As I am really skinny most people think that means I do not eat. That is not true. It is true that I think about what I am eating and I don’t always eat everything I want to eat but nonetheless I do eat and I enjoy eating.

Most of the weight we gain is from unnecessary food or snacks around our main meals. This is the quick couple of biscuits, the croissant over coffee, the packet of crisps after lunch, the cupcake because it would have been rude to decline. However, whilst many dieticians simply say cut out this snacking, I believe snacking is a part of our eating habits and we need to work with it.  After all snacking is often social, often breaks up a stressful day and often gives you that bit of energy to go on. I snack around 3 times a day.

The answer is to snack well and to snack thoughtfully both of which are really quite simple. If you know you are meeting a friend for coffee later that day and cake is going to be a likely temptation limit breakfast to a smoothie and green tea and a light salad lunch and when you have the cake enjoy it but bear in mind the high sugar content and do not add extra sugar to your tea or coffee. If you really want croissants and pancakes for a special treat one morning, by all means have them but make that your major meal of the day and then lunch and dinner needs to be light. If you eat a cupcake bear in mind it is likely to be 300-400 calories and go to the gym that evening to burn it off on the cross trainer.

Just create a balance scenario and do not think it is ok to have those treats and then also have a heavy meal. You are aiming to keep within the approximately 2,000 calories arena (depending on height, size, muscle mass, energy requirement which a trainer can help you work out).  What many people do is meet the 2,000 requirement just by their 3 main meals and the snacking is all extra and thus is the weight gain.

Another good snacking tip is choosing the right snack and there are so many choices! My favourites are exchanging sweets for the new fruit snacks which are appearing everywhere and which are so naturally sweet they are just as good. I have Yu and Yo Yo Bear and Annie’s all of which are 100% fruit and nothing else. They come in easy little packages which you can chuck in your handbag and lots of different variations from mango, apple, strawberry, blueberry and so on. 87 calories in the Yu packet of 24g and 54 calories in the Yo Yo bear and 44 in the Annie’s bar. You can get them at www.amazon.co.uk 

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I also have lots of mini boxes from Paperchase which I feel with snacks; a variety of nuts and bits of chocolate chopped up and dried cherries or honeycomb thrown in. You get the goodness from the nuts and then the little treats inbetween. Just make sure it is a small box!

Another tip is to up the quality of your treats and snacks. You could have 2 average cakes from the supermarket or you can buy the most splendid work of art cake from an artisan bakery or even make it yourself and therefore enjoy it 100x more than the other 2 average cakes which are not organic and not fresh. Same with chocolates – stop eating that cheap off the counter stuff like Mars Bars, Diary Milks and Twirls because it is filled with sugar, margarine and all the bad fats! Instead buy a good quality bar of Green & Blacks or something with a high percentage of cocoa in it. You will find it is not so addictive as the cheaper sugar filled chocolate but it will take the edge of and make you think you have had your chocolate fix.   I like to buy an extravagant box of a brand like Charbonnel & Walker or Leonardis chocolates where you pick each one out. Then, because they are so rich and because they are so expensive, you tend to pick gingerly at them only having 1 or 2 a day. The whole experience of the luxurious box and the way each chocolate sits nicely within it makes it feel like such a treat that the actual eating experience only becomes a part of it not the whole. That really is part of clever snacking; making it an experience so that it feels like a treat rather than a mindless habit.

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Sometimes when I am in London I walk past one of these amazing bakeries like Baker & Spice, or Polaine and I have to get something. Life is not meant to be about depriving yourself but I do want the perfect bikini body so I have found my balance. I would love to eat 3 or 4 of the cakes in there but I cannot if I want that body so I have worked out that 1 is acceptable but only if I am then prepared to put in some exercise or eat lightly for the rest of the day.  You just need to engage with what you are eating and think about it. It is not about guilt, it is about ownership of your body and your life because you are constantly making decisions all day long without even realising it. It is time to become aware of those decisions and realise that having a body you are proud of and also enjoying life and all the beautiful and yummy things within it are within your grasp.