Give up 100 a day
Committing to a long-term weight loss program may be just too much for some people, but everyone should be able to cut back 100 calories a day.
"Losing weight can be as easy as shaving 100 calories off the number you eat every day," explained Casey Campbell, a registered dietitian and the Family and Consumer Sciences Educator for the Oklahoma County OSU Cooperative Extension Service. "That's about the equivalent of 10 potato chips, one soda or half a candy bar."
Most people, Campbell said, believe that weight gain is the result of overeating, but in reality most of us gain weight gradually. Eating just 100 more calories a day than the body needs can result in a weight gain of 10 pounds every year.
"But if you decide to cut your daily intake by 100 calories a day, you can lose 10 pounds in a year without really trying," Campbell countered.
According to recent studies, the average American gains around 2 pounds every year, mostly because they are increasing their daily intake of calories.
"The simple truth," Campbell admits, "is that a pound of body weight equals 3,500 calories. If you eat more calories than your body can burn every day, you will store these calories and eventually they will turn into fat."
People can do two things to keep from storing extra calories as fat, Campbell said. They can either eat fewer calories or do more exercise to burn the extra calories before the body stores them.
Campbell suggests that people wanting to cut back 100 calories a day use the following examples a guideline:
--Look at what you drink. A 12-ounce soda isn't only high in sugar and low in nutrients, it's also packing around 150 calories. You can cut calories out by drinking just a third of a soda on ice. Not only do you cut back, but you still get your favorite drink too.
--Leave off the mayo. One tablespoon of mayonnaise has 49 calories, most of them from fat.
--Split a bagel with someone. A bagel has about 200 calories (not counting the toppings), so by eating half, you're cutting out those extra calories.
--Think "nonfat." Foods that are high in fat are also usually high in calories. So choose low-fat or nonfat yogurt, milk, cottage cheese and other dairy products.
--Redesign your salad. You can have your salad and cut 100 calories too just by eliminating some of the high-calorie additions like croutons and bacon bits. Also give some thought to the dressing you choose. Look for those that are low in fat and calories.