Easter Treats that Feel Like a Treat!

Easter is just around the corner, and the shops are filled with all sorts of beautiful indulgences with which to celebrate.  Some of these beautiful indulgences  can  make us feel wonderful and happy and loved and those life enhancing feelings will stay with us for probably 10 days. Others we can treasure for life. So much to look forward to.

However, does that sound like your Easter treat?  For most people, probably not.  Why is that?  What is your Easter treat?  Is it a superficial and purely commercial shop bought Easter egg packaged to entice all ages and stamped with an absolute 100% guarantee of  the sugar rushes that will leave you feeling rubbish for at least one day and hug your waistline like the most ardent lover for the next few weeks?  Those sort of  Easter treats can make even the healthiest of us feel sluggish, stuffed and with a horrible sticky taste in our mouths, no matter how many times we clean our teeth? What sort of “treat” is that!

With YOUtrition, it’s all about thinking differently.  I cannot remember the last time I ate or was bought an Easter egg.  I do however remember last Easter, the one before that and even further back because of the wonderful treats bought/made for me by my son.

I still have the beautiful handmade Easter cards, saying on not very straight lines (who cares!), “I love you mummy, Happy Easter”, and the Easter chicks made from cotton wool balls and dyed a frightening yellow.  Later he progressed to shop bought cards, just as precious, with lovely verses he had obviously read in advance because they applied to our lives, often with photos of us and our dog stuck in – how utterly precious these still are.  And then of course the beautiful daffodils.  Always a bunch of sunshiny daffs on Easter Sunday.

Can you imagine how these true treats make me feel?  I know the mummies among you will, and it would also take the most hardened sugar addict to also not be affected.

So, my message is clear.  Ask your family in advance for something different this year.  Guide them gently to the card shops, point out the glorious spring flowers everywhere and let them know that at this second (or maybe third, after Christmas and Mother’s Day), most commercial time of  they year, that the things that would give you most joy are not the ones you put into your mouth and enjoy for 10 minutes then feel despondent about and regret for days later, but the pure joy of a homemade card or non-food gift or, for me my absolute favourite, a beautiful simple bunch of spring flowers.

Happy Easter!



Looking and Feeling Your Best For Summer on YOUtrition’s 6 Week Group Program!

Looking & Feeling  Your Best  for Summer with YOUtrition – I make simple changes that work in your life easy and fun, REALLY!


*I have counted calories for over 16 years and nothing has worked for me before, but you do. Thank you!*

*Sonia, I love you and now I love me. I know I can stick with this, its me!*

With my YOUtrition program,  6 Weeks to Looking & Feeling Your Best For Summer, I understand that the great, easy, tasty recipes you will get from me are not enough.   The tips on planning & prepping whilst vital, will get you to where you want to be, but maybe not keep you there.

I address both the “why” of our food choices and eating habits as well as the fabulous food.  My uniqueness lies in my 25 year drug & alcohol addictions.   For so many years I  was beyond desperate to be different and knew what I should be doing but just couldn’t stick with it.  Now at 53 years old, in the menopause (suffering no symptoms because of my way of eating) at 5ft 8, and weighing a steady 9st 7lbs, I do it easily.  This experience and my incredible strategies for long lasting change are what I do differently and what I share with you on my programs.

A one hour group session once a week for 6 weeks.  The group dynamic creates an excellent opportunity to work through what is and isn’t working for you and to find a way around an obstacles – believe me, as a group, we always find a way.

  • Professional, individual, qualified nutrition & weight loss support and information – this is no franchise diet club run by an unqualified rep!
  • A basic food plan – recipes and tips.
  • Every week a new breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe along with snack ideas –  based around the group’s needs, abilities and time constraints.
  • A shopping and meal planner
  • A food diary to keep with you and keep you motivated.
  • Professional exercise advice.
  • Strategies around food and your lifestyle that you build on over the 6 weeks, giving you confidence in yourself and your abilities and literally giving you the tools to set you and your food choices up for life.
  • Access to a private What’s App group message that I write on every day and that you can also contribute to.  This ensures you stay on track long after the program has finished.
  • A one-off  Maintenance session 4 weeks after the Program ends, to see how you are doing and to reinforce the program.

