Food guilt, eating guilt, and diner’s remorse are all terms used to describe that unpleasant, sinking feeling associated with ‘falling off the wagon’ and eating in a way that is not in line with your planned dietary approach. This is, in my opinion, a big problem – and science backs that up, with guilt around eating being associated with an increased risk of disordered eating and higher bodyweight. The thing is, though, you don’t ever need to feel guilty for eating. Now, this is not me lying to you and saying that eating a big cake won’t stop you losing weight because it will, and I’m not the type of person to just fib in order to make you feel better. The simple fact is that if you want to burn stored body fat you need to consume fewer calories than

One of the things that most people are really bad at is understanding (and remembering) that two things can be true at once, even if at first they appear to be complete opposites. For example, it is true that saturated fat is not as bad for you as was once thought, but it is also true that you can’t just go about drinking coconut oil willy nilly and expect that to have no negative effect on your blood markers. One area in which this is especially true, but often forgotten in the current conversation around health, fitness, and nutrition is that of body positivity (or fat acceptance, or whatever term you’d like to use). Here the false dichotomy is presented like so: You need to believe one of the following things: You love your body and therefore it’s perfect as is

Intermittent fasting (IF) – going through prolonged periods of intentionally not eating - is an approach to food that has some kind of mystique around it thanks to being so far out of the norm. Common dietary advice has generally centred around eating little and often for decades and so as soon as a person starts talking about doing literally the opposite of that it’s, of course, going to raise questions, such as: Is that good for you? Is that bad for you? Does that speed up weight loss? Is it the road to eating disorders? And part of the problem is that generally the only people talking about it are either staunchly for or against IF and so their answer to those questions says more about their personal beliefs than it does about the reality of the situation. Here, I

“This breakfast choice keeps you full until lunch” “[Insert “healthy” food here] will make sure you stay full” “When you get hungry between meals, snack on [“healthy” option] rather than [“less healthy” option”] These phrases are used a TON in the nutrition space, often to justify having eggs for breakfast, nuts as snacks, and lots of vegetables with each meal. Now I’m not for a second saying that this is anything but brilliant advice – these are very good choices which provide a ton of useful nutrients, and while hunger is by far and away NOT the only thing that makes people overeat calories (do you REALLY eat chocolate in the evening because you’re hungry and for no other reason?) managing it is definitely an effective method of improving nutritional adherence. When researched, reducing a person’s hunger levels by manipulating food choice will

Thanks to the position I find myself in I get asked a lot of questions about nutrition and fat loss every day. I absolutely don’t mind this and consider it an honour – it’s pretty cool to be the go-to nutrition person - but at the same time there are some questions that annoy me a bit. Not, I want to stress, because the person has asked, but because their asking implies something: If a person asks if they need to eat more to gain weight, that means they think they probably do If they think they do, that means that someone has told them that it’s possible to eat too little to lose weight This means that this person has been told that your metabolism has some kind of starvation mode or another tomfoolery which prevents weight loss if

Food waste and hunger is a global issue but it is very much on our own doorstep too, as here in the UK food waste and hunger is a nationwide problem. According to FareShare 1.9 million tons of food is wasted by the food industry, including those involved in growing, harvesting, manufacturing and selling the produce. 250,000 tons of this food is perfectly edible and yet there are an estimated 8.4 million people in the UK alone that are struggling to afford to eat. A large percentage of that figure experience actual hunger. The food wasted in Europe and the USA alone could feed the world 3 times over! Yet around the world people are living and dying of hunger; approximately 1 billion people are hungry and every second one person dies of hunger. How can this make sense? I could write

There are an awful lot of ways to set up a dieting approach, one of which – in fact, probably the most common – is to have a set of rules which tell you what/when/how you are and are not allowed to eat. For example, diets exist which specify that: X, Y, Z foods are off limits You're not allowed to eat foods after or before X time You’re only allowed to eat these certain foods You can’t have X if you haven’t exercised today Etc Now, these are generally regarded as bad ways to diet, and for good reason. Diets like these tend to be the diets that people don’t succeed on, or at least they don’t succeed for very long. Because of this, you’ll often hear well-meaning health and fitness professionals or nutrition people explaining that this restrictive kind of diet is unworkable, unsustainable,

Whenever people discuss their fitness approach or dietary adjustments they tend to do so with reference to a goal – you go to the gym to get stronger, they eat better to lose body fat, etc. When talking to a coach or Personal Trainer for the first time, they will also ask you about these hypothetical future achievements – “What’s your goal?”. Pause for a moment and reflect on this, and when you have an answer keep reading. Goals are often poorly defined. Many of you reading this will already know where I’m going with this, but stick with me because I’m going to take a different angle than most, and for those that have never really thought about this before, consider this: Is your goal – the thing you currently have in your head – USEFUL? Is it something that, through virtue

