Are Hidden Calories Hindering Your Weight Loss?

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If you’ve been diligent with eating healthy and tracking your calories for a while now, yet you still haven’t lost any considerable weight or fat, then hidden calories may be the reason why. We often think that when we’re eating ‘healthy’ then we should be losing weight. But weight loss and fat loss are a little more more complex than that.

Losing weight often comes down to calories in versus calories out. This means that to lose weight you would have to be in a calorie deficit, in other words, using more energy than you are consuming. When you are in a deficit, your body will turn towards other sources of energy, usually fat. This is where the difference between weight loss and fat loss comes in as the former usually does not focus on composition and the latter focuses on retaining muscle. But this is a bit more complicated and is meant for another post.

Moving on, if it all comes down to calories, then that means you can be eating healthy and not lose weight if you are in a calories surplus or on maintenance. This brings us to hidden calories; sometimes the foods we eat have way more calories than we think they do. This doesn’t mean they are bad for you, only that you have to be more conscious of your overall energy intake. You do not want to waste calories on certain things or think you are in a calorie deficit when the opposite is true.

So, let’s look at some of the hidden calories most common in our diets and what you may want to be aware of. Keep in mind that these foods are by no means bad for you. They are not ‘evil’, they are just higher in calories and when consumed in large amounts, add up to your overall calorie intake. I enjoy these things in moderation or I try to find lower calorie alternatives, but I do not obsess over them. The importance of your fitness goal is turning it into sustainable habits and eventually a lifestyle. So, let’s get into it!

#1. Dressings & Sauces

Salad Dressing
Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on Pexels.com

Eating a salad is healthy and most salad dressings and other sauces are considered healthy. However, dressings are often higher in calories than the whole salad, especially when you are eating out. For example, on average 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette has about 75 calories, similar to ranch dressing and 2-4 tabelspoons of that can add up. So skipping out on the dressing or opting for a lower calorie version may be a better option.

#2. Cooking Oils

Cooking oil
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We cook almost everything in oil and forget to calorie track it at times. Cooking a meal in 2-3 tbsps of oil does add calories to your overall consumption and may be the reason why you are not in a calorie deficit. 1 tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories and the same goes for avocado oil. You can simply be more mindful of the amount of oil you use and add it in your calorie tracking to be more accurate.

#3. Smoothies/ Smoothie Bowls

smoothie bowl
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Smoothies and smoothie bowls are considered the epitome of health. It took the media by storm as every influencer started shoving smoothie bowls into their cameras. But it’s easy to loose track of how many things we’re stuffing into a blender or how many things are added to the smoothies we buy. When it comes to a smoothie, it’s best to keep things simple and aim for high protein.

#4. Almond/Peanut Butter

almond butter
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Almond butter is a staple in my grocery hauls. I love it it my oatmeal and on toast and you probably enjoy nut butters too. But they are higher in calories than you might think; 1 tablespoon of almond or peanut butter has about 100 calories. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, but do so in moderation so that you can have more control over your energy consumption.

#5. Protein Snacks

veggie chips

Last on my list of tricky foods are protein snacks. Protein snacks are often marketed as ‘healthy’ and great for your fitness goals. But processed snacks sometimes contain a lot more than just protein, they are often loaded with sugar, preservatives, and calories. Whenever you buy them it’s beneficial to check the ingredients and composition so that you know what you are consuming.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and found something useful from it. Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or dietitian and the tips I share are based from personal experience. Nevertheless, I hope you like and follow to join our health boss community, xoxo.

What I eat in a Day (Cutting Edition)

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Hey guys, welcome back! In this post I’m going to be sharing what a normal day of eating during lockdown is for me. Obviously there have been some changes in the way I eat lately because my energy expenditure has decreased and my cravings have changed, nevertheless this is to help give you some inspiration if you’re running out of ideas. I’d like to preface that you do not have to follow how I eat because nutrition is something very personal, which is why I avoid sharing how many calories I eat in a day. However, I thought that a post like this could be fun and give you some ideas. Let’s work on improving our nutrition not restricting it. (If you want more what I eat in a day content, check out my instagram @healthbossblog) So here is what I eat in a day…

overnight oats

I admit my appetite has been hectic during lockdown and I assume I’m not alone in this. Lockdown has probably done a number not only on our physical health but our mental health as well. I personally found that I’m not as hungry in the morning as before, since I don’t can’t to the gym during lockdown, so I have breakfast a little later than usual. I am also currently intermittent fasting, with the 16/8 method which is why I usually break my fast around 11-12am. If you want to know more about how I intermittent fast, let me know down in the comments, but break my fast with some camomile tea with apple cider vinegar and honey. Then a typical breakfast for me right now is protein oats or eggs with gluten free toast.

