With the Summer upon us, many of us are looking for ways to get rid of the extra holiday pounds and the best way to do this is to eat less and exercise more. Many popular diets try to make weight loss about cutting food groups, timed eating, or other magic tricks, but at the end of the day calories do matter. Of course age, metabolism, physical activity, and food quality can also play a role in weight loss, but a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day will always result in gradual weight loss. Experts recommend trying to maintain a 500 calorie deficit, to ensure the weight comes off slowly, so that you are more likely to keep it off. So, here are our best tips to get rid of those 500 calories and that one extra pound by the end of this week:
1. Use small plates and bowls. When researchers gave people bowls that automatically re-filled, they continued to eat long after they were full, as opposed to participants who received regular soup bowls that emptied as they ate. Most plates, cups and bowls have grown in size over the last 20 years and we are eating more because of it. Use a 7 or 9 inch dinner plate or even a salad plate for your meals to save calories and eat less overall.
2. Aim for 10,000 steps. Maybe it is overwhelming to think about hitting the gym for an hour every night or maybe you just don’t have time. But, trying to get in at least 10,000 steps a day will result in burning an additional 500 calories. Get a pedometer or a step tracker and start walking. Look for opportunities in your daily life where you can walk or stand instead of sitting. Take small breaks to walk during the day. Or walk for short-distance errands instead of driving.
3. “Volumize” your diet. Eating foods that contain a significant amount of water and fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, help you eat more volume (meaning more food) with fewer calories. Water has no calories and humans cannot digest fiber, so it passes through unabsorbed. A cup of lettuce contains only 25 calories and so much water and fiber, whereas 1/3 of a cup of rice contains 80! Aim to eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to help you feel full without the extra calories.
4. Turn off the TV. Meal times should be a time to relax and eat, not to watch TV. People who watch TV while eating tend to eat about 228 calories more per meal. Do that for 2 meals per day and you can eat an extra 500 calories easily. Turn off all distractions at meal times, sit down and enjoy your food. This allows you to notice when you are satisfied, instead of being distracted from your body’s natural cues.
5. Do some spring cleaning. Exercise doesn’t have to just take place at a gym. Moderate intensity house cleaning can burn up to 500 calories in two hours. Turn on some fun music and get to vacuuming, mopping the floor, or dusting. After a few hours you will have a clean house and you will have burned some extra calories! Double benefit!
With a few simple changes you can be on your way to losing those extra pounds. Lasting weight loss happens slowly, so be patient, cut those calories, and get on track to better health.
Article written by Julie Masci from New Life Nutrition. NLN is a team of dedicated nutritionists and dietitians from Brisbane, Australia
What are some of your favorite ways to burn calories? We’d love to hear from you, share your thoughts in the comment section below