What should be on my plate?

 

Hey up guys. This is the third installment of my weight loss blog. This one will be about what should be on your plate. Hopefully I cover everything.

 

 

 

The point of this blog is to keep things as simple as possible so I won’t go into all the science of everything but simply speaking, our plate will be made up of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Fats and proteins are essential to our lives but carbohydrates are optional. The reason they are optional is that our body can turn protein into fuel. I wouldn’t advise cutting carbs out altogether though for a number of reasons. You get a lot of vitamins and minerals from carbs and they can very easily be used for fuel when you partake in physical activity. While I was in the army, before we did a big ‘tab’ (walk/run with a heavy bag and weapon), we would eat plenty of carbs. We didn’t stock up on angus steaks. My point is, if you have a physical life then you will need more carbs. If you don’t have such a hectic life style then you can probably do with a fairly small amount.

 

 

 

So, what should be on your plate?

 

 

 

Well, to start with, it should be home cooked. The reason it should be home cooked is so that you know what has gone into it. If you know what’s in your food then it’s unlikely to have some hidden rubbish (sugars mainly) in there. The simplest thing I can think of is meat and two veg and even the worst cook in the world can crack out a meat and two veg dinner. Pan fry a lump of salmon or steak and boil a some broccoli and potatoes. That is the simplest thing I can think of and it will take about 25 mins.  After that you can start to slowly get more creative by maybe adding a home made sauce to go with it. They’re not difficult to do. What we want to avoid is getting a powder sauce out of a packet and adding water. If everyone that is trying to lose weight went on a meat and two veg lunch and dinner they wouldn’t just feel much better for not eating rubbish, they would also lose weight so long as their portions weren’t the size of houses. There is however more to life than just meat and two veg. I was just giving that as an example for people who don’t have a clue how to cook. Pasta dishes, stews, bakes, soups. The list is endless of things you can create, but your fall back plan can be, meat and two veg.

 

 

 

We have spoken about portion size in the last post, but lets rub the sticks together again. Calorie count if you like but everyone has heard of portion sizes being the size of your fist for a guide so lets just stick to that. Why complicate things? So you will have three fist sizes of food on your plate and it is that simple.

 

 

 

Moderation

 

So you’ve been doing three meals a day with no snacks. You’ve changed and adopted your new diet well but are worried about going around to your pals house to watch a film, drink beer or wine and eat pizza and chips. I spoke about sustainability in the other posts and this will apply here. Do you think that I want to go through life never eating pizza and chips again? No! do you think that I want to go through life not drinking beer or wine? No!! So go to your party, have a good time and eat the food. Moderation is the key though so don’t eat two pizzas and don’t do it four nights a week. Lets stay on this band wagon aim for an 80/20 split. That is to say, be hard on yourself 80% of the time but let your hair down every now and then 20% of the time. So one meal in five can be, lets say, not as healthy as the rest. Portion sizes still apply though!

 

 

 

Ok. I’ve rambled on. I’ll stop now.

 

 

 

Any questions then ask away. I hope this has been helpful.

 

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Calories in, calories out

lentil-and-egg-curry
Lentil and Egg Curry at Just Good Food, Windermere.

Hey up guys. This is the second instalment of my blog and I wanted to address the question that’s been asked the most, and that question is, ‘How much should I be eating?’ A good question.

Calories in, calories out and weight loss

Weight loss is simple. If you expend more calories than you consume, then you will lose weight. It’s that simple. A lady told me the other day that she was trying to lose some weight  so I pointed her to the direction of my last blog post. She told me that she’s tried the three meals a day and she just seems to put on weight. Whether she’s eating three meals a day and not snacking, or eating one meal a day and not snacking, the fact is, she’s eating too much. So the answer for her will be to reduce her portion sizes.

So, how much do we need to eat? What is the magic number that you need to hit below to enable you to lose weight, or, if you don’t want to calorie count then how should you be feeling after a meal? This can be as complicated or as uncomplicated as you like. I don’t want to recommend that people become obsessive about counting calories for the rest of their lives because, like I spoke about in the last post, that isn’t really a sustainable thing to do. What I would recommend is perhaps calorie counting for a couple of weeks to to a month to see how big the portions are that you put on your plate. Also, gage how you feel after a meal.

