Stop Collecting Calories and Start Burning Them

06/25/2015 04:36 pm ET | Updated Jun 25, 2016


When you eat fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. This sounds so simple, but in reality it can be difficult and confusing.

First, let me state, I do not suggest that you eat very little and then exercise to excess. That is an unhealthy lifestyle.

What I am suggesting is that you limit the foods that are calorie-rich and void of nutrients. For example:

  • High-sugar items
  • Alcohol
  • Processed and commercial fast food

"Your body craves what it is accustomed to having." If you wonder why you crave food that is calorie rich with little or no nutrients, it's because these are the items you currently eat. You'll realize once you replace it with food that nourishes you, your body will become accustomed to healthier items and crave more nutrient-dense food. Many of my clients state, "I never thought I would crave a fresh, tasty salad." It happens, and it can happen for you.

I would also advise that you break the hand to mouth habit known as mindless eating. This type of eating takes place when you:

  • Eat in front of the TV or at movies and sporting events
  • Eat for emotional reasons or when you are bored
  • Eat free samples at the grocery store
  • Eat from large bowls of chips, dips, candy, or any item placed near you at social events or at home
  • Eat when you feel lonely

The simplest way to combat mindless eating is to use utensils. Most mindless eating takes place with your fingers. When you take time to gather utensils and use them, you'll engage more of your senses, thus turning mindless eating into mindful eating. There is still the chance that you will overeat, but it will not be mindless, and will not be relentless.

If this speaks to you, you may believe this is difficult to change. It's not. It takes awareness of how often you participate in these destructive eating patterns. Ask yourself:

  • Do I eat too many sweets?
  • How much processed food do I buy?
  • How often do I drive through fast food establishments?
  • Am I aware of how often I eat mindlessly?
  • With whom do I engage in this behavior with?
  • Where am I when most of my mindless eating occurs?

Armed with these answers you can implement these new strategies and be triumphant. You can stop collecting calories and start burning them.

Start burning more calories:

  • Find an exercise that is a good fit for your life so it is sustainable.
  • Pick an activity or program that is age appropriate and will not cause injury.
  • Seek professional guidance if necessary.
  • Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Many of my clients claim that when they eliminate mindless eating and calorie-rich food, they now have the time and the desire to exercise.

Managing your weight for a lifetime takes many skills, and is not always as simple as it sounds. Replacing one destructive behavior with a constructive one is a notable start.