Losing weight can be as simple as a mathematical equation (unless you have thyroid or hormone issues!!). One pound is equal to 3500 calories. If you want to lose 1 pound a week you need to slash 500 calories a day through eating less and exercising more and then at the end of 7 days you will have a 3500 calorie deficit. Sometimes, something as simple as eliminating soft drinks will slash several hundred calories a day all by itself! The best way to go about this is to start keeping a food journal so you can see how many calories you are taking in each day. Read your food labels and measure everything. You can start eating 200 calories less per day and exercising enough to burn 300 calories which equals a 500 calorie deficit. You don't want to slash your calories to less than 1200 a day or that could have a negative effect on your weight loss, kicking your body into what's called starvation mode. In this mode, your body will think it's not going to get enough calories, so everything you eat will get stored as fat, and when you exercise you could start burning muscle instead of fat. Calories burned during exercise can be a little harder to figure out since how hard you are exercising plays a part in how many calories you are burning. There are some websites online that can help you to figure that out.
Now, what are some good ways to eat less calories at mealtimes? Soup! The clear broth kind, not the creamy kind. Most restaurants will use cream to thicken their soups and that adds a ton of calories and fat! A cup of soup eaten before a meal will cause you to eat less of your dinner. Aim for soups that are filled with vegetables and lean protein. There have been studies done that show people who eat soup eat less calories per day overall. Another good way to eat less is to start with some raw veggies or a salad with a little vinegar and oil drizzled on it. You will fill up on veggies, which provide a huge source of fiber, and will eat less by time you get to your dinner. Also, make sure you are not eating from a huge plate. We are very psychological when it comes to what we are looking at in front of us. If we have a huge plate, we want to fill it up, as opposed to using a smaller plate. Same thing goes with the idea of having to "clean your plate". It's okay to not finish everything on your plate. If you feel guilty about that, train yourself to take less. Eating 5-6 small meals a day as opposed to 3 large meals is a great way to reduce calories, also. Eating several times a day is a great way to improve your metabolism, also. Our metabolism is like a fire: you have to feed it or it dies. When we eat, our metabolism speeds up for a couple of hours, so if we are eating 6 times a day our metabolism is speeding up more often than if we only ate 3 times a day. These meals must be smaller though than your normal three times a day eating. Aim for about 200-250 calories per smaller meal. Also, eat a combination of lean protein, complex carbohydrates (the kind that isn't white- no white sugar, pasta, rice, etc.) and healthy fats.
We have a choice as to what we put into our bodies each day. You can decide if the calories you put in are nutrient dense (the most nutrition for the least amount of calories) or filled with artificial junk and unhealthy sugars. You will feel more satisfied with less calories eating a healthier diet than eating junk food. Start eating healthier now- don't wait for the beginning of a new week, or the New Year- start now!!! Especially, with flu season upon us- your body will be able to fight off viruses better if it's filled with healthy nutrients than if you are filling it with junk!!!