Overeating During The COVID-19 Quarantine

Empty supermarket shelves during covid-19

I’ve seen a bunch of content floating around the internet recently bemoaning the potential for weight gain during the lockdown we’re going through at the moment to isolate against COVID-19.

There are a few things I’d like to talk about.

You Might Have More Food Around

Wide selections of food availability can encourage you to eat more. Food diversity is a recognised factor in overeating. This is why so many successful dieters stick to a fairly limited range of food choices day in and day out. Avoiding having trigger foods at home right now might be a smart strategy.

Overeating calories will cause you to gain weight. So eating more calories than you need – coupled with the likelihood that you’re less active than usual because of the restriction on movement outside of the home – could mean that you’re gaining weight. 

That’s if you’re lucky enough to have food at home, and you didn’t leave the supermarket empty handed.

Mindless Eating

Mindless eating is a risk year round of eating more, not just due to the exceptional circumstances we all face at the moment. It’s a good idea to make mealtimes your sole focus – not watching TV or scrolling through your phone will you eat. 

It can help to have a set meal time, and not graze throughout the day. Consider sitting at a table, and make the meal an ‘event’ for the family during the day. Putting your utensils down while you chew can slow your eating down, so you digest more thoroughly and feel fuller. Here’s a link to more detail on how you can practice mindfulness in your mealtimes.

Food Proximity

You’re closer to your food than you would be normally – particularly if you’re working from home for the first time. Perhaps you may be dipping in and out of your fridge every time you get up from your work station and this sense of proximity can lead to snacking.

You might make healthy snacks visible and put away less optimal snacks out of sight. If possible, you could also move further away from your kitchen when you’re working. 

It’s An Emotional Time

Increased stress might lead to as much as an increase of 21% more food consumed for some people who relate to being emotional eaters

Whereas others may be skipping meals due to their emotional upset, and not realise. Then, later, they might make food choices which don’t align with their goals and values and increase their emotional state indirectly. 

You May Be Feeling Bored

Like the Grinch, you may just be eating because you’re bored. Finding a way to structure working from home, or to create a sense of purpose during your day can help. If you’re still working from home, trying to keep things as normal as possible can help. If you’re not able to work at the moment, some structure during the day can make a difference. It could be a new time to try learning a new skill or a hobby. Even getting ahead on planning meals could be a great step.

Regardless of whether you’re overeating or not, this is a difficult time for many people. You could be experiencing food shortages, or isolation from your loved ones. You are likely to have more pressing concerns at the moment than a few extra calories. Remember, you’re only ever one choice away from being back on track. If I can help you with your focus, you can book a call today and we can have a chat at a time that works for you.

Why Am I Not Losing Weight on My Diet?

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You’re doing your absolute best on your diet, eating clean and abstaining from alcohol and chocolate – but by the time the weigh-in comes around, you aren’t seeing the results you wanted. You ask yourself, “Why am I not losing weight on my diet?”

You’re frustrated and confused – and I’ve got the answers. I’m going to tell you what you can do about it.

This Diet is Taking Too Long

Dropping body fat takes time. Often far more time than we expect – especially once we’re over 30, sadly. It might be that you’re expecting too much in the time frame. 

Be patient, know that the process isn’t linear, and you almost definitely don’t need to do anything drastic. 

If you’re still not moving the scale in a fortnight of adherence – and I am talking total compliance with the diet here – we might slightly increase your cardio (NEAT) but almost definitely patience will be all you need to see progress again. 

We want to keep your calories as high as possible for as long as possible because this makes it easier to be compliant so don’t go dropping too many calories too soon. If you’re truly at a plateau – 100% compliance and no movement on the scale for 4 weeks or so, then think about taking off maybe 100 calories from carbohydrates (around 25g) and readjusting to that.

Enjoy the Diet You’re On

My clients always start with a list of foods they love so there’s never anything in their diet that they don’t enjoy. Many times, we begin by adding more of something nutritious rather than taking something else out.