I create a powerful and non-judgmental environment where you are given the recipes, the motivation and the absolute support you need to create new habits.  New habits take six weeks to form, hence the length of my program.  Every week you will sit, in a small group, talking through what worked for you and what didn’t, receive at least one new recipe and in a truly supportive, encouraging space we work to find what’s right for YOU!  Not me, not the person sitting next to you, YOU!  We laugh, occasionally we cry and we clap a LOT.  We don’t just focus on the weight, we focus on the “why” of the weight and find the way forward for you.

I preparing for my Summer programs for the areas local to Beaconsfield, High Wycombe and Slough, so please contact me for more information and to reserve your space!

The cost of the 6 Weeks to Looking Great & Feeling Great is £100.

YOUtrition has been featured in


Smoothie, Power Up Your Body With Nutrients And Keep Calories Down

This morning, whilst I am at home getting ready for my busy day I am loving a smoothie for breakfast.  A gorgeous alternative meal (and I do mean alternative, don’t have a meal as well!),  that took less than 5 minutes to blend and, even though I am always prepared in advance with a healthy meal and snack in the fridge, sometimes I just feel like something different, maybe a little more indulgent that I can sip away at on the way to my next client or at home in front of the computer whilst I work.

And this is where smoothies become king.   A healthy smoothie can provide you with essential vitamins, fibre, healthy fats, protein and minerals and are an easy way to nourish your body as well as being a fantastic aid to weight loss.

Quick and unstressful to make, there is no need for the shop bought variety which are expensive and can have very high sugar content. The best way to know the exact ingredients in your smoothie is to make them yourself. All you need is a blender, leafy veg, a small amount of fruit and a base, such as water, milk or yogurt. Smoothies don’t need much planning in advance. These are the basics and from this start point, anything you like goes, literally.

The healthiest smoothies are packed with fibre, protein and healthy fats – think avocado, nuts and seeds.  Delicious to taste they are a godsend on a busy day, or after an indulgent night before or weekend.  They are a great way to re-balance our bodies and pump in the nutrients we may have missed out on and to keep your calories down.

Beware though of the not so healthy smoothies, even homemade ones.  These are the ones packed mainly with fruit and although fruit is fantastic in terms of antioxidants and vitamins, it does need to be eaten in moderation due to the high sugar content.  I want your smoothie to keep you full so that you don’t need to snack between meals, and don’t create a massive sugar spike then slump which will leave you craving more sugar.

The best proportion for any smoothie to keep you full and satisfied is 3/4 veg and the last quarter made up of fruit, healthy fats and water – if I do add avocado or nuts, I use water instead of yogurt to keep the fat and calorie content lower.

So here is my smoothie recipe for this morning, and as I said before, I didn’t plan it, I just had the ingredients to hand,  and literally anything you like goes.  Be brave, mix it up.  Like any new recipe, taste it and then add a little more sweetness in the form of an extra strawberry, a little more banana, or ramp up the intensity by adding a pinch of chilli or small amount of ginger.

Breakfast Boost

1 x handful spinach.

1/4 avocado.

2 x tbsp oats.

¼ x beetroot.

½ x small banana.

1 x strawberry.

½ cup water.

Serves 1, Cals 200.

Blended all together and its done.  If you like a little looser add water to achieve the consistency you like.  Just look at the nutrients involved here, the vitamins, fibre, protein and healthy fats.  This is a total powerhouse of a meal in one delicious drink.

Looking Great & Feeling Great For Christmas

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat.  I wonder how many of us are feeling the same way!  With six weeks to go, would you like to lose that persistent 7 – 8lbs and look and feel your very best come Christmas Day?  It really isn’t too late with the right food information, planning and the key to weight loss – motivation and support.

My Looking Great & Feeling Great for Christmas is the answer. It’s tried, it’s tested and it works.

It follows the YOUtrition ethos of simple, easy foods, planned and pre-pepped in advance that will nourish your body with the nutrients it needs whilst ridding you of the excess weight that spoils your day. YOUtrition also works to remove the food and financial stresses  involved in making foods that the whole family will eat.  YOUtrition is not a diet.  It is a lifestyle, with a mix of recipes, tips and strategies  that work for life.  Really work.  Plus you get my expert support and encouragement along the way whenever you need it.