If you pay much attention to public messaging around nutrition, it’s pretty safe to say that sugar is enemy number one right now. It’s being blamed for diabetes, obesity, and a host of other health issues, with reasoning centring around its ability to spike insulin, be stored as fat, and cause addictions. But is any of it true? Let’s take a look, starting out with the whole obesity thing. A few weeks back I wrote an article on how fat loss and gain actually works – you can check that out here and if you haven’t read it, please quickly go and check it out before continuing because what I say here is just a brief version of what I said over there. You’ve likely heard the idea of calorie balance dictating weight loss and gain; basically, if you consume more energy than

In Part 1 of this blog I outlined what a habit is, why it’s so powerful, and the problems they can represent when making a lifestyle change. If you didn’t read that yet, go check it out or the below won’t make a whole lot of sense! Assuming you’ve read it already, we can crack on… You cannot simply ignore habits and hope they go away because they won’t. As I mentioned last week, they are hard-wired into your brain – they’re physically and literally a part of you – and so you can’t just hope they stop being there because that won’t happen any time soon. Think of the ex-smoker who suddenly finds themselves with a cigarette the moment they get drunk in the pub they used to frequent. This means you have a few different options available to you – one

Part 1: Yes When you woke up this morning, how long did you have to think about it before you decided that, this morning, you were going to brush your teeth? That simple question, when you really think about it, tells you a lot about how behaviour works because the answer is you don’t think about it (I hope). There’s no weighing up of pros and cons, there’s no drawn-out analysis of options, you just get up and brush your teeth. This is, as a crude illustration, a habit. Habits are actions that you undertake every day, in similar contexts. Indeed habits are likely to make up the vast majority of our day to day behaviours, but there’s far more to it than first appears; habits aren’t just things you do all of the time, they’re routines which are hard-wired into your brain.

In the health and fitness community, probably one of the most disturbing and damaging trends I see is the prevalence of food guilt. Food guilt is the sinking feeling of failure, regret and helplessness which follows the act of ‘indulging’ in something you enjoy but which is not on your usual plan – you ate the chocolate which you aren’t allowed and now you feel bad for it. Food guilt can be crippling and can have a lasting effect on the psychological wellbeing of dieters. Those experiencing food guilt are, however, looking at this whole thing from the wrong angle, and without considering these next three points, they may never be free from the shame of looking at the bottom of an ice cream tub and wishing they’d never opened it. 1 – Food is not bad or good OK, this first point

Can stress cause weight gain? Questions like the one in the title of this blog are really common in the health and fitness space, but while they are completely valid and understandable, they aren’t quite complete and so any answer given may not really provide what the asker was looking for. That’s because this question is really two questions kinda mashed into one, which are: If I’m stressed, will this cause me to gain fat? Does stress make me more likely to gain fat? These seem interchangeable but there is a subtle difference. The former implies that stress on its own alters your physiology somehow, causing the accumulation of body fat, while the latter simply asks whether stress changes some external factors that may change your behaviour. Answering these two independently should allow me, in this blog, to fully demystify the means by

Alcohol and weight loss - how can incorporate a few drinks into your life without affecting your weight loss goal? Whenever people are looking to improve their health one of the first things they try to do is cut out (or at least radically reduce their consumption of) alcohol. Now in no way am I trying to discourage this because as I’ll write later there is certainly something to be said about not drinking at all, but at the same time I think that it’s worth exploring this topic a little more; after all alcohol is a major part of British culture and that of many other places, and being completely teetotal doesn’t appeal to a lot of people. Some will be reading this and thinking that cutting out alcohol sounds like a pretty rubbish prospect, and that can be a

Easily the most common piece of advice I hear well-meaning health and fitness people give is for people to find balance or something to that effect. This may relate to exercise, nutrition or any number of other things and the intended message is great – but it’s not all that well defined. The idea of balance in terms of nutrition and exercise is a pretty complex one that is rarely really unpacked and made explicit, meaning that when us well-meaning fitness people recommend it, it can often be little more than a nice sounding platitude that is open to interpretation. What happens, therefore, is entirely up to the person that hears the word and their understanding of what was meant, which will be dictated more by their own personality than the intended message of the speaker. It’s my hope that in

One of the main issues that clients tend to have during a period of controlled and intentional weight/fat loss is that motivation is highly fleeting. When you first start out on a lifestyle change that is so all-encompassing as improving your health by changing your diet and exercise habits to lose weight you’re pretty excited, and this is totally understandable. You’re embarking on a new journey, you’re excited about the results that you’re going to get, and while you may be a little apprehensive, you’re almost looking forward to doing things a bit differently. When you first start out on a lifestyle change that is so all-encompassing as improving your health by changing your diet and exercise habits to lose weight you’re pretty excited, and this is totally understandable. The problem is: that excitement at trying a new thing goes away really,