Finding a method that works for you is a massive win – so you can learn to love the process. The reality of the diet sets in around week 3 when it’s actually just doing a few things really well. It’s not big, grand or sexy. So finding a way that works for you right now is key; for some that might be intermittent fasting, or calorie cycling, or even ditching the alcohol completely

Fat Loss Not Weight Loss

Remember that you’re looking for fat loss – not weight loss. That scale weight is simply a reflection of your mass. I’ve trained a couple of women that have actually been happier with their physiques for adding a little bit of muscle, and that often means a heavier scale weight – but with a toned, lean body and none of the jiggle.

You can use other systems of measurement for this which might reflect your progress better than the scale; tape measurements as well as photographs are always a brilliant way to check your progress. This is especially true for people who have a challenging relationship with The Sad Step.

You’re Being Less Compliant With The Diet Than You Think

Lack of compliance is likely to be the number one reason you’re not reaching your goal, and from a coaching perspective, this is often the only metric that actually matters. If you’re jumping from programme to programme, coach to coach, and fad diet to fad diet – but then not sticking to it anyway, nothing will work. Doesn’t matter whether you’re on the carnivore diet or the vegan diet: nothing works unless you do. Pick something that seems suitable and be compliant with your diet. 

Tracking inaccuracies may happen by accident (I forgot to track the oil I cooked with) or “on purpose” I forgot to track the food I hoovered up off the kids plate after they were finished. It’s astonishing to me how many people want to lose weight but have no clue what they’re eating on a daily basis. If your goal is weight loss, this is the ultimate tool at your disposal: track everything you eat, at least for a short period of time.

You Lack Accountability in The Diet

Lacking accountability can be a problem for some people. Write your goals down in a journal or on Facebook and invite questions from friends and family. This will make them an actual real thing that you’re going to do. Review the goals mid-week and course correct if necessary. Evaluate your effort on Sunday – consider what worked well, as well as what might need adjustment for next week.  If you want, you can do this in the Facebook group with The Tribe

For ultimate accountability, and being supported every step of the way to your goals, you could consider getting a coach.

Some people do better with in person coaching, so you should go to your gym and ask to speak to some of the trainers there. I’m based in gyms in Llanelli, but fear not – if you’re not in Llanelli, there are other options.

Remote coaching, delivered over the internet works better for some people. You would consider this option if you have a difficult working schedule or perhaps don’t have the budget for face to face accountability just now. If you’re interested in that, you can set up a call with me, here.

Pre & Post Workout Nutrition

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Pre workout nutrition is anything that you eat prior to your work out. It includes real food as well as any supplements you might want to take. Its job is simply to give you enough energy for your training session. If you train in the afternoon or evening, you’ll probably have taken care of this through your normal daily eating.

Post workout nutrition is anything that you eat after you finish your work out. It could include a proper meal, or any convenient sources of protein or supplementation you choose to take. You may take care of those through your normal daily eating, or if you train at night, you might prefer to wait until breakfast tomorrow.

Do I Need Protein Immediately After Finishing A Workout?

The “anabolic window” which is sometimes reported to be as brief as 20 minutes refers to the period of time after the workout finishes. Traditionally, it has been considered optimal to have a protein shake after working out. The purpose is to replenishing glycogen and to stop the body using muscle as fuel.

In fact, the body would have to be fasted for about 72 hours for it to start using muscle as a fuel source. It makes no metabolic sense for your body to do this. Once your glycogen is used up (after an intense weights session, or following some endurance style exercise), the body will use body fat for fuel.

The window in which you should eat is actually more like 2 to 6 hours – so for most of us, training normally and eating normally is fine. No special workout nutrition needed. This might differ for athletes doing mega endurance events who might benefit from an intra workout hit of glucose like energy gels during a marathon, or doing a double day: training twice in the course of one day.

How much protein is best?

