Sunday, August 11, 2013


.......and a few of my weight loss tips

Most of you will probably know by now that I am a Registered Nutritionist (as well as a fashion enthusiast). In addition to running my own Nutrition and Personal Image Styling Consultancy, I am the Company Nutritionist for the Weight Loss Surgery Group (WLS). The lady in the photo above is Michelle Bowater, the MD of WLS. Michelle is truly an inspiration; she weighed over 25 stones nine years ago and was getting bigger year on year. In 2004, at the age of 32, she decided enough was enough and realized she had to do something about her dangerously increasing weight. Michelle opted for weight loss surgery to help get her life back. To date Michelle has lost and astounding 15 stones!

Saturday 03 August was her ‘oppiversary’ – the date she had her operation 9 years ago, and each year she celebrates the new life weight loss surgery has given her, which includes a baby boy (before her weight loss she was infertile). This year I decided to celebrate with her (here I am donning another crop top!); she’s also getting married at the end of August, so it was a little bit of a hen party too.

Her weight loss success has inspired me to write some brief and general points highlighting my top tips for losing weight, whether it’s to lose a stone or 15 stones like Michelle.

  A Balanced Diet
Unfortunately when people think about losing weight, they think about 'dieting' and often turn to fad diets and supplements for a miracle cure and quick fix. Listen to me: FAD DIETS DO NOT WORK! Michelle did enough of them in her teens and twenties to agree with me. They are restrictive and therefore difficult to maintain, and then what happens when you stop eating cabbage soup…… put the weight straight back on and probably more.

A more sensible way to lose weight is to adopt a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet as this is more sustainable, nutritionally complete and reduces those nasty cravings and hunger pangs. A healthy balanced diet incorporates: lean proteins; healthy fats; high fibre, low GI carbohydrates; dairy products; low or zero calorie fluids – it doesn't miss out whole food groups (e.g. zero carbs is a no no!). Oh and don’t forget to include a few of your favourite treats. I recommend the 80-20 rule for most dietary regimes – 80% healthy, 20% treat! For weight loss, I'd include alcohol and dark chocolate in the 20%, despite the fact they confer some health benefits, but nice try!

 Physical Activity
So the above point addressed calorie intake, but you can’t really achieve healthy, sustainable weight loss (and weight maintenance) without addressing calorie expenditure (burning). Notice I haven’t used the word ‘exercise’ here. I think it conjures up images of people in Lycra staring at themselves in the gym mirror!  

Physical activity includes walking, as well as gym work and sports, so try to be physically active in your everyday life. If the gym, the home treadmill or netball is not for you, then look at ways to incorporate physical activity in to your ‘Activities of Daily Living’; walking is great for this: use the stairs rather than the lift; park further away from your destination; get off the bus/tube one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way; go for a walk at lunch time; take the long way around; walk the dog. Me, I like my treadmill and ice skating, as well as walking.

Portion Control
When it comes to food and weight loss, you can’t just focus on what you’re eating, you also have to pay attention to how much you are eating, whether it is healthy or not. Healthy food, whether it be high fibre carbs, olive oil or oily fish, can still be fattening if consumed in large quantities!

Our portion sizes have increased dramatically in the past couple of decades so we need to reduce them again. Try serving yourself smaller portions, maybe use a small plate to help you control how much you serve yourself - evidence has shown this works. Use smaller utensils and start to work on slowing down your eating, chewing every mouthful thoroughly so that you can recognize the feelings of fullness. Oh and don’t be afraid to leave food on your plate at home or in a restaurant; I know your parents probably drummed in to you that you had to finish everything on your plate before you left the table, but we are adults now and leaving food on the plate never hurt anybody. By reducing your portion sizes, you inevitably reduce your calorie intake.