Contrary to what you might think, I still enjoy certain foods like bread and cookies as long as they meet my caloric needs. My method of cutting isn’t as strict because I plan to take it slow and continue with it for at least a few months. Which is why I take it day by day and I don’t stress about it much. Although I’ve researched about other methods of cutting, I’ve tried to reappropriate certain methods to my own lifestyle and nutrition requirements and I urge you to do the same by starting slow.

Healthy Lunch Ideas

A typical lunch for me looks like this, usually a source of protein like chicken breast or lean beaf (since I can’t have fish), with a source of carbs (quinoa, potato gnocchi, veggie pasta, or sweet potato) and some type of greens. My meals are definitely balanced, and it varies from time to time. I won’t lie there are days where I just want to eat toast, and that’s alright because I listen to my body, I eat intuitively and I don’t stress about it much. Dinner is usually the same, sometimes I have a snack in between but that depends on how filling my lunch is although I do have coffee with unsweetened almond milk throughout the day.

Rice Spring Rolls

Dinner that day was pretty quick, using leftovers from lunch and rice paper wraps, I made gluten free spring rolls with an asian hot sauce. They were surprising low in calories but quite filling and they’re definitely one of my go-to meals. Plus I recently got into eating with chopsticks recently and although my skills are debatable, they are worth the experience when eating spring rolls and rice noodles. Usually I have a black decaf after dinner with some stevia when my fast has already started and that is it for a day.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post, please like and follow for more what I eat in a day’s. Thank you for reading and I look forwards to seeing you again, xoxo.

Something New is Coming…

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Hey Guys, welcome back! Reflecting on everything, I realise that I started this blog almost 4 years ago and while the journey has been long and challenging, I am glad I never gave it up. We are still a small community and I hope with time we can grow to reach and inspire more people.

However, I appreciate every one of my readers, which is why I’ve started on a new project. You can already guess what it’ll be from the image above and I hope you will still be here when it is finally ready. I will be creating a recipe book with all of my gluten and dairy free recipes and much much more!! I will also be giving out the first few copies for free but for a limited time only, so make sure you follow the blog and follow me on instagram @healthboss_blog to know when it comes out!

What makes this recipe book different from all the others is that it is tailored for people who are just starting off with their new healthy lifestyle as well as people who have many allergies. When I started suffering from several food intolerances and allergies, I felt frustrated because most recipes consisted of ingredients that I couldn’t have or that were too complicated. The recipes in this book are easy to make, the ingredients are simple and meals will be categorised by the amount of time/effort it takes, but majority are quick and easy. Many of them concentrate on sweet treats and desserts so let me know if there’s any recipe you’d like to see down in the comments below.

Moreover, I want to show people that balanced eating can be affordable and simple and that you don’t need the latest diet app to help you eat intuitively. What’s great is that you will be able to tailor these recipes to your liking. I want to stress that your dietary needs are yours and yours alone, so adapt any recipe to your needs.

Thank you for your support, I will still be uploading new recipes and tips on the blog but the ebook will contain a lot more as a mix of recipes and real life advice. I am not a licensed dietitian or trainer, but I am a normal foodie who understands that eating healthy isn’t as straightforward as people make it sound but I make it work. Thank you for reading. Please like and share with others and stay connected for the next update, xoxo.

What I eat in a Day (Cutting)

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Hey guys, so I just started cutting about a month ago and I thought I’d share what I eat in a day. Please keep in mind that every body is different and our caloric needs vary depending on gender, height, weight, and activity level, which means you shouldn’t determine your nutrition on what I eat. This is just to give you some inspiration and to share my progress. Also, let me know down in the comments if you’d like to know how I’ve been dealing with the cut. Keep in mind, I only eat this way during the week, I allow myself more flexibility on the weekends.

With this cut I’ve aimed to up my protein and healthy fats while slightly lowering my carbs. My calories have dropped compared to my bulking phase but it won’t remain like this for long; I will gradually increase my calories to maintenance level with time.

Healthy Breakfast For fat loss

BREAKFAST

Definitely still my favourite meal of the day! I usually have breakfast around 10am, consisting of two eggs with gluten free toast and almond butter every morning. I usually train right after breakfast so this is a filling meal and it’s balanced with protein, carbs and healthy fats, giving me the energy I need for weight training. I also had coffee with almond milk right after.

