Intuitive eating vs tracking | which nutrition advice is right?

On social media, everyone seems to be a nutritionist…. There is a lot of nutrition advice given, for both the better and the worse.

There are plenty of qualified people online giving nutrition advice, which is great… they are sharing their knowledge to help others. And then there are also those who have gotten their nutrition information online from maybe not the most scientific sources. However, this is not what I am going to discuss today…. But there are some red flags to be aware of when getting your nutrition information online from different sources. But that can be for another post.

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Instead, this post is about….. the type and way nutrition information shared. I have noticed that there are two ways of sharing nutrition information and advice – and you can easily tell which category I fall into – and that is, “eat whatever you want when you want it, try to eat intuitively and balanced. Everything in moderation” vs. “Track your calories and macros. Eat according to a schedule and mealplan if possible. Only eat certain foods on certain days, and do a tough workout either before or after your ‘cheatmeal’ to earn it”.

So… which is right? Do you need to track your food and earn your “cheatmeals”, or can you just eat whatever you want when you want?

This may not be the answer you want to hear, but I would say…. It is very individual what works.

For some people, they may struggle with a more restrictive mindset. Feel guilt around food and want to restrict calories or certain foods. Then, giving them the reminder that everything in moderation is healthy (this is of course true for EVERYONE, regardless of weight or goal). Also reminding the person that they should try to listen to their body, follow their hunger and fullness signals and allow themselves to eat…. To overcome the fear and guilt associated with food.

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Whereas for others who may have tendencies towards overeating, binging, extreme emotional eating and may gravitate more towards eating processed and junkfood on the daily. Then giving the advice to follow a mealplan or to track their intake and keep portions and foods in line with their goal.

Just eating whatever and whenever may not be the best advice for some… just like telling others to track their food and calories and that they have to “earn” their food may not be the best advice for others.

It is very individual. And as a nutritionist or dietitian you give different advice to different people, depending on their goal and situation. There are food and nutrition recommendations for the general population, but individual advice may differ for different individuals.

But on social media… what may be individual advice is instead given to a large population. It is aimed at “everyone”, even if the advice may only be healthy and applicable for some groups of people. THIS is something that YOU as a reader should be aware of. Not all nutrition advice is applicable for everyone…. You also have to be aware of, “is this advice and recommendation suitable for me?”

The advice for someone who is recovering from anorexia will vary from someone who has a large overweight and needs to lose weight. But will also vary between those two groups and someone who has a healthy weight and maybe wants to build muscle.

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The thing you will notice online is that the person giving the nutrition advice will most likely adjust their advice given according to their followers… if someone has a lot of followers who struggle with overeating and need to/want to lose weight, they will give different recommendations from someone like me… who knows that I have a lot of followers who struggle with different forms of restrictive eating.

My personal opinion is that…. It is not necessarily wrong to track your food intake or follow a meal plan. For some people, that is what they need to do for a SHORT period of time to readjust to regular portion sizes and try to find balance with food again. However, how precisely you track your food intake is another question…. And that is very individual. Some people can track their calories or macros without it ever getting obsessive, while others easily get consumed and obsessed with numbers if they try to track their food. So my general recommendation is to not focus on calories, but to focus more on healthy foods and eating the right size portions.

My nutrition advice is of course adjusted for the individual when working with individuals, but my overall recommendation for everyone is to try to focus on balanced and intuitive eating. Even if it may be a long process to get to that stage, that should be the ultimate goal. To be able to listen to your body, to not have to overthink food or track every single food you eat.

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When you begin listening to your body and find intuitive eating, you do fall into a routine…. You feel hungry at certain times, you find meals and foods you like which become a regular, but you also aren’t scared to try new foods or meals or eat at different times when the hunger kicks in. That should be the ultimate goal, which is also why I share that message so often.

To summarize this post…

Well, there is a lot of nutrition advice out there and it is not applicable to everyone. You as a reader, do also need to think rationally and ask yourself… is this information relevant and healthy for me? Would it be healthy for me to track my calories or exercise to compensate for food? Would it be healthy for me to just listen to my body? Would it be healthy for me to just eat what my body tells me… ?(For some people at certain stages of their life, this method isn’t the healthiest… it may be the goal but at certain times a mealplan may be necessary to find structure and balance with food again).

