If you’re trying to watch what you eat and cut calories to lose weight, you know it can be a challenge, especially if others at home or at the office aren’t on the same eating plan.
And that can be a problem, because you can toss back 1,000 calories in just a few minutes if you’re sucking down soft drinks and milkshakes, indulging in candy bars and desserts, or even just going back for seconds and thirds.
Do that just a couple times a week, and you’re undoing you’re your hard work and healthy habits in a hurry one mouthful at a time.
However, eating healthy to control your weight doesn’t have to be that hard. If you make the right food choices and eat consistently from day to day, you can be successful.
If your goal is to lose weight, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends cutting about 500 calories a day from your diet. That alone will put you on track to lose about one pound of fat a week, and if you add in regular exercise, you’ll burn even more calories and lose the extra weight faster. Follow these calorie control secrets to burn fat and maintain a healthy weight:
Track What You Eat For a Week – Keep a Food Diary
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers found that people who kept a detailed food diary lose twice as much weight as people who didn’t. Researchers followed 1,700 people for six months. And they found that those who kept the most detailed record of their eating habits lost the most weight.
Keep your own food diary for at least a week. Write down everything you eat for meals and snacks, and be totally honest. Then review your eating habits and looks for patterns that could be sabotaging your efforts to achieve your goal weight. Once you’re got a clear picture of your current eating habits, find out how many calories you should consume in a day to maintain your weight or lose weight with this calorie calculator. And make a plan to eat the right amount of calories to achieve your goal.
Researchers believe that writing down what you eat can help you remember to make healthier choices when you’re trying to decide between things like crunching an apple or devouring a frosting-covered donut.
Eat (or Drink) More Fiber Daily
How much fiber do you eat in a day? If you’re like most people, you probably only eat about 15 grams of fiber (that’s only half of the daily recommended amount), according to the Institute of Medicine.
But you need more than that.
Men should aim to eat about 38 grams of fiber per day, and women should get about 25 grams of fiber from dietary sources. Fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains take longer for your body to digest and help you feel fuller longer. And a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating adequate fiber from healthy food sources aids in weight loss and weight management.
Drink More Water… Up to 64 Ounces Per Day
U.S. Olympic Marathon Team member Meb Keflezighi drinks two glasses of water before every meal. It’s a practice he adopted to help control his weight and avoid overeating to become one of the fastest American marathon runners in history.
He clocked his fastest marathon time at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, Texas, in 2012, with a time of 2:09:26, just a six minutes shy of the world record.
While you may not have your sights set on running a marathon, drinking more water can help you control your calories in a big way. Just like Keflezighi, drinking more water can help you feel fuller longer.
You should aim to drink 40 to 64 ounces of water a day, and that includes water from food sources like fruits and vegetables. In a recent study published in the journal Obesity, researchers found that drinking water helped overweight people achieve significant weight loss during the 12 month study.
If you fill up on two glasses of water before meal time like Keflezighi, you’ll be far less likely to overindulge. But that’s not the only benefit. Water also contains zero calories, fat, cholesterol, sugar, and other substances that can lead to weight gain.
Start Sitting Less and Moving More – Wherever You Can
How much time do you spend sitting around? If you’re like most people, you’re on your butt for nine or more hours a day. Think about it. You sit in your car on the way to work. Put in your eight hours at a desk job, and then sit in your car on the way home. After a quick bite to eat, you probably head for your assigned seat on the couch to watch some TV before going to bed.
If you’re trying to burn excess calories to lose weight, you’ve got to be more active than that.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, and 60 minutes a day if you’re trying to lose weight. If you can’t fit in a 30-minute workout during the day, aim to exercise in shorter blocks of time and look for ways to be more active. Take a walk on your lunch break. Always use the stairs instead of the elevator. Park in no-man’s land when you go shopping. Turn your trip to the grocery store into a race to see how fast you can fill your cart with the items on your list. Use an exercise calorie calculator to find out how many calories you burn while engaged in different activities.
Develop Healthy Habits – One at a Time
Make the effort to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and develop healthy habits, and you’ll be on track to keep your weight in check.