Tag Archives: weight loss

Detox the diet talk.

Diet and Detox.  These words can be destructive. They suggest that you need to lose weight, that you have been doing things wrong, that you are not good enough, that your body is full of toxins, that you need to change the way you look. I see a lot of broken people with broken thoughts about their bodies and eating. 


a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.


a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification.

So it’s all about restriction, abstaining and getting rid of the bad stuff.  NO! Thinking like this will lead to negative thoughts about yourself, lowered self esteem, negative body image and the feeling that you are not good.

Dietitian UK: detox-the-diet-talk

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t changes that people need to be making to their eating and their lifestyles. Some people need to gain weight for health reasons and others need to lose weight, some people need to have a healthier balance of foods in their days, others may need to be more active. What concerns me is the mindset and thought patterns around why these changes are made. Approaching it from a “I’m a bad person and need to change” mindset is not going to give long lasting positive results unless those thoughts are challenged along the way.

Use a Positive Mindset:

Have a longer term approach. What are your long term goals? Where do you want to be in 1 year and in 5 years? Think about how your health and body need to be in order to achieve those goals.

To be a nurse I need to be strong, fit and have a healthy relationship with food so I can eat around my shift patterns.

To have children I need to be a healthy weight for fertility, I need to be a healthy role model with my lifestyle and I need to be able to cook a good range of meals.

From here write yourself out a list of positive changes you can make to your eating and lifestyle. These are some of mine:

To eat an extra portion of vegetables every day.

To get outside in the fresh air for some form of exercise 5 days a week.

To cook a new recipe once a week.

To switch off technology, read more and get to bed early once a week.

To make healthy snacks ahead of time so I stay away from the biscuits.

It’s not about having a strict diet plan and then beating yourself up when you can’t stick to it.  It is about having a plan that is achievable and flexible. 

It’s not about cutting out food groups and thinking foods are bad. It is about moderation and balance.

It’s not about only making change for a few weeks. It is about the long term.


Be kind to you. Be achievable. Be true to you. 


Why you should say NO to diets.

Weight loss, that seems to often be the theme for January. Which is all good, but I find it slightly frustrating that the answer people turn to is often jumping onto the next diet craze.

weight loss

Here are my top reasons why not to diet.

1. A short term fix leads to short term weight loss.

Most people want to lose weight forever. Most diets don’t result in this, they lead to some weight loss followed by the weight piling back on again. Go for long term lifestyle changes that you are going to stick to for the long haul.

2. Food is to be enjoyed.

Diets can be very restrictive and frustrating as well a limiting you socially. Food is a central part of life and socialising so it is important to find an eating plan full of foods you like, love and want to eat. Planning in treats is essential, this helps you feel like you have a bit of the “naughty” foods in your life without going over the top. If they are planned in then you know they are coming and can look forward to them. Eat well 80% of the time and treat yourself 20%,the 80/20 rule. I believe in everything in moderation.

3. Swings and roundabouts instead of slides.

Yo-yo dieting leads to your metabolism getting very confused. Instead of swinging from one way of eating to another find a consistent approach to get that weight sliding down steadily.

4. The tortoise wins the race.

Remember the tortoise and the hare story? Sometimes slowly but surely is the way to go and that is definitely the case for weight loss. Aim to lose 1-2lbs a week (0.5kg) and no more. It may not sound as dramatic or seem like you are losing the weight the speed you would  like but in the long term this will work. Too rapid weight loss usually means you are losing fluid and muscle  rather than fat.

4.Go with the science.

A lot of the time diets are not based on scientific research but on someones experience, logic and ideas. There has been a lot of researched into weight loss, so why go with someone’s ideas and not the facts? Be careful of your sources, look for a qualified professional – dietitian or registered nutritionist. Trust a dietitian to give you evidenced based advice you can believe in.

Look out for my next post on HOW to lose weight without dieting and my healthy meal planners that are coming up this month.




Perfect Portions for a Healthy Weight.

Portion control. It’s key if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and it’s usually carbohydrates that are the tricky customers. Now you could weigh foods out each time, but that can lead to obsessive tendencies in some and isn’t always that practical. I much prefer that people use household measure such as spoons, cups and mugs rather than the scales.

So here are some examples of how you can measure out your portion sizes of some common carbohydrate foods.


Dietitian UK: Oats and Cheerios Portion Sizes
Dietitian UK:          30g Oats = 1/4 mug, 1/2 cup or 4 tbsp  45g Cereal = 1 heaped mug or 2 cups.


Dietitian UK: Rice, Cous Cous, Quinoa and Pasta Portions
Dietitian UK: 50g Uncooked Rice = 1/2 mug, 1 cup, 50g Cous Cous = 1/2 cup or 1/4 mug, and 75g Pasta = 3/4 mug


 Why not do this yourself at home? Weigh out portion sizes and then place them in a suitable cup/mug/measuring device. We keep a cup in our rice container ready to measure out perfect portions everytime we cook. Give it a go and let me know how you get on.


“Can you have your cake and eat it?” Priya comments in the Daily Telegraph on the Dukan Diet.