Here are some of my most recent testimonials.

“The ongoing gentle yet targeted support has ensured that my food choices are in line with my decision to lose weight. And this has helped me to start shifting some long-standing excess pounds. Can’t recommend YOUtrition enough”

Mrs P Zet

“I didn’t think making healthy food could be this easy.  I can’t even really call it cooking.  I am never hungry and there is always something to eat in the fridge that moves me forward.  Why has it taken me so long to think this way?  Where have you been Sonia? I love me and I love you”

Mrs A Brunds

I’m so happy! biggest loss for a long time in one week -2.8lb and down to 11st 6.6lb. I haven’t been below 11 and a half stone for about 4 and half years!”

Mrs S Doyle

“6lbs in three weeks and one week I wobbled a bit.  Yipee.  Thanks Sonia for getting me back on track, your words of encouragement made all the difference”

Ms S Elliott

My Looking Great & Feeling Great For Christmas program is £30 and comes with a Food Diary booklet for you to slip into your bag which will motivate and keep you on track.


YOUtrition 7 Day Body Reset Programme

Reset your body to looking great, feeling great and losing weight in just 7 days and find a solution that works for you in your life.  Weight loss really can be that simple!

Everyone wants a quick fix when it comes to, well everything, especially weight loss.  The reality is though that it took time to get to the weight that makes you unhappy and it takes time to lose it and rest your body.  However, the time to lose the weight does not have to be long or hard, or stressful or leave you feeling deprived and fearful that the weight once lost will creep up and find you again.

I designed my YOUtrition 7 Day Body Reset Programme as a fantastic jump start to looking great, feeling great and losing weight,  to prove just how easy it is to get on track within 7 days, simply by making adjustments not just to our food choices and eating habits , but to our preparation and planning, which once you have completed the 7 days and realise how much time and stress you have saved as well as really seeing and feeling the difference, you will stick with quite simply because it is the long term workable weight loss solution.

Included in the YOUtrition 7 Day Body Reset Programme are simple tasty meals that are interchangable on any day.  There are my YOUtrition Top 10 Tips for Looking Great, Feeling Great and Losing Weight, which can be applied to literally every situation. Just read them, you will understand immediately the reason for them (and that in itself makes them easy to follow and stick with), tips on food, movement, portion sizing  and the all important and extremely poweful MINDSET – without the right mindset and thinking differently about your weight loss, this could become another quick fix for you –  you will still lose the weight, but I want it to be for you for life!   Take that absolutely on board and you have taken a massive step towards overcoming your weight loss challanges.

There is also a YOUtrition Food Diary in an easy A5 booklet for you to slip into your handbag. With four weeks to complete and tips to keep you motivated and on track with food choices, portion sizing etc, this is a very, very powerful motivational tool (mindset) which you keep with you all the time.  It is amazing how this one little book motivates clients forward and accountable for exactly what and how much they eat. There is also a Meal Planner for you to complete and take with you shopping.  Plan you meals in advance.  I take one hour out of my week to complete this, list the foods I will need and then go shopping. Stick to it! Don’t be lead astry with offers of food products – these are the very products are what got you to this unhappy state.  Keep in mind always your goals and only buy the foods on your shopping list. These are the foods that will take you closer to your looking great, feeling great goals.

Finally, you will get a 15 minute Skype/telephone consultation with me, ( I am a fully qualified specialist in weight loss and nutrition who has published articles  and also presents a radio show on health & fitness),  before you start the Programme to make sure you understand exactly what you need to do and for me to address any questions you have and to set you up motivationally for success, plus I can be contacted for support during the week and another 15 minute consultation at the end to keep you on track.

The YOUtrition 7 Day Body Reset Programme is flexible within its guidelines, so if you don’t like one type of food in the menus, I can simply and easily swap it out.  This programme really is tailored for you so that you can get the most out of it and stick with the principles for life.