Lastly… I also think that the majority of people will follow those online who give the nutrition advice that most suits them. If they are someone who wants to eat more intuitively and balanced, they will most likely follow someone who gives that advice and motivates them to eat that way. Whereas, if someone wants a stricter approach to eating and wants to track their food and be reminded of portion sizes or calorie amounts in food, they will follow people who give that sort of advice.

However on social media… you can’t always control what appears in your feed or recommended pages, so sometimes you get nutrition advice and recommendations which may not be the ones aimed at you or the advice you want to hear or see.  But that’s social media.

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So which is better….. it is individual, one isn’t necessarily better than the other… even if I personally believe that the intuitive eating and balanced approach to eating should be the ultimate goal for everyone. You as an individual also need to ask yourself, which approach to food and eating works best for you?

Chickpea tofu

Tofu is typically made out of soybeans… so if this can be called tofu is uncertain.

However it’s cube formed and rich in protein… so similar to tofu.

Infact i thought…. why not do a little nutritional comparison. The nutrition lover in me finds things like that fun!!!

Of course… there are different types of tofu which have different nutritional values, but tofu – whether firm, soft or marinated is all based on the same thing, soy beans.

And with chickpea flour which has turned into chickpea tofu, i am going to base the “nutrition” on just chickpea flour 🙂

Both tofu and chickpeas are based on beans, meaning that are rather similar in nutrition.  Both are rich in protein. However chickpea flour  is a better source of folate and iron compared to tofu, which has more calcium than chickpeas. Of course, depending on the amount you eat and the fact that chickpea flour is grounded chickpeas and therefore more “nutritios per gram” than tofu… that also matters.

Both chickpea flour and tofu are good sources of protein, so a good alternative for meat or fish or if you don’t want to eat just beans or lentils.

 

For those who have a soya allergy, chickpea tofu is a great alternative as it is rather similar in nutrition and a similar to tofu in consistency, but doesn’t include the soya beans!

The consistency and taste of chickpea tofu?

Well, it’s soft just like tofu… however when fried it doesn’t quite have that firmness which tofu does.

If you have eaten chickpea pancakes before… well it’s similar to that. Almost anyway.

It does work to marinate this tofu however the crispiness is not the same as pressed tofu. But nonetheless it is very tasty and also easy to make!!!

 

Recipe:

Ingredients:

120g chickpea flour

440 ml water

Pinch of salt

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of onion powder

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Optional, 1/4tsp turmeric for colour

How to

Grease a baking tray with some oil, or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl add the chickpea flour and seasoning. Then slowly add the water while continuously whisking. You don’t want any clumps, so my suggestion is to use an actual whisk and not a fork.

When the mixture is clump free, pour into a pot.

Heat on medium and stir continuously. The mixture will begin to thicken rather quickly and become rather gelatinous… but keep stirring, there is risk that it will burn or turn clumpy otherwise. Keep stirring, in total I cooked mine for about 5-7 minutes. It was thick and cooked all the way through.

Once cooked, pour into your baking tray and spread out evenly. Allow to cool slightly before placing in the fridge for 2-4 hours or preferably overnight.

In the morning, or after about 8 hours the chickpea tofu will have firmed up and you should be able to cut it into desired shape. Such as small cubes or long fry shapes. You can eat it just as it is, or cut into cubes and marinate before frying. Or you can just fry as it is in some oil.

I finished mine in about 2 days, so unfortunately, I can’t tell you how long it will last. But I would say that it should be fine about 3-5 days in the fridge, however I can not tell you how the consistency or taste will turn out.

I will remake a batch and allow to sit in the fridge for 2-3 days and then update with the results… or unless someone else tries before me and can update in the comments section.

Not, you can vary the seasoning according to preference. And I am pretty sure you can use vegetable stock instead of water, which will give it a lot more flavour 😊

I will also remake this recipe and try baking the chickpea tofu once it is done, to see what the results are… so expect an update on that front as well.

