Getting Down to the Nutrition Basics: My Tips for Weight Loss

Drastic Diet
















Because I’m a personal trainer, you may be half expecting me to harp on about why physical exercise is the most important part of losing weight.  The fact is, it’s not.  Diet and exercise are both equally important when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off for life.

Even if you were to work with me an hour each day for a year and eat whatever you wanted, you wouldn’t be in optimum health.  You need a healthy, balanced diet for this as well.

A balanced diet will do so much in helping you achieve the body and the waistline you want – and it will go a long way in helping you to enjoy optimum health.

As you already know from my blog, it takes just 30 days for you to replace old unhealthy habits, with healthy ones that will keep you looking and feeling great for life.  I’ve already told you what nutritional changes you need to start implementing when you start out on that lifestyle change road.

Further to this though, I have a number of basics you also need to bear in mind when it comes to nutrition.  Here they are:

  • Keep an eye on your calorie intake:  For weight loss as a general rule, experts recommend a calorie intake no less than 1200 calories per day for women and no less than 1800 calories per day for men.  You generally need to reduce your daily intake of calories by 15-20%.
  • Watch your portion sizes:  Aim to eat at least 5-6 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, because the fiber they contain helps you to lose weight.  Smaller portions are the key, and it is also good to eat slowly.  By eating smaller portions, you are consuming fewer calories and by eating slowly, you will notice that you are full sooner. 
  • Do not skip meals:  This is a big one!  People think that by skipping meals, they’re helping themselves lose weight.  By eating the 5-6 small meals per day, you will keep your blood sugar levels right which helps you to lose weight and stay healthy.  Most importantly, it keeps your metabolism going, so you will burn more calories throughout the course of the day.
  • Avoid sugars you don’t need:  Don’t drink juices or soft drinks which are responsible for weight gain.  Instead, aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.  Often that feeling of hunger is actually due to thirst, so drink up and you won’t be eating anything extra.  And if you feel like soft drink, opt for diet soft drink instead.
  • Don’t forget to treat yourself:  It’s okay to treat yourself every once in a while.  Treats may include chocolates, sweets, chips or ice cream.  If you deprive yourself completely of treats, you’re more likely to fall off the healthy eating bandwagon altogether.

Stick to these general rules – and don’t forget to exercise!  Weight loss is inevitable under these circumstances.

Calorie Counting Basics

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We all know that eating well is all about taking into consideration the calories going in via foods and the calories going out through our physical exercise.  When we get the balance right we maintain a healthy weight.  And when we ensure there are more calories being burnt than consumed, we lose weight.

Calorie counting is the best way by far for us to stay on track, whether it’s weight loss or weight maintaining.  But what is the easiest way for us to count calories and ensure we stay on track?

Mention calorie counting to many people and they will roll their eyes and say, “It’s laborious” or “It’s too hard”.  Fact of the matter is though, it’s the surefire way for ensuring we get the calories we need to achieve our goals.

So what are the most effective ways we can keep track of the calories going in?  Here are my two recommendations:

  • Developing meal plans:  This is by far the best method to help you monitor all of the calories going in.  Measure the foods going into your meals, to determine the calories.  Create your meal plan for an entire week, and for variety, create several meal plans – perhaps 4 or so – to cover you for a month.  It is important that you stick to your meal plan.  Meal plans include absolutely everything you eat – breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and of course snacks.  By sticking to your meal plan, you will know exactly how many calories are going in. 
  • Keeping a Food Diary:  Keeping a food diary is the traditional way people count calories.  You simply write down whenever you eat something, and make a note of the calories.  Then you add your daily calorie intake up at the end of the day, to determine how many calories have gone into your body for the day.  Food diaries are popular, however, one of the downsides to food diaries is that people don’t add to it as they eat.  As a result, they may forget to add snacks and drinks throughout the day, resulting in a lower daily calorie calculation at the end of the day.  It’s called food amneisia and so many of us have done it at some time or another! 

I always recommend people develop meal plans, as opposed to keep a food diary, because meal plans are by far the best way to keep track of calories in.  You don’t have to guess how many calories you are eating, because the meal plan tells you.  Also, you don’t have to add the food as you eat, like you do in a food diary.  And as you know, all too often people forget to add everything they eat to the diary anyway.

The thing though about meal plans is that people often bawk at the effort involved in preparing one.  Whenever a client says to me, “Oh Dear Trainer, creating a meal plan is way too much time and effort for me”, I just respond by asking them how important it is for them to achieve their weight and health goals.

There are plenty of meal plans out there that you can get off the internet for free, however, by creating your own meal plan, you are factoring in your own preferences.  Sure, you will be eating healthy foods, but still, you may not like eating brussel sprouts and instead may choose to replace with broccoli.  By creating your own meal plan, you cater to your tastes.

If you really find creating a meal plan daunting, I recommend you go online and find a meal plan that appeals, and then make small changes to suit your tastes.  Be sure though to ensure the calories are correct for whatever it is you are adding to the meal plan as a replacement food.

It’s definitely worth the effort to create a meal plan, so set some time aside and have fun!