Nutrition advice (from a non-expert…!)

I very rarely talk about weight loss at Chislehurst Fitness. Why? Well, firstly, there are people way more qualified than me to give advice on this: Nutritionists and Dieticians should be the go-to professionals on this topic, not Personal Trainers.

Secondly, my focus for the team is to improve fitness levels, no matter what shape or size the people that come along are. Strength, agility, cardiovascular health: these are my specialisms and I love creating a variety of sessions that not only improve the team’s fitness but help them feel better in themselves too. In my opinion, the psychological benefits of exercise far outweigh the benefits of knowing how many calories you may have burned.

Having said all this, as a health professional, I do get asked about weight loss and I spend a lot of time reading the latest research into diet and nutrition, ready to give my opinion when asked and offer what advice I can.

There are quite literally millions of posts, stories and reels about nutrition online. Some of this is helpful: fact-based, research-led, sensible advice. However, much of it is faddy nonsense, based on hearsay, and often endorsed by beautiful influencers (and Personal Trainers!).

The appetite for weight-loss information (excuse the pun) is ever increasing. And the sheer amount of different advice can be really confusing and it’s often contradictory.

Diet trends come and go, along with various ‘shreds’, and ‘detoxes’. The supplement industry (vitamins, juices, meal replacement powders etc.) is a billion-dollar enterprise that is constantly evolving and promoting new health additives for us to buy. We’re bombarded with terms such as sugar-free, fat-free, intermittent fasting, cheat days, keto, ‘good fat vs bad fat’, ‘not all calories are equal’…

It’s confusing!

As I said, I’m not qualified to tell anyone what they should and shouldn’t be eating. But from the research I have read and from my own experience with weight gain and loss, our goal should be to try and eat a varied and balanced diet which is manageable and, most importantly, sustainable.
Here are some simple nutrition habits that work for me and might be relatively easy for you to incorporate into a busy life:

  1. Delay your breakfast a bit so you can skip your mid-morning snack. Recent research
    suggests that having a longer gap between dinner and the following breakfast is better for our gut
    health too.
  2. Add an extra bit of protein and/or fibre to your lunch so you feel full enough to skip your
    afternoon snack.
  3. Swap your after-dinner treat for a couple of squares of dark chocolate. This satisfies my
    sweet tooth without me having masses of sugar!
  4. Get an early night! We crave sugars when we’re sleep-deprived and our motivation for
    exercise decreases too. Prioritise your sleep as best you can and your will-power to make
    healthier choices will increase dramatically!
    So there it is: my very much non-expert advice on nutrition!
    No calorie counting involved, no food groups eliminated and no real restrictions to enforce (and hopefully no hunger pangs either!).

Too simple? Give it a go for a week or two and see how you feel.

And don’t forget to eat a variety of fruit + veg throughout the week and drink plenty of water too.

If you’re looking for further reading on these topics (or wondering where some of this information comes from) here are some books I can highly recommend:

GUT, by Gulia Enders. The inside story of our body’s most underrated organ!
SPOON FED, by Tim Spector. Why almost everything we’ve been told about food is wrong!
LIFE TIME, by Russell Foster. New Science of the Body Clock, and how understanding it can help our sleep, diet and health.
FAST ASLEEP, by Michael Mosley. How to get a really good night’s rest.

If you’re on Facebook or Instagram, Tim. Spector speaks a lot of sense and is well worth following.
If you’re into Podcasts, this series by twins Dr Chris and Dr Xand is fascinating: ‘A Thorough Examination’

BBC Sounds – A Thorough Examination with Drs Chris and Xand – Available Episodes

And if you’d like to talk to a Nutritionist (and I suggest everyone should, at least once!) I can highly recommend both:
Charlotte Bennett who is based in Chislehurst,
Julie Cooper who is based in Oxfordshire.

Please do let me know if you found any of this useful, or if you have other recommendations for people to follow or books to read!

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