No-Brainer Ways to Cut Calories

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 09:00

To maintain a healthy weight, the key is to burn all the calories per day that you consume. To lose weight, you need to burn more than you take in. It’s really that simple. Obviously, the quality of your food will dramatically impact your overall health in time, but fat is stored energy and losing weight in large part is a calories in, calories out equation. So, combined with a good exercise regimen, dropping pounds—or staying slim—depends on monitoring your calorie intake. And it doesn’t have to be complicated! Just follow these easy tips:

Follow the 80/20 rule

If depriving yourself of some of your favorite foods—horrible as they may be for you—is unthinkable, here’s a compromise: make 80% of your daily calories healthy foods like whole grains, good fats, clean proteins, veggies and fruits and then allow 20% of those calories to come from some of your favorite treat foods. For example: I eat 2000 calories a day on the days I workout. This is because I am in maintenance mode, not weight loss mode. So, 20% of that calorie allowance is 400 calories. Every day I get 400 calories of my favorite treat foods. It could be a glass of wine and a slice of pizza. Or fries with my burger. BUT I don’t have fries, wine, and ice cream on the same day. This way you don’t deprive yourself, but you don’t overdo it.

Avoid the bottomless snack bag.

Along the same lines as downsizing your portions, never ever buy large bags of chips, pretzels, nuts, dried fruit, whatever. You won’t be able to keep track of how many servings you’re mindlessly eating. Either buy snacks that come in single-serving bags to keep you from overeating, or immediately portion out those munchies into individual snack bags yourself.

Don’t finish what’s on your plate.

When you go out to eat, and your server comes back with an overflowing plate of chicken alfredo or pad thai, a doggie bag should automatically come to mind. Even if you order something from a mom and pop diner that sounds relatively healthy, you probably don’t know how much butter, oil, or dressing was added to make it taste “better.” When faced with the unknown, assume the worst. Make it a rule to never clean your plate when dining out. Split the meal in half, or in thirds, and physically separate it on your plate. Eat one portion, and save or toss the rest.

Learn what 100 calories looks like.

OK, this will take a little practice, but by visualizing how many calories are in common foods and drinks, portion control will be that much easier. Here’s a quick rundown of foods that add up to 100 calories:

  • 14 chips
  • 1 cookie
  • 3 tablespoons of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of ranch salad dressing
  • 4 ounces of white wine
  • 8 ounces of beer

Make a list of foods you eat a lot, and get out that calculator (or do a quick Google search) to figure out what 100 calories worth of each one amounts to, and if you are looking for a way to track your calories check out my new app. It syncs with all trackers seamlessly as well as tracking apps like Health or MyFitnessPal to enable you with the workouts, the meal plans, and the tracking capabilities to ensure success.