To work out how many calories you need to be consuming a day you need to work out you Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). There are two ways you can do this. You can have a look at the many different calculations online about how to do this, or you can type in, ‘Basal Metabolic Rate calculator’ into google and go from there. I’ll wait a moment whilst you do that…

OK! Lets continue. The figure you will have is the amount of calories you need to consume a day if you were to wake up, slither downstairs, make a coffee and sit on your arse all day watching tv. If you consume this amount of calories you will neither lose weight, or put any on if you were to do nothing with your day. But we don’t do nothing with our days. We do ‘stuff.’ So you take your BMR, decide which catergory you fall into below and you times it with one of the following.

  • Little or no exercise                                Daily calories needed  BMR x 1.2
  • Light exercise (1-3 days a week)            Daily calories needed BMR x 1.375
  • Moderate exercise (3-5 days a week)     Daily calories needed BMR x 1.55
  • Heavy exercise (6-7 days a week)          Daily calories needed BMR x 1.725

I’m going to use myself as an example here. After typing ‘Basal Metabolic Rate calculator’ into google my BMR came back as 1916Kcal per day.

I fall into the ‘Moderate exercise’ bracket, so I will times my BMR by 1.55.

1916 x 1.55 = 2969 Kcal per day. So if i wanted to remain the same weight then I would consume 2969Kcal per day, or 990Kcal per meal.  Now we could add further and decide which days we train and adjust the calories for those days, but let’s be wild, and not. Simple. So now I have my magic number that I either have to fall below to lose weight, or leap over to gain weight. For the purpose of the blog, and actually in real like after all my Christmas food binging, let’s say I want to lose weight. This is important if you want to remain sustainable. I am going to reduce the amount of calories I consume by only 5%. There are instances where you can reduce it by up to 10%, but those instances are at around the 18st mark. 5% is plenty for the majority of us.

5% of 2969 = 148Kcal

2969 – 148 = 2821 per day or 940Kcal per meal.

What I suggest is that you work out your magic number and calorie count for two weeks to a month so you can see how big the portion sizes are and how full you feel after a meal. Then that’s it. Do not let this take over and ruin your lives. Calorie counting is incredibly useful, and needed, in many sports or bodybuilding competitions, but for non-athletes, myself included, it isn’t necessary.

So you see, actually, you don’t need to just eat three meals a day and not snack to lose weight. All you need to do is to consume less calories than you body requires. But three meals a day and no snacking is the simplest thing I can think of to help people out so I will continue to recommend it.

For people that don’t want to count calories at all

So I am imagining that I am trying to explain all of the above to my mother, a 70-year-old shepherd that thinks the way you turn off a laptop is with a shotgun. She isn’t going to care about counting calories and she isn’t going to care about how many calories she needs to consume a day. “Magic numbers? Sounds like sorcery to me”, she would say. Or with my girlfriend, Amanda, who will start by counting calories, get bored by the second half of the first day, and just go for a jog instead.

I stand by my three meals a day and no snacks (with the exception of athletes or people with physical jobs). But let’s go off how we should feel after a meal. After you eat a meal you shouldn’t be bursting at the seams, ready to burst and spread yourself over a large area. You shouldn’t be saying things like, “I’m stuffed” or “I need to go for a rest.” You should be satisfied you’ve had some food but be ready to rock and roll. Food is for energy, not to flatten you. It’s difficult to talk about how much food should look like on your plate because everyone is different when it comes to portion control. If you want to lose weight though then you should be hungry a few times a day. As I mentioned in my last post, being hungry isn’t going to kill you, but don’t starve yourself.

Losing approximately a pound of weight (half a kilo) a week is acceptable. Don’t go into a flatspin if it’s more or less though. If you’re losing 2 stone a month though then for most of us, that’s probably too much. Go off how you feel. You shouldn’t feel any less energetic during weight loss so if you are almost fainting then obviously you need to eat more. It’s about finding the right balance and the problem with today’s society is that it wants everything NOW! Well we’re in this for the long game. Weight loss to begin with and then a healthy lifestyle follow up.