Healthy Lunch Ideas

LUNCH

Lunch hits at about 2pm for me and I keep it pretty simple with chicken and veg, I always love to add the carbs smart 1000 island dressing, which is a low calorie dressing. I’ve also been sticking to chicken breast most of the time as it’s more lean than dark chicken meat and I make sure I have a healthy serving of greens. I also have my second cup of coffee after this because I love it!

SNACK

My snacks vary each day but on that day I had a few almonds and blueberries, sometimes I have apple slices with almond butter instead, but again I kept it simple with protein, fats, and carbs. I also have a bowl of popcorn from time to time if I’m craving something salty. I snack around 3-4 pm.

Healthy Dinner Ideas

DINNER

My last meal of the day right before 6pm, I had beef stir fry with chickpeas. I always use lean grass-fed beef, it’s great protein along with the chickpeas. Again I’m addicted to this banting dressing! I also had a piece of Sweet Switch 70% Dark chocolate after dinner; it’s dairy and sugar free! I usually have tea after, I’ve been loving this Chocolate Roobois Blend, or if I’m being reckless I have coffee, but I’m still working on stopping that. (Just keeping it real nobody’s perfect).

Check out my last what I eat in a day Bulking edition right here!!!

Thank you for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed it, if you did please like and comment. Follow for more posts like this one, xoxo.

3 Fitness Myths

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Hey guys, I thought I would address one of the major problems in our society today regarding women and young girls. I’m sure that, just like me, you grew up with the idea, that losing weight was the best possible thing to happen to a girl. Being told that we lost weight was a compliment and it made us feel better about ourselves. We were fed the ‘diet mindset’ by society and the media, throughout our lives and we ended up fearing our weight and food. That mindset is still very present and it is still destroying the mental and physical health of so many girls. DISCLAIMER: I know that simply saying these things won’t solve our problems, it will take a lot more to do that, however I do hope to increase its awareness.

1.DIETS ARE THE HOLY GRAIL

I want you to think about how many times you’ve said ‘I am going on a diet’ in the past. Just saying those words gave you a feeling of relief, but why is that? Growing up as young girls we are led to believe that the slimmer or the skinnier you are, the better. Moreover, we are duped into believing that skinny equals healthy. I remember when I was overweight and would go for a checkup, doctors would always tell me to lose weight. However, no showed told me the right way to do so and I delved into the world of endless diets. Long story short, none of them lasted long or had lasting effect.

One thing we need to establish and preach is that food is not the enemy. Instead of banning foods and being afraid we need to have a healthy relationship with them which takes time. That means making the healthy choices most of the time and indulging occasionally, but most of all knowing that ‘healthy’ doesn’t mean punishment or steamed broccoli everyday. You don’t need a cheat day once a week or the guilt of enjoying food you love. Our main goal should be a sustainable healthy lifestyle. I want you to view the food you eat as energy for your workouts, because at the end of the day, that is how your body processes it. You need energy to lose weight and thus food.

2. CARBS MAKE YOU FAT

Now it is true that some bodies react better to carb intake than others and low-carb diet can make you lose weight however carbs do not make you fat. Let’s break down why you may think carbs make you fat. When we eat carbs, our body breaks it down as glucose, thus rising our blood sugar and our pancreas in return produces insulin which signals our cells to use up the glucose. 50% is used by our brain and our muscles and liver store the glucose as glycogen, so as you can see, extreme low carb diets can have a debilitating effect on your health and muscle growth. Finally, the rest of the glucose is stored as fat, which is why people are afraid of carbs.

However, know which types of carbs are best for your body. Stick to complex carbs such as oats and quinoa and avoid simple carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar and provide little to no nutrients. You do not have to eliminate carbs completely from your nutrition, it isn’t sustainable and besides carbs release serotonin (your happy hormone) so don’t deprive yourself. There is only one way you can put on weight or fat and I clear that up down below.

Now, let’s get the gist of all of this. The only way you can lose weight is through a caloric deficit through nutrition or increased physical activity, similarly you will only put on weight/fat if you are in a caloric surplus. If you are working out; combining resistance training with some form of cardio, your body needs the carbs and the calories. Someone who is not active at all would require the same caloric needs. The key thing to understand is that no one’s nutrition can be exactly the same and you will have to change your nutrition throughout your fitness journey.

For example; right now I am trying to build muscle in my end goal to have a lean physique. Which is why I am in a slight caloric surplus and it’s a carb fest for me (I am literally having a bowl of overnight oats while writing this). In a few months, I will slightly decrease my carb intake simply to help my body burn fat faster (your body will still burn fat if you are working out, regardless of your carb intake). I am definitely going all out on my workouts but I am enjoying the process. I like to call this lean bulking.

