Eating The Right Calories

Happy New Year everyone I hope you all had a good Xmas, and enjoyed the festivities as I did.

Unfortunately like most, I probably enjoyed it too much and am now feeling the results of the excesses, but that’s what Christmas is all about, I struggle to bypass the box of chocolates, my big downfall.

However it’s now time to get things back on track and as the numbers in the classes and gym have picked up I guess others are of the same opinion.

Nearly everybody’s focus is on losing weight and dropping the calories but be careful where your focus lies. Here are a couple of tips to help;

1)      If you only focus on counting calories over quality then you could encourage the wrong type of eating. For example, there are fewer calories in a chocolate bar than a good bowl of porridge and fruit, but the porridge is obviously more nutritious, healthier and fills you up for longer. The chocolate will satisfy you in the short term but when the sugar spike drops you will feel hungry again much sooner.

2)      Another failure in counting calories, particularly during exercise and then trying to delay eating in fear of putting the calories straight back on will only make you crave for snacks to satisfy the low blood sugar levels that you’ve created through exercise. After exercise your metabolism is racing so you’re better off having a healthy snack as your body utilises the nutrients better and quicker, this aids recovery and helps rebalance your blood sugar levels.

3)      Calorie saving – if you eat little during the day, saving calories for a large evening meal then you’re not doing yourself any favours. If your body is starved of food during the day then it’s more likely to store fat from your meal as a natural survival mechanism.  If your body thinks food is in short supply it responds by storing fat for leaner periods, this will slow down your metabolism and gain fat. Like we’ve said before, eat little an often.

4)      Eating too few calories and missing meals will accelerate muscle loss and make you feel lethargic. If you are going to reduce calories do it gradually and only by 250 – 500 per day at most, otherwise you’ll not have enough energy to exercise.

5)      I’ve mentioned in the past about only relying on the scales as an indicator on how much weight you’re losing. You’d be much better off taking some measurements or gauging how your regular clothes are fitting. This will give you a better indication of how things are going and probably provide you with greater motivation to continue.

6)      Finally the best tip of all and one I personally adhere to is a ‘cheat day’. According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition eating what you like once a week to ten days provides a mental break and the freedom to treat yourself occasionally. You’re less likely to crave what you can’t have but it also stimulates your metabolic rate to burn more calories, so enjoy your food, don’t fear it.

Happy training and eating.