Gearing up to cut calories? Good news: there’s an easy way to cut calories – without following some hard-to-keep fad diet.
If you’ve tried to lose weight before, you probably already know that cutting a ton of calories all at once only leaves you feeling run down and unable to stick with the change.
The better, easy way to cut calories is to make incremental changes. Today I’m going to share 20 easy ways to cut calories… so easy you won’t even miss them.
Tip #1: Get More Sleep
Sleep well and sleep long and you will cut calories almost automatically.
Insufficient sleep leads to an increase in the production of the stress hormone cortisol, which regulates appetite. High levels of cortisol can lead to binging and hunger, and yes, more calories.
Perhaps the easiest way to cut calories ever is this one: get more sleep. According to a study at Columbia University published earlier this year, getting 8 or more hours of sleep can cut an average of 300 calories a day compared to getting only 6 hours of rest.
Tip #2: Switch to a Smaller Plate
Most of us tend to eat what’s on our plate, whether we’re full or not. Use a smaller plate, and suddenly that casserole will serve 10 instead of six. Eating out of smaller bowls and using smaller sized plates helps you eat fewer calories without even thinking about it.
Tip #3: Dance
If you thought my list of easy ways to cut calories was going to be all about boring diet tips… think again. Whether you eat less or burn more calories, the effect is the same. So here’s a fun tip for cutting calories: dance!
Whether you go out dancing, or dance at home, the trick is to get moving. If you enjoy dancing you probably don’t even consider it exercise. But it can be an excellent form of conditioning. The faster and longer you dance the more calories you’ll burn.
Tip #4: Drink Water
When looking for an easy way to cut calories, simple is good. Here’s simple: Drink water instead of soda, sweet teas, and sugary sports drinks. Drink a glass of water before diving into your meal. It’ll help curb your hunger so you’ll eat less and the water will help you digest your food better, too.
Tip #5: Park Farther Away
Ever sit for a minute waiting for that lady to finally pull out of the front parking spot at the store? Burn a few extra calories and get in a little more exercise by using that minute to pick a different spot farther from the door and walk. Plus you get a bonus for your extra effort: less stress worrying about how long you’re going to sit there waiting on that parking spot.
Tip #6: Take the Stairs
Here’s another stress busting way to cut calories: avoid waiting for elevators by taking the stairs. Instead, take the stairs every chance you get. Some people pay good money to climb stairs on a stationary machine at the gym. But you get the calorie cutting benefit for free every time you take the stairs.
Tip #7: Chew Slowly
Take your time eating and you will eat up to 50% less. When you eat slowly your body has time to register the fact that it’s satisfied. Chew slowly and pause between bites, then stop eating when you feel satisfied. This is one of the easiest ways to cut calories by avoiding automatic overeating.
Tip #8: Clean Your House
Clean your house. Wash the floors or dust the furniture. Weed the garden or trim the shrubbery. Whatever you do, do it vigorously and keep moving. The higher the intensity, the more calories you’ll burn. Two hours of vigorous cleaning can slash 400 calories and leave you with a nicer place to call home.
Tip #9: Start with Salad
A study conducted at Pennsylvania State University found eating a garden salad with a low-fat dressing instead of high-fat alternatives 20 minutes before the main course consumed 10% fewer calories during the day. So start lunch or dinner early with a salad.
Tip #10: Watch Coffee Calories
If you regularly indulge in one of the many fancy coffee drinks available at your local coffeehouse you can really pack on the calories fast. Some drinks contain as many calories as an entire lunch.
If you absolutely must have your coffee fix, an easy way to cut calories is to choose a lower-fat milk. For example, a 16-ounce Starbucks CaffÃ© Mocha tops out at 290 calories with whole milk. Slim down your drink with 2% or skim milk and you just trimmed 20 to 70 calories per visit.
Tip #11: Cut Out TV Dinners
No, I’m not talking about the frozen variety tv dinners (though cutting those isn’t a bad idea, either). I’m suggesting making your mealtimes television free. Not only do you consume more when distracted by your favorite program, you also tend to sit longer in front of the TV. Try having an old fashioned dinner with the family instead.
Tip #12: Try an Oil Substitute
Changing this one aspect of cooking can be an easy way to cut calories. One tablespoon of oil has 120 calories, so use a substitute when you can. Try using a cooking spray or low-salt chicken broth to keep vegetables or chicken from sticking to your pan during preparation.
Tip #13: Beware of Restaurant Portion Sizes
Downsizing your serving sizes at home is simple using calorie cutting tip #2, but eating out can be a little trickier. Since calories in average portions at many restaurants continues to jump higher, avoiding making your dining experience a calorie intake extravaganza may require preemptive action.
Here’s one easy way to cut calories when eating out: ask for a take-home box at the beginning of your meal. Before digging in, downsize your portion right into the take-home box for tomorrow’s lunch.
Tip #14: Count Condiment Calories
If you like to spice up your foods with condiments be careful. While little sauces and creams seem harmless, the calories can add up. A serving of regular mayonnaise has almost 100 calories. Little choices like using low-fat, whipped cream cheese on your bagel instead of full-fat, non-whipped cream cheese add up to big calorie savings.
Tip #15: Cut Down on Toppings, Dressings, and Dips
Beware of hidden calories found in salad dressings. Measure salad dressing, using less than two tablespoons to cut calories. Go with a low-fat dressing or switch to a vinaigrette and leave off the croutons. A good alternative to sour cream or cheesy options is hummus to top vegetables.
Tip #16: Drink Less Alcohol
If you’ve ever heard the term “beer belly” there’s a good reason for it. Alcoholic drinks are full of empty calories. Cutting back on your alcohol intake is a good choice for both cutting calories and maintaining optimal health.
Tip #17: Find a Partner
Cutting calories can be a lonely task. Find a friend or colleague who’s as motivated as you are to drop the pounds. Compare notes, weigh-in together, or even start a friendly competition to keep each other motivated and on track.
Tip #18: Reduce Stress
Stress tends to throw our metabolism off balance, and we overeat to compensate. Reduce the urge to eat more by eliminating stress and you’ll find yourself both lighter and happier.
Tip #19: Use Weights
Lifting weights will build muscle and raise your metabolism so you will burn more calories. Weight lifting results in your body burning calories long after you leave the gym. Incorporate weight lifting into your workout routine two to three times per week.
Tip #20: Keep an Exercise Journal
Writing down your fitness achievements allows you to track your progress, give yourself positive feedback, and maintain focus on your goals. When you share your exercise journal with friends it helps foster accountability on your calorie cutting journey.
Cut Calories Fast without the Fad Diet
You don’t need to go on a fad diet to cut calories fast. Consuming just 100 fewer calories each day can ward off the 1 to 2 pounds many adults gain each year. To lose weight, implement a few more of my suggestions to cut 500 calories a day.
You can slash the 500 calories in a number of ways. For example, eat 250 calories less and then burn 250 by walking for 30 minutes. That’s about a pound every week, or 50 pounds a year. And unlike fad diets where you gain it all back once you stop, these simple lifestyle changes will keep the weight off easily as cutting calories becomes automatic.
Written By: Updated: November 15,2011