Overeating, extreme hunger, binge eating |How they differ

Many people lightheartedly use the word, “Binged” when they actually mean overate.

Many in eating disorder recovery – specially restrictive eating disorders – can go through periods of extreme hunger, but they think it is binging.

Extreme hunger and binging can seem very similar, but they are very different. One could be classified as consequences/symptoms of an eating disorder, whereas the other one is classified as an eating disorder.

This post has been a long time coming, and i thought i would try to define and describe the difference in these 3 terms as well as give some tips if you are dealing with extreme hunger or binge eating right now.

Overeating:

Starting off with the simplest definition, which is overeating. Over eating is basically what you may do at buffets or at Christmas or other special occasions where there is a lot of food. Or even at dinner parties where you may eat a large dinner and feel full but still eat some cake afterwards. Basically, eating more than maybe usual or maybe you are 95% full but still eat more just because it is delicious, because it is there or because it is offered to you and you want to be polite. Typically, you may feel very full for several hours, may feel like unbuttoning your trousers and laying down for a while and give your stomach time to digest the food.

Overeating is rather normal. Some people may do it more frequently, others may just do it during special occasions or events. Typically done just because the food is there or because it is delicious.

For some people when they have “cheat days” they may be overeating.

If you overeat, the best thing is to just rest for a while, drink some water or peppermint tea. That fullness will pass and as long as it is not a daily occurunce of overeating then it is no problem. (*Note, overeating can occur at more times than just special occasions i.e such as boredom eating, stress, always eating larger portions than necessary during mealtimes… which can result in weightgain. Which for some is a NECESSARY weight gain, and for others it may not.)

Extreme hunger:

And the next is extreme hunger. So many think that extreme hunger is the same as binging… but it is not. They are two different things.

Extreme hunger is often in response to a period of undereating… it may have been conscious or unconscious undereating. It is your bodies way of finding balance… craving for food and high energy food to feel “safe” again. Also, if you have lost weight, either by choice or by accident, it is your bodies way of getting you back to your set point. The extreme hunger doesn’t last forever, but it can last a while. How long it lasts varies from person to person and situation to situation. If you have been undereating for a long time you may feel extreme hunger for a longer period of time, compared to if it may just have been a short while that you under ate due to maybe stress, hormones or other reasons.

Extreme hunger can be described as a constant or very frequent hunger. You may eat a big meal, but 1 hour alter feel super hungry again, almost like you haven’t eaten in hours. If you have been undereating, or if you are underweight then it is more than likely that your hormones are out of balance, including your hunger hormones which can be why you feel constantly hungry or never feel full. It can of course be helpful to see a doctor who specializes in hormones if they are out of balance, but remember that eating enough, having a healthy body fat percent and not overstressing can help regulate hormones (to some extent).

Typically, you are just hungry… you want to eat, you want food. There may not be any extreme or strong or specific cravings. Just hunger. During extreme hunger you may overeat, i.e eat more than your daily calorie requirements. However, this is also necessary for the extreme hunger to settle and go away. You do need to eat more…. You need to allow yourself to eat the amount your body is craving., Even if that means eating every hour.

My best suggestion when it comes to extreme hunger is to one, actually eat. Listen to your body.

And two, try to eat 5-6 meals a day minimum. Don’t eat tiny meals “just in case you eat too much” or to compensate for being so hungry. Eat large meals. No diet or light foods – eat the full fat products. And if you have any specific cravings, allow yourself to eat them… even if you should also focus on eating main meals and mostly whole foods and unprocessed foods. If you want the chocolate or donuts or crisps, eat them.

Acceptance and allowance are key. It may be a mental battle, but the hunger won’t go away if you keep trying to restrict or deprive yourself… it will just make it worse and it could infact lead to binging and binge eating. Which is what I will describe next.

Binge eating

So, binge eating is classified as an eating disorder, whereas extreme hunger can be a consequence/symptom of an eating disorder. Or a result and part of recovery from an eating disorder. And overeating is just a “normal” thing… and I mean normal in the sense that the majority of people overeat certain times in their life… even if it definitely shouldn’t be a daily thing because that can lead to weight gain for the majority of people (who may not need to gain weight. It is different if you are dealing with extreme hunger and therefore overeat but also need to gain weight… or atleast, gaining weight will help you find balance with food and eating again.).

