calorie

Calorie Counting – An Excellent First Step To Understanding Weight Loss

A calorie is simply a measure of the amount of energy in food. It is not an indication of the nutrient quality of food.

I am not a great advocate of calorie counting long term, as I feel it places too much emphasis and time on  “diet” foods rather than everyday, long term, lifestyle foods that best support our weight and health.   As a Nutritionist and Weight Loss Specialist,  my aim is to guide clients away from the stress of counting calories in their food choices and  into the enjoyment of eating. I do this by showing them the best nutrient quality foods for their weight loss and health.

However because there is so much conflicting food advice out there, in the initial stages of weight loss calorie counting is an excellent way of understanding how much we are eating and gives a good basic outline of what works for us and what doesn’t.  It can help us to balance the energy we put into our bodies with the energy we use, which is the key to maintaining healthy weight.

It is important to note though that all calories are not created equal. For instance, a cup cake or ready meal that has 500 calories, is unlikely to sustain you as a much as a jacket potato with tuna and salad which also has 500 calories. It would be easy to eat a “diet” pre-packed meal or sandwich of 400 calories, but tough going to finish a plate of steamed fish fish piled up with colourful veg with herbs or spices, or a hearty homemade soup  with the same calories.   The prepacked meal would be calories dense (empty calories no matter what the packaging said), and the veg would be nutrient dense, packed with all the nutrients, fiber, vitamins, minerals – all of the essentials that a healthy body thrives on and needs for sustainable weight loss.

Then there is the subsequent hunger.  Which do you think you would feel hungrier after eating first?

All foods are not metabolised in our bodies in the same way, and the processed low calorie options often have more fibre free sugar which is broken down quickly in our bodies into glucose.  The glucose causes a spike in your blood sugar that starts the effect of high insulin production which in turn increases belly fat and when the sugar spike is over, you are left feeling hungry again.  Whole foods take longer to break down and digest and in the process use up more calories and keep you fuller longer.

It is also important to keep an eye on our macronutrient intake.

The macronutrients are Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.  For a healthy diet, the percentage of our daily intake should be, 50 – 55% carbs, 10 – 15% protein, 30 – 35% fat, with an upper limit of 11% saturated fats and of no more than 2% being trans fats. The correct percentage of the healthiest options of these macronutrients is absolutely key to maintaining a healthy weight, with low body fat and optimum health.

In summary, whilst you are re-calibrating your body and mindset, please do look at the calorie content of your foods choices to make you more aware. The calorie content may well shock you and stop you from purchasing.  More importantly though, look at the quality of the food and remember, no food that benefits your health and weight loss long term, comes with a label telling you how little fiber there is or  how much sneaky sugar and salt regardless of the fat levels. Remember when fat is removed (which is tasty and filling and vital for so many functions in the body), something else, usually sugar is added (sugar is the ultimate weight loss and health disaster).  Also, look out for any other information which should be unnecessary to list on a “healthy” option food.  This rule sadly actually applies most to “diet” foods.

 

food

Stop The Food Stress – You Don’t Deserve It

Food stress – who needs it!  As a Nutritionist and Weight Loss Coach I see many people who spend so much time worrying and confused over their food choices, especially when they are trying to make the best ones for their weight and health.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our only food thoughts were positive? If food bought only the sense of pleasure and nourishment it should?

Sadly, the reality is that most of us think about what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat and struggle over our choices far, far too often.   Our food thoughts are often negative.  Should we have eaten that? Did we have too little or too much of carbs/fats/protein?  Our food feelings often encompass guilt and weakness and we often regret what we have eaten and drunk.  In other words food becomes a source of anxiety and confusion.

Negative thoughts regarding food can affect every aspect of our lives when they command so much of our time and energy.  Wouldn’t you love to have these precious limited resources spent on more life enhancing activities, our families, friends, interests and overall enjoyment of life?

My mission at YOUtrition, is to work with clients to change their MINDSET, about food.  Weight loss is as simple as changing the way you eat.  Changing the way you eat is a simple as changing the way you THINK about the way that you eat.

The most effective way of changing the way we THINK about food it to listen to our bodies and not to all the food noise around us.  Rely on our instinct for our food choices and not give in to our intellect – our intellect takes in all the marketing hype, all the celebrity diets, all the magazines.  We know if the diet is out there, it must have worked for some.  Those “some” have either genuinely found a lifestyle that works for them for now, or more likely have stuck to the plan, seen the scales go down (and that does not necessarily mean body fat loss, more likely if it was a quick fix, they have lost water which will be regained instantly) and whilst they may be slim for a time, they are unlikely to be zinging with good health and energy or be able to maintain the level of food thought/exercise regime it took to get them there – and they know it – buy hey, they’re slim (for a while……)! When we know how to listen to our bodies, we will automatically make healthier choices and by making one healthier choice and feeling and seeing the benefits, we are more likely to make more healthier choices and build a solid stable of healthier habits that will keep us slim for life.  Our poor bodies do not want the junk/sugar/pre-packed “foods” – they literally do not know what to do with this non-food so can only store the stuff as fat.

