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Small Steps for Big Changes

Image of pumpkins on steps representing Debbie Gallimore Nutritionist


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Debbie has been coaching clients through weight loss for many years, often she finds people suffering from ‘ food paralysis’ aka ‘food fear’.

By the time I start working with my clients, they are fed up, burnt out and confused about the foods they need to fuel their body. With a spare tyre around their middle and finding it increasingly difficult to lose weight, they take a small step in the right direction to change their health and weight for good: they contact me! After a 20 min assessment, we discussed the best solution to ensure that their health goals are achieved and book our first consultation. After chatting through dietary history and their relationship with food, I am starting to see a pattern emerge: these successful, intelligent and damn right amazing women are utterly bewildered at why there eating patterns are out of control and bemused at which foods are needed to fuel their body to not only burn fat but to provide energy to live a life without limits.

Having tried the big hitting diets on the high street, weight watchers, slimming world and 5:2 diet to name a few, they are confused as to what a healthy diet is and even more confused as to why the weight wont shift and their energy is at an all time low. Faced with social media and news headlines about the next craze, they continue to add their own versions of what a healthy diet should look like. The end product ?:  A very muddled and confused diet which hinges on low fat, processed foods with a focus on calories controlling not nutrient content. This particular client I have the pleasure of working with was still following weight watchers principles and had completed 2 days of ‘ no point foods’. When asking why if points are available, the answer was to lose weight quicker and save points for the weekend for alcohol and treats. This behavior drives a binge/purge cycle – purge being the lack of nutrients in the week and binging at the weekend with high fat/high sugar food sources. End product: energy peaks and troughs, the inability to burn fat successfully and feeling damn right knackered!.

I have no doubt this particular client will succeed and already voiced her enthusiasm to be free of the emotional roller coaster of food paralysis and slave to the scales. Her response to the new healthy regime I had provided: ‘ eating more throughout the day and having carbohydrates at every meal, surly that cant be right?’. She lost 3 lbs. in Week 1 and already felt the benefits of steady energy.

1 to Debbie – 0 to Food Fear !

If you too feel stuck and have a little of the ‘food fear’ then I want to share with you a few small changes to make which can lead to big changes to your health.

Always have a plan

It’s easy to get sucked into the lure of the restaurant menu when you’re hungry and everything looks good. You don’t have to order the plain grilled chicken breast with steamed veggies, as you will most probably feel deprived. Order what you’d like, but balance the meal out with the rest of the day. If you know you’re going out for a steak and potatoes dinner, go easy on the meat and starch at lunch and eat light. Make sure you eat every 3-4 hours as it will ensure your blood sugar levels are not low and you don’t go crazy at dinnertime.

Ditch the calorie counting

For me, this is one of the most liberating experiences for clients. Ditching calorie counting can feel like a fish out of water but focusing on good for you foods will feed your body and stop those cravings. Instead of how many calories, ask yourself where the food came from and if it’s nutritious. Healthy, nutrient-rich foods will keep hunger at bay and help maintain stable blood sugar levels, minimising cravings and help your brain signal your belly when you’re full. In other words, you don’t have to go through all the trouble of counting.

Know where your snacks are

Sure, you don’t know what you’ll be in the mood for later, and will you even be hungry? Yes, probably. After all, increased snacking on unhealthy processed foods is one of the reasons why we are gaining weight and becoming an unhealthy nation. Make sure your desk, bag or fridge is stocked with an emergency stack of snacks like greek yogurt, individual packs of nuts, oatcakes or piece of fruit. If it’s near you, you are less likely to grab something quickly and react to crashing blood sugar levels.

Debbie will be hosting 8 week weight management courses which combine theory with practical cooking advice – check out our calendar for more

Check out Debbie’s blog