It’s though that around 20 to 40g of protein in the hour before and after you train is great. If you’re a smaller person, go towards the lower end of the scale. Whey protein sits lightly on the stomach, and unless you’re avoiding milk products it’ll be convenient, cheap and comfortable.

What about carbs and fats?

This mostly comes down to personal preference, particularly in a calorie deficit when the goal is weight loss. 

Making a choice about carbs comes down to whether you want quicker or slower releasing carbs. That depends when you’re eating compared with when you’re training.

Training within 30-45 minutes? Stick with something fast, like a banana. Your insulin levels will be spiked by anything you eat, including protein so you don’t need anything special for that. Carbs after you train can feel like a nice treat – some oats in your whey protein, or a piece of fruit after you’re finished can really pick your energy levels up nicely.

Fats are also personal preference, but anything that you eat with the fats will be slowed in digesting to the rate that your body digests the fat. That’s why higher fat meals make you feel fuller for longer. 

Everyone’s body is different. If you feel like a high fat meal makes you sluggish pre-training, you may prefer to save that spoonful of peanut butter for the post workout shake or rice cake.

Keep an open mind about experimenting and remember that we’re only talking about food – you don’t need to buying anything fancy or expensive!

Who Else Wants to Stop Excess Snacking?

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Maybe you’re a pro at planning balanced meals, but things go awry during the hours in between. Excess snacking can put you over your daily calorie requirements and fill you up with sugar and other ingredients you’re trying to avoid.

Lose weight and protect your health by changing the way you snack. Check out this list for ideas about how to snack less between meals and make smarter choices.

How to Snack Less Between Meals

  1. Be mindful. Are you surprised to find you’ve eaten half a cake when you really meant to have one slice? You’ll probably be satisfied with less food if you pay attention to each bite. Turn off the TV and chew slowly.
  2. Leave the table. It’s difficult to tell when dinner ends and snacking starts if you sit around nibbling leftovers on the kids’ plates. Clear the table and go for a walk.
  3. Have a hearty breakfast. Late night snacking could be a sign that you didn’t take in enough calories earlier in the day. Start with a nutritious breakfast that has enough nutrients to keep you feeling full.
  4. Drink up. Thirst and hunger are often confused. The next time you want to snack between meals, drink a glass of water to see if the craving goes away.
  5. Sleep well. Chronic fatigue can also make you want to eat, and when you do eat you’re more likely to make poor choices. Go to bed on time and take a nap if you need to catch up on your sleep.
  6. Chew gum. Sugar-free gum is an ideal snack. Satisfy your sweet tooth and enjoy chewing without consuming any calories. Gum even helps to clean up bacteria in your mouth in between brushing and flossing.
  7. Keep a log. You may be snacking more than you think. Use your phone or a notebook to track what’s really going on.
  8. Identify trigger foods. Many of us have certain foods that lower our inhibitions and make it hard to stop eating once we start. Limit the availability of these foods in your home, and keep them for special occasions.
  9. Manage stress. Are you eating to cover up difficult emotions? This can be a tough one to manage, but identifying it is the first step. Notice when the cravings happen by keeping a note of them – and when you find a pattern in when you crave a snack you stand a much better chance of stopping.

How to Snack Healthier

  1. Reach for vegetables and fruits. Full of micronutrients and low on calories, these foods can aid digestion as they’re full of fibre. Recommended daily intake ranges from 5 a day to as much as 8 portions, but just including one more than you’re on now could be a great start. Use snacks to help you reach your target.
  2. Control portions. Most adults can indulge in any favourite treat as long as they keep the serving size reasonable. Learn to estimate by sight what serving sizes should be by using a measuring system for a little while.
  3. Create substitutes. This is recommended by one of the ladies that comes to the diet & nutrition class at the gym. She allows herself snacks that she’s baked at home herself – leveraging any laziness to her advantage!
  4. Stock up. Fill your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets with nutrient-dense foods you love. Remove the barriers to healthy snacking by prepping fruit, or vegetables and leaving them pre-chopped and visible.
  5. Don’t watch adverts. Advertising tends to promote ultra-processed foods high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats. Psychologists call these “hyperpalatable foods” and they are commonly overeaten – it’s not your fault, and you’re certainly not the only one!
  6. Plan ahead. Vending machines and office staff rooms are full of foods that can derail your diet. Carry your own snacks or keep them in your desk at work. Pressure from colleagues can be a tough one to avoid, but this is one to work at mastering. Here’s a guide to meal prepping that can help.

