With today’s nonstop demands and a 24/7/365 pace, most of us want instant responses, immediate results and faster accomplishments. Certainly this is true for weight loss – we want to shed the pounds fast and with relatively little effort. Of course, lasting weight loss comes only over time, and with considerable effort at cutting caloric intake and boosting expenditure. Sounds like a lot of work, and indeed, it is.
But it’s doable; just watch a few episodes of “The Biggest Loser” as proof. And not everything along this journey must be difficult, as multiple little efforts add up. Here are some relatively quick ways to cut calories:
- Choose fat-free or light dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, over full-fat versions.
- Replace one or two red meat meals with chicken, turkey or fish.
- Find some tasty vegetarian recipes and skip all meat for at least one or two meals weekly.
- Pack your lunch for school or work so you’re not tempted by higher-calorie, higher-fat options in the cafeteria or at restaurants.
- Don’t eat anything directly out of the bag or box – dish out individual servings onto a plate or bowl so you can see exactly how much you are consuming.
- Focus on your meal and enjoy your food – which means don’t eat in the car, while on the phone, while watching TV or reading or when running to work. This one is super hard, I admit, but lets you concentrate on what you’re eating and sense when you are full.
- Try fruit in place of sweets like donuts, cookies and cakes. Another tough one, admittedly, but even if you do it periodically, it helps.
- Decrease portion sizes. In America, our portions are so huge, it’s no wonder we’ve gotten so fat. Serve meals on salad plates (a visual trick that helps), don’t leave food on the table family-style, minimize seconds, and when eating out, take one-half of your meal home for tomorrow.
- Carry food when you travel. On the road, bad food choices abound and our willpower is likely lower. Pack granola bars, pretzels, fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks or whatever to tide you over so you stay on track.
- Just say “no thank you.” Whether it’s another birthday cake in the office, a neighbor’s specially baked pie or your mom’s famous fried chicken, do your best to politely decline a serving. If this proves impossible, take one bite and later discreetly toss the rest.
These are just a few quick ways to cut calories, but they work and are cumulative. Combine these with a regular exercise program, and your body eventually will respond!