It’s all about calorie deficit, right??!!

I’m an ambassador on the Run Mummy Run nutrition page, The Healthier Balance. Here I give people advice on eating healthy food, and fuelling their bodies for running, as well as posting articles about nutrition. Today I wrote this, which I thought many of us could do with remembering.

Food should be a source of pleasure, not one of misery. Yes we need it to fuel our bodies but it’s so much more exciting than just fuel.

Eating well really isn’t very complicated, and with a change of mindset and the will to try new things, we could all be eating so well, and making changes to our bodies and minds for the better.

I see things regularly on social media, which to be honest come across as slightly patronising, which are usually shouted out to the camera, along the lines of ‘Losing weight is all about calorie deficit, why don’t people get it???!!’.

While this is technically correct (who am I to argue with science?!) it doesn’t mean that our approach to food should be technical or scientific. It’s not sustainable long term, to be counting the calories/grams/points in everything we eat, and then panicking when we are presented with options different to the norm (eating out, at someone’s house, or travelling) because we don’t know how many calories it has or because we don’t know the breakdown of nutritional information.

Surely it would be much better to educate ourselves and learn about food; what’s good for us, what isn’t; and then have the confidence to just know that the choices we are making are good for us. And have the conviction to be able to say no to things that we don’t want to eat or drink.

But added to the mix we have the absolutely enormous range of pre-packed sugary snacks, drinks, processed foods, takeaways and other things with no nutritional content whatsoever, but filled with calories, fat or sugar. It’s hard to ignore them or get away from them if you shop in any of the major supermarkets in this country.

There is an answer though. Go back to basics. Try to fill your trolley with fresh veg and fruit, lean meats and proteins, healthy fats, beans, pulses and wholemeal carbs. You shouldn’t have to cut out any food groups, eat strange combinations of food (unless you want to…!), or starve yourself, in order to lose weight, slim down, or be healthier. Any diets that encourage you to do so for quick weight loss, are not realistic. Quick weight loss isn’t weight loss, it’s fluid loss, which you will then put back on once you start eating properly again.

If you want to lose weight, it’s best done steadily while educating yourself and changing your habits, so that you eat healthily in a way that can last you a lifetime.