Believe it or not, more than two-thirds of Americans are considered overweight or obese. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know that it’s an exceedingly challenging undertaking that requires determination, focus, and resolve. In fact, more than 9 in 10 diets fail. While no one worth his or her salt would credibly say there’s a shortcut to weight loss, there ARE some very basic things that you can do to make your journey easier and up your chances of success. Here are 6 simple calorie-chopping diet tips to consider trying today if fat loss is your goal:
1. Stop Drinking Your Calories.
When it comes down to it, so many of the calories that the average person consumes on the daily are in liquid form. Sodas, iced tea, milk, juices, and the list goes on. Think about it for a second: One soda has about 200 calories. If you’re drinking one per day, and assuming that 3,500 calories equals 1 pound, that’s more than 20 pounds’ worth of calories a year ingested from just one dietary staple!
Moreover, when you drink your calories, you’ll find that you’re not as satiated as you would be eating solid foods and are more prone to snacking. Try to keep your caloric beverage intake low and stick to regular water, sparkling water, unsweetened teas, and other zero-calorie items.
2. Drink Plenty of H2O.
When you feel your stomach rumbling mid-day, there’s an excellent chance it’s not actually hunger but rather thirst. The signals that the brain receives when your body’s severely dehydrated mimic those sensed during times of hunger. Be sure you’re drinking enough water every day — anywhere from 1 to 1.25 gallons — to prevent this from happening. Guzzling a glass of water before each meal should also help curb overeating.
3. Don’t Go Condiment Crazy.
More often than not, people deceive themselves into thinking they’re eating a healthy meal when in fact it’s chock full of sodium, sugars, and unhealthy fats. Take salads for example. You could have a perfectly nutritious and delicious salad full of nutrient-dense veggies and clean protein sources . . . then completely ruin it with a fatty, creamy dressing.
Things like ketchup, BBQ sauce, mayo, and other dressings can add hundreds of calories to your daily intake without you even realizing it! Opt for low-calorie condiments such as mustard, zero-calorie hot sauce, spices, and other seasonings. This will give you plenty of zesty flavor without the empty calories.
4. Go Black With Your Coffee.
For all of you Mocha Frappuccino lovers out there, I hate to break it you but you’re committing diet suicide. In its natural form, black coffee contains about 5 calories per cup, can help curb appetite, and even serves as an awesome pre-workout drink. When you load it up with sugar, syrups, whipped cream, and other fillers, however, that cup of coffee could wind up packing more of a caloric punch than your breakfast meal. Do your waist a favor and stick to black coffee, perhaps with a bit of Stevia or sugar-free sweetener.
5. Pay Attention to Portions.
It’s not hard to see how out of control portion sizes have become over the past few decades. The problem is that we’re preconditioned to consume whatever is on our plates or otherwise in front of us. If you’re not someone who’s able to resist cleaning their plate, opt for smaller portions upfront. Use a smaller plate for your dinner; grab a half sandwich instead of a whole when dining out; and, yes, consider kiddie-sizing it. Also, try not to scarf your food since it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to process the presence of nutrients. If you don’t stop eating until you feel full, you’ve gone too far.
6. Limit Your Oils.
If you’re the type who really enjoys cooking, be mindful of how you’re preparing those meals. Many recipes include some variety of oil, which can carry about 200 calories and 16 grams of fat per serving. That’s right — you may be consuming a quarter of your recommended daily fat intake before you even factor in the food you’re cooking! Use non-stick cooking sprays where possible and, if you’re going to use oil, grab coconut or extra virgin olive oil and count that as your healthy fat source for the day.