The Dukan diet has been one of the bog diets over the past couple of years and has taken over from the Atkins diet. I was pleased to be able to comment on it for an article in the Daily Telegraph. I’d not advise anyone try out the diet as it is does not provide you with a balanced diet, but the recipes at the end of the article look like good ways to reduce your calorie intake on those days you just need a pudding!

Click here to read it.



Priya stars on Embarassing Fat Bodies.

Here I am as the dietitian on Channel 4’s Embarassing Fat Bodies advising Gareth. I absolutely loved doing this and an even bigger bonus was Gareth continued to work with my after the show losing well over 4 stone. He completely changed his diet and activity levels proving simple healthy changes really work.

Weight Loss, Healthy Meals, Fizzy Drinks, Sugar and Getting Active: Priya on BBC Radio Solent

January is the time everyone makes New Years Resolutions. A lot of those are centered around weight loss and being healthier. So I was delighted to go into BBC Radio Solent office and chat about these very topics.

Dietitian UK: At the BBC Southampton Studios
Dietitian UK: At the BBC Southampton Studios

I love chatting about food, giving out top tips and so talking on the radio is perfect for me! I’m fortunate to also have a lovely local radio station who invite me in from time to time and I must admit I find it all an easy, enjoyable experience 😉 Today’s interview was with the lovely Alina Jenkins, here’s her view in the recording studio:

Dietitian UK: BBC Radio Solent Recording Studio
Inside the Studio

Take a listen to my top tips below: Priya talks on BBC Radio Solent, Alina Jenkins Show Enjoy! What would your top tips be to share on radio?


Oh! If you want the Lentil Bolognaise Recipe here it is.

Top tips to Lose Weight.

Looking to shed a few pounds post Christmas and start off the New Year in a healthy, happy way? Then read on for some top tips from an experienced dietitian and fitness instructor. Trust me, I’ve seen it all when it comes to food diaries…. the good news is, you really can make a difference to your long term health, your self confidence and your weight by making a few long term changes to your eating and exercise.

  • AVOID those FAD diets. A diet is something that isn’t there to stay. You want weight loss that stays off – Yes? Then don’t diet. Dieting usually leans to the yo-yo weight affect that affects your metabolism in a negative way and though it may give a short term, feel good weight loss, a few weeks later you’ll end up heavier than you were before. INSTEAD go for a combination of healthy eating and activity that is there to stay. Long term change is the key
Dietitian UK: Fad Diets Don't Work
  • SUPERSIZE those fruit and veggie portions. Aim for 1/2 your plate to be full of fruit and veg. Have some at every meal and at snacks too. These are the true superfoods, packed full of antioxidants which fight disease, can lower cholesterol and combat ageing plus fibre to keep you regular and all the vitamins and minerals of the rainbow plus being low in fat – what more could you want.
  • TREATASTIC – plan in those treats. Yes you heard me. You can have treats whilst losing weight, they just need planning in. I always make people plan in 1 treat a week. This could be a coffee and cake out, a chocolate bar, a special meal…..of course some sense is needed in all of this but depriving yourself of your treat foods can lead to you falling off the wagon and overeating them.
  • DOWNSIZE PLATES. Think about the size of your plates. Psychologically a full plate =  a full tummy. So try using a slightly smaller plate. It really can make a difference.
  • TRY, TRY and TRY AGAIN. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Relapse is a natural part of losing weight, so don’t panic if you have a wobble. The most important thing is to get back on track as soon as possible. Don’t berate yourself and get upset over it, just get back onto track and carry on. These things happen, its alright! 😳
  • CARB – IT  – DOWN. Carbohydrate foods are good for you, really they are, but too much will lead to too much, if you know what I mean. Include small portions of bread, rice, pasta, cous cous, cereal, potatoes, chappati etc… at each meal. Go for wholegrain versions where possible and avoid adding butter/cream to them.
  • HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE. Being hydrated can help you with weight loss. Read that one again 😉 It’s a real incentive to drink more water. Aim drink plenty of water, juice, no added sugar squash, decaff drinks and milk.
Water carafe
Water carafe
  • GOALS on FRIDGE. Keep focused and keep things in clear sight. Think about your goals. Why do you want to lose weight? What will the short term and long term benefits be? Think about the positives and negatives (hopefully the positives will outweigh the negatives!). Write them out and use them to keep you going.
  • STAY ACTIVE – activity is a necessity. Plan something in everyday but make sure it is enjoyable and accessible. Find exercise you like doing and you are more likely to stick to it, think about where it is, what is it, who it is with and how it fits into your routine? Will it be easier before work, after work or in a lunchbreak? Family bike rides, dance lessons, workouts at home and gardening all count.
Running Feet
Running Feet
  • REWARDS – plan in a non related food reward to keep you motivated. For example when you lose half a stone have a massage.


How to Eat to Keep Warm!

It’s that time of year when the weather is getting decidedly more chilly and the light is fading earlier. All of a sudden it’s time to switch from the summery salads to winter stews. The kettle is on more and the biscuit tin beckons. But how do you eat healthily yet still enjoy those winter foods?

