There’s no nice way to tell you this: cutting calories sucks. That, you probably already know. Also, you probably already know that there are only two ways to get rid of calories: don’t consume them or burn them off. Yep. Diet and exercise. Those two so common, yet painful, words. There are, however, a few simple ways to get rid of calories without resorting to an all-cabbage or -cranberry juice diet. The most important thing that you can do is to start small. Minor changes are often easier to stick with than major ones, which can help prevent a relapse. Be sure to keep in regular contact with your doctor if you’re changing your diet and lifestyle. Losing weight isn’t worth it if you’re going to be debuted in an open casket.
Getting Rid of Calories
Cut the cheese. No, seriously. A single ounce of cheddar cheese (yes, even that itty bitty little amount) can pack in ten or more grams of fat and well over a hundred calories. An easy way to get rid of calories is to go for the regular burger instead of a cheeseburger. Pass on the cheese on salads, burgers, eggs, sandwiches, subs, and any other foods where it’s non-essential. This may not seem like much until you realize that Americans eat cheese way too often, and we also eat far more than a single serving size in one sitting.
Cut the beverages. Twelve ounces of Budweiser packs in about 140 calories. Now, multiply that by three, then multiply that by the number of beer bongs done in a night. Yowza. Or how about those cans of pop? (You non-Midwesterners may know this as soda.) A can of Mountain Dew has over 100 calories. As a caffeine junkie (and once a poor college student), I realize that it’s difficult to give up either pop or beer. Start small. Unless you like diet or light, don’t switch. Just minimize the number of beverages you drink in a day. Having two instead four can cut hundreds of calories. See? Easy.
Watch portion sizes. Having that extra one- or two-hundred calorie slice of cheese on top of a 1,200-calorie burger is bad enough. Imagine what it does when you supersize it with a double patty and double slices of cheese. Instead of one or two hundred extra calories, it becomes two or four hundred extra calories. Instead of munching on iceberg lettuce and pretending you’re happy, simply cut back a smidgen on the portion sizes. Have half the amount of beer you’d normally have. Have a half cup of ice cream instead of two cups. You can still have the delicious stuff, but without as many calories.
Walk. No, no one really wants to exercise. And for those people who don’t even walk around, committing to an 18-month gym membership is unlikely. So just start walking. Walk to get the mail. Walk around the mall. Walk your dog. Walk to wherever it is you’re going. Find reasons to walk, no matter how small. Wearing comfortable shoes frequently can help remind and encourage you to keep on your toes. (No one actually expects to walk in four-inch platforms, no matter how cute.) Walking briskly for one hour burns 300 calories. That’s two beers.
Set small goals. One pound is roughly the equivalent of 3,500 calories. A combination of reducing the intake of calories and burning off the calories that you have consumed is the healthiest way to lose weight. If you lose those 3,500 calories a week, you can lose one pound. Reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories a day, combined with an hour of brisk walking for six days a week, and voila! Slow but steady weight-loss. So go for chicken instead of beef. Go for grilled instead of fried. Skip the fries. Only have one beer. It’s not awesome, but it isn’t impossible, either.
That’s right. I said it. But wait — read on. Getting rid of excess calories does not mean you have to starve yourself or give up all the foods you like. In fact, chucking out the good (read: super fatty) ice cream and stocking your freezer with fat-free, sugar-free “ice cream” isn’t going to satisfy you, and you’ll end up consuming those calories while wishing you had the good stuff. That’s a recipe for unhappiness and relapse. Simply take it slow, keep in touch with your doctor, and those additional calories will begin to disappear, and you can get rid of that spare tire, those love handles, extra chins, or whatever problem area led you to this article. Once you realize that you can handle some of those small changes, and see that weight coming off, you’ll likely be more prepared to take on some more personal challenges.
Controlling Calories Naturally
Water. Water, water, water. It can’t be said often enough. Divide your body weight in two, and drink that number of ounces of water a day. Water helps keep us feeling full and helps prevent overeating (it’s surprisingly common to confuse thirst and hunger). When you feel yourself getting a craving, have a glass of water with a little lemon juice. It will make you feel more full while preventing the intake of a high-calorie beverage.
Green tea. There hasn’t been one single, definitive study to say that green tea is totally awesome. That said, many nutritionists and doctors believe that green tea can help to boost metabolism, prevent weight gain, and reduce cholesterol. Plus, it has antioxidants that may prevent certain types of cancer. As with water, drinking green tea can also prevent the intake of other, higher-calorie beverages.
Comfortable shoes. No, these aren’t technically a natural product to get rid of calories. However, without comfortable walking shoes, walking just won’t happen. Having a pair of clean, comfortable (hopefully still cute) athletic shoes on your feet will prepare you for more spontaneous exercise. I can’t tell you how often I’ve said, “Let’s get a ride; my feet hurt.” Take the, “Meh, we can walk it,” route instead.
When people try to cut calories, they often reach out to that ol’ diet staple: the salad. Calories, though, love to lurk amongst those unsuspecting lettuce leaves. When choosing that salad, consider the estimated calorie and fat content of the following (remember that this is per serving size, which is ridiculously small):
- Cheese: 100‒200 calories; 9 grams fat
- Ranch dressing: 150‒299 calories; 15 grams fat
- Croutons: 50‒100 calories; 1 gram of fat
- Fried chicken: 200 calories; 16 grams of fat
- Bacon bits: 30 calories; 1 gram of fat
I don’t need to tell you that with these toppings, a salad isn’t the healthiest choice; calories hide in the most innocuous of places. Many “health foods” aren’t all that healthy.