Friday, 17 September 2021

Fitness Watch: Eat more, lose weight, feel better

I HAVE recently returned from working in Spain. I was at one of my retreats and I spent seven days getting my clients to eat, exercise and rest.

For some they were eating more than they had ever eaten before and for others it was about portion control.

Either or, they are both very important to get right.

My clients left me in Spain seven days later, on average five pounds lighter. How does that work?

We need to eat. Our bodies need to metabolise and we need good balanced energy to ensure we function efficiently. If you don’t eat enough your body can go into negative energy balance and start storing fat.

It really is quite simple — eat low fat, low sugar and good energy-releasing carbs (50 per cent), protein (20 per cent), healthy fats (30 per cent) and lots of exercise — cardio-based for 150 minutes a week — and you will see results.

When it comes to portion control, one of the biggest problems I find is that everyone eats too much! Here are some guidelines.

Starchy foods — eight to 10 portions per day (to maintain weight for an average adult, depending on your activity level). Starchy foods are our main source of energy and should form the basis of every meal.

Meat, fish and other proteins — two to three portions per day, with at least one portion of oily fish a week. This group includes non-dairy sources of protein, which is important for growth and repair. Try to include one portion in at least two of your daily meals.

Dairy — three portions a day. Dairy foods contain calcium for healthy bones and teeth and are also a good source of protein. Try to include one portion with every meal, and go for lower-fat options when you can.

Fruit and vegetables — at least five portions a day. One portion is 80g of any fruit or vegetable.

Fat and sugar — limit your intake of these foods. Foods high in fat include butter, cream, chocolate and cakes. Foods and drinks high in sugar include soft drinks, sweets and biscuits. Only eat foods from this group sparingly.

Also, do think about trying the following:

l Use smaller plates or bowls for your meals. A small plate full of food is much less disheartening than a large plate that’s half empty.

l You don’t need to cut down on your fruit and veg if you’re trying to lose weight. So if your plate is looking a bit sparse, fill it up with vegetables. And if you’re craving a mid-morning snack, go for a piece of fruit.

l Think about everything you eat during the day. It’s easy to forget the biscuit you had with your tea at work or extra slice of cheese in your sandwich.

l Counting calories and weighing food is no fun and hard to keep up. Instead, compare what you usually eat against this guide for a week or so and you can start to identify areas where you’re eating more than you should.

In the meantime, have a great month!

Emma-Jane Taylor

Mentor and personal fitness coach

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