There might be a very simple reason as to why you aren't reaching those weight loss goals that you're overlooking!
So you set a goal to lose XX amount of body fat, you overhauled your diet and worked out what you should be eating, but you still aren't reaching your goals – there's likely a very simple fix!
If you've dropped your calories in an attempt to lose body fat, then it's likely you're feeling a little hungrier as you adapt to the lower calories.
Hunger often results in snacking, or grazing.
Snacking or 'grazing' is a great method of keeping your energy levels up and curbing hunger as your sugar levels won't drop as much throughout the day, which should leave you less likely to overeat at meal times.
However, if your goal is body fat reduction, then it's important that you're tracking those snacks and the energy you are receiving from them as they could be throwing all of your efforts out the window!
Those secret snacks..
I often have people tell me they've eaten 'just a handful of nuts' and 'a slice of buttered toast' in addition to their daily meals - but they aren't counting these additional foods when thinking about their total daily consumption, which is leading to confusion when the goals aren't reached!
Those little snacks, as healthy as they may be, are still contributing to the energy your body has received, so when you do the energy in vs energy out calculation they must be taken into account - otherwise you're working with incorrect numbers!
Let's look at some common examples
Let's assume for a moment that you're a female looking to lose body fat, and you've calculated that you should be consuming 1,500 calories per day in your deficit to achieve your goals.
You construct a nutrition plan around your goals and buy food to make the meals you plan on including to reach those goals.
In addition to your planned 1,500 calories per day you also end up having..
2 milky latte's
You planned on switching your coffees to black Americano's to save on the calories, but when it comes down to it the call of the latte is a little much to resist!
Over the course of the day you have 2 latte's made with 300ml of regular milk and 1 teaspoon of white sugar (approximately 5g of sugar).
Each latte is giving you roughly 170-200 calories, 20g of carbs and at least 5g of sugar.
If you don't include these latte's in your total daily intake then you're leaving out up to 400 calories, 40g of carbs and 10g of sugar!
1 medium size apple
An apple is healthy right? Adding one in mid-morning won't change your daily intake that much, may as well just leave it out of the calculations..
That medium sized apple is giving you around 95 calories, 25g of carbs and around 19g of natural sugar.
It will also contain lots of helpful micronutrients such as vitamin C and fibre, but that doesn't mean the extra calories don't count!
1 slice of toast with butter
While you're waiting for your dinner to cook you feel a little hungry, so you make a quick slice of toast and add a little butter to it for taste..
It's only a small snack, so you don't consider it in your daily intake..
That one slice of toast has only given you around 100 calories, 12g of carbs and 5g of fat.
So let's look at your total daily consumption after taking ALL energy sources into account.
1,500 calories - accounted for with pre-planned meals and drinks
Your 3 'insignificant extras' that you aren't including have given you a total of almost:
70g of carbs
30g of sugar
That's taken your total daily energy intake up to 2,100 calories, 600 calories over your calculated deficit.
If you are serious about achieving your health goals, whether that be weight gain or weight loss, you must be serious about your consumption.
Guessing will leave errors in the numbers, and that will lead to errors in the results.