Body fat, stored energy in adipose tissue, is probably the single most discussed topic related to health, fitness, body confidence and other related areas. Most want less of it, or at least want to spend as much time as possible not gaining it, but I often find that a really big stumbling block people have towards this end is that they’ve never learned the answer to a relatively straightforward question – what IS fat gain and what IS fat loss? Now I know what you may be thinking - they sound like really stupid questions, to be honest. Obviously the two just mean exactly what they are, right? They are statements that don’t need any further investigation; one is gaining some fat and the other is losing some – but I would put forth the following opinion: if these phrases didn’t need investigation, and

I joined the Transform 21 group, after completing Rachael’s Declutter Your Diet course which left me well equipped to start looking at my health and fitness journey ( formerly known as ‘dieting and weight loss’) in a whole different way.  Rachael’s guidance and support stopped me in my tracks and changed my whole thought process regarding dieting, nutrition and exercise. I’ve gone from depriving myself to try to lose weight, to loving and looking after myself, eating great food and getting off my backside, and enjoying it."Rachael’s guidance and support stopped me in my tracks and changed my whole thought process regarding dieting." Rachael’s T21 programme isn’t rocket science, it isn’t a quick fix, and it’s not a miracle pill or a two week meal plan involving weird shakes or teas.  It is all about: self-love, education with the right information,

It can really be challenging sometimes to stay consistent with exercising! We've all been there; new workout schedule planned out, gym bag packed for the next morning and breakfast prepped in the fridge to save time. You're so organised it's unbelievable - wearing matching underwear and everything! - only to find a week later you've run out of steam, forgotten to wash your gym kit and fallen asleep on the couch instead of doing that spin class you promised yourself you'd attend. The good news is it's totally normal to struggle with consistency when it comes to working out. The bad news is, you'll need to work on it if you want to see results. Schedule it into your day Making a visual plan of your weekly workouts are proven to make you feel more organised and more likely to carry out

I absolutely LOVE reading fiction. In fact, I read 1 book pretty much every single week. I always have 1 fiction book and one business book on the go. Psychological crime books are my favourite. At the moment, I'm reading one called 'The Missing' by C.L. Taylor. The story is about a woman called Claire who, in her forties is married to Mark and has two boys - Billy (15) and Jake (19). The story is set 6 months after Billy went missing in the middle of the night. Claire refuses to believe that any of her friends and family are right when they say that Billy isn't coming back. Frantic, Claire start suffering amnesia attacks - often 'waking up' in random places - not know how she got there.

When was the last time you looked in the mirror and said something nice about yourself? Seriously – have a think. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning, until the minute we close them at night, the most common thing for us to do is to look in the mirror and pick out all of our perceived ‘flaws’. Which of these statements can you remember saying about yourself…? “I’m so fat” “I look a state in this outfit” “I’ll never lose all this weight” “I hate my body” “I look so frumpy” And it’s not just when you look in the mirror, is it? Do you compare yourself to other people too? “He/she looks so much better than me” “I wish I had half the confidence he/she has” “I wish I could be slim like her” “I remember when I was in shape like him, I wish I could

You’ve probably felt this before…it's like someone opened a tap on the bottom of your feet and all your energy just DRAINED out… According to me, there are two types of people in the world – Radiators. And Drains. Radiators are people you meet who enrich your life, make you laugh, give you energy, make you feel good, happy and encourage you to follow your gut instinct and grow. Drains are people who suck the life from you, they are the moaners and complainers of the world – ie. “I hate my job” yet never leave and follow a career path that interests them. They mooooooooveee sllllooooowwwlllyyyy, procrastinate. They talk about you behind your back and look for arguments. The list goes on. Do you know anybody like that? I call them energy vampires. You have a couple of choices when it comes to energy vampires. You can either walk away

My name is Rachael and I am a reformed ‘Paleo Dieter’ and ‘Clean Eater’. Allow me to explain. I first discovered the term ‘Paleo’ in Summer 2012 when looking at the website of a group fitness presenter who helped other coaches with their nutrition. As a group exercise instructor at the time who knew NOTHING about nutrition, I was intrigued to find out more, and by October 2012 had signed up to her ’30 Day Lean and Mean Challenge’. I love a challenge, so this really appealed to me. On 22nd October 2012 I started 30 days of ‘clean eating’ or ‘Paleo dieting’ which I documented by way of a Facebook page to keep me accountable. Some of the video diary posts that I made actually make me cringe deep into my soul when I watched them back whilst preparing to write this