I hope this has been useful for everyone. Please ‘like’ or leave a comment so I know people are having a gander. If you have any questions about it then ask away.

On a final note, Amanda and I are considering hosting a support group at our cafe one evening a week. If there would be any interest then let us know and we would set it up. All we would do is get together once a week to chat about food, weight loss and anything else. A bit like slimming world but without any points systems. We would have scales but there wouldn’t be any pressure to use them. We would probably start with a six week course and go from there. All free of course. If you’re interested then PM us or mention it on here.

Happy reading.

Weight loss

 

chicken-chorizo-and-three-bean-simmer

What I would like to do here is give some advice to people attempting to lose weight. I have one very easy and simple piece of advice that people can follow to achieve their weight loss aims.

This is my advice…

 

Here it comes…

 

This will blow your mind…

 

EAT THREE TIMES A DAY AND DON’T SNACK!

And that is it. Let’s not complicate things. Let’s not worry about trying to think of three healthy snacks that we’re meant to have every day to keep our energy levels up, and let’s not worry about calorie counting. At this stage, let’s not worry about optimal times to eat or what the diet companies tell us to do. Let’s not worry about training, if you don’t want to, and let’s not worry about drinking green tea six times a day. Eat three times a day and don’t snack. Don’t worry about eating a meal too late at night and don’t worry about having an early or late lunch. You don’t have to eat every three hours, so don’t worry about it and don’t worry if you have pudding on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Don’t worry about drinking eight glasses of water a day if you don’t want to and don’t worry if you have three cups of coffee before 10am. We can worry about all these things another time. Let’s get the meal frequency correct first before we worry about the thousands of other things.

Things change a little if you train, obviously, but the base is, three meals a day, no snacks. This is no different to what we used to do as kids.

Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t other ways to lose weight because clearly there are. But are any as simple? Probably not.

You may have a few follow up questions. What to eat? How much to eat? Training? Macronutrient breakdown? How much protein do I need? Supplements? I will post something in my blog every Monday morning, unless I forget, in which case remind me.

Execution

So, you’re about to start a new diet. You’re going to get up in the morning and have some breakfast and then not eat until lunch time. If this is different from what you have been doing from the last umpteen years, then your body will have to go through a transition period. It will have to get used to what you are doing so what will happen at first is that you will be starving by the next meal time. You will eat your breakfast and then by 10 or 11am you’ll be very hungry. But don’t snack. Just wait till lunch. This transition period is one of the hardest things about starting a new diet and a few people might even break during this time. Just don’t. Remember your aims and pretty soon, your new diet will be the norm. It will take 7 to 14 days before you won’t be absolutely starving by your next meal.

Feeling hungry

When was the last time you were really hungry? I’m guessing that for most of us we haven’t felt hungry in a long long time. I can’t remember the last time I was starving hungry either. Food is easily accessible to us and we snack on rubbish constantly. If I am passing a super market, I don’t even have to be hungry to walk in and grab a snack. Maybe you’re not like that, but many people are. Don’t be frightened of feeling hungry. You’re not going implode and shrivel to a quivering wreck on the floor if you’re a little hungry. Clearly, I’m not asking you to starve yourself, but try not to be ruled by hunger pangs.

Failure

Today is 1st January and many people will embark on a new diet and fitness plan together with a load of new running kit and fitness equipment they’ve acquired over the Christmas period. Many of these people will fail. The reason for failure is that they give themselves far too many things to do in one go and it phases them out. Often people give themselves things to do that is just not sustainable. Your diet needs to be a diet you enjoy and can sustain for the rest of your life if you want it to and it shouldn’t be complicated. If you take small steps to improve your wellbeing, maybe one small step a week, then you will find that your mini steps are achievable. Don’t give yourself a million different rules that you must obey in one go because it will phase about 99.9% of you out. Baby steps. Be a winner.

I’ve rambled on and on so will stop boring people half to death. If you have questions, then ask away!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Exercise

This is the post excerpt.

curry

Hi guys. This week’s instalment is going to be about exercise.