” I am 55 years old, in the middle of the menopause and was feeling rubbish.  I didn’ expect much from this programme but was desperate enough to try anything and  I can’t believe how I feel.  I lost 6lbs, am sleeping better, my horrible how flushes have almost gone and my clothes are looser especially around my waist.  Best of all I was not hungry and didn’t miss any of the stuff I usually ate to make myself feel better.  I know now that was the stuff that actually make me feel worse”  Thank you Sonia for making me look and feel so much better.”                                     Meg Elliott, 55


“I lost 5lbs the first week and I feel so good.  The programme is straightforward and easy to follow and it made sense.  Sonia is so funny , supportive and knowledgeable and I felt I was talking to a friend who wanted the best for me.  I have continued to plan my meals and this has saved me so much time and money,  I think differently about myself and my food and it is liberating which means even more to me than the weight.  I am well on my way to looking and feeling the way I deserve to be (Sonia’s words and my feelings).  One very happy lady.”   C Adams, 44


“I wanted a quick fix for my holiday and my goodness I got one.  I expected to feel hungry and rely on willpower and neither happened.  I love the way Sonia thinks and talks and the support she gave me.  I don’t like oats so she changed two recipes and I live by myself so she changed the evening meals for one person.  Sonia understood me and I felt I was the only person she cared about and I now keep the top 10 tips with me as well as my food diary and my weight keeps going down and my self esteem and confidence going up”                                                 Sue Moore, 42


Follow the Programme and success really is guaranteed!

YOUtrition 7 Day Body Reset Programme £50.00


Veggies, The Not So Secret Answer to Great Health & Weight

Veggies can sound like the dullest part of a meal.  However, there is so much we can do to literally spice them up, and in terms of weight loss and great health, they are heaven sent. To kick start your weight loss, try for one week portioning your plate out like this – you won’t regret it.

½ Veggies or Salad – make it colourful and fill this portion of your plate FIRST!

¼ Protein

¼ Healthy carbs!  Healthy carbs are not white or fluffy or overly sweet.  They include WHOLEMEAL (not brown) everything.

  • Choose a wide variety of veggies and steam them lightly to keep as much of the nutrients as possible.
  • Be brave and try new ones. Keep them colourful.  The greater the variety in colour, the wider the variety of nutrients eaten.
  • Low carb veggies include broccoli, cabbage, aubergine, pumpkin, courgette, asparagus, and butternut squash. All veggies are nutrient powerhouses!  Be creative with your veggies.
  • Add chilli flakes or sauté with garlic and onion or cherry tomatoes.
  • Add spices such as fennel or turmeric.
  • Dress with a very small amount of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Toast some pine nuts and toss in.
  • A small sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on any veggies is delicious, but keep this small and occasionally.

See how many options you already have?  Try these two fabulous alternatives to pasta and just look at the calories.



280g Courgettes


Use a spiralizer – I used the finer noodle attachment – or a julienne peeler to create courgette noodles.

Toss in a pan with one teaspoon of olive oil for 30 seconds.  Done!

Serves 4, per 71g serving

Cal 25, Fat 1.3g, Carbs 1.2g, Fibre 1.4g, Protein 1.3g, Salt 0g

Butternut Squash Noodles


600g Butternut Squash

2 teaspoons Olive Oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 200. Lightly spray two large baking trays with oil.

Trim the top portion of the butternut.  This is the only part that can be spiralized (reserving the bottom for another recipe).

Trim the top off and peel the skin off. Cut the butternut in 2 pieces so it’s easier to handle, then spiralize using the thickest noodle setting of your spiralizer.

Cut into 6 inch lengths so it’s easy to eat.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and drizzle each with 1 teaspoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste. Roast until soft, 7 to 10 minutes.

Serves 4, per 152g serving

Cal 78, Fat 2.1g, Carbs 11.2g Fibre 3g, Protein 1.7g Salt 0.02g






The Menopause – Symptoms & Relief, Nature’s Way

As women mature and the menopause looms,  it can become harder to lose weight.  But we really don’t need to accept this as our lot.  Although there is a tendency for women over 40 to gain up to 2lbs per year, it is more likely down to the fact that we move less and our general activity levels drop rather than from hormonal changes and the slowing of our metabolism.  That is not to deny that hormonal changes, particularly the lowering of estrogen as we enter the menopause, can change the way we store fat particularly round our trunk.  Hence the dreaded thickening waistline.  So what can we do to keep these excess pounds away?

It is important to acknowledge that the tried and tested quick fixes of our 20’ and 30’s are gone.  Our bodies just don’t respond in the same way.  Personally I love this. It means that any changes we make will need to be long term for the weight to stay lost and so we give up on the “diets” and make the food and lifestyle changes that lose the weight and benefit both our physical and mental health.

