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DAY 15 DIARY - How to be Calorie Aware

First of all I want to say thank you to everyone who is following my diary. I hope you are finding it helpful but what you may not realise is that you are really helping me! It's Day 15 of the 28 day programme and you are keeping me accountable - I'm already seeing and feeling the results.

Do you remember back on Day 1 I did a weigh-in (right after waking up, no clothes on, after going to the loo :-)) ? Well I did the same this morning and here's the result:

Day 1 - 59.3kg

Day 15 - 57.6kg

I'm amazed, honestly, thanks for all your support!

Right back to business! Today I want to focus on the first Key Concept for weight loss week - Calorie Awareness. As I explained yesterday, we do have to maintain a calorie deficit to lose weight, there is simply no way round it. But who wants to be weighing stuff out or logging everything we eat in an app - no thanks! So my method is to focus on eating more foods that are low calorie/high flavour/nutrient dense - it's way more positive than thinking about what you can't eat, which let's face it we all know - cakes, biscuits, pastries, processed foods (including low fat processed foods), sugary drinks, milky-mocha-choca-lattes etc.

Here are some foods that are relatively low in calories, really yummy and filling:

  • Oats

  • Greek yogurt - I love it and ordinarily I have the full fat version but when in weight loss mode I go for 0% because I eat so much of it!

  • Soup

  • Eggs

  • Popcorn (not Butterkist!)

  • White fish

  • Potatoes (yes indeed, but jackets not fries - try with 0% Greek yogurt and spring onions, yum)

  • Lean meat

  • Beans/lentils/chickpeas

  • Pretty much all fruit* but especially, berries, melon, papaya, apples, grapefruit

  • All veg and salad - fill your boots

  • Use plenty of fresh herbs and dried spices for flavour

  • Lemon/lime juice and vinegars are great for adding low cal zing

* Note: dried fruit, whilst it does have some fibre and nutrients, is high in calories/sugar and bad for your teeth!

If we are looking to trim calories even some healthy foods can be pretty calorific so, just while we are in weight loss mode, keep an eye on these foods - don't cut them out, they are good for you, just don't pile a ton of peanut butter on your porridge:

  • Nut butters - there are 95 calories in one tablespoon so that ratchets up quickly

  • Full fat Greek yogurt - see above

  • Bread - have one slice not two

  • Nuts and granola - excellent nutrient value but high cal, have just a few or a light sprinkle

  • Olive oil - again great nutrition but drizzle rather than slosh!

  • Coconut milk - use the light version

  • Tahini - delish but calorific about the same as peanut butter

  • Avocados - full of good fat, maybe have quarter rather than half

  • Smoothies - just eat whole fruit instead

  • Cheese - use as a seasoning, like a crumble of feta rather than a hunk of brie!

  • Oily fish - still have one portion a week for the nutritional goodies but white fish and shellfish are lower calorie

Another way of looking at Calorie Awareness is what I call food spend. On any given day you have a certain number of calories you can eat without weight gain being an issue, this does vary from person to person but for me it's about 1700 calories a day (it decreases as you get older, sob!). Over this amount, unless you are quite an active, physical person, the extra calories will be converted to fat and stored. If I'm trying to achieve a deficit of 500 calories a day (which will equate to around a pound of weight loss a week) then I'm aiming for more like 1200 calories a day. As I already said I don't calorie count as such but I am aware that every time I eat something I am using up my calorie allowance, this is my food spend. When you are trying to lose weight you have less to spend so choose what you eat, and drink, wisely:

Example: I am meeting a friend for a coffee. I could have a white americano or a flat white. Both are coffees with milk but because I am calorie aware I know that the white americano only has the calories of a splash of milk in it. The flat white is made primarily from milk so it’s easy to see that the calorie count of the flat white is going to be higher. It doesn’t really matter the exact number of calories but I know enough to make the lower calorie choice and go for the white americano.

In actual fact the calorie count is roughly:

  • White americano, 25 cals

  • Flat white, 120 cals

The flat white has almost five times more calories, my food spend is way less if I go for the white americano. You might prefer the taste of a flat white, which is understandable, but maybe have one once a week and stick to white americanos the rest of the time, this way you will have more to spend on food. Hopefully this example illustrates how a few easy swaps can really help get that calorie deficit in the bag.

There's a lot to digest there, excuse the pun, but it's all just good old-fashioned common sense. Even when you are trying to lose weight nothing is off limits so please try and resist that 'I can't have it' mentality, you can, it's all about balance and proportion. If you can get to grips with Calorie Awareness the weight will start to come off and once it has staying there will be a whole lot easier.

Have a great day and I'll be back tomorrow to talk about Volume Control.

Sam xx

Let me know how you are getting on in the comments below, I'd love to hear if my blog posts are helping you find your own way to a better relationship with food.

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Sam Rice
Sam Rice
May 22, 2019

Thanks Jo, that's a lovely analogy and exactly what I hoped this blog would be - like an encouraging friend!! I'm glad it's helping, most of the time all it takes is to just move your health and food goals up the priority list, we tend to not focus on ourselves enough to make real change happen!!


Managed to read most of your posts in one evening...this all makes perfect sense to me and its so encouraging to read a blog from someone my own age......its like having coffee with an inspirational and wise friend! Thank-you


Sam Rice
Sam Rice
Apr 30, 2019

Yes glad you spotted that!!


Nice tie in to 'On Any Given Day' ! Loving this info. Particularly the note on the coffee, that's a big trap! Loving it xxx


Sam Rice
Sam Rice
Apr 29, 2019

That's great to hear Moira. It's definitely not about perfection, doing the best you can is enough and actually just enjoying eating really tasty healthy food.

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