3. WEIGHTS MAKE YOU BULKY

This is one I hear pretty often and I have to confess that I used to believe that as well when I was younger. Many women believe that if they pick up a dumbbell that’s heavier than 2kg, their muscles are going to puff up in 2 seconds, but that is not the case. For a woman to be able to bulk up like a man, she would need a ton of supplements/drugs. We don’t have the levels of testosterone that men have, therefore lifting weights will not give you a manly physique, instead it’ll help you lose fat and achieve a lean build much faster.

Lifting weights has done a lot for my physical and mental health. We’re led to believe that we need to override on cardio to achieve our ideal body, but I call that torture. I do incorporate cardio into my workouts in the form of HIIT training but I mostly focus on resistance training. One thing to takeaway from this is to try out different types of workouts and choose the one you enjoy doing, not the ones you dread.

Let me know your views or other myths down in the comments. The main objective is to create a healthy community and encourage this mindset. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. Please like and follow for more, xoxo.

My 3 Go-To Snacks

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Hey guys, welcome back to my blog. In this post, I’m going to share the 3 snacks I alternate between in a week. I always aim to be completely honest with my content, because I believe that transparency is necessary especially with health/fitness influencers. So, as you can tell, my snacks are loaded with carbs. Now, let me first say that carbs are not the enemy, it is true that some bodies thrive on a higher-protein diet, but that does not mean everyone will or that carbs are evil. I love carbs, they make me happy and they fuel my workouts which is why I have them in every meal. You can easily add more protein to these snack ideas with a few tweaks, but anything works as long as you’re using whole foods with real nutrients.

#1. Banana Toast

I love this combo, it’s something I’ve seen my family have plenty of times and I am here for it. You may think carb on carbs is scary but it’s a great pre-workout snack, especially when you’re going all out. I sprinkle some cinnamon on top and if you want you can add almond butter as well. You can use any type of bread you like, but I always have gluten free bread, I either bake it (here is the recipe) or buy this one.

#2. Banana Coffee Smoothie

I’ve talked about this one a couple of times and you can find the recipe here. However, a few alternatives that I’ve been liking are cacao-coffee with raw cacao powder and cacao nibs and vanilla protein. I also have a new recipe coming up so look out for that.

#3. Popcorn

I love popcorn, it’s salty and crunchy and just fun to eat. This is my usual late night snack; I use raw popcorn kernels (I like this one), pop it in a small saucepan with a little bit of olive oil for 5-10 mins or until the popping slows down and sprinkle in some Himalayan pinks salt or garlic salt.

That’s it for today’s post, it was a quick one but I hope you enjoyed it. I’d love to know what are some of your favourite snacks so let me know down in the comments. Please follow and like for more recipes and health posts, xoxo.

Should I Track My Calories?

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We all know that a calorie deficit is needed to lose weight, but is it a good idea to track your calories? I am currently not tracking my calories, but I did track vigorously for more than 6 months in the past, and in my case, it wasn’t the healthiest experience. I became obsessed, foods became numbers, and I tracked every morsel of food that went into my mouth. Before tracking, I would suggest ensuring that you have built a wholesome relationship with food. The best advice I was given is that ‘food is a fuel’, it isn’t the enemy so stop being afraid of it, instead use it to achieve your goal.

Do NOT track calories if you have/had an eating disorder or if you have an inclination towards it.

KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER

  • It’s often hard to discern your exact caloric needs, which can affect tracking and your goals.
  • Lower calories does not always mean weight/fat loss, undereating inhibits your goals.
  • Studies show that it isn’t beneficial for women to decrease their calories below 1400.
  • Calorie Trackers are often inaccurate.
  • Even ‘healthy’ calories can lead to weight gain, if in a surplus.
  • Everyone’s caloric needs are different!!
  • Your body needs energy to burn energy.
  • Instead of focusing on how many calories you burn in a workout, focus on how it makes you feel or you will never enjoy it.
  • When tracking it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re eating less, which will also dampen your goal.

When Should I Track?

I believe that you can meet your goals without tracking, I started making progress and building muscle when I stopped worrying about the calories. However, it does matter where the calories are coming from. If you are just starting on your weight loss journey, I wouldn’t advise you to track but to replace processed, unhealthy foods with whole foods. If you are well advanced in your progress and you’ve hit a plateau then it might be beneficial to see where you are in your caloric intake.

If you must track, I’d suggest:

  • Tracking simply once a week to see if you are still on course with your caloric needs.
  • Avoid tracking throughout the day, instead do it at the end of the day.
  • Don’t have cheat days, instead eat in moderation or follow the 80/20 rule, whereby 80% of your nutrition consists of healthy whole foods and 20% consists foods you love.

