Recently, a lot of people have said to me “I really don’t eat very much why can’t I lose weight?”  It’s a really interesting conundrum and one that a lot of people struggle with.


Let’s start with some basics.  In the simplest of forms I believe weight loss is centred around the age old equation of calories in vs calories out i.e. if you eat less than you burn off you will lose weight, if you eat more than you burn off you will gain weight and if you have the right balance between the two you will remain the same weight (your set point).


So if you’re not eating very much you should be losing weight right?  Well now it comes down to some fine tuning and here are some tips and pointers I’d like you to consider…..


  1. Do you know how much you actually eat?

If you don’t know how much you eat how can you know if it’s enough or too much?

Track your food for a couple of days with either a simple food diary or take pictures.  Be honest and record everything you eat and drink to see if you are eating too much (or too little)

  1. Do you eat a good quality of food?

Now you may say “I thought you said it was about kcals in vs kcals out” and it is to a certain extent but not all food is created equal and some food will have a different impact on your body.  Without getting too sciencey, there are 3 main macronutrients that your body needs to survive (and some micronutrients) and they all play a different role in the body.  If you are eating too many carbs or bad fats, your body will react differently to if you are eating the right balance of protein (lean meat, fish, pulses), complex carbs (potatoes, rice, grains), and GOOD fats (avocado, oily fish, nuts and seeds).  It doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you like, but eating ice cream, deserts and fatty foods every day won’t get you the body of your dreams.

  1. Alcohol intake –

Let’s be honest who doesn’t like a nice glass of vino or two, but alcohol has none of the aforementioned nutrients – it has none.  This means that it will, in essence just turn to fat in your body and will be what your body turns to first to burn off because of the toxins.  Take a check on how much you drink.  That doesn’t mean you don’t have to drink at all, but it could be impacting your weight loss.  Equally, are you drinking too many sodas or café lattes and not realising that this all counts towards your calorie intake?

  1. Do you exercise and think you can then eat that you want?

Most people will underestimate the amount of calories they burn when exercising.  For example it takes 140 minutes of brisk walking to burn off a Big Mac, 30 minutes of boxing workout to burn off a 45g bag of crisps and 25 minutes non stop swimming to burn off a chocolate bar, like a Mars or Snickers.  But if you’re burning that off you’re not burning the stored fat….

  1. Are you eating regularly?

Some people think that if they don’t eat breakfast, have a small lunch and then some dinner that’s a good thing to do, but you’re not regulating all your hormones so they start working together to burn fat.  Your blood sugar will be up and down all over the place and that will impact your insulin levels and then the hormones that work alongside insulin like ghrelin and leptin.  It’s much better to space your kcals out fairly evenly throughout the day rather than saving them up.


If you check all these things you may find out you’re actually eating and drinking more than you think or perhaps not a good quality of food.  You can actually eat quite a lot of good quality food and then add some extra things in that you like, such as the wine or chocolate.


But if you really aren’t eating very much and eat good foods, you could be going too far the other way.  The body is a very complex and sophisticated machine, I liken it to putting fuel in a car.  If you’re running on empty all the time, you’ll mess up your engine.  For your body, it will hold on to fat if it thinks it’s starving and your metabolism could be shot.  Eating less and less won’t bring you the dream body you desire and finding the right balance for your body and shape is what needs to happen to get effective weight loss.


This may sound a little confusing, but it’s really just working out how much you need and the right foods.


If you would like some more help or advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can talk more.


I run 12 week body transformation programmes for busy women looking to 12-15lbs.