Food Diaries – The Weight Loss Secret Weapon!

Keeping a FOOD DIARY is one of the biggest boosts to understanding your eating habits and recognizing your food preferences, patters of eating and weakness, and then addressing them.

With every new client, I ask them to keep a record of everything they eat and how they are feeling when they eat, over a minimum of three days – one day at least being over the weekend – in my Food, Mood & Movement Diary.  This  diary is to show, the foods they ate, the quantities of food, the time they ate, their hunger levels when they ate, what they were doing and their mood at the time they ate. It is important to be as detailed as possible. For instance, breakfast toast, was it  wholemeal/white/granary/sourdough?  Thick/medium/thin sliced bread? How many slices? How much butter/spread/oil?  a teaspoon? A tablespoon?  How much dressing on a salad?  What dressing?  Olive oil or shop bought Thousand Island?  In coffee/tea, low fat or full fat milk or none?  Any sugar?  A cappuccino or a latte? Any wine after work or with dinner?  Desserts – cheese, chocolate biscuits, fruit or tart, cream or ice-cream?

I email them a diary to update daily.  The client can either print off and fill in as their day progresses, or keep a little book with them to enter EVERYTHING consumed and to update the diary at the end of the day – whatever works for them.

This diary is often an absolute revelation.  When I meet new clients, I always talk them through a 24 hour recall where my client talks me through their food consumption for the previous day.  If they have also kept a food diary, the results, when compared can be very different.  Most of them can add at least another 15% food intake to the 24 hour recall when compared with the diary.

The most valuable part of the diary is not to count the calories but to identify and analyze the times when a better choice could have been made or a client has eaten out of boredom, stress or picked up an unhealthy choice due to lack of preparation and/or planning.

Once this information is in front of you, it is so easy to make small tweaks that will make a massive difference to weight loss success.  It quickly becomes obvious the benefits of preparing  a sandwich or a salad for the fridge at work when you know you will be hard pressed for time to get out and choose a healthy lunch, and keeping some fruit or nuts in your desk for the afternoon slump or when the chocolate biscuits are being handed round. Having a bottle of water and a banana or small bag of mixed nuts always in the car or handbag also prevents the need for a can of drink from a vending machine when thirsty and at best a  “healthy” (not!) protein bar or at the worst a bag of sweets or chocolate for instant energy (think immediate fat), from the services.

Identify the times you ate as an emotional response and find an alternative which won’t leave you feeling even even worse after you have eaten the tub of ice cream or chocolate bar –  put on a CD you love and sing along in the car is one of my favs, or call a friend, read a book, relax in a bubble bath or one of the most benifical stress debusters, go for a walk in natural light.

 Be completely honest when completing your Food Diary. You are the only person you will be deceiving if you don’t, and the only person who can make the changes that will achieve your weight loss goals.

Truths About Six ‘Healthy’ Eating Habits

Healthy Eating is always a hot topic and also can be a very confusing one!  Let me help you unravel some of the most common myths.

Avoiding Gluten 

You would be forgiven for believing gluten is the enemy. With lifestyle bloggers swearing by the benefits of a ‘gluten free’ diet, and ‘gluten free’ recipes becoming main stream, ditching wheat is the new cool. But with Coeliac disease, or an intolerance to gluten, affecting only one in 70, it is perfectly fine for most people to consume wholegrains without any adverse affects to weight or health.

Swapping Dairy For Almond Milk

You would be hard-pressed to find a café without it, but ordering an almond milk latte is not as good for you as you might think. While almonds pack a punch of protein, almond milk does not.  Research has shown that you  would need to drink six glasses of almond milk to get the same amount of protein as simply eating half a cup of the raw nuts.


Packed with fruit and vegetables, a fresh juice might seem like the perfect way to start the day.

But reducing fresh produce down to liquid form removes the fibre – the ingredient that makes you feel full. Left in fibre’s place is sugar, which can lead to pangs of hunger, mood swings and an energy slump.

Taking A Lot Of Vitamin C For A Cold

As the days get colder, most people find themselves reaching for the Vitamin C to ward off any unwelcome winter sniffles. But as the old adage goes, there can be too much of a good thing. While a little Vitamin C can boost your immune system, too much can cause diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, heartburn or headaches. The recommended daily dose for an adult is 2,000 milligrams, so make sure you check the label.

Avoiding Egg Yolks

Ditching the yolks in favour on an egg white omelette is a ‘healthy’ hack used to keep your cholesterol under wraps. But while eggs do contain cholesterol, eating them won’t make your cholesterol levels sky-rocket.  Plus by throwing out the yolk you are losing the powerhouse of the egg, all its amazing superfood nutrients! Healthy adults can eat seven eggs a week without increased risk of heart attack.

