Modest changes to your diet add up. Cutting just 100 calories a day translates into a 10-pound weight loss in one year.
Deprivation diets set you up to backslide because you can’t survive on grapefruit and celery sticks for long. On the other hand, starting small allows you to make lasting lifestyle changes with less effort and discomfort. The only thing you’ll notice will be your shrinking waistline.
Changing the Way You Eat
- Focus on fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least 5 servings a day of fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables. They’re nutrient-dense so you’ll feel full while eating less.
- Redo your salad. Some salads are more fattening than a fast food burger. Steer clear of bacon, extra cheese, croutons, and creamy dressings. Pile up leafy greens and other vegetables instead. Add protein with grilled fish or chicken.
- Budget your sweets. An occasional treat can make it easier to stick to your diet. Plan ahead for how you want to spend your sugar calories. A half ounce of dark chocolate has about 100 calories.
- Carry snacks. You’re less likely to overeat if you eat before you’re ravenous. Keep cut vegetables and peanut butter in the office refrigerator. Pack a cooler with hummus and baby carrots.
- Slow down. You’ll be satisfied with less food if you give your brain a chance to realize that your stomach is full. Pull up a chair and savor your meals. Chew each mouthful carefully.
- Reduce portions. You can enjoy a wide variety of foods like ice cream or baked ziti if you stick to a reasonable serving size. Learn to eyeball what four ounces of meat or one ounce of cheese looks like.
Changing the Way You Drink
- Skip soda. A 12-ounce can of cola has 140 calories, and they’re all sugar. Drop the soda habit or have a calorie-free club soda.
- Limit juice. A cup of orange juice has about 130 calories. Opt for a small orange with 45 calories and more fiber.
- Rethink milk. Trade in whole milk for low-fat or skim milk. Soy milk has even more protein and fewer calories, but check the label to avoid added sugars.
- Enjoy cocktail hour. A Bloody Mary has only 125 calories compared to 500 in the average Margarita. Wine and light beer are also good choices.
- Whip up smoothies. Drink a meal. Choose ingredients that provide complex carbohydrates and protein like green vegetables, berries, peanut butter, Greek yogurt, protein powder, and flax seeds.
- Slim down coffee. There are almost 50 calories in a tablespoon of sugar, and 20 in the same amount of half-and-half. Gradually cut back by half.
- Brew tea. Tea has no calories, and it’s full of phytochemicals that protect your health. Enjoy it hot or cold.
Losing weight is easy when you cut calories in places where they won’t be missed. Eat a little less each day, and exercise regularly so you can reach your fitness goals.