A couple of years ago, in the height of my embarrassing hot flushes and sleepless nights – the ones that left me looking and feeling like a wrung out tearful shadow of myself, I started investigating why some women suffer so much and others seem to sail through (maybe they actually didn’t, but if they were feeling like me, they surely deserved an Academy Award for hiding it!).  I started to read about cultures where the effects of the menopause where unknown.  Initially I wondered if this was maybe down to embarrassment and under-reporting on the part of the woman of these cultures, but even female health care professionals there had never heard of “hot flushes”. Why?  Here follows a brief description of the changes in our bodies during the menopause, please bear with me, I expect most of us know this, but still, I do have a reason for writing this……

When we stop ovulating our need for estrogen drops off dramatically. We do still produce some estrogen but in much smaller quantities in our adrenal glands and adipose tissue (fat cells).   The menopausal symptoms we come to dread, the hot flushes, sleepless nights, mood swings etc. are simply the result of our bodies being in withdrawal.  We don’t tolerate the drop in estrogen because in our Western diet of high fat, low fibre, we are accustomed to much higher levels of this hormone than our bodies ever needed. Basically we are going cold turkey!   Our bodies really struggle to re-equalize this balance and so we swing from one feeling to another.

So, that’s the science.  Now my response as a weight loss specialist and nutritionist and someone who cares passionately about women’s health and wellbeing.

During the menopause, as with all natural bodily functions, there is a natural diet based solution, which even if it does not completely alleviate all the symptoms, definitely makes them more manageable because our hormones become more balanced.  In the instance, the re-balancing is achieved by eating phyto-estrogens (plant based estrogen), antioxidants and essential fatty acids, along of course with cutting out the foods that work against them.

The highest sources of phyto-estrogens are soy, lentils and chickpeas – don’t panic though, this is nowhere near as dull as you might imagine.  Whilst it would be great to up your intake of these, the list of phyto-estrogen foods is long and varied and includes, seeds, nuts, grains, many vegetables and fruits (which also include the antioxidants) as well as herbs and spices.  Along with some healthy fats, think salmon, avocado, eggs and a little lean red and white meat, you can see that your daily diet won’t be dull but will go a long way to reducing your symptoms.

So these are nature’s menopause helpers.  What about its saboteurs?  They include excessive caffeine and alcohol, sugar in its processed form and refined wheats, salt and excessive meat protein intake.  I say meat protein specifically as vegetable protein (quinoa for instance is a complete vegetable protein), as meat protein seems to take more calcium from our bones which can make us more vulnerable to osteoporosis.

Also, whilst it is vital to maintain calcium intakes during the menopause, dairy sources of calcium can have high saturated fat content so should be limited to one to two servings a day.

So, armed with all this information, I made some really easy changes to my diet.  I upped my phyto-estrogen foods and minimized my processed/caffeine and sugar.  And I kid you not, I do not have any symptoms at all now!  Truly, I have gone from changing my sheets at least twice a week to the much more normal once.  My energy levels and mood are right up there and I still have my waist (not so much maybe, but it is still there….), plus, and for me most importantly, my so precious sleep is back on track.

Obviously there will be some ladies who say, “I do all this and I am still really suffering”.  My heart really goes out to you and please see your doctor in case there are any other underlying issues, however in the main these changes do work and will benefit every aspect of your life.  Dare I say it, here’s to a happier, more manageable menopause! x




Food Swaps Made Smart & Easy For Successful Weight Loss

Food and recipes – we all have our favourite’s.  The ones we have maybe grown up with, that our families and friends love us to make and the ones we are best at and like to show off, or is that just me…..?

Anyway, when it comes to shifting our excess weight, the last thing we want to have to do is abandon all our tried and tested and much loved recipes and replace them with foods we hope to learn to love but don’t initially have the same appeal.  Can you imagine your family asking for the “lovely raw veggies and low fat dressing”?  or the response you would get to the “Mum, I’m starving, what’s for dinner?”  and you reply chicken breast with salad……Not good I suspect.

