Q & A

If you’ve got questions… I’ve got the answers. And there is no such thing as a stupid question, so get in touch through the Contact Page and I’ll get back to you.

Your Questions:

I love potatoes, especially potato mash. But as potatoes are full of carbohydrates, will eating this hinder my weight loss, or worse, make me gain weight? – Katherine

Clients ask me this all the time, especially “what’s better – sweet potato or potato?” Potatoes really don’t deserve the bad reputation that they have! Potatoes are a whole food, they are full of various nutrients and minerals that our bodies need. They are a completely natural food, found in nature, so including them as part of a balanced diet is a great idea.

Potatoes, or carbohydrates in general, will not specifically lead to weight gain or the inability to lose weight – it’s the overall amount of food that we consume which determines our ability to manage our weight.

When thinking about carbohydrates and weight loss, don’t think about carbohydrates as such, think more about whether the food is processed or not. Basically, if you cant find a food in nature, its processed to some extent. For example – you can find potatoes in nature so they’re a whole food, but you don’t see little slices of bread or pizza growing from the ground, thus, they are processed!

When trying to lose weight, try to mainly consume whole foods and limit processed foods. You’ll be surprised just how much you can eat when you eat mostly whole foods. Hope this helps, Katherine.

I’ve been having green smoothies for breakfast and I really enjoy them, but most of the recipes on the internet are with kale. I prefer spinach to kale, is there much of a difference nutritionally? – Emma

Thanks Emma, I’ve written a blog post on the Nutritional Difference between Kale and Spinach to answer your question. Hope this helps.

I’m trying to eat healthy and during the day I am fine, but after dinner I crave unhealthy foods, like ice-cream, chocolate, biscuits, anything sweet. How can I stop these after dinner cravings? – Jess

This is quite a difficult question to answer without knowing much about you, but there are a few possible reasons why you’re craving these foods after dinner.

Firstly, you mentioned that you don’t have any problems with these cravings throughout the day. This suggests to me that during the day you’re busy and don’t have the time to think about unhealthy foods? Therefore you don’t crave them. But when you get home, and after dinner, when you’re probably relaxing not doing much is when you crave? If you think this may be the reason, the best solution is to keep yourself busy after dinner. Keeping busy doesn’t have to be doing something active, you can still relax by keeping busy, such as reading a book or painting? Or watching something on TV that you are actually interested in, instead of channel flicking?!

The other thing which could be causing this is that maybe you’re not eating a wide variety of nutritious foods during the day thus craving food in the evening? Make sure you eat a variety of healthy stuff during the day – you’ll feel less inclined to snack at night.

It could also be a sign of dehydration. We can sometimes confuse dehydration with hunger/cravings. Next time your have a craving drink a big glass of water. Or better yet, make sure you drink lots of water through out the day so that you don’t even reach a state of dehydration!

Other little tips are to brush your teeth after dinner, usually this is associated with no more eating! Or have a herbal tea – lemon balm is apparently supposed to be a good one to reduce sweet cravings.

I hope this helps, let me know how you go Jess!

Over the last 2 years I’ve gone through menopause and gained a roll of fat round my middle! I cannot shift it whatever I do. I find it very depressing do you have any suggestions? – Thanks, Sally

Hi Sally,

It’s so frustrating when you try everything with no success isn’t it! What are the things that you have tried doing?

Although I haven’t experienced menopause (yet, and hopefully not for a very long time!) there is one thing I can suggest that can have a major effect on weight management in this stage of life.

Strength training. I can’t stress how important it is, and the benefits go well beyond just weight management.

Very briefly, during menopause the female body goes through many changes. One of the many changes is that our basal metabolic rate (BMR) drops.

Our BMR is the energy (calories/kilojoules) that our body uses to just keep our body functioning. So as a result of ageing and menopause our BMR doesn’t burn as much energy like it used too.

But don’t worry! You can increase your BMR! You can increase your BMR by increasing your muscle mass. The more muscle we have, the higher our BMR is.

Muscles need a lot of energy (calories/kilojoules) to maintain themselves. The more muscle we have, the more calories we burn, even at rest.

If you’ve never tried strength training before I really recommend having a few personal training sessions first to learn correct technique to avoid injury and understand how it all works with sets/reps and building on these.

If you are experienced and confident with lifting weight, one of the best international group fitness classes you can do for strength training is Les Mills Body Pump. You get serious strength results doing this class 2-3 times per week, and it’s fun.

Also, read some information here about the importance of protein and building lean muscle.

Hope that helps?! XO