festive hot choc, and it’s Christmas….

These drinks do vary but are all pretty high calorie. This particular example is a Cafe Nero hot grande salted caramel hot chocolate – with skimmed milk (not even semi or whole milk) and comes in at over 500 cals and almost 60g sugar.

On the other hand that selection box contains 5 chocolate bars, with less calories and sugar. Now whilst I’m sure you could eat a selection box in one sitting (I certainly could) most people probably wouldn’t . You’d probably spread it over a few hours or possibly days, rather than eating it all in one go and certainly wouldn’t have it with a snack (unlike the hot choc).

Christmas is definitely a time to relax a bit on calories and certainly a time to focus more on sharing memories and happy times with people you care about. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of the calories in some of the treats you are having.

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 festive drink – have it and enjoy it. If you want to eat your way through a selection box in one go then go for it. Just be aware of the calories so you’re making an educated choice!

Merry Christmas 🎄

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Happy Healthy Christmas

Tuesday tip: Happy Healthy Christmas 🎄

Managing the amount of calories we consume can be especially difficult during the festive season. Ideally, we want to find a happy balance between joining in with the fun without going totally overboard and ruining our healthy eating regime!

This is the advice I give my clients:

#1 Spread the damage – if you have an event coming up try to cut down kcals in the days leading up or after. I’m not suggesting you starve yourself as that will result in overeating later. Instead try to save 100-200 kcals a day for a few days to buffer the social event e.g if you have a Friday party where you may overeat/drink by 800-1000 kcal, reduce your daily intake by 200 kcal from Mon to Thurs. You’ll barely notice 200 kcals a day!

#2 Cut the Booze – Drink is the biggest contributor to weight gain during the holidays. Often we drink socially over several hours so it’s hard to track. You could stick to low calorie drinks – but what if you don’t like them? The best thing is to drink what you want and control the quantity instead. Plan for a set number of drinks (e.g 4/5) of whatever you like. That way you’ll appreciate it but not feel deprived. In addition drink a big glass of water before you start (as you’re bound to be dehydrated from all the festive rushing about) to help prevent you being thirsty and knocking back the first drink too fast. Have a glass of water after every couple of drinks too.

#3 Keep Active – incorporate a little activity in to your Christmas Day. Face it – we’re all going to over eat on Xmas day (an average of 4000 – 5000 kcals). You’re not going to burn that off in one day, but it will make you feel good if you get active – maybe an early morning run, or a post lunch family walk, or an evening walk to look at the xmas lights!

#4 Don’t Stress – try not to stress too much about those extra Christmas day kcals. As long as they’re not representative of your normal intake the effects of the overindulgence will be short lived. Get back to your normal eating and training pattern as soon as you can after the festivities and you’ll be back on track in no time!

Enjoy! Happy Tuesday 🎄🤗xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘I’m going out for a curry, so I may as well just forget the diet’….

‘I’m going out for a curry, so I may as well just forget the diet’….🥘

You’re trying to lose weight/fat, you’ve been ‘good’ (ie within your calories) all week, but you’ve got that curry with your friends on Friday night. Well there’s nothing you can do to control that right? It’s going to be a write off, so you may as well just switch off and go full out – I mean the diet is ruined anyway right? So what’s a few more beers and that extra naan?

It doesn’t have to be! You don’t need to avoid social situations, and you don’t need to just totally switch off and go mad either. If weight loss is going to be sustainable for the long term then you need to find ways to manage social events and inevitable take aways and meals out without throwing the towel in every time.

As you can see from above the difference between the two curry options are massive. For most people that 1,301 dinner is still going to take them over their calories for the day BUT it’s a lot more manageable within the context of the week overall. You can easily offset some of those cals with a lighter breakfast and lunch that day, and reducing calories by 100-150 a day for a few days either side (that’s just cutting a snack or a coffee or two out!). Switching from a creamy based curry to a dry, tandoori option, going for plain rice, having one poppadom instead of 4, and switching to a lighter beer means you can still have a really nice meal. You can still drink with your friends if you want to, and you can still have a fab night out without blowing weeks of effort in one fell swoop. And of course you’re probably less likely to want to eat rubbish the next day if you’ve had a few less beers…

Sustainable, long term weight management is about working out ways to compromise and manage social events without them always been all or nothing! So you can still have fun, still eat out, still have delicious food, but still stay on track!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Coping with Xmas Stress

Tuesday Tip: Coping with Xmas Stress 🎄

Stress levels can soar at Xmas, with the pressure of expectations, exchange and excess. Here are some tips to help!

#1 Limit spending

Gift buying and entertainment costs can spiral quickly, so make a budget and limit spending by only taking cash on shopping trips. Make 1 financial decision at a time to avoid losing willpower and overspending. Remember your relationships with friends and family are more important than material objects!

#2 Manage expectations

Wanting things to be perfect can lead to more stress. Dinner being late or a less than perfect xmas tree won’t ruin your day – it may even give you fond memories to laugh about in future! Be realistic with children: they don’t need everything on their list! Xmas is about being together, so plan lots of fun family activities to do.