Binge eating isn’t really about food or hunger… the binges are mostly due to mental reasons. They are often in response to anxiety, stress, emotions. The binges are a form of coping mechanism. Often there is strong cravings for specific foods… often high in calorie, fat and sugar. Or it can be certain nostalgic food that can give you a sense of comfort which can be a way to cope when stressed, anxious or dealing with a lot of emotions.

Binging is not really about the food or feeling super hungry compared to extreme hunger…. But more the feeling of eating, the rush of the sugar and calories and the dopamine the food can give. Dopamine is one of the “feel good” neurotransmittors and often that gives the person a sense of happiness/comfort/takes away the anxiety while they binge eat… but then post binge the anxiety and guilt may kick in.

However, binge eating can also be a consequence and response of extreme and long restrictive eating. Where you have restricted and deprived your body for so long, and all that is on your mind are the “forbidden foods”, and once you do eat one of those “forbidden foods”, there is no stop. An all or nothing mindset kicks in. For some they compensate, which is then classified as bulimia, whereas if you don’t compensate it is just binge eating.

Binge eating is far more serious than the other two, hence why it is an eating disorder that can be diagnosed according to certain criteria. But also, for the majority of people does require professional help to recover.

Binge eating can often be described as a lack of control… even if extreme hunger can also be described as that at times, because you just feel so hungry that you can’t stop eating. (Even if YES… with extreme hunger, you will reach a point where you don’t feel that super hunger all the time. But it does take some time for your body and hormones to reach a safe and balanced place… but eventually it stops.) Whereas with binge eating… it can continue for many years until someone eventually reaches the point where they seek professional treatment in some form, whether inpatient care, day patient or therapy or CBT for help.

On the other side, binge eating can also be seen as something “controlled” as people can plan their binges (even if the binging also then becomes something uncontrolled and unstoppable)… which is something not many people are aware of. Even if binges can happen spontaneously in response to emotions, stress, anxiety, mental state… it can also be planned binges where food is bought and planned beforehand as the binging can give a sense of comfort, peace, happiness…. But the aftermath of the binges is quite the opposite with guilt, anxiety, self-hate and disgust.

With binge eating, it is recommended to try to eat regular mealtimes throughout a day. To not reach a point where you feel starving or hangry. To eat 5-6 times a day and give your body and mind constant energy. Because binges can stem from restriction or a restrictive mindset where you have set up food rules and forbidden foods, you need to work on finding balance with all foods… not having foods you can’t eat. However, in the beginning it can be helpful to avoid having trigger foods in your house and instead eating them when you feel that you can eat them in moderation, example maybe when you are around others.

And one of the most important things with binge eating/bulimia, is that you do seek proffessional help/treatment/support to overcome it. There can be many reasons as to why you binge, but if you don’t seek help it can be an eating disorder you live with. Binge eating and bulimia is actually alot more common than anorexia, even if it does not get as much attention or awareness. And there is nothing shameful in struggling, but it is important you seek help so that you can get better and not just resort to cutting out trigger foods and binge foods so that you eat a very restrictive diet. Because that will just lead to more binging. Unfortunatly food is everywhere and just like with anorexia recovery it is not just about eating and eating the right amount for you, but about finding ways to cope around food and finding ways to eat in balance, and lastly just letting food become a part of your life but not your whole life.

I do have other posts about binge eating and binge eating recovery, so I will not write so much about tips to recover and advice for recovery in this post, instead you can check out my previous posts.

My previous posts about binge eating:

Binge eating recovery: Tips, advice, my experience: Masterpost

Dealing with extreme hunger and binges? | Nutrition advice | Masterpost

Finding balance with food – Restrictive/binging/balanced – advice

How to find balance with food and eating. Overcoming fear foods.

Why diets don’t work

With binge eating, a person often eats far beyond their fullness and to the point of extreme fullness at times. There is most often not a physical hunger than drives the binges – even if at times it may begin with physical hunger but then results in a binge if a person feels triggered or an “all or nothing” mindset kicks in. With extreme hunger, you may overeat but it most often doesn’t reach a point of extreme fullness.