Eating Only Low Fat Foods

Low fat or fat free items line supermarket shelves, but constantly checking food labels for fat content will not help you beat the bulge. A low fat diet doesn’t help you lose weight or lower your risk of heart disease. When the filling fat content is removed, something has to be added.  Normally it is a lot of  extremely unhealthy processed sugar and additives!  Eat healthy fats, such as avocados, but keep in moderation.

The Tip To Remember : Low fat products do not help you lose weight and don’t lower your risk of heart disease 


Christmas Mulled Ciderless Apple Warmer

Mulled wine, on of my Christmas favourite’s – along with Yule Logs, Christmas puds, pigs in blankets., brandy sauce and oh, all manner of delicious treats of which the list is far to long and waistline busting and headache inducing!

However this year I have just been given the best festive mulled apple drink ever, made by my son and friends for our second early Christmas Dinner. Non-alcoholic, so perfect for the teens as well, this wonderful winter warmer has all the smells and tastes of the festive seasons and, no matter how much you indulge, no embarrassing side effects and far fewer calories!  Perfect.

For 4 generous sized mugs, you will need;

1 litre apple juice.

250ml  water.

2 sachets mulled spice  mix.

2 tbsp brown sugar


Pour juice and water into pan.

Add sugar and spice.

Heat pan to simmer, stir until sugar dissolved.

Simmer for 10 minutes.

Cool and decant into mugs for the perfect, non-alcoholic festive drink.











Diet v Lifestyle – Finding The One That Best Suits YOU

As a specialist in Weight Loss and Nutrition, I am often asked,  “Which is the BEST weight loss diet?”  “Which will work best for me?”,  My answer is always the same.  Everything we learn about weight loss management is a generality.  We are all wonderfully unique, and as such we need to carefully consider how any advice, information or suggestions, from whatever the source – the press (newspapers/magazines etc), social media, family members, diet clubs, relatives, co-workers, the internet, best applies to us. There are so many diets out there, often with conflicting advice all promising the ultimate weight loss solution. So, what affects our decisions when we make our diet choices? Perhaps slim celebrities or quick fix solutions?

Part of the YOUtrition solution is to question your choices. Ask yourself, will this diet work in my life? Will I have time for any extra preparation required? Can the adjustments be sustained?  Can I afford these adjustments?  Will I feel deprived of all the foods I love?  How will this affect my family?  How will this affect my health, energy, mood, concentration?

The answers to these questions should determine  the advice you follow.  Obviously there will need to be some adjustments made – otherwise you wouldn’t be looking for weight loss.  However, it has to be as easy and right for YOU as possible for it to be maintained.  So, before you sign on the dotted line, part with your hard earned money and quite likely set yourself up for disappointment, THINK and then decide.  Happy Weight Loss.

Avocado & Greens Smoothie – Lunch in a glass

As I sit here in my Nutrition and Weight Loss Coaching practice in Beaconsfield, thinking about a quick, easy and super nutritious on the go snack or lunch, my mind always go first to a smoothie.

I am a smoothie queen!  You can experiment with all the fruit and vegetables in your kitchen and come up with some amazing concoctions! So quick and easy to make,  no fuss and very little mess.

Always be aware that the more fruit you put in the more sugar you will consume, so  with that in mind, I usually make the fruit the smallest amount (1/3) and fill up with an assortment of veg, water or low fat Greek yogurt.   In this smoothie both the yogurt and the avocado give it a really delicious, creamy, luxurious taste as well as being packed with fibre, and a whole host of goodness.


  • ½ cup low fat Greek yogurt.
  • 1 ripe avocado.
  • 1 sweet apple chopped.
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped.
  • 1 carrot chopped.
  • 1 cups lightly packed kale.
  • 1 cup lightly packed spinach.
  • 1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger.
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds.
  • 8 ice cubes (optional).


Blend yogurt, avocado, apple, celery, kale, spinach, ginger and ice in a blender until very smooth.  Add a little water to loosen up if desired. Remember to drink immediately as smoothies lose their nutrient quality quickly.

Top 10 Tips For A Healthy, Happy Christmas

Last night we had our first Christmas Dinner!  A little early I know, but as we are all dispersing for the actual holiday, this was the perfect date to celebrate.

As I was preparing for the big event, the cooking and baking, I started remembering the strategies that keep me on track for a healthy holiday.  I came up with these which I hope will help you over the season of overindulgence as much as they help me every year.