My top tips to turn down the loud food noises out there are;

  • Ignore ALL the marketing hype.  The commercials, the magazines, the diet clubs.  They are all selling products not food.
  • Remember that one size does not fit all.  What works for one person may not work for you and if it doesn’t work for you, it is because it is not right for YOU.  It is not a failure on your part.
  • Listen to your body.  Your amazing body will tell you what it wants, when it wants and how much it wants if you only you learn how to LISTEN.  Eat when you are hungry, drink when you are thirsty and not for any other reason.
  • If you find yourself in a situation where food is everywhere, get busy.  Offer to hand round drinks, introduce yourself to new people – do not eat just because food is in front of you.
  • Tell your friends and family that you are really taking stock of your health and you would love their support.  I find that saying you are on a diet does not work well.  Some people feel threatened – if you can do it, so should they.  Saying you are taking care of your health seems to have a very different reaction.
  • In a situation where food is usually the glue of the social event, arrange to do something different with friends.  Go for a walk in the woods, arrange to go to a dance class together and have a coffee afterwards instead of wine.  Find something else you can all do together that better benefits your weight and health.

Change the way you talk to yourself, tell yourself;

  • I know my body best, not someone who has never met me and doesn’t know my life.  I might listen to what others tell me, but I will make decisions based only on me.
  • I am doing the best for my body I can.
  • I am in control of my food choices and I am completely responsible for the consequences.
  • I AM going to be slim and healthy and no-one is going to stop me. I love having better sleep and more energy.
  • And finally, “I am doing this because I deserve to be and feel the best I can about myself”

 

Youtrition eight

The YOUtrition SOLUTION & Why It Will Work For YOU!

All the diet industry has to offer, is eat less, exercise more – which is of course the essence of weight loss, but is not a workable solution as it stands.  It is too wide and open to all sorts of interpretation and miss-information.  At YOUtrition I do not start from that point. It is clearly not enough for people who want to lose weight and make life long changes.  How many of us have embarked on a new diet or exercise plan,  full of optimism that this time it IS going to be different?  That this time we WILL achieve our weight loss goals AND stay there? Maybe we have for a time, but mostly not.  Statistically, 98% of dieters regain all their weight, plus more in 12 months after their “diet” has ended.  Why is that when the answer of eat less, exercise more is so easy? And why do we feel we have failed?  How demotivating and upsetting is this horrible cycle (that is not a question).

Let me tell you now that the failure is NOT on your part. It is on the part of the unrealistic food and exercise  plan.  The plan that doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, that includes foods you may not particularly like, but hope to grow to love.  That demands a level of time and commitment to the food that you put into your mouth that you just don’t have.  That may leave you feeling still hungry, or if it is restricting of the vital macronutrients –   carbs, healthy fats or protein –   headachey, constipated, low in energy, poor concentration, bad sleep and the list goes on (even if you are slim for a time).  Some say these symptoms are your bodies detox process.  They are not!  A healthy body is perfectly able to detox itself, and these symptoms are signs that your body is out of kilter ,  not running at its optimum level and possibly signs that you are just not eating enough.

There will always be some who will say, “I know someone the diet did work for” and my response is always, “Yes, because they found a lifestyle that works for them”

At YOUtrition, I  know that a healthy body is naturally slim and zings with energy, glowing skin, good health, great concentration and good sleep – all of which are our greatest beautifiers.  So, what do I offer?

You can’t just clear the fridge, do a big shop, start cooking everything from scratch, change your eating habits, walk more and overhaul your whole lifestyle with the snap of your fingers.

It is costly, time consuming and daunting.  I know you can’t just take a massive leap out of your comfort/familiarity zone – you WILL flounder and feel totally lost.

The YOUtrition Solution

Here is what my YOUtrition Solution will do for you.  Working in partnership with me as a Nutritionist and Weight Loss Coach, we will first uncover EXACTLY where you want to be, how soon and what has helped or held you back in the past.  The helped or held you back aspect is vital.  We grow from what we know has worked for you, and learn from what hasn’t.  