As mentioned earlier… the difference between bulimia and binge eating is that when you have bulimia you may restrict, binge, compensate and repeat. And the form of compensation can vary, whereas with binge eating it is often just binging without any form of compensation.

Lastly, what qualifies as a binge? Well, eating very large and abnormal quantities of food. Amounts of food you wouldn’t eat when around others or portions you know are far bigger than is necessary or normal. I.e such as eating whole packages of bread, cereal, whole boxes of food etc So eating an extra slice of cake for dessert or accidently eating a whole package (one of those roll form ones) of oreos isn’t the same as a binge, where the binge eating can continue for hours at a time and abnormal quantities of food eaten in a “short” period of time.

So, with this…. I hope I have helped bring some awareness to the three different terms. Many in anorexia recovery can find it hard to know whether they are going through extreme hunger or have developed binge eating. But typically, I would say it is just extreme hunger and the best thing you can do is ALLOW YOURSELF TO EAT with no compensation or restriction.

Of course, it is hard to define exactly extreme hunger vs binge eating, but i would say that the person knows themselves – after a while whether it is binge eating or just an extreme hunger.

However, it is important to note that binge eating is one of the most common eating disorders and many in anorexia recovery can end up with bulimia or binge eating if they continue to restrict and deprive themselves even in recovery. I.e continuing to have fearfoods and still eating the lowest amount possible, that strong restriction can kick over into binge eating as a response to the restriction and your body just wanting lots of calories and energy.

I hope you found this post helpful, and if you know anyone else who may benefit from reading this post… send it their way 😊

If you want me to write more about one of these topics or give advice regarding one of them, just comment and let me know.

Or if you have any other post suggestions for me, you are always welcome to let me know.

More posts/articles relevant to this subject:

Extreme hunger: part1 – what is it?

Extreme hunger: part 2 – the experience and science

Hormones and binge eating disorder

Vegan chicken salad | Baguette filling

 

 

When I was in high school, whenever we had sports days or events where the school would provide us with packed lunches (Note, in many high schools in Sweden the children are provided cooked lunches in school everyday. There was usually 1-3 options available, i.e meat/fish/vegetarian option. But when I lived in Ireland we always had to have our own packed lunches with us to school, which was often sandwiches.)

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This post contains affiliate links to Mat.se

The packed lunches which the school provided on those event/sportdays were often sandwiches… and the option I usually choose (between the two options) was the chicken baguette. I was not a huge fan of the filling as it was made with mayonnaise which is afood I have never been able to eat and have never enjoyed. SO the fact that I remade this sandwich combination is very strange considering it wasn’t even a food I liked, hahah.

But I saw someone make a similar dish in a facebook group I am in and I thought… why not give it a try as well?

I have to say I  LOVE these chicken pieces from Halsanskök, I buy them almost weekly and just fry them up and eat with some vegetables and potatoes or rice. They SMELL a lot like chicken and taste wise… they are the most similar to chicken I have come across. Do I want to eat chicken or eat vegan food that looks/tastes/smells like chicken… no not necessarily. I don’t miss chicken, however I do love these ch*cken pieces just because of their flavour and texture. They could call them something else and I would still eat them.

And to read more about why vegans eat fake meat, or want meat substitutes, you can read this post.

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You can make this recipe using either mayonnaise or crème fraiche, whatever option you prefer. But as I am not a fan of mayonnaise, I opted for crème fraiche.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

c.a 150g vegan chicken strips/pieces

200ml vegan mayonnaise or crème fraiche

1/2 red onion, diced

Optional: 1/2 red apple, chopped (for sweetness)

Seasoning: a pinch of paprika powder, 1tsp curry powder, salt and pepper.

Another option –  instead of curry powder and paprika powder, use a premade curry spice mix.

How to:

Fry the chicken pieces – just so that they are warm but not overly crispy. Mix together with the rest of the ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning according to preference.

Eat this mix as it is… with some vegetables and rice… in a baguette… as part of a salad… whatever you enjoy. I ate this in baguettes which was super tasty, but I also ate the remainder just as it was because it was that tasty!!