My perspective on losing weight or fat has shifted throughout the years. I’ve definitely made mistakes but they have led me to where I am right now. The biggest shift has been my mental health and overall happiness. I used to view my workouts with the idea of how many calories I would burn, but now I do it to gain strength. I no longer fear or ban foods, but sometimes we need help to view things that way. I had someone that triggered that shift for me and I hope I can help you in the same way. Thank you for reading, please like and leave a comment, xoxo.

Healthy Food Staples

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Healthy Grocery Staples

When trying to eat healthily, it’s easy to get confused by the variety of products on the market. Many foods are marketed as being ‘healthy’ but are often not; brands use words such as ‘low fat’, ‘low carb’, ‘high in protein’ and ‘low calorie’ to entice us into buying their products. However, these foods are often filled with several unhealthy ingredients. For example; protein bars are marketed as a healthy, ‘high protein’ snack, but are filled with sugar. This is why it’s important to always read the ingredients.

It will get easier to choose which foods are best for you with time, but to make it simpler, here are some whole-food staples that are widely available and versatile. These are gluten and dairy-free but I’ve also listed foods (italicized) which I don’t include in my nutrition due to allergies.

CARBS

  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • GF bread
  • Potato Gnocchi
  • Veggie Pasta

PROTEIN

  • Chicken Breast
  • Lean Beef
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Chickpeas

FRUITS & VEGGIES

  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Spinach/Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Bell peppers

OTHER

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Organic Honey
  • Unsweetened plant-based milk

I hope this post is useful in helping you tackle the basics of eating balanced, please follow and let me know what you think. Thank you for reading, xoxo.

What is skinny fat, and how to get rid of it…

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What is skinny fat, and how to get rid of it.

What is skinny fat, and how to get rid of it.
— Read on fitnessmaniac.fitness.blog/2020/04/20/what-is-skinny-fat-and-how-to-get-rid-of-it/

Definitely a post worth reading if losing fat is your goal and a great blog to follow no matter where you are in your fitness journey!

Getting Back on Track After the Holidays

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Entering into 2020, we all are pumped to achieve our resolutions and strengthen our fitness goals, however 2019 did end with the holidays, which means that we all fell a bit off track in some way or the other. Most likely, we ate a little too much or partied a little too late, but that doesn’t mean we let go and say “Oh well, 2021 is gonna be my year!” NO! This means we brush it off and pick our hangover, sugar-coma selves back up, so here’s how you can do it.

Step 1: Get Rid Of The Guilt

One thing to understand is that it’s normal to want to enjoy the holidays and indulge once in a while, but it’s also normal to feel guilty. However, feeling guilty for eating something considered “bad” is toxic for your mind and journey, so stop searching for “how to get rid of a cheat meal?” Instead ask yourself “Does feeling guilty reverse what happened?” No it does not. So allow yourself to enjoy what you ate and the festive season, knowing that fitness is a lifestyle and it isn’t going anywhere.

 

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Step 2: Be Active

It’s important to stay active even during the holidays, but if you didn’t, that’s alright, the time is now. However, jumping straight back into the gym might not come naturally so start small such as going for a morning walk/jog and doing some at home workouts. You’ll find that engaging your body will trigger the desire to get back to your full out workouts, because motivation is temporary and unrealistic but habits are not.

 

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Step 3 : Clean Eating

The family Christmas dinners are over, now concentrate on eating at home instead of outside. It’s not necessary to weigh everything you eat but tracking may prove useful, try it for one or two weeks until you can eat intuitively, because that is the ultimate goal. Remember that food is meant to fuel your body so implement whole foods and take a break from the processed stuff.

 

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Step 4 : Set A specific Goal

It’s a new year, so don’t be vague about what you want. “Get fit” or “Lose some weight” are not definitive goals, they’re shallow, meaningless thoughts. What you should do is decide on a number such as “I will lose 5% of my body fat in 4 months” or a particular skill such as being able to do pull ups and set the deadline. If we don’t visualise the end of the finish line, we’ll never reach it. It’s good to keep a fitness journal, a physical or a digital one; there is something striking about the feel of an actual tracking journal, but digital ones also have benefits such as reminders. Alternatively, you can get an accountability partner, be it family/friends or someone in the same fitness group, for example on social media.

I hope this blog post helps you to get back on track of your fitness goals, these are the steps I am currently taking to do so. Thank you for reading and please leave a comment and follow for more xoxo.