If media posts and government reports are anything to go by, we are consuming fewer calories than we have the past few decades. Yet as a population, our weight is going up. How so if we are consuming fewer calories? According to the Behavioural Insights Team, people living in the UK are under-reporting their calorie intake.
So why are people under reporting on calories?
I tend to track my food intake as nutrition fascinates me (weird, I know). However, I go through stages of not tracking and it is amazing at how inaccurate my diet reporting becomes when I am just ‘guessing’. It is so easy to forget that chocolate bar you munched on the drive home. Or the four or five biscuits you ate this morning with your cup of tea. It may seem like a minute detail in the grand scheme of things, but one chocolate bar a day can add up. Lets say your average chocolate bar is around 250 calories. One of these every day for a week equates to a whopping 1,750 calories. If you are inactive, this could be close to one day’s full calorie intake. These calories add up.
Are the general population uninformed?
When working with clients, we always obtain an initial food diary to establish their current calorie intake. We do this so that we can help the move the client forward, but there is an added benefit to this task. The usual feedback goes something like this:
“Wow, I didn’t realise how many calories are in my usual portion of pasta!” Or, “have you seen how much sugar is in my yoghurt I have for breakfast.” Tracking calorie intake isn’t something you have to do forever, but it is can be a real eye opener and help motivate you to change.
Here are my top tips for eating right:
- Make an occasion out of meals and eat mindfully. Eating without thinking about what is going into your mouth is a sure fire way to over consume calories. Be aware of your hunger cues and stop eating when you are full.
- Don’t drink calories. Drinks can have a large number of hidden calories, especially those bought from coffee shops. For example, a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks with whipped cream: 420 calories! Madness. Fizzy drinks and fruit juices may be delicious, but they should be consumed as a treat, not as a diet staple. If you want a fizzy drink, opt for the ‘diet’ options that are calorie free.
- Track your diet and learn what is in the foods your eating. Get used to reading food labels and opt for foods that nourish your body. Diet tracking apps, such as MyFitnessPal, certainly aren’t perfect, but as long as you’re consistent in the way you track, they give you a much better grasp of what the foods you are eating contain.