Porridge is a great start to the day. Try adding different fruit, a sprinkle of seeds or some chopped nuts for variety. Alternatively try scrambled eggs and grilled tomatoes with toast.

Include something warming and satisfying at lunch, try a vegetable based soup, baked beans on toast or an omelette.

Although tea and coffee can warm you up it should be limited to 4 cups a day. Try hot squash, herbal or fruit tea or even hot water with a slice of lemon instead.

Winter stews and casseroles are delicious. Try using a slow cooker, pop it on in the morning and dinner will be ready by tea time. Include plenty of vegetables and add a couple of handfuls of lentils or beans/pulses to reduce the amount of meat you use. Bean and pulses are low in fat, have a low glycaemic index and contain plenty of fibre, so are a great weight loss aid.

Keep Active. Getting up and moving around more will get the blood pumping around the body and so warm you up. Plan some activity into your day and keep moving whenever you can.

Fibre for filling you, sweeping you and protecting you.

It’s not the most talked about of topics, but fibre quietly plays a very important role in our bodies. Also known as roughage or bulk, fibre is made up of the hard to digest parts of plant foods.

There are 2 main types of fibre: 

1. Insoluble Fibre is found in wheat bran, wholegrain foods and vegetables. This keeps your bowels regular. your digestive system healthy and may help protect against colon cancer. The fibrous foods act like a brush, sweeping out the intestines.
2. Soluble fibre can help decrease blood cholesterol levels and can aid blood glucose control. A natural aid to helping protect against heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It is found in oats, barley, oranges, beans and pulses.

How To Eat More:

We should aim to eat 6 servings of whole-grains a day. That’s 25g/day for women and 38/day for men aged 19-50 years. An easier way to think about it is to eat whole-grains at every meal and snack on fruit where possible.

• Use wholemeal bread / rolls / pitta / bagels
• Add wholemeal flour when baking instead of white flour
• Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
• Add beans and pulses (kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, butter beans etc) to meals, for example: soups, salads, casseroles and curries.
• Try beans on wholemeal toast for lunch
• Add seeds to salads or sprinkle them on your cereal
• Snack on nuts/seeds/unsalted popcorn and fruit

Dietitian UK: Choose wholemeal, brown breads with seeds for extra fibre
Dietitian UK: Choose wholemeal, brown breads with seeds for extra fibre

Top Tips:

• Increase the fibre in your diet slowly to prevent gas and bloating, add one new portion of higher fibre food at a time.
• Spread your fibre intake evenly over the day – some with each meal.
• Increase your fluid intake alongside your fibre (6-8 glasses a day).


High Fibre Recipe Ideas:

Lentil Bolognaise

Bean Burgers

Oaty Bars

I’d love to hear your high fibre recipes too.
This post was originally written for Slimsticks.

Carbohydrates, the Good Guys.

Carbohydrates are often seen as the baddies of the nutrition world. There are so many low carb diets out there and lots of claims about carbohydrates being the reason people can’t lose weight.


Carbohydrates are actually the bodies favoured energy source. Given a choice of protein, fat and carbohydrate the body will always choose to use the carbohydrate first. Why? Because carbohydrate foods easily break down to simple sugars that are the fuel the body needs. Proteins and fats needs to be converted to sugars in order to be used, a time consuming process that uses energy up. However you will put on weight if you OVEREAT carbohydrates or eat too much of the wrong kinds.


So where do these anti-carbohydrate claims come from? 

After we eat carbohydrates, blood sugar levels increase and insulin is released. Insulin moves the sugar in the blood into the bodies cells and it will be used as fuel or stored as glycogen to be used later on. Eating too much carbohydrate in one go or more white, processed carbohydrates cause a larger, rapid peak in blood sugar levels. In response lots of insulin is released, which can cause a problem. After the insulin has done it’s job it takes a while to drop back down to normal levels, so you have insulin in the blood stream asking the body for more sugar. It’s this lag phase that can lead to you craving sugary food or wanting to eat a short while after a meal.  If you eat like this you are likely to put on weight. Those hunger cravings will get the better of you and you’ll eat more than you need.


What happens if you avoid Carbs:

If carbs are the bodies preferred energy source then it makes sense that avoiding them can lead to you feeling tired, grumpy, lethargic, perhaps dizzy and shaky. Ever had that energy slump after skipping a meal?


How to eat Carbohydrates without gaining weight:

  1. Eat carbohydrates at every meal. Just watch your portion size. If you are trying to lose weight keep those carbs to 1/3 of your plate, steer clear of adding creamy sauces, butter and oils to them.
  2. Go Wholegrain. Wholegrains have been shown to protect against cancer, obesity, diabetes and obesity. Choose wholemeal, granary or multi-grain bread, whole oats, weetabix, shredded wheat, bran flakes, rye bread, oatcakes,brown rice and pasta, bulgar wheat, quinoa, pearl barley and anything with the word whole/wholegrain in from of it!
  3. Lower the glycaemic index of meals. Adding lower GI foods (many of which are wholegrains too) will help stabilise your blood sugars, preventing the peaks and dips that can cause those sugar cravings. Also try adding beans and pulses to your main meals.

This post was written for Slimsticks and can be seen on their website here.