 

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How to lose weight on a plantbased diet | Nutrition advice

How to lose weight on a plantbased diet

A while agoI wrote a requested post about gaining weight on a plantbased diet. And since then I have gotten messages asking me to write a post about how to lose weight on a plantbased diet.

I hadn’t actually thought about writing this post, because well there are already so many posts regarding weightloss while eating plantbased. But as it was requested, I thought why not…. Maybe I can add some valuable advice and give you examples of nutritious meals you can eat even when weightloss is the goal.

Note – this post contains talk about calories which may be triggering for some. It is important to remember that the advice given in this post is focused on those who need to loseweight. If you have a stable weight and don’t need to lose weight then these tips/advice may not be necessary for you.

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And just like i wrote in a previous post regarding weightloss, HERE, one of the most important things when it comes to weightloss is changing BEHAVIOUR and even MINDSET. You can’t just diet for 4 weeks on a low calorie diet and expect the weightloss to be sustainable… You need to change your habits and behaviour. Make changes in your diet and lifestyle that last. Also you don’t need to eat just salad and celery juice to loseweight, you still need to get all your macronutrients, you may just need to eat less than usual… but doesn’t mean you have to walk around constantly hungry.

Also important to note… why you want to loseweight, and your mindset to food, exercise and the upcoming changes are important.

And lastly… if you do suffer from binge eating or bulimia, or any other form of eating disorder it is best to seek proffessional help and not try to lose weight when the problem is inside of your head and a mental illness. 

Eating at a calorie deficit:

So just like I wrote in the post regarding weight gain, when it comes to losing weight you need to eat at a calorie deficit, meaning you eat less calories than you need each day.

You can calculate how many calories you need to eat to lose weight on THIS site. HOWEVER I don’t typically promote counting calories mostly because it can become obsessive in the long term and you begin to just see food as numbers and not as something enjoyable, nutritious and tasty. Not to mention that you can never know just how much you need or actually eat. It is better to focus more on habits, what you eat, how much you eat rather than whether your meal was X or Y calories. Even if calories still matter… there are other parts that matter as well.

Even if you need to lose weight doesn’t mean that you need to count calories. If you feel like you want a very strict meal plan which is calculate for YOUR needs I would recommend going to a qualified dietitian or nutritionist – or me in the future when I begin working with clients – who can make you a mealplan based on your preferences and requirements.

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So in this post I am not going to write so much about calories, as I don’t promote counting them. But knowing about calories and how weightloss works can help you to understand how you can lose weight.

How to lose weight:

So… losing weight and creating a calorie deficit can be done in different ways. One, eating less than you need. Two, eating at a calorie maintenance but working out more to burn more energy and in that way create a calorie deficiet. Three, eating less and also working out more. This means that you can eat a little more than if you were to just eat at a calorie minus without exercising. Not to mention, if you are strength training you can build muscle/work your muscles and that in turn burns more calories. Also, you can’t forget the health benefits of exercising!

Just working out for weightloss is very time consuming and you would need to spend 2-3 hours working out to burn enough calories to lose weight.

If I eat 2000 kcal do I need to burn 2000kcal?

So many think that all the calories they eat they need to burn off. But that is not the case. Your body is always using energy. Your brain and organs require energy constantly and we all have a base energy requirement, which is basically what your body burns just keeping you alive. So if you were to just lie in bed all day, or example were in a coma, your body would still burn those calories. It is typically around 1200-1500, depending on body composition. I.e the more muscles you have, the more energy you burn just being alive.

Second, all the movement you do each day burns calories. Walking to the fridge. Brushing your teeth. Cleaning. Going shopping. Walking up the stairs. Walking at your job or school. Walking to the bus station etc… all of those things add up and burn calories throughout the day. Typically, around 500-600kcal, depending on how active you are. Some people are more active without thinking about it, while others are more still and don’t do so much movement each day. So in a day peoples energy requirements can vary from 1600-2200kcal. And then if you workout on top of this, that is another 300-600kcal.