Make your snacks work for you, keeping you full between meals and fuelling up your body. Watch your calories and eat nutrient-dense foods that don’t derail your fitness goals.

4 Simple Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

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Get started now.

The anticipation of new year is powerful. Once it gets here though, you won’t magically have more time. You’ll have the same limitations next week as you have right now.

Getting a few days of progress under your belt – even if it’s not “perfect” – is a hugely powerful position to be in.

Can’t join a gym yet? Do some body weight movements at home.

Can’t afford to buy new books yet? Visit your local library.

Do what you can with what you’ve got. Refine the process as you go.

Shorten the time frame from one year to one week.

Starting the year with the intention to work out every single day is awesome – but if you’re not working out all that often now, this might be a step too far.

Instead, try your new habit for 7 days. If you’re successful for the week, keep it going for another week – then another. Soon you’ll have a whole month.

But just narrow your attention. It’s too much to think about what you’ll be doing a year from now.

People ask personal trainers often, “how can I be more motivated?”

Motivation is great – to get you started. But it’s not a long term strategy. Instead, you need a long term plan. Properly diarised intentions, with steps on how you’ll actually execute your plans.

Motivation isn’t a long term strategy – but you can rely on it to give you a really great starting week.

Health is the goal – directly or indirectly.

This is one of things that we all know but as soon as we get a bee in our bonnets about some other exciting project, it’s often the thing we sacrifice to chase the shiny thing.

In February/March of 2019 I got flu.

Really bad, proper flu. Not the 2-day man flu your colleagues called in sick with last week. It was horrific and felt nothing like I expected it to feel.

I was in bed for a full week, I couldn’t stay awake for more than about 20 minutes at time. I also had a urine infection at the same time that was spiking my temperature and stopping me from actually standing up, and gastritis attacks that were making me violently, painfully sick.

Those of you who know me, know how I feel about being sick.

It was horrendous. I am also entirely self employed so if I don’t work, I earn no money at all. I was also as weak as a kitten for about 6 months after it, which – given that I’m a personal trainer that does mostly strength work – was kind of a disaster. I remember the first week back in the gym I couldn’t even unrack the 20kg plates for my clients!

My point is: your health isn’t optional.

It’s not glamorous or sexy – and if you’re younger than 30 reading this, you probably couldn’t give a shit.

But that’s why we eat right, train in the gym, and prioritise sleep. It’s for health. If you’ve not got that, we’ve got big problems, because you can’t do any of the other stuff that’s got you all amped up.

Track it all – even (especially) the “failures”.

You’re a busy person with a lot of stuff on your mind. You can’t be expected to remember stuff.

At least, that’s what I tell everyone about why I can’t remember anything.

If you have a written record somewhere – on your phone in the notes, or even better – in a dedicated lovely notebook – you’ll be able to stay on top on what works for you. Perhaps more importantly – what doesn’t work for you and why.  

This is important because it will allow you to observe your behaviour through the perspective of an outsider.

You’re a scientist collecting data about behaviours that serve you and don’t serve you. This removes any sense of ‘blame’ about mistakes, and instead subtly shifts your mindset into thinking about course corrections in a neutral way. It’s a small, but powerful shift in focus.

What time of day should I work out?

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Let’s make something very clear from the jump, shall we?

Whatever time you can find during your day to work out – take it.

