In order to get on track to losing weight, many professionals say it’s a numbers game: calories in must be less than calories out. But that “simple” equation is easier said than done. By ingesting an additional 3500 calories more than necessary over a week, you can gain a pound! To avoid the gain, experts recommend cutting 500 calories a day (which add up to 3500 a week). However, eliminating 500 calories worth of food can seem impossible!
For most people, the best method is to cut 250 calories of food intake, and up their exercise by 250 calories burned; that will get you the 500 calorie deduction. Here are seven suggestions on how to do just that. If you can’t be without, I’ve offered alternative food options for each situation – but keep in mind if you select those items, you need to make up for the calories ingested by cutting another food item or increasing your exercise time:
Day One: Skip the tall Caramel Frappuccino in the morning (with whip), and save 320 calories (order a house coffee and save all the calories). At the gym (or outside), hop on the bike and ride for 30 minutes, which will burn 204 calories. Total saved: 524 calories.
Day Two: Pass on the office candy bowl, and save 170 calories on 4 small Twix bars (bring a baggie of grapes or strawberries, which only cost 40-60 calories). In turn, jog at a light pace and burn 350 calories. Total saved: 520 calories.
Day Three: Movie night. Avoid the small popcorn at the theatre and save yourself 400 calories (alternative? Share the small popcorn with three of your friends – now it’s a 100 calorie snack. Or bring in your own bag of 100 calorie popcorn from home). To eliminate the other 100 calories, walk around the downtown for 15 minutes, before or after the movie. Total saved: 500 calories even.
Day Four: Can’t miss your nightly dessert? Regular ice cream is, on average, 222 calories per half cup (trade for a fat free Fudgesicle, 70 calories). Before dessert, take your bicycle out for a leisurely ride through the neighborhood. 45 minutes will burn 306 calories. Total saved: 528 calories.
Day Five: Sushi with friends – don’t order the shrimp (or any) tempura, it could cost you 320 calories (Order sushi without dressing or mayo, and add some miso soup with your dinner for a healthier alternative). Then tackle 55 minutes of strength training, either at the gym or home, to burn 210 calories. Total saved: 530 calories.
Day Six: Night on the town, watch what you drink! Pina Coladas, Margaritas, and other fruity, sugary mixed drinks can cost 250-300 calories (if you want to be DD, a diet coke is zero calories, but if you are joining the party, rum and diet cokes are around 60 calories, as well as a glass of red wine). If you skip one calorie-laden beverage, 300 calories, make sure you add in a little dancing while out (don’t forget the water!). You can burn around 204 calories in 40 minutes. Total saved: 504 calories.
Day Seven: After a night of avoiding daiquiris and dancing to pulsating music, nothing sounds better than a late breakfast at your local diner. Order the fruit (1 cup at about 100 calories) verses the bacon and 2 slices of buttered white toast, which is around 330 calories. Today may be a good day to tackle household chores – combining 20 minutes of washing dishes and 30 minutes of vacuuming will burn 197 calories. Total save: 527 calories.