Monday, 13 February 2017

What to do next...

In order to establish a baseline, for the last week you should have been recording your food and drink intake. If you didn't, go to the previous blog post "Where to start with your new nutrition plan..."

Everything from your morning tea/coffee to the 3rd helping of cake and 2 bottles of wine you drank!

The aim of this exercise is to figure out how much you're actually consuming so we have a starting point to base any dietary changes off.

Without knowing this, there's no way to tell if you need to eat more, less, the same amount, whether you need to exercise more or less, or what other changes you might need to make.

So our next step is to establish some consistency.

Get a bit of routine in your eating and exercise and again, track your data.

Right now we're still not changing anything, just establishing consistency.

So for the next week, all I want you to do is this:

Repeat the last week's food intake.

Whether it was "good" or "bad", you have in front of you a menu of foods and drinks, that you like and choose to eat, and that should be easy for you to repeat.

Again, all we're aiming to do here is establish some consistency and routine. This is the starting point from which changes can be made. The assessment needed to know what step to take next.

Without this, any changes are pure guesswork and the chances of success are a lottery. You can follow what worked for someone else (i.e. a mainstream "diet"), but really - has that worked for you in the past?

So you have the next week's menu in front of you. Foods you've likely already got in the house or know where to buy. Foods you know how to cook/prepare already and probably foods that are easy for you to make and that you enjoy.

This is a diet plan that even you can't fail at.

Once you've begun to establish this baseline, simple changes can be made to get things moving in the right direction.

You may even find you lose weight just from doing this! (I won't let on why just yet, but don't be shocked if you see the scales some down a couple of notches!)

So unless there was a blowout of epic proportions on last week's food diary, simply repeat exactly what you ate/drank last week and see how you do.

Until next time...

Where to start with your new nutrition plan...

Most people try to jump right in with a complicated nutrition plan with no regard for where they're starting from.

What if you've been eating 1,000 calories a day and your weight loss plan tells you to eat 1,200? Has it accounted for your current nutritional habits? No.

Does your lean meal recipe adjust portion sizes dependent on your size, gender, goals (weight loss or weight gain), activity levels that day, or whether you've just worked out or had a rest day? No.

So why the hell would you think that this plan will work for you?!
...because the advertising tells you it will and there are some pictures of people who've lost weight on the front cover?!

Even your intricately :p calculated weight loss plan that asked for your weight, goals and activity levels can't accurately guess your energy/calorie needs.

You can find an online calorie calculator that will give you this "information" (if you can call it that) but in actuality it can't possibly get it right because we're not as simple as the calories in/calories out equation.

Whether calories get used for energy or stored depends on hormonal profiles, which energy systems are most efficient in your body, and a host of other things (not to mention that not all calories are equal - 100 calories from some avocado is NOT the same as 100 calories of biscuits!)

So your starting point should be this:

Establish a calorie baseline

Quite simply, record what you're eating and drinking (every single morsel of food and drink that passes your lips) and establish how much you're actually eating.

You won't be eating the same amount every day, and your weekly totals probably won't be too similar either.

It's natural, normal, and healthy to have fluctuations in calorie intake, but if you're fluctuating too much (i.e. starving yourself during the week and binging at the weekends) then you have no baseline to work off. No starting point for your "diet".

So your starting point, and homework for this next week is to simply record your food/drink intake in a food diary. Find out how much you're actually eating now (it's probably nowhere near what you think you're consuming!) and establish whether you're currently gaining weight, losing weight, or maintaining weight.

That's it. Don't change anything yet, don't worry about macros (protein/carbs/fat), don't worry about meal timings or meal frequency, just record and collect information. You don't have to do anything with it yet.

Take up this challenge and I'll be in touch again in a week to tell you what to do next.

If you're serious about making healthy changes to your diet, ditching the fads and gimmick diets, and getting control of your eating habits and weight once and for all, DO THIS.

Don't skip the easiest and most fundamental stage because you're impatient! A week or two establishing your starting point so you get it right is not time wasted!

Get things ready and start first thing in the morning. Log it on your phone, write it down, use an app - whatever suits you, but get it done.

In a week I'll tell you what to do next...

