Cut back on your calorie intake and lose weight – it all sounds so simple! Unfortunately, however, it’s often the most difficult thing any of us try to do.
Using Substitutions, Supplements and Consumption Reduction to Assist You
It’s not that overweight individuals can’t make sacrifices in what they eat and even how much they eat. It’s more that trying to stay full and satisfied on a calorie-counting plan can be painful! You don’t know just how quickly 1,600 calories pile up until you actually start counting.
Seriously – that’s like a sandwich (on whole wheat, no less), an apple, an omelet and a handful of pecans for a snack. Even the skinniest, pickiest eaters enjoy more than that per day.
Diet shakes and other supplements are a great way to stay on track without exceeding your caloric count. Why? Well, you’ll find that fat really packs in the calories! Each gram of fat has 9 calories. Contrast this with protein and carbohydrates which each boast only 4 calories per gram. Foods high in fat deliver calories but are sometimes neither satisfying nor filling. They make it easy to blow past your daily caloric limit. A protein supplement shake made with a little non-fat milk can be a tasty snack rich in nutrients and low in calories.
With a supplemental shake in your arsenal, you’re not getting any fat. You’ll be getting mostly protein (which isn’t as calorie dense), and other essential nutrients. This means you can enjoy more “filler” without more fat or more calories. You’ll be fuller for longer, get way more vitamins and nutrients than simply picking through food, and you’ll assist any strength training work you are doing by promoting the growth of lean muscle.
Knowing how calorie-dense fat is, it’s important that you substitute for fat whenever possible. For instance: a low-fat mayo instead of a whole fat; no-fat milk instead of 2%; butter substitutes; sugar substitute; diet soda instead of regular soda (or better yet, no soda at all); and even talking the yolks out of your eggs and using only the whites – these are all fantastic ways to cut down tremendously on your calories without cutting back on your food.
You can use every tip in the world, but they’re all pointless if you’re not able to control your portion size. A common error dieters make is choosing all of the right foods to eat but then simply eating too many of them. From a strictly caloric-intake standpoint (not nutritional standpoint), it would be better to eat a slice of pizza and a piece of cake today and nothing else than it would be to stuff your face on cold cuts, brown rice, yogurt, strawberries, almonds, tuna, and cottage cheese from sun-up to sun-down. So just because you are choosing the right foods doesn’t mean that your work is done. If you can’t eat less food, then you can’t lose weight!
Tricks to Stay On-Track with Low-Cal Dieting
- Drink more water. A good tip to remember is that your stomach signals to your brain when it’s “stuffed.” Fluid will fill your stomach up. It doesn’t always have to be with food. Drinking a tall glass of water (power drinking it, like you’re in a beer league!) before meals will help you eat less. Also, start your day off by drinking a glass of water as soon as you get out of bed. That is a great habit to form.
- Eat slowly. A number of studies confirm that eating slower results in eating fewer calories. It takes our brains about 20 minutes to register that we are full. Fast eaters, of which there are many in our hurried culture, don’t allow their mind ample time to signal that the stomach is full. So we keep eating to the point of feeling stuffed. Eating slowly will also help you to eat less, because it gives those hormones time to work and signal that you’re full. To get in a habit of eating more slowly, try to always share a meal with someone else. Take the time to really talk and listen with that person during the meal. This requires us to put the fork down and enjoy the experience more. As an end result, we realize we’re full despite having eatn less than we thought we wanted.
- Share entrees. Portion sizes have become huge in most restaurants. It’s as though we are cows being sent to the trough to fatten up. Before you dine out with someone, commit to sharing an entree with them. One way to go about choosing is have one person narrow it down to five possible choices and the other person chooses their favorite from that selection. If you’re feeling especially famished, you can share an appetizer too. The result is less food consumed and perhaps just as good, less money spent.
- Eat negative calorie foods.. While not quite technically a negative calorie food, eating an apple is a great tip for maintaining a low-cal diet. A medium-sized apple has about 100 calories. What’s great about apples is you get a lengthy experience of “eating” (it takes a while to chew through an apple!) without really ingesting too many calories. Keep foods like this around to break up your day and make the time in-between meals more tolerable.
- Drink some coffee or tea. You can shortcut hunger pains rather effectively with a cup of coffee or tea. These drinks are zero calorie when taken without sugar or dairy. It’s advisable to avoid sugar, but a little bit of milk and/or honey is fine if you insist.
- One cheat day every two weeks. Every second Saturday or Sunday, throw your calorie counting journal to the side and eat what you want*. There is an asterisk on that because you shouldn’t just binge on cheesecake all day. Eat what you want within some reasonable parameters. Focus on eating as much protein as you can before turning to fat and carbs. The trick here is to limit the variety of foods you are eating. It’s okay to sit down to a big plate of steak with a piece of cheesecake waiting. Just don’t have mashed potatoes, stuffing, and ice cream on hand too. The less variety you have in food options on your cheat day, the sooner you’ll become satisfied and stop eating.