Many people approach weight loss with a negative outlook. They do not want to give up their favorite foods in favor of bland chicken, broccoli, and rice for days on end. However, this is a dramatic misunderstanding. You do not have to say goodbye to your preferred meals; you just have to change them up a bit to make them healthier.
In fact, making simple changes can save upwards of 300 calories per day. That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up faster than you may think. For instance, you have to burn or cut around 3500 calories to lose one pound. After 12 days of cutting 300 calories, you will be at a deficit of 3600 calories. That equates to a 2.5lb weight loss per month with very little effort.
What to Swap
Knowing which ingredients to trade out for healthier alternatives is not difficult. Carbs, fats, and sugars are all major sources of extra calories. Below are several examples of how to save around 300 calories per day.
- Trade your sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit (560 calories) for a ham, egg white, and cheese English muffin (260 calories). That will save you 300 calories at the start of your day.
- Craving a caffeine boost? Flavored coffees are notorious for excess sugar and calories. Trade your 20-ounce frozen caramel coffee (560 calories) for an iced café latte of the same size (170 calories) to save 290 calories.
- For the chicken lovers, remember that grilled trumps fried in the calorie department every time. Swapping a fried chicken sandwich with fries (750 calories) for a grilled chicken sandwich and fruit (450 calories) saves you 300 calories.
- If red meat is more your fancy, try dropping the bun and reducing the fat percentage. For example, a six-ounce burger made with 80/20 ground beef will net you around 630 calories. That same size burger wrapped with lettuce and made with 90/10 ground beef will only run you 330 calories—a total savings of 300 calories.
- There are even ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking the calorie bank. Instead of ordering a 12-ounce chocolate shake (560 calories), order a 16-ounce smoothie made with fruit and Greek yogurt (250 calories). Not only do you get more ounces out of this sweet treat, but the Greek yogurt adds some protein as well.
Calorie Torching Exercises
The fastest way to lose weight is to combine a good diet with exercise. Below are several exercises that will burn around 250 calories. If you combine this with a 300 calorie deficit from food, that will net you a 550 calorie deficit for the day. In just one week, you will be down 3850 calories, well over the amount needed to lose one pound. In one month, you could lose a little over 4.5lbs. To burn 250 calories you can try:
- Jogging, hiking, or swimming for 30 minutes
- Playing tennis for 25 minutes
- Riding your bike for 70 minutes
Some people have busy schedules that do not always allow time to exercise. However, you can burn calories without performing traditional workouts. For example, 70 minutes of yard work (mowing the lawn, raking, etc.) will burn around 250 calories.
For individuals looking for a greater physical challenge, high-intensity training can burn even more calories to expedite weight loss. Programs like Functional Fitness can benefit individuals at all fitness levels. While Functional Fitness may seem intimidating, it does not require you to be in shape first. You can learn more about it here.
Understanding How Your Body Uses Food
It is easy to get caught up in counting calories, but they are not the only nutrition information you should pay attention to on food labels. Macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fats) are equally important. When you consume calories, your body receives them from these macronutrients. Each carbohydrate gram is equal to four calories; the same is true for protein. Fat grams are equal to 9 calories per gram.
Depending on your fitness goals, you will need your diet to consist of 45-65% carbohydrates, 20-35% protein, and 10-35% fat. Your body uses these nutrients for several purposes. Some of these include supplying your body with energy to perform basic functions (also known as basal metabolic rate), providing energy for workouts, and digesting the food you eat.
Your body converts any additional calories you eat beyond your immediate needs to glycogen. Your body then stores this for long-term energy. However, there is only so much glycogen your body needs. Skeletal muscle stores 100g, your liver stores 25g, and your blood stores 6g. Beyond that, your body begins to store glycogen as fat.
If you are struggling to lose weight, your diet and exercise routine could probably use an overhaul. The coaches at LoCoFit Leesburg can help you tighten up your diet and tone up your muscles. To learn more about what we do, schedule a No Sweat Introduction today. It is commitment-free and will only cost you 20 minutes of your time.