The downfall of the dieter.
You’re eating all the right foods, exercising several times a week, yet you’re not seeing any progress.
Snacking could be sabotaging everything, let’s have a look at how.
Scenario 1: Not knowing what to snack on
This is probably the most common for many of us.
We are doing the right thing at home, or for our main meals, but we get mid-morning or mid-afternoon hunger pangs, and then wonder what to do.
Often if you’re trying to eat healthier you may have drastically reduced your calories both by eating better quality food and by eating less of it.
This can leave you quite hungry with lunch still a couple hours away and that’s often when the biscuits come out during the tea break.
It can be quite hard to resist this temptation and before you know it you’re 3 hobnobs down with your cup of tea.
There’s a couple options here.
Option One: increase the amount of food you’re eating in your main meals.
This would help you to last until the next meal where you have your prepared food and keep you from temptation.
The human body when eating the right amount of food will be hungry approximately every 2-3 hours.
Option Two: Make smaller meals to have as snacks
Let’s have a look at what we eat for our meals.
One to two palms of protein dense food, one to two cupped hands of starchy carbohydrates, a small amount of fat, and a couple hands of vegetables.
There’s no need for a snack to look much different (though maybe slightly smaller).
For example: greek yoghurt with a topping of berries and nuts
Or: 2 boiled eggs with an apple and some tomatoes.
My personal favourite: chopped apple with 2 tablespoons of 100% natural peanut butter, alongside greek yoghurt mixed with half a scoop of whey protein.
Honestly it’s delicious
It really is that simple.
If you overthink a snack, it will overcome you.
Focus on the basics like you’re doing for your main meals, and you’ll do fine.
Scenario 2: Tracking your food APART from the odd snack
Here is a common one for those of us using a tracking app for performance/weight loss purposes.
We’re tracking our food intake from our main meals, but not the odd biscuit here and there.
The issue here is that just one custard cream has 80 calories in.
If across the space of a day you have 5 of these thinking, “oh well one won’t hurt”, then before you know it you’ve demolished 400 calories.
And boom, your caloric deficit has gone without you knowing it.
If you’re tracking your food intake in order to lose weight or to improve your performance, then make sure you’re doing it diligently and including everything you put into your mouths.
There’s nothing wrong with a few biscuits or some chocolate here and there as long as you’re not over eating and you’re eating mainly nutrient-dense foods.
However, if you’re snacking without tracking, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Snacking on chocolate while still losing weight
You can still indulge in biscuits, chocolate, and all your favourite snacks and still make progress.
You heard right.
There’s no reason for you to give up everything you love when trying to improve your health and fitness.
And actually, if it’s not sustainable, it’s not going to work long term.
This is where balance and the 80:20 rule come into play.
If you focus on mostly nutrient-dense, low calorie foods, the odd biscuit here and there is not going to kill you or make you fat.
And in fact keeping these snacks in could be the key to long term results and happiness.
It comes down to what are you doing the majority of the time, not the small bits here and there.
Unless of course, you’re eating more than you think and taking yourself out of your caloric deficit.
This is where tracking your food intake for a period of time can help.
It can make you realise exactly how much (or how little) you’re eating, and where you need to be.
Obviously for those of you who are smaller and less active, you’re going to be able to get away with less.
For those who are bigger, and more active, you will have more room for indulgences here and there while still being within your calories.
If you want to adopt a sustainable approach but need help, then get in touch for a free consultation regarding nutritional coaching, I’d love to help.
Thanks for reading, questions welcome in the comments.