Reducing the amount of food you eat can be very difficult in the long term... Let's face it we all love to eat!!
But to lose weight (and maintain it) we do need to watch our calorie intake. These sneaky things can add up so easily without us knowing! So I am going to provide you with some simple tricks to help you cut calories for life.
1. Count your calories with an app
You don't have to be too pedantic about counting your calories to a tee, but I think that it is definitely important to have an idea of how much you are eating. After all, to lose weight you do have to eat less than you burn.
It is SO easy to pick and snack here and there and not realise how quickly these calories add up. Even I get stumped sometimes and all I do is research food for a living.
Take a look at these foods that are commonly eaten as "snacks" or "extras"... I'm sure you'll be surprised! It is useful to get your head around this - it may be the reason why you're not shifting your weight!
An extremely useful method to make sure you're sticking to your goal and not overeating is to count your calories using a phone app. There are so many great ones available these days.
This method has been scientifically proven to help people form long term changes in their eating behaviors. Once you do this for a while, you will gradually begin to learn how many calories are in the foods you regularly eat and it becomes a useful life skill to keep you on track!
My fitness pal is awesome. It is so simple to use, I use it occasionally through the week to keep me on track with my goals!
2. Cook your own food
There's a reason why the food you order at restaurants is so damn tasty. Even if you think it's healthy chances are, most of the time, it's not... sorry! Chefs add a huge amount of butter, salt and sugar to meals to make them as tasty as possible. This can really make a huge difference to your overall calorie intake. It can take a regular meal from 400 to 800 calories easily.
Take curry for example. A homemade butter chicken curry can have half the fat, no added sugar and half the calories compared to restaurant its prepared version. An average sitting at an Indian restaurant provides a whopping 1000 calories.
Cooking your meals at home can save you plenty of calories as you know exactly what is going into them!
I'm not saying never order takeaway or go out for dinner, because this is such an enjoyable thing to do! Just be conscious and try to limit how much you eat out if you do it a lot! Maybe limit to once or twice per week.
If you feel that you are pressed for time as we all are, make time for it by planning and thinking ahead. Perhaps do a big shop on Sundays and plan your meals for the week. Often it is the shopping and the actual thinking of what to cook that takes the longest!! So use your weekends to help you.
My absolute favourite Nutritionist to get inspo for healthy recipes from is Jessica Sepel, www.jessicasepel.com.
3. Bulk up your meals with vegetables
This is something that I do at nearly every meal as I love being able to eat a lot without it being "a lot".
Vegetables are low calorie-dense foods... Meaning you can eat a lot of them without the added calories. The high volume and the large amount of fibre that comes along with them means that you are kept feeling full for a long time too, especially if they are eaten with a protein source (very important) and some good fats.
Replacing high calorie foods such a white pasta and rice with vegetables at your meals means that your vege intake is boosted for the day and you've saved yourself a whole lot of (empty) calories.
4. Drink water before your meals
Sometimes when we are thirsty our bodies think that we are hungry! So first of all.. stay hydrated!
Secondly... Drinking a big glass of water before your meals can help you feel full, which, in turn means that you consume less calories at your meal.
For example, one study found that drinking just 2 glasses (500 ml) of water before a meal lowered calorie intake by around 13%!! This equates to about 130 calories in a 1300 calorie diet which is huge!
This is such a simple thing to do, I know it works well for me!
5. Eat protein at every meal
Eating more protein is definitely a useful tool for weight loss and maintenance.
There are a few reasons for this. One reason is that protein fills you up more than other nutrients, and feeling full helps to prevent you from overeating.
Another reason is that protein takes a lot of energy to digest. So, by simply just digesting protein, your metabolism is boosted.
Great sources are beef, lamb, chicken, pork, eggs, tofu and fish. Cheese, milk and yogurt are also moderately high in protein.
4. Use smaller plates
Did you know that today's dinner plates are approximately 44% larger than they were in the 1980's?!?
Many studies have found that the larger the plate, the more people eat as the serving sizes are bigger.
In fact, one study found that, at a buffet, people with larger dinner plates ate 45% more food than those who used the smaller plate size.
So as a simple trick, choose a smaller plate to keep your portion sizes on track and prevent unconscious overeating!
5. Order dressings on the side
High calorie dressings can deceivingly turn a healthy, light salad into a calorie dense meal. You may think you are being super healthy but unfortunately sometimes your salad will trick you! And this is sad. To prevent this from happening, always order your dressing on the side!
1 tablespoon of Caesar salad dressing has around 80 calories.
Typically, ready made Caesar salads or ones you order at restaurants can contain up to 5 tablespoons of dressing - which can add an extra 400 calories to your salad!!! See how quickly this can add up?!
Be safe and order on the side so that you can control the amount you add. Add just one tablespoon to make sure that your healthy salad choice remains healthy!
Oh, and one more thing while we are on the topic of Caesar salads here.. I would avoid the croutons!
I hope that you found these tips interesting and useful. Try to incorporate them into your lifestyle to make sure that you always stay on track with your weight loss and maintenance goals!
Please ask me if you have any questions!