Healthy Portion Plate - salad/vegetables make up half the plate, whilst proteins and
carbohydrates make up the other two quarters

It might be a bit cliché to repeat the old adage of ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’, BUT IT’S TRUE, I’m talking from experience. You've got to do this: prepare your shopping list so you don’t impulse buy; plan your meals for the week ahead to avoid haphazard eating or missing meals; plan to set your alarm clock 15-20 minutes earlier so you can eat breakfast;  prepare a food diary/Fitness Pal app so that you can record what you are eating/drinking, evidence shows record keeping works; plan to schedule in a physical activity session; prepare healthy snacks and drinks to take with you for when hunger hits! If you don’t plan/prepare for it, it won’t happen -  period!

The Three S’s
The three S’s refer to Sleep, Stress and Support:

- Sleep: studies show that when people are sleep-deprived, it  leads to more eating and weight gain so try to get at least 7 hours sleep a night

- Stress: stress can actually make us store fat, so do try to manage your stress levels

- Support: to maximise your weight loss efforts, perhaps enlist the support of a properly qualified nutrition professional, as well as the support of family and friends. Regarding the latter, there is nothing worse than trying to avoid eating too much chocolate when your partner keeps filling the cupboards with it!

Good luck and if you are trying to lose weight, let me know how you get on.

Later x


  1. Congratulation to Michelle, she looks so great.

    I´m very interesting about Diet and read a lot about it. I don´t need a diet but a balanced diet is healthy too.
    I thing every diet can work, if you just eat small portions and make work out and cardio.

  2. Great post Colleen! Congratulations Michelle! It's indeed an excellent achievement :D

    I struggle with portions. I love my rice. Haha.I only dieted once and stopped within 7 days. Couldn't stand it. I'll never go on a diet again. I'll continue with my physical activities though. Don't call it exercise, as you said :D

    Have a lovely week!

    PS. You look great in your cropped top x

  3. Wow!!! Am so inspired. So happy for her, she lost so much weight. I saw her before and after picture, jeeeez... Ohhooooo..oooo i screamed. I wanna loose more weight pronto! You reminded me of when i use to be a size 10 huh!? but now am a size 12-13, after having kids i fought hard to get back to my 10 but it was so hard. I almost died because of starving my self, my doctor warned me that i was doing my dieting the wrong way, lol i almost turned into a skeleton but now i am fine. Loving myself more. Thanks for the amazing tips. Kisses!

  4. Kudos to her - mentally it is tough much more than the physical aspect for sure...

    Great sensible tips and the little things add up but we forget about it!

    You look cute skating xx

  5. What an achievement for Michelle! As you say it's a combination of things which help to maintain a healthy weight and I'm all for a few treats as well. You look very elegant on the ice there too! Interesting post.

  6. Hi Colleen! I remember well your job and I really like it since I also am passionate about wellness and healthy lifestyles. The woman's story is truly inspiring and worth to be shared, she must be so proud of the results she got and the new life she conquered:) Your tips are really good, I try to always have an active life, love walking and eating, so I cant say no to chocolate or gelato. I think a right portion and balance always make the difference:) Happy Monday dear, kisses! xo

  7. Wow! it's amazing Michelle's achievement! you gave some great tips and info for the right way to loss weight.. and still keep being healthy and balanced.

    You look so cute ice scatting! keep on smiling hun and have a great week!


  8. Very interesting post!!! always good to have a healthy diet!
    Have a good week, dear Colleen!! g+ and heart for you!!!:)))

    Besos, desde España, Marcela♥

  9. I don't need to lose weight , but I should exercise more for sure!

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  10. Such great tips + such an awesome source of inspiration! I too have been eating and living better to my body as I'm realizing daily the importance of health! Thanks for sharing!


  11. Wow - what an incredible source of inspiration! Congratulations to Michelle for all of the positive changes she has made in her life.

  12. Congrats to Michelle and I think you are right with your recipes to loose weight! I think I do already of the things which you mention and luckily I really seldom think about my weight :)

    And I love your look with the cropped top!

    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  13. Inspiring story!
    Amazing weight loss!

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing.

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