So…. When you need to loseweight you should aim to eat about minus 500 kcal of your daily calorie maintenance. I.e if you have a maintenance of around 2000kcal, you should aim to eat about 1500-1800kcal a day.

Do you need to count calories… NO  YOU DON’T! This was just sharing the information of calories and energy requirement.

How and what do I eat?

Well, the first thing I would suggest is that you write a food diary over everything you eat and drink for a week. BE HONEST. This is just for yourself. Look over… when you eat, and it can even be helpful to write out why you ate/how you felt. I.e do you eat due to emotions? Stress? Cravings? Just because the food is there?

And don’t forget those small handfuls of chips while preparing dinner, the oil you fry in, the milk in your coffee, that piece of chocolate after dinner, that on the go latte. If you are someone who maintains your weight, then these are jst part of life and nothing to think so much about it… thinking too much about these small choices can just become problematic.

But when you want to make a change in your diet, it can be good to first become mindful of when and why you eat… sometimes losing weight is just as simple as cutting out all those mindful snacks you don’t even think about doing.

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Regular meals:

I would recommend regular meals during the day. Try to eat 4-6 meals a day and not let it go too long between your meals so that you end up feeling hangry and just eat whatever you see or fall for a bunch of cravings due to hunger.

Second, I recommend you try to eat balanced breakfast, lunches and dinners. Don’t cut out carbs or healthy fats, you still need those in your diet. However you may want to limit your intake of fats or carbs where possible. Example, can you steam your veggies instead of stir frying them? Or maybe make them in an airfryer where you use less oil than when roasting in the oven. Can you choose the wholegrain or bean pasta instead of white pasta? Can you make tomato-based soups and pasta dishes instead of cream based ones? Can you skip the butter/margarine on your potatoes? Can you skip the storebought sauce and maybe make your own version using low fat crème fraiche or soya quark?

If you are eating vegan you aren’t eating any animal products which have a lot of fat in them, but if you do eat red meat/a lot of fatty meat, maybe you could switch those to plantbased protein sources or lean meat.

Increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Try to fill half your plate with vegetables. Snack on veggies with hummus or fruit and berries. Of course, you can still snack on other foods as well such as rice cakes, bread, oatmeal, chia seed pudding, yoghurt…. But grabbing a fruit or some veggies and dip can help you feel fuller.

Even if you need to lose weight, you don’t need to always walk around hungry. Of course, you may have days you feel extra hungry… that is because naturally the body doesn’t want to lose weight and you will feel hungry. But it shouldn’t be unbearable. And if you eat a lot of foods that leave you feeling full and satisfied you are less likely to feel super hungry.

Fruit and vegetables are low calorie but filling, not to mention very nutritious.

Increasing your protein intake can also help with your satiety level. So, beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, soya products, seitan. Snacking on tofu scramble, tofu fries, roasted chickpeas or edamame beans.

Find and make healthier options of some of your favourite cravings/treats. I do recommend that you allow yourself 1-2 days a week where you can eat some of your favourite junk foods. This to create a balance and to not have too many restrictions. It can cause anxiety around certain foods and even lead to binging if you never allow yourself to eat some of your favourite junk foods. They can be eaten and enjoyed in a moderate and balanced way. However for weeknights when cravings for sweet or salty means kicks in, it can be good to have some backup meals you can make instead.

Example for sweet meals…. Unsweetened soya yoghurt with cacao, stevia and warm berries. Banana with peanut butter and some dark chocolate. Apples fried in coconut oil, cinnamon and stevia, add on top of oatmeal or some unsweetened soya yoghurt. Rice cakes with some melted vegan chocolate on top. Chocolate oatmeal with stevia. Chocolate smoothie. Banana ice cream.

Salty meals: kale chips. Steamed edamame beans with sea salt. Roasted chickpeas. Parsnip fries.

Try to stick to regular meals, increasing your vegetable intake. Look over what size plate/bowl you are eating from…. Is it a huge bowl/plate which maybe holds a little more than necessary? Can you size down if necessary? OF COURSE… big portions don’t have to be unhealthy. You may choose to instead eat 3 big meals a day and then you will have bigger portions than if you decide to eat 6 smaller meals a day.. whatever fits your lifestyle.

