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Posts Tagged ‘calories’

Why does eating fewer calories to lose weight seem so difficult? An article in MedlinePlus gives ten easier ways to cut 500 calories each day. If we could do that, it could result in about fifty pounds of weight-loss in a year. As I read their suggestions, they made sense. While we may not always hit our mark, at least these ideas can give a head start without all the agony of strict dieting. Here is their modified list with my comments.

  1. Change your snacks. What do you choose as a snack? Too often we like the salty, sweet, fatty choices. But there are great healthy options out there. Consider fresh fruit, air-popped corn, or my favorite―nuts. While nuts do have more calories than some foods, in small quantities they provide many needed nutrients and a feeling of fullness.
  2. Cut one high-calorie treat. You choose. Is it the high-calorie breakfast doughnut, the tempting dessert at lunch, or fried foods? My choice was to switch from “sweet tea” to unsweetened tea. Saves a good 100 calories a day. I figured with the huge amount I drink daily, it calculated to about ten pounds a year. This leads to their next suggestion.
  3. Stop drinking your calories. It’s not easy to give up all those tasty choices. But those special coffees or sugar-laden colas can quickly add up to 400 to 500 calories a day―and leave us without adequate nutrients or the needed fiber for lasting fullness.
  4. Skip seconds. That sounds like a no-brainer, but we can all be guilty. It tastes so good, we want more. When we can’t resist, make sure we choose lower calorie foods. While we serve most meals family style, serving buffet without options for a return “all-you-can-eat” trip may help the entire family control calories.
  5. Make ingredient substitutions in favorite dishes. Using plain low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream can cut a few hundred calories. We can cut the amount of sugar in many dishes without any effect on the results.
  6. Ask for a doggie bag. My husband and I figure we get a two-for-one with many of the meals we eat out. Call for a to-go container as soon as the meal is served and put half the portions into it. Just remember to take home immediately and refrigerate.
  7. Say “no” to fried foods. That’s hard for southerners who like their fried chicken and catfish. We can save as much as 500 calories when we choose baked, broiled, or grilled. Change those French fries to a baked potato, salad, or vegetable.
  8. Build a thinner pizza. I love pizza, but it is one of those foods I have disciplined myself to skip. That’s not to say we can’t ever splurge, but keep it minimal. For those who prefer to change the topping instead of skipping altogether, omit the cheese and meat and load your pizza with lots of veggies.
  9. Eat from a plate. I can’t start a bag of popcorn―any size―without eating the entire thing. The secret? Put smaller portions on a plate or in a bowl. When it’s gone, it’s gone. The same with chips and other tempting snacks. Avoid grabbing sandwiches and bags of chips on the way to the TV. We tend to eat less when we place meals on a plate and eat in a designated area away from distractions.
  10. Avoid alcohol. While that isn’t a problem for many of us, it is for a great number of people. There is no nutritive value in alcohol. It’s all calories. Some drinks can have as many as 500 calories. For those who choose to drink, light beers or a small glass of wine will have fewer calories.

You may think of many other ways to lower the number of calories you eat. Often people have asked for me to write them a “diet.” I don’t eat the same as they do, and they probably would not follow my choices any better than they follow the many options all ready out there. It’s your diet. Make it your own. Think how you can painlessly make changes, such as my unsweetened tea. True, I did not like it at first, but now I can’t stand the sweet stuff. Give yourself time. Commit to changes that can work into your lifestyle and go for it. What do you have to lose but weight?

 

 

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I stood before the yogurt case contemplating my grocery needs. A young woman rushed up. “I need to lose ten pound next week,” she said to no one in particular.

“Good luck,” I replied as she hurriedly looked into the refrigerated case and then scurried away.

I could only speculate. Did she have a class reunion the following week-end and suddenly realize she had gained ten pounds since that last momentous gathering? She wasn’t morbidly obese. Nor did she look overweight. But here was a sudden crisis for her. How did she think she would get that weight off so quickly?

Many like her want to do just that. I would like to lose a few pounds myself. I recognize multiple reasons, however, why ten pounds in one week is impossible unless I want to drop dead. From an energy standpoint, most know that 3,500 calories equals one pound. Theoretically, if you eat 3,500 more calories than your body uses, you gain a pound. Likewise, if you burn 3,500 more calories than needed, you lose that same amount. Our bodies need about 1,000 calories just to meet body-function needs even when still or sleeping.

How is it some people actually do lose a great amount in a brief time?That’s difficult to  answer. The very obese are more likely to lose large amounts at first than those closer to their recommended weight. Often the loss is in fluids. Abrupt diet changes may alter metabolism and thereby increase weight loss. Nutrition experts agree that many weight-loss diets are unhealthy, but initially people may lose weight regardless of the type of diet. Once your body adjusts to that diet, weight may plateau, and it becomes difficult to keep losing weight.

Is losing ten pounds a week possible for you? Probably not. To reach and keep a healthy weight, it’s better to decrease calories while increasing exercise or activity and to continue with that changed lifestyle. Before you become discouraged, consider other factors. Losing weight is complicated, and new research seems to pop up every day. Here are a few items that tend to impact weight loss in addition to food and exercise.

  • Do you get enough sleep?
  • Do you drink adequate water?
  • Do you limit artificially sweetened beverages to less than one per day?
  • Do you have stress in your life?
  • Do you take any medications that may cause weight increase? (Ask your physician or pharmacist to see if similar drugs that don’t cause weight gain would be appropriate.)
  • Are you middle aged yet continue with the same eating pattern and exercise routine? (Metabolism slows with age and you need fewer calories and more exercise to keep the same weight.)
  • Have you had a recent health examination to rule out any conditions that may cause retention of fluids or weight gain?

This list is not conclusive. Many things affect weight, but attempting to lose ten pounds in a week isn’t a good idea. Good luck as you strive to reach and keep a healthy weight.

 

 

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