One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. So, to lose 1 pound of fat, you must create a 3,500-calorie deficit. The easiest way to do this is to decrease your caloric intake and increase your physical activity at the same time. If you want to lose a pound per week you simply eat 500 less calories than usual or increase your physical activity by 500 calories per day. (500 calories x 7 days = 3500 calories = 1 pound)
By incorporating one or two of the following tips into your everyday life, you can lose 1 pound every week -- and still eat most of your favorite foods.
Is ice cream your weakness?
Try sorbet or low-carb ice cream instead of the full-fat variety. The 'slow churned' style ice creams are really delicious and you won't really taste the difference. Based on a 1-cup serving, you'll save yourself 100 calories over traditional ice creams while still enjoying a refreshing treat.
Don't buy big cartons of ice cream -- low-carb, slow-churned or otherwise -- because if it's around, you're likely to hear it calling your name begging to be consumed. Be smart. Allow yourself a treat every couple of weeks, in moderation.
Addicted to soda?
If you feel that you must have a soda with your meal, only drink half of it. Or ask the server to add more ice than soda. Better still, let water be the drink of choice at mealtimes. Or, for that extra kick, try sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime. Cutting calories couldn't be simpler, or more refreshing! By simply substituting water for soda with lunch or dinner, you can eliminate 150 calories without batting an eye. Plus water is necessary for the breakdown of fats into fatty acids for energy. So, if you're not well hydrated, your brain will be starved of energy and your fat cells will be unavailable for use.
Find popcorn appealing?
Instead of high-fat, high-calorie snacks like chips and cookies, try popping your own popcorn at home. (You could buy pre-packaged popcorn as long as it's light, natural or no salt added.) Extra salt will make you retain water and look and feel bloated. You can avoid empty calories that are found in most snack foods and shave inches from your waistline by munching on popcorn since it is rich in fiber and selenium, essential elements for weight success.
Me and my family enjoy gourmet popcorn from Popsalot of Beverly Hills. Noah and Victoria have created several delicious varieties that satisfy the palate while keeping calorie conscious. Clandestine caramel is delish!
Drinking alcohol to chill out?
Wine, beer and mixed drinks are high-calorie saboteurs. The average martini or glass of wine is about 350 calories! In addition to decreasing your inhibitions, they decrease your chances of successful weight loss. So, limit your alcohol consumption and you'll avoid 200 to 300 needless, empty calories. So, limit alcohol to once per week, if at all.
And don't even try to come at me with the 'heart health' benefits of alcohol! You can get the same heart protection with thirty minutes of exercise -- which burns calories instead of adding them. Alcohol is an addictive substance so you run the risk of stimulating a bad habit that could be deadly. Finally, alcohol lowers inhibitions and may decrease your resistance to unhealthy snacking.
Do you LOVE pizza?
Buy healthy frozen pizza varieties instead of takeout or delivery pizza. Frozen pizzas, particularly the thin and crispy style, usually have fewer carbs than delivery pizzas and they're cheaper! Don't choose the sodium-laden, fatty meat pizzas. Instead opt for veggie or chicken toppings and you'll save at least 150 calories and 15 grams of fat per serving.
Need a little energy pick me up?
If you find that you need an energy boost, reach for a tall glass of water. As stated earlier, water is a critical element in all energy generating processes in the human body and brain. So if you're feeling sluggish, your brain may be crying out for water. Dehydration leads to depression and prevents fat from being broken down and excreted from the body. Drinking eight glasses of water every day should be the easiest and most consistent part of your weight success strategy. Drink more water -- now!
Sweet treats a weakness?
Instead of totally eliminating sweets from your meal plan, allow yourself to enjoy one of your favorite low-calorie treats once a week. This will keep you from overeating due to deprivation, and could help eliminate a pound a week! Just be smart about your portion sizes. The 100 calorie snack packs sound like a good idea, but if they're loaded with high fructose corn syrup or processed grains they may actually stimulate the brain to seek out more food because they really don't offer nutrients to satisfy brain hunger.
So I suggest making your own healthy trail mix with almonds, cashews or peanuts (unsalted) and mix in a few chocolate chips, dried cranberries or other fruits to give it a nice mix of sweetness. The protein from the nuts will provide a slower energy infusion that going with sweet cookies, cakes or candies.
Also, Kettle corn (like the London Kettle Corn from Popsalot!) offers a mix of sweet and just a hint of salt that makes you feel like you are indulging. Keep your portion size limited to 100-150 calories for a satisfying snack. Drink a tall glass of water with it and you'll feel satisfied longer.
Got the midday munchies?
Plan ahead for the midday munchies by carrying fresh fruit and nuts or cutting up veggies like cucumbers, carrots and celery to take to work or play. Enjoy them with a mini-cup of cottage cheese or low-fat cheese slices for a tasty treat that's healthier than chips and satisfying. The key is to make sure you're getting some protein, carbs and good monounsaturated fats in your snacks. This will help you avoid uncontrollable cravings later. Whole wheat crackers with peanut butter or pita bread with hummus ... sound yummy? They are, and they save you 100-200 calories over candy bars and cookies.
By substituting fish for chicken or beef two to three times per week, you'll avoid storing an excess 300 calories. Fish, available in many varieties, can be prepared quickly and provides you with omega-3 fatty acids, which are critical to proper nerve cell function and healthy skin. This will also help you lower your cholesterol.
For women of childbearing age: if you plan on getting pregnant, please consult your doctor about total weekly fish consumption. Some farm-raised fish such as salmon, tuna, swordfish, all shellfish and others contain high levels of mercury. This metal has been implicated in the development of neurological disorders in the growing fetus. Look for 'wild caught' varieties instead.
Like French fries?
Opt for baked French fries -- instead of fried -- and you'll save yourself about 150 calories. Bake them at home with low-fat cheddar cheese for a delicious treat that satisfies cravings.
Eating on the run? Slow down!
Take the time to eat your food more slowly, and focus on savoring each bite. By slowing down, you could save yourself more than 100 calories per meal. That's because about 20 minutes after you start eating, the brain receives a signal that tells you you're satisfied. It's not a matter of quantity at all. So, chew your food slowly, stop eating before you're full, and you'll easily shed unwanted pounds. Add an 8 ounce glass of water to your meals and you'll feel full faster, cutting back on useless calories.
Going with the grain?
For weight loss purposes, you may want to limit your grain consumption. Grains are not well tolerated by many Americans. Grains found in breads, cereals and some pasta can lead to bloating and inflammation that hinder your weight loss efforts. As long as you are eating healthy proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables, you'll get all of the nutrients you need to be healthy. So, unless you've been told to increase your fiber intake to help absorb unwanted fat in your diet to help lower cholesterol, you may want to forgo the grainy foods. You get healthy fiber from fresh fruits and veggies anyway.
The trick is to find little ways to enjoy the flavors that you love without sabotaging your overall weight success goal. Making some of the above substitutions, most days of the week, will add up to great weight success.
For more tips on using food as preventive medicine to protect body + brain + beauty, check out my Podcast online or subscribe on iTunes.