You can’t eat that you’re on a diet, that food isn’t healthy. This is often the stigma attached to certain foods imposed by others or even ourselves. People will say behind your back "He's/She's on a diet but I saw them eating a donut the other day” or we will tell ourselves “I can’t have that I’m being good”. There are no bad foods, just bad portions. Health also goes beyond what you put in your mouth, yes there is digestive health, physical health, and heart health all linked with good nutrition but what about mental health? Surely that’s important too, right? The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” Sure, you eating a varied diet with a lot of different healthy foods 24/7, 365 days a year will mean your physical health is great, but what about your mental health and social aspect of life? Being sociable with friends and enjoying alcohol, highly pleasurable food, and coffee mornings with cake is also very important for your mental health and should be part of your life but in moderation. You want to be physically well and avoid ill health to enjoy life as long as possible pain-free. It’s all about getting the right balance. Constantly avoiding foods because they’re “bad” for you and your diet can cause an “all or nothing” mindset. This greatly affects your ability to follow any nutritional plan or fitness plan. There's only so long you can stay in the “all” phase, avoiding treats and social occasions before you crack and the flood gates open causing you to go on binge reaching the “nothing” phase. If you thought eating “bad” foods in moderation wasn’t good for you or your health you should see the damage the all or nothing approach and binge eating has on your physical and mental health. That’s a vicious circle you do not want to be stuck in. If you’re trying to lose some weight the best thing you can do is not change too much at once, start trying to improve your daily nutritional habits and increasing your daily calorie expenditure. By doing this you can start losing weight whilst still enjoying your social occasions and not feeling restricted. Imagine that, losing weight whilst still having your cake and coffee morning with your friends. Is this possible? Of course, all you need to do is look to see how you can save yourself 100-200 calories a day and burn an extra 100-200. And it's simpler than you may think, here's a couple of examples how. Eating 2 biscuits a day instead of 4 will save you between 100-160 calories. Walking for 25 minutes can burn around 100 calories. This equates to 200-260 calories less each day, 1400-1820 a week and 6000-7800 a month all without restricting yourself. Another example is having a handful portion size less of carbs with your evening meal which can save you around 100 calories. Taking the stairs at work, getting up from your desk more and parking 5 minutes from the office could burn an extra 100-200 calories per day. Following these approaches can help you lose weight whilst still enjoying your coffee and cake or Friday drink with friends but you will need to be more conscious about what you consume daily over 7 days or even 30 days. Creating more awareness about what you consume daily will allow you to make better and more informed decisions in your nutrition. If you’re experiencing weight gain at the moment or can’t lose weight its because you aren’t aware of what or how much you’re consuming. What happens when you’re tired, sad or stressed? You raid the cupboards at home and seek pleasure from your comfort foods. If you were more aware of what you ate and why you can ask yourself why am I choosing this food? Why do I feel like I need it? If I eat this now how will it make me feel in an hour or so? If I indulge on this does that mean I can’t enjoy my coffee and cake with my friends later in the week? Is this food helping me solve the cause of the problem? Is it making me feel better or am I going to feel more tired and full of guilt later? Once you start understanding why you choose certain foods in times of distress and sit and think about how it makes you feel later you start to make better decisions. You start to try to deal with the problem that's caused you upset or stress instead of plastering over the hole. Let me ask you a question are you in control of your eating or is your eating in control of you? If you find you’re someone who can’t help but eat something you need to find out why that is, only then will you be able to understand your daily nutritional choices and what prompts them. Could you start making better choices when you’re on your social occasions? That slice of cake that’s 500 calories could you have a 200 calorie shortbread instead? That 400 calorie latte you have could you have a 90 calorie cappuccino instead? What about those 4 glasses of wine that contain 500 calories why not opt for 4 gins and diet lemonade containing 216 calories. Could you save calories on your choice of pizza instead of the large deep pan size get a small stone baked one, ask for low-fat cheese, and choose a pizza with lean meats and vegetables. This could easily save you a 1000 calories if not more. There are many options at your disposal to save calories but no one other than you can make them. You need to take charge of your nutritional habits and food choices. None of these options prevent you from having a social life or eating foods you enjoy but they help you lose weight and prevent you from being unhappy and unconfident with your body. If you need help and an expert eye to help you find these solutions then please don’t hesitate to email me email@example.com Here are 3 other ways in which I can help you achieve results whilst still enjoying your food ad social occasions. Download and listen to my podcast for free- I discuss ways in which you can improve your results by applying the simple tools I layout for you in each episode. Click Here to listen Free personal training - Come along for a week's free personal training in my fully private training facility and learn how to exercise and eat effectively for your goals. Click here to book in your free week. Download my complete beginners' guide to fat loss - This free guide will teach you what you need to know on how to lose fat and comes with a free training plan. Click Here to download.