Cutting calories is the most basic way to lose weight. But, how much do you have to cut to see results? Eating just 500 calories less every day or burning 500 more than you normally do can result in one pound per week weight loss. Following are ways to help you do that.
Get in tune with your body. Pay attention to how full you feel, and stop eating when you are satisfied. Listen to your body’s cues, rather than eating until your plate is clean.
Watch your salads. A big salad for lunch may seem healthy, but watch out for high-calorie toppings. Save 500 calories (or more) just by eliminating things like cheese, nuts, bacon, avocado, dried fruit and croutons from your salad and using half your usual amount of dressing.
Don’t clean your plate. Simply leaving 25 percent of your food untouched at every meal will shave your calories.
Don’t serve family style. Cut hundreds of calories by filling plates before bringing them to the table and leaving the serving bowls in the kitchen.
Wait 20-30 minutes before going back for seconds. You may not want them anymore or will at least take less.
Count your chips. Stick to one serving (about 15 chips), instead of eating out of the bag. Portion these out in a bowl, and leave the bag in the cupboard.
Kick the soda habit. Replacing 12 oz. of soda with water will save 150 calories to 180 calories. This can be a huge calorie saver if you drink lots of soda.
Eat less pasta. One cup of pasta is about 220 calories. Our typical pasta portion at home or at a restaurant is as much as four times this much.
Think when it comes to pizza. Eating two slices of a medium, thin-crust veggie pizza, instead of two slices of a large, meaty deep dish, will save 580 calories.
Hit the water. One hour of swimming will burn 500 calories.
Go hiking. A 1 hour, 15 minute hike will burn 510 calories.
Fidget more. People who fidget, tap their feet or walk while talking on the phone burn up to 350 more calories a day.
Don’t eat in front of the TV. Research shows that people who do eat about 288 more calories per meal.
Do some commercial cardio. Jump up and jog in place or do some jumping jacks during commercials. This will burn about 10 calories a minute, so in an evening of watching TV, you could easily burn 500 calories.
Sleep in. People who get less than six hours of sleep a night eat 300+ more calories during the day.
Limit dinner guests. Eating with seven or more other guests can make you eat 96 percent more food, according to Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of Mindless Eating.
Page 2 of 2 - Use smaller plates. Swap your 12″ plate for a 10″ one and you’ll eat 20 percent to 25 percent less.
Think small. If you are going out for ice cream, choose the mini portion and save calories.
Watch the nuts. Although nuts are heart healthy, they do pack a lot of calories. One handful has about 175 calories.
Think skinny cocktails. Mix with club soda or tonic water and a little lemon or lime juice, rather than sodas, sweet/sour mixes or creamy mixers, to save calories.
Make a trade. Swap out your bagel for an English muffin and save 220 calories. Instead of whole milk, go skim and save 70 calories a cup.
Measure your portions. Four ounces of orange juice has just 60 calories, but chances are, your glass holds 12 ounces or more. Cereal is another food that is easy to underestimate how much you pour. Measure out a serving then use the same bowl or glass so you can gauge portion sizes accurately.
Remember that healthy food has calories, too. We are more likely to eat more when we think a food is good for us.
Small changes throughout time can help you lose weight or at least prevent further weight gain. Once you get used to one or two changes, incorporate some of the other ideas to burn even more calories.
Anita Marlay, R.D., L.D., is a dietitian in the cardiac rehab department at Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach, Mo.