Jo Travers, The London Nutritionist and author of The Low-Fad Diet, is a Registered Dietitian with a First Class BSc (Hons) in Human Nutrition and Dietetics. Here Jo shares with us her expert advice on nutrition for healthy weight loss as well as clearing up some of the most common misconceptions about popular diet trends, cravings and how to overcome emotional eating.
What are some of the most common misconceptions women have about weight loss? That doing a quick intense diet for a short amount of time will work. This is hardly ever the case! While you can lose weight this way, keeping it off is really hard. It is so, so much better to really learn how to eat (that doesn’t mean starvation) and let the weight loss follow.
What are your thoughts on intermittent fasting and ketogenic styles of diets?Intermittent fasting works brilliantly for some people but most people it’s pretty antisocial and difficult to follow. There is some evidence that intermittent fasting can increase your longevity too, although this is not backed up by every study.
There are some instances where the ketogenic diet can be helpful if you need to lose a lot of weight very quickly, such as if you need to lose weight for surgery or if weight is endangering health. But again it is difficult to sustain for long and once you stop there is a great risk of rebound weight gain.
What is your advice on overcoming emotional eating?Get some professional help if at all possible. Sometimes a little support is all you need to help change the behaviour. If this isn’t possible though try asking yourself the question, “How am I going to feel after eating this thing? Is it ultimately going to make me feel better or worse?” Sometimes just asking yourself the question is enough to give the rational part of the brain a chance to take over from the emotional part.
Many women struggle with cravings when they are attempting a healthier style of eating. What are your tips for managing the urge to give into cravings?Usually people get cravings for carbohydrate foods when they diet, because they aren’t eating enough. If you get a balance of nutrients at every meal cravings tend to be reduced because you won’t be hungry
Can you give us some simple guidelines for healthy weight loss? At mealtimes, have a fist-sized portion of carbs, a palm size portion of protein and 2 handfuls of veg or a mix of veg and fruit. If you are hungry between meals it’s fine to have ½ fist-sized portion of carbs like bread or crackers. You are aiming for around 4 portions of carbs at least 5 handfuls of fruit and veg and 2-3 portions of protein over the day spread between meals and snacks.
Exercise vs Nutrition – which is more important when it comes to weight loss? Nutrition, although if you exercise, weight loss (or fat loss) will probably be quicker.
Are there any foods that should be absolutely avoided when attempting to lose weight? Very sugary foods should be limited because they cause sugar spikes which lead to sugar crashes which lead to hunger and cravings for more sugar.
Can you explain the role that hormones play in weight loss and weight gain?Hormones are chemical messengers that tell cells what to do and hormones are released depending on a whole host of other conditions in the body. So if you are running low on nutrients, hormones will be released to make you hungry and vice versa. Insulin is also an important factor in how fat is stored so avoiding sugar spikes is important.
Does eating at late cause weight gain? Not as much as eating badly. There is always more fine-tuning you can do to your diet but it’s pointless if you haven’t got the big stuff right. First make sure you are eating regularly throughout the day and getting a balance of nutrients at every meal. When you have that perfect, then we can talk about portion sizes, then making sure the nutrients come from healthier sources and when you have that right then there’s about 30 more steps before we worry about eating late at night.
For Further Information Contact Jo Travers