Lose weight easily with these swaps

Here's my quick list of simple food swaps that you can easily take advantage of, starting now.

What's crossed over is your TREATS - they should not be your everyday diet staples.

(There's nothing wrong with having them, but remember moderation. If you go for the crossed over options habitually, you've got some work to do.)

 

SO:

ONLY AS A TREAT - HAVE THIS INSTEAD

 

Cereal - nutty muesli (less sugar than fruit muesli), porridge with fruit, low sugar cereal (e.g. Weetabix), or go for a cooked breakfast of eggs, beans and brown toast.

Chocolate - have a glass of water, then eat a piece of fruit. You get natural sugars from fruit, which is far better than refined sugar from sweets and chocolate. If you still find yourself craving sweet, distract yourself by going out for a walk or doing housework.

Creamy sauces - tomato or vegetable based sauces

Fatty red meat like bacon and sausages, chicken thighs and wings - chicken breast, turkey breast, lean red meat. At least trim the fat off your bacon. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel you should still have!

Flavoured yoghurt - plain yoghurt (natural probiotic yoghurt/Greek yoghurt)  with fresh berries/fruit if you want sweetness in it

Main meal at a restaurant - go for a starter or a soup, or ask for a doggy bag if you're going for a main meal. Portion sizes in most restaurants are mahoosive, rarely under 1,000 kcal, so save half of it until later.

Dried fruit - fresh fruit. With dried fruit, you'll quickly have way too much sugar. It's still better than sweets, but the fresh stuff is the real thing.

Juice - water. If you really want a bit of sweetness in your water, infuse it with berries or lime/lemon

100% fruit juice - fresh fruit. Not only does it satisfy you more, you'll end up consuming fewer calories and getting much more fibre from the real thing.

Fizzy pop - sparkling water (infused with fruit, berries, cucumber, fresh mint leaves etc. if you like)

Latte/hot chocolate etc coffee shop high calorie drinks - swap for an espresso or an americano, and add a bit of milk yourself.

 

You can also consider whether you need to use oil in cooking. If you have a good teflon pan, chances are you don't. Or grill your meats, no added fats needed!

Note! Do not go for advertised diet products. Low fat items are often higher in sugar, low calorie meals won't keep you satisfied and will make you more likely to crave naughties, and just generally bear in mind that the flavour has to come from somewhere. Food manufacturers want to add as much (addictive) flavour to foods as possible so they can make more money when you buy their products again. Also, Artificial sweeteners are added to tons of processed foods, and some research suggests they're even worse for you than pure sugar, so do your best to steer away. Science has also shown that people who consume more artificial sweeteners and 'diet foods' are heavier than people who don't, so

focus on eating real, unprocessed food.

 

My 5 top tips for building a healthier diet

I did personalised calorie & protein calculations for a young lady recently. She started using MyFitnessPal, and despite hitting her fat loss eating targets she's struggling to know where to start in terms of building a healthier, more sustainable overall diet instead of eating crap within her allowances. Both will make you lose weight, but of course it's better to focus on good quality nutrition to keep your body healthy and mind sharp. Now I know it's much more media attractive to promote a simple unsustainable shitty juice diet than make BALANCE an attractive idea. If you've done several diets in the past, you're used to being given specific rules on how to eat for a short period of time. Unfortunately, this is very rarely sustainable and the cold truth is that if you want to lose weight and keep it off for good, you have to work on finding your own balance with nutrition. A professional can help you build up good basics, but you must do the hard work of integrating the new habits into your lifestyle yourself.

Here's my top 5 tips on how to make the process as painless as possible:

  1. Eat only when you're hungry. Wait for it, and then really enjoy your food. Always have a healthy snack handy though (fruit/nuts/natural yoghurt/even just a glass of water), because the time when you're most likely to make bad choices with nutrition is towards the end of the day when you're tired and hungry. Kill off the biggest hunger whilst you're making a quick healthy meal.
  2. Focus on colours. The more colours you have in your diet, the more vitamins your body gets from the food you eat. Now obviously this doesn't include artificial colourings. Stock up on different coloured veg to get up to a great start, or have a side salad with your meal. If you're not a huge fan on veg, just chop it up small to hide it in great traditional dishes like spaghetti bolognese or various oven bakes. I tend to throw in onion, garlic, peppers, grated carrots and even celery for a great tasting, authentic spag bol.
  3. Eat from a small plate. This has all to do with your brain - research shows that if you eat the same amount of food from a small plate versus a larger plate, you'll be full sooner eating from the smaller plate. This is because your brain  will perceive that you've had more food  when you've finished off a full plate. If you're genuinely still hungry after finishing it, feel free to top up. Another related tip that can work wonders is to eat with a smaller fork, or even just a teaspoon.
  4. Focus on the positives. There are no foods you can't have if you're trying to lose weight. Your brain is very bad at processing negatives - if you tell yourself you "can't have chocolate", all your brain hears is "have chocolate". Traditional dieting - where you're only allowed certain types of foods - and not allowed others, is based on a deprivation mindset. This won't help you build long lasting habits. To build a sustainable healthy diet, you are in fact allowed anything you want, but you should learn to not want a lot of it. Just think about the reasons of why you want to eat it. To successfully maintain your dream weight, your diet should consist 80-90% of real foods and 10-20% of treats (this can be readily processed foods, chocolate, alcohol... whatever you fancy). When your overall diet is based on real, nutritious food, you'll feel fantastic and full of energy... So why would you want to ruin it with tons of junk? Remember, the first bite of your favourite foods/treats is always lovely.... And the experience doesn't increase on the 10th mouthful. You can learn to just have a bite of chocolate, not the whole bar at once.
  5. Balance out your macros. Try to find a balance with having all three types of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) in good proportion with every meal. Fats are highest in calories, so although you need fats to be healthy, you also want to be careful not to over consume them. For portion control, take a handful (not more) of carbs with each meal (that's pasta/rice/potatoes...) and limit added fats to a minimum. You'll get enough fats pretty much with any diet, so focus on foods that contain great quality fats like avocado or salmon. Also, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil a day has great health benefits, so you can make sure to top your side salad with that every day. Processed fats (transfats) are the worst and super unhealthy, as these are produced in factories just to make your processed food palatable. Most importantly, try to make sure to have protein (meat, dairy, eggs...) with every single meal of the day and you're off to a great start - it's also the macronutrient with the highest satiety factor, i.e. it'll make you feel full for the longest.

I hope these tips will help you build a healthier, sustainable diet that'll get you the body you deserve. Maybe you can share it with a friend to help them out too.

Peace out, love yourselves.

Erika xx

The No. 1 reason for weight loss failure

weight-loss-plateau

Ever lost weight quickly? It's OK if you've been

a) really ill or
b) been on a proper binge -> your body is bloated due to excess fluids -> you're losing the excess fluids fast.

Any other occasion (like a fad diet)? This is where it gets scary - because it will never work in the long term.

If you lose a lot of weight initially, you must ensure your lifestyle habits are radically changed directly following the rapid initial weight loss.

See, that's what it is - weight loss - not fat loss. And there's a massive difference.

Rapid weight loss 95% of the time results in you ending up heavier than you ever were before. And this is due to the muscle mass lost in the progress (meaning slower metabolism). Anyone saying you can lose a lot of fat and not muscle tissue in a short space of time is bullshitting you. This is a scientific fact.

There was a woman who came to me at the gym the other day asking about personal training and bragging that she can lose up to a stone in a week, easy (my reaction certainly  wasn't WOW). I then asked if she's prepared to change her eating and drinking habits for good with a bit of help, and the answer was negative (all the regular excused; "I can't [you can] because my social life depends on getting drunk twice a week"/"I don't have time to cook [yes you do]"/"I can't cook [yes you can]"/"I don't like cooking or preparing meals [that's just being lazy and a big part of the problem]"/"My husband eats takeaways every night so I must as well [no you don't/how about the healthier options and smaller portions?]"/"I have to eat chocolate and cake every night" [unnecessary emotional eating] and other invalid reasons).

It was desperately obvious she wasn't ready for a real change - and consequently because of that I wasn't interested in training her as a private client. It's also obvious she'll continue yo-yo dieting = getting bigger every year. I truly hope she doesn't keep going like that forever, because it is frustrating seeing people voluntarily (yes, voluntarily) suffer with their weight.

 

There's one important message everyone seeking a positive long term change in their body composition must internalise:

Personal training doesn't give you motivation. You must have it first. Don't even think about radically changing your body composition for good if

1) you can't see beyond tomorrow (unless you're seriously ill or significantly change your everyday activity levels) or

2) are not ready to change.

 

Personal training can "only" give you the tools to change your life. For good. But you must want it first.

 

P.s. I do personal training differently from many others - I sell results, not exercise sessions. Not all PTs will provide you with anything but exercise - and that's fine - but not my cup of tea :-)

 

/Erika Helsinki