It’s one thing to have a discussion about what’s optimal, and when your mood and returns will be peaked – but it’s another thing entirely to have a practical decision about actually getting to the gym and doing the work.

Working out in the morning.

This is my preference and the preference of most of my clients.

Working out in the morning doesn’t give you a chance to talk yourself out of training. When I was a teacher, I’d be looking forward to my evening session, and by the time we made it to lunch I was looking for excuses not to go. I’d spend the afternoon in a battle of should I/shouldn’t I? Total waste of mental energy.

For lots of people, working out might be the biggest barrier in their day. It might make them nervous to go, they may need some confidence to attend. If you’ve done the hardest thing in your day first, the rest of your day will be easier. If you’re a little nervous about the gym, the earlier you go, the quieter it is.

My 6am squad say that they’ve done the hardest part of their day and are home and showering by a little after 7am. Imagine rocking up to work knowing that you’ve done the hardest thing you said you were going to do already, and after work all your evening is your own. Pyjamas by 6pm? Yes please.

You will probably be training fasted – having eaten nothing yet that morning. This isn’t a problem, but if you’ve been training in the evening and now you’re trying out the mornings, you might need to adjust your expectations, especially with regard to strength.

Besides, once your feet are on the floor, you feel okay. Sure, that alarm is a little early but the boost to your productivity and mental focus for the rest of the day is worth it.

Working out in the evening.

If you just can’t bring yourself to train first thing, and you can only make it after work, you’ve got some benefits too.

You’ll have had a chance to properly wake up – and be well fuelled, on at least one and possibly two meals. That means you’re likely to be stronger, and more alert than the morning folks.

The gym is busier, often with instructor led classes at this time. This is a great opportunity to socialise with friends, get a trusted spotter, or even make the most of your membership with a group fitness class.

Evening workouts are usually a little less rushed – you’re not clock watching to get to work. You can take your time, and plan your post work out meal around your training – a really practical benefit.

There’s something quite cosy about getting showered after the gym, putting your sweaty kit in the wash and getting straight into pyjamas. I am mildly preoccupied with pyjamas.

However, exercising in the evening can mean a later night getting to bed. I always felt energised after a workout, and so I might go to sleep later if training after 6pm.

There’s research to support the idea of intentionally timing your most important behaviours. If this interests you, Daniel H. Pink wrote an excellent book, “When” about this, which discusses how highly important tasks shouldn’t be left until the afternoon as mood as well as cognitive function dips. There’s another book called “Eat That Frog” by Brain Tracy about tackling the most challenging aspects of your day straight away, and not waiting or warming up to them with other, lower value tasks.

To conclude; get your work out done. When you do it is less important than the fact that you’ve done it. Morning and evening people are likely to disagree about when the “best” time to workout is. Try both and see what works better for your lifestyle.

Nutrition Challenge: How to Manage Your Portion Sizes

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“You’re not leaving the table til you’ve cleared everything on your plate.”

How many times were we told this as children, engraining it into us that cleared plates were the goal?

Between this life time of conditioning, plus the ready abundance of hyper-palatable foods, and portion sizes from restaurants which have become bigger and bigger over the years, it’s no wonder that correct portion size can be a struggle.

The Diet & Nutrition club made a request last weekend that we talked about in class this week: how can I be sure that I’m eating an appropriately sized portion? A great question, and one that can be a tough habit to start.

Getting used to proper portion sizes can be difficult, and like lots of difficult things, it can take some practice to get used to.

Eat slowly

Credit to Rhian for this suggestion – something we know we should do, but can struggle with.

This is the easiest option in as far as it doesn’t require any special preparation or much change from how you currently manage your mealtimes. But full disclosure? I can’t actually get through a full meal mindfully, and I’ve been actively working on this for about 2 years now.

The idea is that whatever you’re going to eat, eat slowly and mindfully. Put your fork down as you chew, and take your time enjoying your meal. Eat to 80% full, and know that you can come back to your meal later if you still feel hungry after a break.