If you want help with your nutrition/diet, please get in touch or check out the Nutrition section of my website

Monday, 28 November 2016

7 Top Tips to stay healthy in December

In December many of us tend to let our guard down with regard to our health and fitness regimes (if we have one in place to begin with). We’re busy with “busy work” and our exercise efforts can quite easily take a back seat to shopping, lunches and dinners, hangovers, kids and more.

It’s important to make time to fit your exercise in, even if you have to shorten your workouts or train at home. Skipping workouts leads to skipping more workouts and then, like the classic diet, the “I’ll start again on Monday” promise that translates to a complete blowout.

There’s no denying that at this time of year we have extra work to do – busy times at work or deadlines to meet; yes, the shopping does need to be done; and yes, there are lots of social things going on – but if you don’t take time for yourself you’ll be left in January feeling beaten and depressed and looking at what seems like a huge challenge ahead to lose weight and get fit again.

So here are some tips you may find useful through December to try and keep on top of things.

Remember, at this time of year if you struggle to maintain your exercise and healthy eating, your focus should just be on maintaining your current weight, not on losing weight. As long as you’re not gaining weight you’re doing better than most, and also probably better than previous years!

Tip #1: Make time. It’s not as hard as it sounds, just schedule in your workouts and stick to it – things will crop up and get in the way, but you need to keep to your schedule for yourself. Other things can wait, because in the end, your health is more important and one missed workout can snowball. Find a time that you think you’ll be able to allocate to a workout and schedule it in.

If you have the time to train in the morning – do it then. If not, train as soon as you get home from work (maybe even change into your gym kit before you leave). The longer you leave it, the more likely you are to skip it.

Tip #2: Pace yourself. Just because you’re on a night out, doesn’t mean you have to guzzle your way through 3 bottles of prosecco or a dozen pints. Enjoy your drinks, don’t neck them. And avoid shots!
As an extra bonus you might avoid the end-of-night junk food binge too!

Tip #3: Don’t take cakes, sweets, chocolates etc. into work. Chances are most of your co-workers will be trying to avoid the Christmas weight-gain too so stick together and be strong! If someone offers you treats, try to politely decline as much as possible. If you receive a box of chocolates as a gift, don’t open them, or gift them on (preferably to someone who’s not watching their weight).

Tip #4: Catch up on lost sleep. The late nights associated with all the get-togethers will have an impact on your health. Sleep is your best tool for keeping off the pounds. You’ll feel better and have more energy (= less skipped workouts), you burn the most fat (proportionally) when you sleep, your body recovers and repairs and your hormones rebalance. If you miss sleep, be sure to catch up on it somewhere – try to avoid shifting your wake up time too much, just take a nap in the afternoon when possible to make up for a late night or get to bed earlier the following night.

Tip #5: Walk more. To make up for the extra calories you’re likely consuming, and possibly (but hopefully not) missed workouts, try to get more activity during the day. Park at the back of the car park. Walk instead of taking the bus. Climb the escalators instead of waiting to be delivered at the top etc. Little things that you do daily add up. 

That being said, walking isn’t the most efficient activity for weight loss, so don’t sacrifice a workout for a walk, but if you can add walking in where it wasn’t before without cutting into your day, do it.

Tip #6: Drink lots of water. A glass of water when you wake up (before your tea/coffee) will help you rehydrate; a glass before meals will help you to eat less; a glass or two on a night out will slow down your alcohol consumption; water during the day will help you focus and may help reduce snacking; there are no down-sides to staying hydrated and many upsides, so it’s a no-brainer really.

Tip #7: Use your diary. This is similar to tip #1, but we tend to find ourselves wasting a lot of time all through the year, especially at Christmas. Plan your days and make them efficient. You’ll be amazed how much you can get done when you have a clear plan rather than just winging-it. Plan your day the night before – write your to-do’s, allocate time for meals and workouts, get the small things ticked off quickly and be sure to make time for yourself too. Things will get in the way, but just stick to plan and deal with extra things as soon as they come up.

Obviously there are many more things you can do to stay on track, but scheduling your days will likely have the biggest impact.

If you’ve been prepared and done all of your Christmas shopping already then you have one less thing to worry about – work on your plan of action for the nights out and think about when you’re going to have your workouts, and making better choices when the temptations are abundant.

When January comes you’ll be ready to hit the New Year running and focus on your health and weight loss goals without having to undo all the damage done in December.

If you need help with your training and/or nutrition, visit for more information on Nutrition Coaching, Personal Training, Bootcamp, and other classes.