Unless you want to make huge changes, you may not even need to go on a full diet. What if some simple lifestyle tweaks could bring the same results, without all of the disruption and hassles of changing everything that you do?
To lose weight you must consume fewer calories than you are expending. That could mean eating less or following a specific diet, but it could also mean making some simple substitutions that minimally impact your lifestyle. Some you might not even notice, but that will reduce your overall calorie intake.
Let’s take a look at some of the points of leverage you might have in your lifestyle, and how you can use them to make changes, without changing your entire lifestyle.
Do you like coffee? If you’re drinking anything other than black coffee, you have room to lower calories without noticing too much.
Have milk? You can switch to skim milk and save some calories.
Sugar? Switch from 2 spoons to 1, or substitute with stevia to avoid the calories all together.
If you drink a Frappuccino or other high-calorie coffee, the switch to a simpler coffee could save you hundreds of calories per day, without having to give up the caffeine or personal time in Starbucks.
Even just skipping the whipped cream on top will save 100+ calories.
Drinking is a large part of many peoples social lives. It helps to wind down and de-stress, while we know it’s not particularly healthy, it is still something that we enjoy.
What if you just switched from beer or cocktails to liquor? You could save a lot of calories, without having to give up the social life or being able to wind down in the bar.
A gin and slimline tonic, or a vodka and soda are going to have about 10% of the calories you will find in a large beer. Even if you don’t want to give beer up, a light beer is going to save a lot of calories compared to a normal beer.
You could even quit drinking all together, or limit yourself to just one and then have soft drinks. If you like to socialize in the bar, trying to stay home forever is simply not going to work. You need to instead look at strategies that allow you to still live the life you want to live, but also build the body you desire, without the two conflicting and causing tension.
Grilled, Not Fried
Cooking some meat up? Throw it on the grill rather than frying in the pan and you will save a couple of hundred calories per day, just by avoiding the oil that it’s cooked in.
You don’t have to give up all enjoyment and eat dry, boiled chicken breast when you can make progress with a smaller change which has a negligible impact on your enjoyment of the meal.
This goes for cooking anything if you save adding oils you are going to cut down on calories. Try grilling your veggies too.
Drink More Water
If you drink soda, juice or something else throughout the day, try drinking more water to reduce your calories. Don’t say you’re going to stop drinking the drinks that you like – simply drink more water.
You will be less thirsty and naturally start to drink less of the other things. This avoids that sense of deprivation and the negative feelings often associated with drinking ‘plain, boring water’.
Snack on Fruits
Rather than reaching for pastries or sweets for a snack, grab a piece of fruit instead. Fruit is still sweet and satisfying, but with only a fraction of the calories. Again, don’t say you’re never going to eat something sweet again – just keep some fruit around and generally reach for that instead. No matter if you go for the pastry now and then. If you’re swapped out even half of the time for fruit, it will make an impact.
If you’ve never tried intermittent fasting, try saving your first meal until the late morning. By compressing your eating window, you will typically eat less over the course of the day, because you will still feel full from the previous meal.
It can take a few days to adjust to not eating in the mornings, but once you’re used to it, it is a really easy way to eat less overall, whilst still being able to enjoy a good, filling meal while you are eating. Many people find this easier than trying to stop eating while they’re still a little hungry.
Small Steps Forwards
The aim is to save a couple of hundred calories per day, on average.
This allows you to ‘diet’ and lose some weight, without having to make wholesale changes to your lifestyle. Sure, if you have a lot of weight to lose you will have to get stricter and follow a specific diet, but if you just want to drop a couple of pounds you can often do it without significantly changing your lifestyle.
A little bit of awareness of where you can skip unnecessary calories can allow you to eat less, while still being able to eat out, snack, enjoy treats and generally have an enjoyable diet that fits with your lifestyle.
If you’re feeling good about what you’re doing, not feeling deprived, or like you are having to try too hard to maintain your diet, you are much more likely to stick with it for the long term and ultimately succeed in your weight loss efforts.