Fad diets, 2 minute workouts and weird supplements are all the rage when trying to lose weight, but the most effective way still allows you to have your cake and lose weight – counting calories! Budgeting your calorie intake, and reducing the number consumed, will help you lose weight fast and effectively, and will likely train your tummy to feel satisfied on less food than you are consuming right now. All it takes is a little self-education. Many people find that once they are writing down what they’re eating, they find that it’s easier to turn away from that second mini Snickers bar!
Cut Calories to Lose Pounds
3,500 calories equals one pound, therefore cutting 500 calories (whether from cutting foods or burning through exercise) will allow you to lose a healthy 1/2 pound per week. Any more than that and you risk binging because you are hungry, or putting the weight back on quickly.
Get a Food and Exercise Journal
First and foremost, figure out how much you are consuming each day. Start logging all of the foods that you eat in a one-week period. Yes, that means everything! From the bite of the peanut butter sandwich that you swipe from your kids to the sample of yogurt at your warehouse store. Write down each food and when you eat it – breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner – and assign its calorie count. Many smart phones have applications that do the caloric addition for you, or you can find one on the web.
Arm yourself with a set of measuring cups and spoons or a food scale, and become familiar with portion sizes or the nutritional information on the side of your food container. Try to be exact about your serving size for that week as well. You’d be surprised about how quickly those extra calories add up!
Burn, Baby, Burn
This is where you get to subtract those exercise calories from your food intake. If you know that you’re going to head out for pizza one night, or you did so the night before, add a little extra calorie burn in your workout, so you give yourself a little extra in the bank. Throw in a few hard intervals at the end of your treadmill run, or tack on an extra 15 minutes of cardio. Having a piece of cake at dinner? Add some hills to that run!
Cutting out calories? It’s not as horrible as it sounds. Now that you have recorded what you are eating, find easy places to cut. Don’t put butter on your toast. Use 1/2 of the cream cheese that you normally would on your bagel. Dilute 4oz of juice with 4oz of water to cut the calories in half. Try replacing things that you won’t miss. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on a salad instead of dressing, or eat 1/2 your usual serving of rice. Simply measuring out exact portions may cut a significant number of calories. Opt for foods that are filling, but surprisingly low in calories, like a packet of instant oatmeal or a banana with peanut butter.
With a little know how, you’ll be cutting out a bunch of calories in no time, and seeing results in a flash!