  • To get a snap shot of your life, I will ask you  to complete the YOUtrition Food,  Movement  & Mood Diary over a period of three days, one being a weekend day which we will analyze and discuss together to identify the What, When, How and Why you eat what you eat.
  • Together we will sit and discuss the changes you need to make to get to where you want to be and LIST them.
  • Together we will choose ONE food and ONE movement adjustment.  Just one small one of each, to build your confidence in YOU. These small changes will ease you just a little out of your comfort zone, (which when we are unhappy about our bodies is actually not comfortable at all!).  Small changes  become easier each time you repeat them and  new, healthier habits will quickly develop.
  • Within one week, we move on to another and another and by working this way, you will quickly accumulate stable, new habits which are EASY for you to stick with because YOU chose them and that WILL make an enormous difference to your weight and health.
  • We will also work towards healthier options, understanding your vulnerable areas,  understanding why we need certain foods and what benefits they give to our amazing bodies, easy ways of preparing  meals in advance,  snacks to keep with you at all times – and all the strategies that work for YOU, to keep you on YOUR track.
  • If counting calories, or meal planning works for you, to start with, that’s what you will get from get.   Whatever works for YOU is what I will deliver, my focus is totally on you and getting you to the weight and health you want to be AND keeping you there – there is no, one size fits all – and that is why diets just DON’T WORK!

As you progress and your body becomes more balanced and you learn how to listen to your body, the unhealthy treats will hold much less appeal because  your body and your  brain, are in alignment, running YOUR show and working to at its optimum to maintain the best you possible.

Do you feel motivated?  Does YOUtrition sound like a SOLUTION to you?  It does to me and I know it works.  So, give up on the “diets” and work with me to get you to the happiest, healthiest you that you deserve to be!
 

sugar

YOUtrition’s Strategies To Beat Your Sugar Cravings!!

Avoiding sugar is the hot topic right now, and it should be. Most of us are so addicted to sugar – the hit of it releases the feel good chemical dopamine in the reward centers of our brain, and as with any addiction, to regain that feeling, once the rush subsides, we need more and more of the stuff! It is a struggle to control especially when most “healthy” diets are packed with sugar in some form or another.  Simple sugars (from cakes, sweets, processed foods, low fat etc) have literally NO place in a our bodies, we can’t utilize them for any function, so they can only be deposited as FAT.  Sugar is now a known  poison and wreaks havoc with both our physical and mental health – we are overweight, tired, unpredictable in mood and just unwell, simply due to the amount of sugar we eat.

As a Nutritionist and Weight Loss Coach, I know that reducing sugar intake is the one guaranteed way of boosting weight loss and promoting great health.

It is one of my main aims to make clients understand the long term health consequences of eating too much sugar and to help them to eliminate it from their diets as much as possible.  I find that offering simple alternative strategies for when the craving hits is the most effective way, and when the strategies are practicsed regularly, the sugar stranglehold lessens.

As your body becomes more balanced through a  healthier diet,  processed, sugar laden “foods” WILL become less appealing.

Regardless of how simple and clean our diet is, almost everyone gets cravings for sweets or junk food now and then – we see all the adverts for the easy processed “foods”, the wine at the end of the day, the social conditioning which pulls us in.  However as you practice better eating habits and wean yourself off sugar, the Sugar Devil on your shoulder roaring demands in your ear WILL become quieter and more of a suggestion, but still, it is useful to have some suggestions to fight back when a sugar craving strikes. My top tips that work for me and my clients when the craving jumps at us are;

  • Drink a cold glass of distilled water or citrus-flavored mineral water.
  • Identify what triggered the craving, and don’t allow yourself to have the treat until you come up with the answer – Is it hunger? A stressful event? An inconsiderate spouse? Thirst? Loneliness? Boredom? Plain old sitting in front of the TV habit?
  • Make a conscious decision to eat or NOT eat the sweet – it really is only “food”, not some magic substance that holds unlimited power of you!
  • Remember, you’re the boss of your behavior. No one makes you do anything. If you decide to eat some sugar, you must own it and do it on purpose. Don’t make any excuses or point any fingers!

If You Decide NOT To Eat Something Sweet

  • Give yourself a (healthy) personal reward! Book a massage, a manicure, treat yourself to a magazine, a movie.
  • Tell someone – Call or e-mail a friend, or write a blog post or a Facebook update, ask for help.  You will get it.
  • Choose a positive substitute activity.  One that will make you feel good after you have done it not wretched and miserable after you have eaten the sweet.

  If You Decide To Eat Something Sweet

  • You must abide by the ten-minute rule — you have to wait ten minutes before you eat a sugary treat – If you still want it after ten minutes, go ahead.
  • Put the amount you’ll eat on a very small plate first (it will look like a bigger portion) — no eating from packages or serving dishes.
  • Try a substitute sweet fix instead;
  • A couple squares of sugar-free chocolate
  • A small portion of a low-glycemic fruit like cherries, apples, or plums
  • A sugar free mint
  • Decaf green tea or licorice tea to help restore adrenal function
  • Water sweetened with stevia and a splash of fresh citrus

Bit by bit, as you find alternatives and you feel better about yourself and healthier, see a waistline developing, your skin looking younger, your energy levels soaring, your body thanking you everyday, you WILL lessen the grip and be so proud of yourself.   Be strong, step up and start today!