Eat your meals from smaller plates

This is pretty accessible for most of us; a great idea from Martyn this morning. Once we’ve decided what we’re making to eat, you simply dish it up on a smaller plate than you’d otherwise use.

This can make you feel like you’re having a big plateful when in reality – although your plate is full, it doesn’t mean more food than you want to consume. It can help with the feelings of being hard done by when on a diet, which leads me into this next point:

Bulking your portions with veggies

This is such a sensible suggestion by Lyndsey – because it simply involves swapping higher calorie items for things which have an awesome micronutrient profile, and usually are packed with fibre and goodness.

Taking some of your rice and swapping it for mixed salad, or steamed vegetables doesn’t detract from your enjoyment (I find that sometimes a 100% swap can do that).

Take one or two spoonfuls of rice, or pasta, or potatoes or whatever out, and mix in two of three spoonfuls of peas, carrots, lettuce, or any other veg you fancy. Keeping volume of food high but dropping calories.

Weigh and measure your portions

This could be anything from using rough visual estimates of your plate (half your plate veg, one quarter carbs, one quarter protein), to using a digital scale and accurately weighing and tracking to the gram.

Some form of portioning is appropriate but not everyone needs to or benefits from weighing their food. I really like it as a guide, particularly in the beginning, or while someone is learning what appropriate sizes are (the 40g portion sizing of cereal is a real eye opener, for example) but this isn’t necessarily something that you’ve got to keep doing forever.

As we go down the list, each of these requires more adjustment to how you’re approaching meal times, so picking just one and trying to apply it consistently is more important than trying to do everything. Remember the point is to improve – not to be perfect.

Nutrition Challenge: Alcohol

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This Saturday the nutrition class asked if we could talk about alcohol.

It gets over consumed, particularly this time of year, with so many social events going on. You don’t want to turn down the invitation to come over for a glass of wine – because you don’t want to turn down the company of your friends and family. You don’t want to miss out on those memories, and that’s completely understandable.

But the concern is when you start over consuming alcohol – and that looks different for everyone. Perhaps the 2 or 3 glasses a night to take the edge off makes you feel a little apprehensive. Or maybe you’re strictly tee total all week, but once Friday night hits, you’re more of a binge drinker.

Alcohol can be tricky but not impossible to include in a healthy diet. The main issues are that it stimulates appetite, usually leads to you making less than desirable choices because your judgement is impaired, and definitely will be making it harder for you to enter the deepest stages of sleep.

Like anything, I think the solution lies in what we can do to move the needle just a little bit. You don’t have to give up alcohol entirely – that might not be the right option for you. Instead could you drink 2 glasses instead of 3? Could you include a soft drink in-between alcoholic drinks? Or could you sip the drink so it lasts longer?

Like so many things we do nutritionally, noticing where you’re at right now is the first step. Studies suggest that our own estimations of our alcohol consumption is often under reported. Alcohol is about making trades – it’s one factor which can affect physical performance, health and fitness and it’s linked with others. But giving up the weekend happy hour with your colleagues, or the beers with the rugby may or may not be worth it for you. You’re an adult and you know what’s best for your body.

It might make it harder to get to the gym on Saturday morning if you’ve been out on Friday night. It could make it harder to say no to food which isn’t in line with your goals that night and the next day. It is also likely to make it harder to sleep well and wake up rested.


There’s no best answer because the research on booze isn’t super clear, just like what counts as “moderate” consumption is unclear. Instead of a right answer, let’s try finding an answer that’s right for you.

Figure out your current drinking habits by keeping an accurate record for the next week or two. We’re just collecting data, and this is just for you to look at – no judgement, and no need to share it with anyone.

