What’s the number one rule for long-lasting weight loss? Don’t diet. What should you do? Change your lifestyle and make healthier habits and food choices your defaults because there is no perfect diet and in the end, it comes down to what you can stick with for life.
Sherry Pagoto, Ph.D., in an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association wrote: “The only consistent finding among weight loss trials is that adherence–the degree to which participants continued the program or met program goals for diet and physical activity—was most strongly associated with weight loss…”
Bottom line: You have to change your lifestyle and stick with healthy eating and exercise for good to maintain a healthy weight for life.
Why most fad diets don’t work for long-term is because people can’t stick with the program for the rest of their life. Weight loss experts agree that the only way to win the war against fat is to develop simple changes in how we eat and upping the activity in our daily lives. That’s why this list focuses on simple lifestyle habits to make to help you cut 100 calories from your diet. Since a pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories, if you try one of these tips every day this year and you’ll be 10 pounds lighter this time next year.
Take three bites less. Have just three bites less of a typical sandwiches or main courses can cut about 100 calories from your day.
Log an extra 2,000 steps per day, which is about a mile or equal to 100 calories. The recommendation for overall health is to log 10,000 steps a day. Wearing a pedometer or fitness tracker like a FitBit also serves as a motivator because you’ll see how much (or how little) walking you actually do.
Eat your calories, don’t drink ‘em. Because the body doesn’t compensate for calories from liquids as well as it does from foods you chew, make a mental note of how much calorie-laden drinks you’re downing. Replace just eight-ounces of soda a day with water or a calorie-free beverage to cut 100 calories from your diet.
Invest in nonstick sprays and pans for cooking. You’ll save 100 calories for every tablespoon of oil or butter you don’t use.
Turn your back to the buffet table at parties, so you’re not tempted by what you see.
Modify recipes: Cut sugar by 1/3 in all recipes; use applesauce or prune puree to replace half the fat in baked goods. You can replace 100% of the fat with applesauce in brownies or a moist cake and they’ll still come out great.
Substituting a piece of candy for fruit or veggies once daily will save you over 100 calories. Plus, the fiber in the produce will help keep you fuller longer.
Drink from tall, thin glasses. Research from the University of Illinois found that consumers drink, on average, 77 percent more when they drink out of short, squat glasses compared to tall, thin glasses. The amount of liquid calories is perceived as less when served in a short, wide glass.
Why sit when you can stand. Don’t despair when you can’t get a seat because standing for 50 minutes daily equals 100 calories.
Downsize your plates and bowls. Seriously. If you eat out of large containers or from large plates, you’re going to eat more calories-probably much more than 100 calories.
Try protein at breakfast. Research shows that people who eat a protein-rich first meal eat fewer calories during the day.
Sleep More. There’s a reason it’s called “beauty” sleep. Research shows that extra sleep can help people stick with healthier eating and helps control hormones that trigger food cravings.
Move during TV commercials. If you walk around, march in place or do simple calisthenics during TV commercials, you’ll burn at least 100 calories during your two-hour TV limit (tip number 5).
Instead of drinking a 20-ounce bottle of soda, fruit juice or other sweetened beverage at one time, make it last for 2 1/2 servings (as the label states). Dilute it with water or seltzer if you need to drink more.
Build some brawn. Adding two pounds of muscle means that your body will burn an extra 100 calories a day (at rest). Muscle is many times more metabolically active than fat, which is why muscular people can eat more than a comparable-sized person with less muscle. Consider CrossFit if you really want to up your strength and fitness level.
Clean up. Just 30 minutes of tidying up equals 100 calories to help lighten you up. (Soon you’ll be tossing out the clothes that are too big for you.)
Eat some good-for-you bugs, as research shows that yogurt eaters are thinner than those who skip the creamy dairy option. Enjoy plain nonfat Greek yogurt with fruit for dessert instead of baked goods.
Eat your fruit fresh, not dried. Snack on 10 grapes instead of a mini box of raisins and you’ll save yourself 100 calories.
Try the sundae diet. Simply substitute fruit for your ice cream. You’ll save at least 140 calories by using delectable berries instead of regular ice cream and more if you normally eat premium ice cream.
Walk a Dog. You’ll burn about 6.5 calories per minute of walking your dog. That’s 100 calories for a 15-minute walk.
Add a salad before lunch. New research shows that a large salad before a meal saves 125 calories for that meal. Add a salad to every lunch and lose 12 pounds in a year!
Enjoy a broth-based soup before your meals and get the same filling benefits of a salad before a main course.
