6 Simple Steps To Reducing Your Calorie Intake
We’ve heard the term ‘calories in vs calories out’ enough times to recite it perfectly in our sleep, and chances are you know it’s the key to weight loss. Eat less calories than you consume? Weight loss is yours. Eat more calories than you use up? The scales will move the other way.
Great. Simple, right? And it therefore makes sense to reduce how many calories you eat if you want to lose weight, correct? But how on earth do we actually achieve that? After all, ‘they’ do say it’s simple. Simple, yes. Easy? Maybe less so.
These 6 tips are a simple place to start and can make a serious dent into your weekly calorie intake.
1. Eliminate Liquid Calories
Drinking your calories is one the easiest way to rack them up across the day. 9 times out of 10 they provide no nutritional benefit and you probably forget they even count! They definitely don’t fill you up, either. 0 calorie soft drinks, black coffee, and water (who saw that one coming) are great places to start. Forget the scaremongering around diet drinks being the liquid equivalent of Donald Trump. I will always remember getting the bottom go a client’s food diary; buried in there was 10 cups of tea a day…. each with 2 sugars in. 2 teaspoons of sugar = 10g sugar x 10 cups a day = 100g sugar = 400kcals! Safe to say it was one of the first things she changed, and one of the easiest too.
2. Don’t Snack Between Meals
If you find yourself snacking between meals my guess would be that your meals aren’t satisfying your needs and/or you’re in the habit of ‘picking’. Eat more protein, fibre and high-volume foods at mealtimes and you’ll start to correct the cravings (high volume foods is a term used for foods that give you a lot of without taking on loads of calories; fruit is a good example). Herbal teas are also a great calorie free option that will help keep you fuller between meals.
3. Avoid High Calorie Condiments
Sauces, dressings, condiments etc. are up there with high calorie drinks. I’d be amazed if you actually count or log them but they’re surprisingly calorific – avoid ‘creamy’ ones at all costs and seek out zero calorie alternatives from online protein stores (eg myprotein.com). They offer sauces both sweet and savoury that have little or even 0 calories in, and as most people don’t account for calorie from condiments it’s a great way to save some calories across the week without huge sacrifice.
4. Low Calorie Alternatives
See points 1&3, but there’s also foods on the market now like Halo Top ice cream that take a huge amount of calories out and are actually delic…. okay they’re not bad, they could be a lot worse. Swapping a tub of Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough for a tub of Halo Top Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough will save you a grand total of 791ckals! Admittedly it’s a sacrifice, but with that many calories on offer it’s one that’s well worth making. Imagine the difference you could make over the course of a week by committing to more calorie swaps.
5. Cook More At Home
It’s 10000x (not scientifically proven!) harder to monitor your calories when you’re enjoying a meal out. Options these days are much wider for low calorie choices and most eateries display calorie info on menus (might be law in the UK now, not 100% sure on that) but it’s still easy to overeat and smash down 3 courses with bread beforehand and alcohol throughout. It’s unfortunately very easy to ruin a successful week of controlling your calories in one meal out. Keep it as a rare treat, cook at home using fresh ingredients, and enjoy the extra dollar in your bank too (money saving expert watch out).
6. Eat More Lean Protein
Lean protein sources help fill you up without a huge calorie intake (satiety is the posh term). Protein is also what helps to build and repair your muscles so it’s even more essential to each enough of this precious macronutrient if you’re exercising regularly; even more so if you lift weights. White meat and lean red meats are always great whilst eggs, whey protein powder, meat, fish, nuts are all go-to protein choices. Try to include a protein source with every meal. Be careful if you opt for nuts; they’re VERY easy to overeat! At dinner, try to eat your protein first or with every mouthful.