I’m going to be honest: you don’t have to do extra exercise to lose weight. There it is, nice and simple. So long as you are consuming less calories than you are expending then you will lose weight.

However…

If you want to speed up your weight loss, then there are some things you can do to aid it.

Join a Gym

This is a great thing to add to your routine as it can fit right in. To aid your weight loss you can do as little or as much as you like throughout the week but obviously, it’s better to incorporate gym days into your week on a regular basis so you can keep improving. But it isn’t totally necessary.

My advice would be to start going to the gym twice a week for 20-30 mins at a time for the first month. If you start by going five days a week for an hour each time then you will be sick of it by the second week and will likely quit. If you do really short sessions a couple of days a week then you will begin to look forward to gym days and that is really important for sustainability. But what on earth do you do in the gym?

Gyms can be very daunting if it’s your first time in there and I totally get it. The first thing most people on the weight-loss trail will do is head straight for the cardio equipment like the bikes, cross trainers and treadmills. We all know how to cycle and walk so this is natural.

I’m not saying don’t have a go at this kit, in fact I am encouraging you to do so. Get on the cardio stuff and have a go to get some confidence. Start by timing yourself so that you maybe cycle nice and easy for five mins and then try something else like the treadmill, again, for five mins. Maybe next time you get on that particular piece of equipment you can increase the time by two mins so you’ll be cycling for seven minutes.

Gradual increases of time on equipment and frequency of gym sessions will be this year’s golden ticket! You can take part in one of the many classes that gyms run which are great or you can ask for help from one of the personal trainers that work in the gyms. Don’t be shy to ask for help. You don’t just have to go on the cardio equipment, you can also use the resistance training machines or even the free weights. Gyms aren’t boring, but if you do the same thing every time you go then they will be. I could go on and on and on about gyms but I’ll nip it in the bud there for now.

Any questions? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Enter an event

Enter an event to get that kick-up-the-arse you might need to get started. I don’t mean an event that would have a Navy SEAL quaking in his boots. I mean an event that is achievable. There are thousands of physical events online for you to look at. Tough Mudder, 5km, half marathons. It may also be a good idea to manipulate, bribe or blackmail a pal into doing it with you so you can encourage each other. Be prepared to ditch that mate at any point they decide they don’t want to do it any more though.

Walk to work

Stop being lazy! Walk to work! Take some music and walk. Get up twenty minutes earlier so that you have the time to walk. If you have to drive then just park a bit further away from the office.

Join a Club

Joining a club of any kind could help aid weight loss. If you went to an archery club once a week, at least that’s one less time a week you’re sitting in front of the TV wondering whether or not that bag of Dorito’s was 100% necessary. But there are various clubs all over the place that you can join such as badminton clubs, canoeing clubs, athletic clubs and even horse riding. Loads of stuff.

Get some distance in your legs

Running would be the obvious suggestion and it’s a great way to get out and get fit, but you can also just walk. Get out into the fells or take your dog out for further. If you don’t think you have time then just walk faster!

Get a fitness app

Okay, they’re probably not as sustainable as the other suggestions, but I think they can be good to get people started. There are thousands of them out there, just type ‘Fitness’ into the app store and choose away.

Choosing what to do

So I have given you a few suggestions. You don’t have to do them but hopefully it broadened your ideas a bit. My last suggestion is as follows.

Pick one and do it.

Don’t pick three and burn yourself out. Gym Monday, athletics Tuesday, bungee jump club Wednesday, Cross Channel swim training Thursday and backwards marathon jogging on Friday. Nope, just keep it simple.

Guys, if you’re reading this then it’s likely that you’re trying to lose weight. Something has gone a little bit wrong and you have a few pounds to lose. Some of you will be quite casual about it, and that’s fine, but some of you will be a little bit more serious about it. Maybe your weight is getting you down a bit and is causing you to experience low self-esteem. You, yourself, is the only person that you can hold to account for your weight gain. Your parents could have given you the worst diet in the world as a child, and that may have caused you to gain weight, but this is your chance to take back control and become a bit healthier. Give yourselves a shake guys.

Good luck!