Don’t shop on an empty stomach. Think of today’s supermarkets and specialty markets as goodie factories with samples galore. Eat before shopping so you can avoid the temptation of tasting the samples. It will also help you from bringing home indulgent items.
Don’t drown your salad in dressing. Swap your regular bottled dressing for fat-free and save over 100 calories per two-tablespoon serving.
Nosh lightly. Much on 2 ounces of baked potato or tortilla chips instead of their traditional full-fat counterparts. Each 2-ounce nosh will save you 100 calories.
Skip the dip or lighten it up. Instead of having guacamole with your favorite chips try salsa. You’ll save over 100 calories per 1/4 cup.
Order a virgin (mixed drink, that is). A virgin cocktail will save you about 100 calories since the distilled spirits pack in 100 calories per 1 1/2-ounce shot of distilled spirits. Plus, alcohol is considered a triple-threat when it comes to weight loss.
Substitute two cans of low-carb or light beers for regular and you’ll save 100 calories.
Skip the cheese on your sandwich or next burger. An ounce of cheese packs in 100 calories.
Have a whole wheat English muffin or 2 slices of whole wheat toast instead of a bagel for breakfast. You’ll save over 150 calories.
Simplify cocktails. Having wine, champagne, beer or spirits with non-calorie beverages can save over 100 calories per drink. Fancy, mixed drinks like Margaritas, Brandy Alexander or Sea Breezes can pack in 300 calories or more per drink.
Eat three a day. Of nonfat or low-fat diary foods, that is. Research shows that individuals who eat more dairy foods are leaner than their dairy-eschewing counterparts. Scientists believe that components in dairy products help speed fat metabolism while helping the body build muscle mass.
Choose the best licks. Skip super-premium ice cream and have a frozen fruit juice bar to save 100 calories.
Get off the subway or bus one or two stops earlier, suggests personal trainer Eddie Carrington of Bally Total Fitness. The 15-20-block walk will equal about 100 calories and you’ll get a chance to enjoy the scenery and do some window shopping while you burn calories.
Move more during the day. Instead of emailing, walk to co-workers for their input and try to get up every 20-30 minutes and move.
Replenish your glass of regular soda with diet soda, water or seltzer and you’ll save 100 calories for eight ounces.
Nuts are nutritious, but high in calories. Eat about 15 fewer mixed nuts than normal to shave off 100 calories.
Substitute nonfat plain Greek yogurt for sour cream in recipes or on top of your baked potato or nachos.
Go for oats. For a hearty breakfast, eat a cup of plain oats instead of flavored oats to save 100 calories. An added bonus: Researchers found that those who eat high-fiber oats for breakfast consume fewer calories during the day.
Nix post-dinner noshes. Physiologically, the body doesn’t need additional energy after your evening meal to go to bed.
Order half a deli sandwich instead of a whole one. Most deli sandwiches pack in over 500 calories, which is too much for lunch. Eat half the sandwich and a piece of fruit instead of the other half and save yourself 200 calories.
Enjoy a lettuce pita pocket sandwich. Have a sandwich wrapped in large red leaf lettuce instead of pita to save over 150 calories.
Swap one serving of vegetables (1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked) for just one serving of carbs (such as 1/2 cup of cooked pasta or rice or the handful of pretzels)) twice daily, you’ll save over 100 calories per day.
Change your coffee break. Ask for skim versus whole milk for your grande (16oz) or skip the whipped cream on your Starbucks drinks or downsize from a venti to a grande or grande to a tall. Some coffee drinks can pack in more calories than two glazed doughnuts.
At fast food restaurants, order the smallest hamburger without cheese instead of the larger, specialty burgers. A McDonalds hamburger instead of a QuarterPounder will shave 150 calories off your meal.
Downsize the fries. Order one size smaller than you normally do to attack your own fat.
Love chicken nuggets, fingers, tenders, and pieces? Whatever you call them, if you eat two fewer pieces than normal, that equals 100 calories. Watch the sauces, too. Sometimes the sauce can have just as many calories as the nuggets.
Eat a half-cup less of cooked rice, pasta, couscous or other grain.
Deskside Dining. Keep goodies like chocolates or hard candy in a drawer or several feet away from your desk. University of Illinois researchers found that if you keep candy in reach at work, you’ll eat, on average, six more pieces than if the candy is further away . Think out of sight, out of mouth.
Don’t dine distracted. When you eat, that’s all you should do. No cell phones, TV or other distractions. Research shows that people who dine while multitasking may eat double the calories.