#3 Take time out

Factor in some time out for yourself – a bath, watching a movie, reading or a walk. You will feel better and be less likely to take your stress out on the rest of the family too.

#4 Don’t fall totally off the wagon

Plan, eat well outside events, stay active – check out my article (link below) for more. If you do find yourself overindulging just remember 1 day of indulgence won’t make you fat, just get back on track the next day and don’t make it a month!

#5 Go for a walk

Studies show physical activity reduces the brain’s response to stress, even more so with other people (by 26%). So try to fit a walk in to your day even if it means walking to work, or school pick up, or just around the block.

#6 Have fun

Laughter is a fab stress reliever. It releases endorphins, boosts circulation, helps muscles relax and reduces physical symptoms of stress. Make sure you have some fun; whether it’s your favourite movie, jokes with relatives, or a fun activity with friends or family.

At the end of the day remember, its just one day, it doesn’t define you or your life. Your friends and family are there all year round and if things don’t go as planned you can always get together in January or Feb instead 🙂

Happy Tuesday 🤗

xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: No Excuse

Tuesday Tip: No Excuse 🚫

At this time of year it’s easy to find excuses to ditch healthy eating or fitness plans . But most excuses don’t really cut it and here’s why:

# 1 Too Busy

We’re all busy with work, family etc, but that’s no excuse to eat badly. A lower cal dinner takes the same time as ordering a takeaway. Make life easier by buying bulk frozen veg, healthy ready meals or soup.

# 2 Bad day

After a stressful day it may seem like a takeaway/glass of wine etc will make it better. But it will only make you feel guilty, bloated and more stressed. If you’re an emotional eater find a non-food way to deal with your feelings e.g. exercising,  calling a friend, or watching a movie. 

# 3 I deserve it  

It’s tempting to reward yourself for your workout / work performance / weight loss with a “treat”. You do deserve a treat, but don’t celebrate with calories, have a non-food treat instead e.g. massage

# 4 Genetics

Why bother starting a diet when it’s in your genes to have a big bum or muffin top? While genes do determine where and how easily fat is stored, you’re not powerless to shift those pounds! Research suggests that regular exercise outweighs the effects of “fat genes”. 

# 5 Diets don’t work for me 

If diets leave you lacking energy, or you’ve never achieved results, it’s probably the approach that’s the problem. Fad diets, or cutting food groups etc aren’t sustainable. Instead, adopt a sensible, balanced approach focussing on a calorie deficit. 

# 6 Slow metabolism

Some people do have a slower than expected metabolism but the variation is small. You might need slightly fewer calories to lose fat but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Plus regular exercise to build muscle will increase your metabolic rate. 

# 7 I’ll start after X, Y.. Z

Rather than putting off your diet until tomorrow or after a big event start right now; at the next meal. Remember, a little blip isn’t the end of the world, put it behind you and carry on.  

# 8 I love food

You don’t need to make yourself miserable and eat things you hate to lose weight. You can have everything you’re having right now; just less of it! 

If you need any help or advice just ask me! Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xxx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Why you shouldn’t eat back your exercise calories….

Why you shouldn’t eat back your exercise calories…. 🏃🏼‍♀️

Many of us use activity trackers / fitness watches; they’re fab tools to monitor activity and motivate us to get fitter, but they can also cause some issues.

The main issue is the figure they provide for calories burned, particularly when linked to food logging apps. Apps like myfitnesspal give you a daily calorie target or budget to spend, based on your current stats, goals and activity levels. If you have a tracker linked then it automatically adds any calories burned to this figure e.g if your goal is 1700 cals and you burn 500 cals in spin it gives you 2200 cals to ‘spend’ (eat).

Great! So you can eat more right? Wrong! You shouldn’t be eating back those exercise calories. Aside from the fact that you have already accounted for your activity level in the daily calorie goal, the main issue is that the tracker is overestimating calories burned. Recent studies found that, despite being pretty accurate for heart rate readings, devices overestimated calories burned by 27 – 93% ! If we assume a 40% error rate you can see on the graph how much it overestimates (blue is actual burn, red is the tracker reading) e.g. a long walk burns 1500 cals on the tracker, but if you ate those back you’re actually over eating by 300 and 1450 cals!

This is why if you’re eating back those exercise calories you could easily wipe out the calorie deficit. Best-case, it slows progress, worst-case you overeat and put on weight. Also, as you get leaner and fitter the calories burnt in general activity and exercise decreases, so you’re burning even fewer calories than the device is reporting.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t record workouts and steps; it’s a great way to look at your relative effort and fitness. Use them as a way to encourage more activity but not as a reason to eat more. In the paid version of myfitnesspal you can choose not to add those extra calories, or simply un-link your tracker so it no longer gets that info.

So if you workout as a way to increase your calorie expenditure, that’s fine, just don’t eat back those calories, as it defeats the entire point of increasing activity in the first place.

🤗 xx