Hidden calories: The thorn in weight loss’ side

Hidden calories creep up and add up really easily - even when you are doing everything right.

Lockdown has been tough on many waistlines. That’s okay. But if it seems that you’re packing on the pounds despite eating as usual – or if you’re not losing the weight you gained during lockdown, you might be getting caught out by hidden calories.

You should always consult with a medical professional before embarking on a weight loss plan, especially if you have any underlying conditions, it is easy to get caught out by hidden calories.

When we are busy, stressed or focused on something else we reach for convenient snacks that aren’t so good for us. Or even if we think that we are eating healthy – we sometimes forget about the hidden calories that all add to our daily intake.  

This unconscious eating will add up to a whole of extra calories in the course of a day or week. This mindless eating is nothing more than a habit that can be broken.

So, where do these calories hide?

If you are back at the office, hidden calories often creep up by nibbling on sweets or other treats you find on your colleagues’ desks. But it is usually at home where these calories add up the most.

Hidden calories in every day things

  • When you’re cooking dinner and sample the food – these calories add up
  • Your children don’t eat all their food – you eat that too – more calories
  • Sugar in your tea or coffee
  • Honey on your oats or cereal
  • Any spreads on your toast or sandwiches – including margarine and butter
  • The oil or butter you use to cook your food with or you add to the sauce for a bit of extra flavour
  • Milk (high fat or non-dairy milk) can also add up to a significant amount of extra calories – especially if you like milky coffees like cappuccinos or lattes
  • Alcohol also contains a lot of not just hidden but empty calories
  • That bowl of popcorn you’re snacking on while watching TV at night

How to avoid hidden calories

The first step is to be aware of where the extra calories are coming from. Remember that even foods that are good for us might have more calories than you think. This is especially true with things like nuts, avocadoes and biltong.

It’s also important to be honest with yourself. Just because you didn’t note down that extra muffin doesn’t mean it didn’t count towards your daily calorie intake.

Most importantly, don’t be too hard on yourself, though. Remember, if you have a lot of weight to lose, you probably didn’t gain it overnight – so you won’t lose it overnight. Make sure your motivation for losing weight is for you and no one else.

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Staff Reporter