January is always my busiest month of the year. I always get a whole new crop of patients who have resolved to lose weight in the new year. Feeling guilty about too many glasses of eggnog, excessive holiday parties, and one too many baked goods, everyone stresses about getting off those extra pounds. However once February rolls around, what happens? Dieting becomes too hard, too restrictive, and unrealistic and you are back where you started. Here's my best advice: resolve to make a healthy lifestyle a priority...and here's how to do just that...
Why have you done a good thing?
Diets don't work. Plain and simple. The cookie diet, Atkins, cleanses, whatever you are into, diets are not the solution. Sure you may lose the 10 lbs you were looking for, but do you keep it off? Or are you back resolving to lose weight again watching the ball drop? Making small, permanent healthy lifestyle changes and goals do work. Nothing fancy does the trick just fine with all of my patients. The reason? Saving yourself just 100 calories per day is proven to create a 10 lbs weight loss in 1 year. When you cut down on 200 calories per day, you can lose 20 lbs in a year, and so on and so on. So this year, rather than getting yourself on a fancy diet plan, try making small attainable goals that are easy and try doing it every day for a whole month. Once that change becomes easy, try to add another one. Need some ideas?
Here are 100 ways to save you at least 100 calories a day and therefore 10 lbs this year:
1)Have an open faced sandwich at lunch instead of 2 slices of bread.
2)Switch to skim or 1% milk instead of 2% or whole
3)Use hundred calorie packs for snacks instead of eating out the bag (try 100 calorie nut packs by Blue Diamond and Emerald!)
4)Use a measuring cup for your cereal instead of pouring directly into the bowl
5)Replace your morning muffin or bagel with an English muffin,Thomas's Bagel Thin or Vita-muffin top
6)Use a measuring spoon in your cooking with oil instead of pouring directly into the pan
7)Add half a plate full of vegetables at dinner instead of a quarter
8)Eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice in the morning
9)Substitute cottage cheese for full fat ricotta cheese
10)Switch to 2% milk in your coffee instead of whole milk, cream or half and half
11) Have a side of black beans instead of refried beans
12)Have 1 sugar in your coffee instead of 2
13)Have only 1 slice of cheese per day. Choose proportioned cheeses like pre-sliced cheeses or string cheese
14)Have 1-2 slices of thin crust pizza instead of thick or Sicilian style
15)Choose only 1 starch (bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc) at dinner and keep starches to ½-1 cup serving
16)Switch to using mustard instead of mayo on your sandwich
17)Mix your mashed potatoes with half pureed cauliflower
18)Use ground turkey or chicken whenever you use ground beef sometimes
19)Have 2 meatballs on your spaghetti instead of 4
20)Use measuring cups when portioning out your foods (snack foods, rice, pasta, etc)
21)Swap out your nightly ice cream for sorbet or low calorie pop like a Fudgesicle or Skinny Cow pop
22)Share desserts in restaurants and have just a couple of bites
23)Try baked chips or pretzels instead of regular chips
24)Skip the cheese on your sandwich and add sliced vegetables instead.
25)Mix it up and have fish tacos instead of beef
26)Use smaller juice glasses at home
27)Drink wine out of a champagne flute instead of a wine goblet
28)Have a second serving of vegetables and only 1 serving of everything else at dinner
29)Buy leaner cuts of beef like flank steak instead of skirt steak
30)Bake with applesauce, not butter or oil. ½ cup butter = ½ cup applesauce
31)Substitute plain Greek yogurt whenever you use sour cream
32)Grab a piece of fresh fruit instead of dried
33)Have 4 Hershey kisses or snack sized candy bars instead of a whole candy bar when you have a chocolate craving
34)Eat dessert out of a shot glass, not a bowl
35)Water down your juice to 50% water, 50% juice
36)Switch to lite cheese instead of full fat cheeses
37)If you have candy in your office, move it to the other side of the room and put it in a dark container (not glass or in an open bowl).
38)Substitute fruit for your potatoes at breakfast
39)Have a snack on the way home from work. This will help you to eat less at dinner.
40)Order wine instead of a fruity mixed drink at the bar
41)Steam or grill your veggies instead of sauté on the stove top
42)Make pasta dishes with tomato sauces instead of cream or oil
43)Have a piece of fruit with breakfast instead of raisins in your cereals
44)Reduce your meat at dinner to the size of the palm of your hand.