  1. Plan for the change of routine – always start with a healthy, sustaining breakfast.  This will set you up for the day and psychologically you are already winning!  With a good start to the day, it becomes easier to make healthier choices for the remainder of the day wherever you are.
  2. No Thanks! – Practice the art of saying “NO” with grace.  Tell your friends/colleagues/family how important your weight management is.  Get them on board and you will have an amazing support system.  Remember, those who don’t support, you even after you have asked for their understanding, usually have a different agenda – if you are “good” then they should be.  Be strong, know your goal and stick with it.
  3. Follow the 80/20 rule.  With soooo many delicious treats out there it is unrealistic to expect total abstinence.  Stick with your plan 80% of the time, indulge mindfully and don’t beat yourself up for the little treats that are only around at Christmas.
  4. Alcohol – this is one of the harder ones.  Christmas is so tied up with drinking – adverts everywhere, parties etc.  We are totally brainwashed into believing that excessive alcohol makes for a better time.  In my experience, it means talking rubbish, a horrendous headache the next day and half remembered embarrassing moments…. What’s not to love about it!  Anyway, drink mindfully, after every alcoholic drink have a non-alcoholic one and if possible, stay well clear of the cream laden liqueurs.
  5. Eat a little protein before you go out.  Protein keeps you full longer than carbohydrates or fats so have a little something.  I often have a boiled egg before I go out (I am slightly odd at times).
  6. Where possible, make the little tweaks that make such a massive difference in your weight management.  Opt for half fat crème fraiche instead of double cream with puddings.  Pile up the vegetables.  Have either a starter or a dessert – do you really need both?  Keep a close eye on your bread consumption.  Little changes, big results.
  7. How you eat.  Eat slowly, savour every mouthful.  The only place we have taste buds are on our tongue.  From the minute the food is no longer in our mouths we cannot taste it, so chew slowly and get the most enjoyment out of the food.
  8. Incorporate movement into every day.  A walk with the dog, round the park, to and from the shops, up and down the stairs.  Anything.  Just moving will aid digestion, keep you motivated and help with your weight management.
  9. Snacking – remember to ask yourself, “Am I hungry?  How will the snack help me with my weight management goals?  How will I feel about myself after I have eaten this snack?  Will I feel guilty or happy with myself?”  Be honest with yourself and the consequences of your choices and then decide.
  10. All responsibility for your choices is with you and only YOU.  In every situation there is a healthier choice or portion size.  It is up to you to decide what is important, not in the moment, but long term. Trust yourself.

Avocado And Poached Egg on Toast

As a nutrition and weight loss coach, I am always looking out for  easy, nutritious meals that tempt me to eat on a busy day.  Here is one for you to try.  Poached eggs are one of my favourites and I am always looking at ways time intergrate them into my diet. I love them in this easy, simple breakfast or light lunch.

I simply mash one deliciously ripe avocado, add chilli flakes, coriander, lime juice, squeeze of lemon and ground black pepper together.

Poach an egg (Tip below), toast your favourite wholemeal bread, assemble the mashed avocado and place egg on top. Add a good grind of black pepper (I don’t use salt – lemon is the perfect substitute)

TIP – place cling film over a cup, making sure there is a “well” for the egg, brush with a smidgen of olive oil and crack egg into the cling film. Make a sealed parcel of the cling film and place in pan of boiling water for 5 mins.  Remove egg from pan, take of cling film and you have a perfect poached egg!

Soup is the New Juice!

As a nutrition and weight loss coach, I am a big advocate of souping, and winter time is perfect for home made, thick, nutritious soups, packed with all the fibre that juicing removes.

I regularly collect all the vegetables I can lay my hands on at home and wizz up a fabulous light supper or hearty lunch.  So easy – I don’t even peel my vegetables, just wash them thoroughly.  Then depending on my mood, I might add lentils or pearl barley or spices such as Garam Masala, Tumeric, Cumin…..with these soups, anything goes!

For this soup I used

2 x carrots.

2 parsnips.

1 x large sweet potato.

1 x chopped celery stalk.

1 x chopped onion.

1/2 x chopped red chilli.

500ml boiling water.

1 x cube low salt vegetable stock.

Ground black pepper and garlic salt to taste and a little coriander to make it pretty…….

Sweat the onion and celery for five minutes. Add all vegetables, boiling water, stock and season to taste.  Bring to boil and the simmer for 20 minutes.  Place all ingredients into a blender and there you have it, a thick, tasty, low calorie, filling soup with all the nutrients intact.