Review your data, and consider whether it’s what you expected. Are you drinking more or less than you thought you were? Is your drinking slow, social and savoured or do you tend to be alone, and slamming it back? Can you spot any triggers – such as always drinking after a particular shift in work? Does alcohol actually enrich your life, or does it cause you stress and unnecessary worry? And is your drinking okay, but all the other behaviours that come with it (eating choices, smoking, texting toxic people, possible drug use) could do with being looked at?

Notice how alcohol feels in your body. This is such an astonishingly simple test. “Does this feel good?” was the question that allowed us to figure out that my husband was actually allergic to alcohol!

Aside from the physical test, does it put you in a good place emotionally, mindset and general perspective? Remember, alcohol is a depressant. That’s why people use it to take the edge off a difficult day. Do you like who you are when you’re drinking?

You’re a grown up, and you’re in charge of what you put in your own body. What you say yes and no to, as well as what you’re prepared to say yes and no to – is your choice. But it can be a useful exercise to make drinking alcohol mindful again: Delay having that drink by 10 minutes, when you do choose it – savour it, and keep the quality high. Ditch the firewater for the good stuff, remember, it’s going in your body so quality matters.

If you’re concerned about your alcohol consumption, it might be worth talking to your doctor or other healthcare professional about your consumption, habits and choices.

Nutrition Challenge: I’ve Got a Sweet Tooth!

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Each week on a Saturday I run a diet and nutrition class in the gym I work at. Each Sunday I put up a question box on instagram stories to encourage people to make requests for the following Saturday’s topic.

People every week identify that they have a sweet tooth, and consider this a barrier to them losing weight. Of my own in-person clients, over 50% of women consider themselves to have a sweet tooth when asked in a survey.

High sugar foods alone aren’t the problem though, it’s the combination of sugar with fats which make foods super delicious and difficult to say no to. A highly engineered result we call “hyper-paletable foods”.

So, if you can’t resist the Halloween treats in the supermarket this week, or you are drawn to the snack baskets in your house – you’re not alone and you’re not to blame. These foods are manufactured to be almost impossible to resist. Pretty sneaky.

Even people who have got very healthy relationships with food have a hard time saying no to certain “trigger foods”. These are different for everyone, but they’re almost always highly processed, high sugar, high fat, high salt – and highly available.

Food manufacturers have revealed Big 5 stimuli stacking elements of foods.

  1. Calorie dense – often high in sugar, fat & salt
  2. Intense flavours – often combining flavours in ways that psychologists call “supernormal stimuli
  3. Immediately delicious – the big flavours pack and immediate punch
  4. Easy to eat – this relates to the texture and ‘mouth feel’ of foods which don’t need to be heavily chewed
  5. Melts in the mouth – these foods disappear quickly from the mouth, making it hard to eat slowly, and very easy to eat more than you intended to. Specifically, these manufactured foods should be broken down in no more than 10 chews. Compared with around 25 chews per mouthful of whole foods.

These Big 5 components are what food manufactorers look for when designing foods for marketability and they are even more important than how foods actually taste!

Clearly, the solution to overeating these foods shouldn’t rely on willpower alone. There are some things you can do to stop overeating these hyperpaletable foods.

  • Observe as you chew how things feel and taste in your mouth. How long it takes to chew and swallow the foods, and do you feel satisfied after eating it? These things might influence whether we keep eating.
  • Pay attention to the less healthy foods that you buy and consider cutting down on the variety. By allowing yourself some ‘treats’ it can help adherence to a calorie controlled diet and by limiting your choices, that can take some of the temptation out of the picture.
  • Pay attention to the craving. This is likely to have been triggered by something – and it can help to keep a note book on your observations for a week or two to get to the bottom of what’s causing them.

Common triggers include:

Thoughts and feelings: thinking of food as a reward, or something that you’ve earned. Feeling bored, lonely or sad. Food can be something you’re using to fill the void.

Times of day: lots of my in-person clients recognise this one – so much so, that the “2pm twix” had become a running joke. These snacks are part of your routine.