45)Dip your fish in lemon juice not butter sauce
46)Scoop out your Sunday morning bagel or split it with someone
47)Leave bowls of fruit around the house instead of nuts or candy
48)Switch to seltzer or sparkling water instead of your soda
49)Bring your own 100 calorie pack of popcorn to the movie theater instead of eating the theater’s popcorn
50)Order veggie pizza instead of meat
51)Pick tuna packed in water not oil
52)Use 95% ground beef in cooking instead of 85%
53)Have only 1 tbsp of peanut butter at a time
54)Order half or appetizer portions of pasta
55)Order a regular cup of coffee or skim lattes and cappuccinos instead of mixed coffee drinks
56)Limit yourself to 1 cookie per day instead of multiple.
57)Have an omelet with only 1 egg yolk, not 3
58)Make sandwiches on lighter bread like Arnold’s sandwich thins or Thomas’s bagel thins
59)Skip the croutons in your salad
60)Ask for a second portion of vegetables with an entrée instead of a starch
61)Try making eggplant parmesan with roasted eggplant, not fried
62)Have 1 less handful of nuts at a time
63)Have a cup of chicken noodle or vegetable soup instead of cream of tomato or clam chowder
64)Have a 100 calorie pack of nuts at work instead of having the sweets in the office kitchen. Leave them in your desk for that afternoon hunger.
65)Flavor your coffee with cinnamon and nutmeg instead of syrups or sugars
66)Limit yourself to 1 glass of wine or beer per day
67)Switch to lite beer instead of regular
68)Dip sliced veggies in dips instead of chips
69)Have a sandwich on sliced bread, not a roll
70)Order unsweetened iced tea instead of sweetened
71)Have a decaf skim cappuccino as your dessert when out to eat
72)Ask the waitress to take away bread basket from the table when you go out to eat
73)Switch to slow churned ice cream instead of the real stuff
74)Skip the super-sized, deluxe, or value added options when ordering foods
75)Switch out chips with your sandwich for carrots or an apple.
76)Make your own tuna fish with lite mayo and chopped veggies like carrots, celery and fruit like craisins and apples
77)Switch to lite mayo
78)Get a side salad with your burger instead of fries
79)Snack on frozen grapes or bananas instead of popsicles or ice cream
80)Use lite cream cheese instead of regular
81)Order a side salad instead of another appetizer when you go out to eat
82)Switch to ordering turkey, grilled chicken, roastbeef sandwiches instead of pastrami, salami or other higher fat meats in your sandwiches
83)Choose a glass of alcohol or a sweet treat daily. Not both!
84)Make your meals last at least 20 minutes. Eat slowly; give your brain time to realize it is full!
85)Use a 9” plate instead of a 12” plate
86)Use non-fat evaporated milk for creaminess instead of cream or half and half in cooking
87)Grill your chicken instead of breading and pan-frying.
88)Switch from regular butter to whipped butter
89)Use lettuce to make wraps instead of pita or tortillas
90)Drink water when you exercise, not Gatorade
91)Top pancakes or French toast with applesauce or yogurt instead of syrup
92)Portion out your nightly snack and leave the bag in the kitchen. After it’s done, keep your hands busy with a puzzle or other hobby to distract you
93)Share entrees when out to meals and bulk up your meal with salads and vegetables
94)Use your spoon to measure out salad dressing and 1 spoonful
95)Use smaller serving spoons at dinner time
96)Switch out bottled flavored waters for flavored seltzer or homemade flavored waters. Try using sliced cucumber or slices of fruit or herbs like mint to flavor your water.
97)Swap out your granola for a lower calorie cereal (under 150 calories per cup)
98) Bake your meats in the oven instead of sautéing in the frying pan
99) Cook eggs in oil spray not butter
100) Switch to turkey sausage or turkey bacon from regular
Try just 1 of these ideas and you will wind up saving yourself 100 calories per day or 10 lbs per year. Take on more and the pounds will add up. Skip the fad diet or really strict elimination diet. Small changes make a big difference.
Happy New Year!
--Amy Santo, MS RD CDN