So, what to do to keep all family members happy and you on your weight loss track?   I have the answer.  Food swaps.  I do this all the time and no-one even notices and often if they do, they love them for a number of reasons, such as the food swap is less heavy so they feel less sluggish afterwards and certainly has less sugar so there is no sugar crash shortly after eating and the subsequent hunger, and sometimes they just love the change of taste or texture within the recipe.

The easiest examples I use are these.

  • Out with the Spaghetti, in with the Courgetti and Butternut noodles mixed – you don’t have to go the whole hog and cut out the spaghetti altogether, just mix a smaller amount of the pasta with a larger amount of the veggie noodles – this also looks so lovely and colourful and tempting on a plate.
  • Out with the Cheese sauces in lasagne, bakes etc, in with the half fat crème fraiche with a pinch of nutmeg and a grating of cheese.  No butter, no flour, no milk and a much smaller amount of cheese.
  • Out with the sheet pasta in with the wholemeal tortillas in all instances.  My family love lasagne and cannelloni with wholemeal tortilla.  Pizzas with whole meal tortilla are also a massive hit.
  • Out with minced beef (5 to 15% fat and the 5% is much more expensive), in with minced Turkey (4 – 7% fat at a much lower price).  Every single recipe that requires beef can be swapped with turkey.  You don’t have to do this very time, but even if you alternate between beef and turkey you will save so many calories and a big reduction in fat.
  • Out with tomato sauces in jars (a total sugar and additive fest!), in with homemade sauces.  This is so, so easy.  When I have very little time, I put a can of tinned tomatoes, garlic cloves, onion, chilli, basil – basically whatever I fancy in my blender, whiz up and tip on anything that needs a sauce. Voila!
  • Out with the sour cream as dips, in with the 0% Greek yoghurt – not Greek Style Yoghurt – topped with herbs.  Think of the calories saved in this one small change alone!

Look around you and be creative.  Use herbs and spices – there is always recommendations as to which foods they work well with on the labels. Keep it simple and definitely keep it stress free.  Eat your favourite family meals plus add in some new ones and you will achieve your weight loss goals painlessly and keep the family happy.


Prepping for SUCCESS! A Key Factor in Successful, Sustainable Weight Loss & FUN!

As a Specialist in Weight Loss and Nutrition, I know that food prepping is one of the key factors in successful, sustainable weight loss.

Once you start regularly prepping your food for the next few days/week, you really will never look back.  The days of grabbing totally unsatisfactory “beige food” from a fast food outlet or a pre-packed supermarket  sandwich (with a food label listing suspiciously chemical sounding ingredients), will become a distant, unpleasant memory – along with the uncomfortably tight waistband, lethargy, insulin spike, subsequent frequent hunger and disappointment in your continuing struggle with weight loss.

No matter how busy your life is, if you have time to watch watch TV in the evenings, you have time to prep.  It is all about prepping your life around your health and weight, not the other way around.

Make a list of wholefoods during the week (plus add some spices and other staples).  Choose and stick to a quiet time to spend half an hour in the shop – believe me, when you are mainly buying mainly wholefoods there is no wandering up and down the isles pondering over chemical choices and checking out food labels for the healthiest options.  Then set aside just an hour, experiment with easy recipes, mix up some that need cooking and some that don’t.  Batch up into sealed tupperware containers and pop into the fridge/freezer.  Keep it simple and keep it stress free.

Whilst I accept that in the beginning the idea of prepping and cooking food in advance for the fridge can be quite daunting, you quickly adapt and factor it in to your weekly routine.  As you start to make easy meals that you look forward to and that keep you on your weight loss track, it will become fun.  How fab to come home, grab something you really like from the fridge or freezer, pop in the microwave or oven, and by the time you have taken off your coat and changed your shoes, a delicious meal is done.  Or to wake late knowing that no matter how much of a rush you are in, breakfast, lunch and dinner is sorted and you just have to grab something from the fridge!

I am not a cook, but I really enjoy the (up to) 2 hours in the kitchen, normally at the weekends, “creating”.  I have my standard 5 – 6 meals which I jazz up with different herbs, spices and individual twists and I LOVE IT! I also love the fact that I know exactly what I am eating and feeding to my loved ones.

Always prepared.  Never hungry. Always working towards your health & weight loss (and one last and important point, much cheaper)!

Let’s get prepping.


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.