Social settings: it’s my colleague’s birthday, and there are cakes in the staffroom again. It’s happy hour and I always have a bag of crisps with my pint.

Places: your parents’ house, a dark movie theatre, or the automated way you order at a familiar restaurant can all be triggers to eat without really thinking about it.

Once you’ve spotted the pattern, we can put other behaviours in place instead – behaviours which support your goals instead of sabotaging them. Then it’s a case of practicing.

You might not get it right first time – and the act of practicing can take a while, but you are able to make those changes that you want in your life.

If you’d like me to help you, fill out the form below and let’s have a chat.

You’re Not Too Busy

You’ve moved house. You’ve got a new job. And holy smokes, you just realised you have a family!

How can you fit your gym routine around your life that you’ve only just realised is hectic?!

OK first of all – you don’t have a “gym routine”. You have a commitment to your health. That’s not frivolous, or shallow, or vain. You’re working on being the healthiest version of you possible because there are people in your life who love you – and they are trusting you to keep yourself as healthy as possible. You have a responsibility. It’s not selfish – your health is held on trust for all those who adore you.

Secondly; all that shit that’s keeping you busy? Almost all of it is not temporary. Your busy life is permanent – and the vast majority of the things you’re dealing with, you’re going to be continuing to deal with for the foreseeable future. So making anything fit into your lifestyle needs to be carefully planned and considered.

All the reasons why you’re too busy to train are all the reasons why you should be training regularly.

Your family need your focus – so get in the gym early, get yourself sorted out, and go home to be with them. You can’t pour from an empty vessel so being energised and strong ready to play around with your kids and be present and comfortable with your husband or wife – that needs to happen first.

Your work keeps you busy – so being strong and focused and healthy would only benefit your professional commitments, right?

You can’t find the time – so work out early in the morning with a trainer that can accommodate you (me!) or late at night when the gym is empty. These “anti social” time slots are great because the facilities are quiet and you can get your work out done without interruptions.

Here are some of the things you can do to make exercise fit into your life:

Have a plan to follow.

This doesn’t have to mean hiring a personal trainer; there are lots of options. You could get remote support from an online coach. You could follow a programme you have downloaded online or access via an app. If you’re into it, you could even write your own plan. But don’t hop around from programme to programme too much. More important than the specific exercises that you’ll be doing is having a plan of when you’re going to fit training into your week.

Early morning exercise.

“I don’t want to get out of my warm bed to train at 6am” you cry, as though everyone else is sleeping in horribly uncomfortable beds and 6am happens at some other time of day for the rest of us. If you’re genuinely stuck at finding 30 minutes in your day to work on your health, you’re almost definitely wasting a lot of time, and time can be found for most people if you’re looking for it.

Workout during lunch.

One of my clients always uses her lunch hour to walk. She goes around her workplace, clocking up several miles a week and remains focused on that as a priority. This is super smart because walking is awesome exercise, obviously – but even better, if you’re on the move, your terrible colleagues can’t find you and give you stupid shit to do.

Walking.

One of my favourite methods of the time poor is a quick walk around the block. Doing this once every hour, or before & after meals can be an easy way to prompt a positive habit that doesn’t take very long. If you have a dog, this becomes even more fun – and your dog will love you for it.

Exercising at home.

There are bodyweight programmes that you can follow online, on YouTube, or even my own 60 day core challenge if you need more structure and support. There are fitness DVDs to suit all abilities – you can even get your family joining in with you.

Working out with a group.

One of the most popular options among my guys is working out in a small group. The Tribe – as we call it – look forward to these sessions because it becomes a social event as well as a health consideration, you see one another progress and it’s a chance to support each other. This might be in a structured setting like a gym, or in an outdoors event like a running club, or even a team sport in your area.

Doing something is better than nothing. If you’re looking for a way to make exercise part of your life, please don’t wait for conditions to be perfect. Think about it – when was the last time you weren’t busy?