This weekend I was watching one of my favourite TV programmes…Secret Eaters. For those that haven’t watched it before, it’s based on two people, normally relatives, and starts off by telling the presenter that they don’t understand why they can’t lose weight and give them a food diary of “exactly” what they eat. It normally sounds like “I eat around 1500 calories a day, I cook everything from scratch, very rarely have take aways and I go to the gym regularly”. They are then monitored over a few days with hidden cameras and secret detectives following them around. There are cameras in their homes so they generally behave at home but once they leave the house that’s when the real secret eating is seen. The detectives catch them sneaking off for a take away on the way home from work, or when doing the weekly shop demolishing chocolate or bags of crisps in the car.
At the end of the time they are being watched, the real story comes out and they really see why they can’t lose weight and how much food they actually eat on a daily basis.
Portion sizes are one of the first things that is flagged up. People pile their plates full of food and it’s normally carbohydrates that is the largest part on the plate. Carbohydrate shouldn’t be more than half of your plate and that includes vegetables. The next thing that we see is the amount of extra foods that people eat that they don’t want to remember. These are things like, chocolates, bags of crisps and take aways. One thing I tell my clients is when I lost around 3 stone in a short space of time (before I was a qualified personal trainer) by cutting out chocolate that I used to have with pretty much every meal! Daily it wasn’t a huge amount of calories but over a week it mounted up to thousands of extra unwanted calories and sugar in my diet.
If any of this is sounding familiar my advice would be to start by making an honest food diary. I have mentioned this in many previous articles but when it comes to weight loss/gain food is the most important part. Alcoholic beverages are also packed with calories that even though it isn’t food, still adds up to hundreds if not thousands of extra calories each week.
You have to be 100% honest though. There’s absolutely no point doing the food diary if you are going to miss off the bad foods such as chocolate, crisps, take away and alcohol.