Also, having a bunch of fruit and vegetables at home (which you like) as well as planning your meals for the week can help you eat the right amount for you and eat good quality food! If you have a bunch of junk food at home, there is a much higher chance that you will eat those just because you have them at home.

Get into a regular habit of drinking water throughout the day.

Lifestyle changes

With weightloss, it is not just your food intake you want to look over…. But also things like how much are you stressing? How much are you sleeping? Why you eat… i.e stress, anxiety, emotions? How are your thoughts and mindset regarding food, exercise, your body image…. Are those things you need to work on?

Remember that weightloss does take time and it won’t happen overnight. The important thing is to make sustainable lifestyle changes. You shouldn’t hate the food you eat, and you shouldn’t feel like a zombie living on just salad.

Even if you need to lose weight you can still enjoy some alcohol, chocolate or burgers if youwant to include those in your diet. Those don’t need to be off limits, just choose when you eat them so that it doesn’t become a daily thing. And it is also up to you to ask yourself… what is worth it? Maybe you want to keep your two lattes a day because they are something you really enjoy in the morning… then that is ok, but then maybe you can’t eat an afternoon snack or just a small one. Or maybe you want to keep your huge dinner and night snack, well then maybe you need to eat a little less for lunch or breakfast instead.

 

It is also important for me to remind you all again that if you DON’T need to lose weight, then some of this advice isn’t relevant for you. I.e if you don’t have a problem with your weight or eating, then continue as you are doing. Then you don’t need to overthink what, why and how much you are eating. But if you actively need to lose weight for health reasons, then these things can be helpful as you need to become more mindful and make active changes.

 

What about exercise…. Daily movement or exercise?

First and foremost, I recommend and promote daily movement. It is better than you are active in your daily life via walking, taking the stairs, being active during the day than forcing yourself to the gym 2-3 times a week but hating it and then not doing any other movement or activity.

However, taking time for an actual workout, whether is going to the gym, running, walking, crossfit, tennis, swimming etc is also important for health. Because during just daily movement you aren’t really getting stronger or working your conditioning. Not to mention, if you have a specific workout goal or maybe you want to build more muscle or get stronger, or maybe the goal to run 5km… then you need to specifically work on those goals to get better. Then it isn’t enough to just be active during the day.

A balance of both is the best. However if you really don’t have time to workout or just haven’t found a certain workout form you want to commit to and enjoy doing, then just focus on being active… maybe get a bicycle or walk when possible!

Supplementing as a vegan during weightloss?

Finally, I do want to mention that if you are trying to lose weight it does mean you will be eating less food and could potentially be consuming less nutrients, which could over time lead to deficiencies. However as a weightloss diet shouldn’t be followed forever, just a short period of time it isn’t really a problem. But you should take b12 supplements and could potentially be helpful with iron supplements if you are a female and have low iron levels. Not to mention D vitamin and Omega 3 if you aren’t consuming fortified plantbased milks (but then you most likely aren’t consuming enough to get the right amount of D vitamin). And if you aren’t using canola oil or eating a lot of chia seeds/walnuts/flaxseeds, you may be low on omega 3… so could be good to supplement but it isn’t a must. It depends if you are eating plantbased omega 3 sources.

Chia, Seeds, Super Food, Eat, Healthy, Of Course

Hopefully this post has been helpful to those of you who need to lose weight. I can share more advice in the future and some meal ideas/inspiration!

And as I mentioned, I don’t think counting calories is necessary… but just looking over what and how much you eat. Limiting certain foods to just certain occasions or days. Also seeing which foods, you can swap out for other options to maybe make them more nutritious or healthier.

Making small changes over time add up…. So if you are someone who drinks a lot of cola and eats a lot of candy, you don’t need to cut everything out at once and go from eating junk food 24/7 to eating steamed vegetables and tofu and working out. You can just cut down and limit to start off with. Structure up your eating to cut out mindless eating. Limit liquid calories. Focus on nutrient dense food.

Just like all nutrition posts, it feels like I could write forever but I will leave it there and instead make part 2 or 3 if necessary!