It’s Tuesday, 3pm and I get on a skype call with a soon-to-be client.
One of the first things she says is “I eat very healthy so I don’t need to change my food intake, I just need to exercise more.”
Recognize this? You are eating fairly healthy, eating avocados and nuts instead of chips and cookies, trying your best to cook carb-free-gluten-free meals, saying no to treats and still… You’re stuck.
Your love handles won’t go away and your tummy is not getting any more toned.
When I hear a client say “I eat healthy foods” it’s like there are a million bells going off in my head.
I instantly know the first thing we need to adjust in their plan.
WHEN Your goal is fat loss… Quantity trumps quality
You are eating healthy but not losing fat? Odds are you’re eating too much.
Fat loss is based on calories in and calories out. There are no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ calories in terms of fat loss, there’s just ‘too many calories to lose fat’.
Your first step is to get an accurate measure of what you are eating.
Use a scale to measure your food intake
“Ahhhh nooooo, Amy, I don’t want to use a scale in the kitchen”.
Well, have you been losing fat? No? And you want to lose 5 kilos?
Then this is your easiest fix.
Get yourself a digital kitchen scale so you can see how much you are actually eating.
Become a pro at knowing how much is ‘just right’
You will not need a scale for the rest of your life.
After a while, you will get better at eyeballing your food as well.
But get this – imagine you are sitting at the dinner table with your family, you ate a plate of fantastic spaghetti and you feel like going in for seconds.
When you go in for seconds – you are actually eating twice as many calories.
It doesn’t feel like this, because you think “I’m just eating a bit extra” – but you will actually eat twice the amount you would’ve been eating with one plate.
Same is true for an apple, avocado… A large apple has more calories than a small apple!
The most dangerous items to mis-measure
- fats: mayonaise, oil,… a miscalculation of only 5 grams can make your calorie total be incorrect by 50 kcal (1 gram of fat = 9 kcal)
- a ‘spoon’ is one of the most dangerous measurements ever, one spoon is hardly ever the same amount!
- a slice of bread can vary from being 30 grams to 100 grams
How to use the scale to fix this
Are small amounts difficult to measure with a scale?
Check out these hacks:
- Put a plate on the scale and press the ‘tare button’ so the total sets itself to zero
- Every time you add an ingredient, you press the button again so you see the total amount for that ingredient only
- Olive oil in your meal? Put the bottle on the scale, press zero, use oil while cooking your meal, put the bottle on the scale again and you will know how much oil you used
It’s up to you
You can keep ignoring the scale, or you can go full-in to learn what amounts you are putting in your mouth and reap your fat loss benefits quickly.
Don’t trick yourself. You are already making an effort, now make it worth your while.
Editorial note: this does not mean you shouldn’t eat healthy foods. It just means that when your goal is fatloss – you have to sweat the small stuff or you’ll get stuck while doing ‘almost everything right’.