5 Common Sense (But Often Ignored) Ways to Reduce Your Calories

Before you seek out the latest fad diet, supplement, or 21-Day-Cleanse program (for the 5th time this year), consider that the answers that might be right in front of you. The solution to your problem may not be “try something new” – it might be “pay attention to your current self”.

How can this be possible? Why are the fad diets out there? What about the supplement programs that have all the amazing before and afters? (have you ever seen the after afters? – good luck because not many exist)

Fad diets sell. Supplements sell. Trendy concepts sell. What doesn’t sell?

Manageable, consistent, common-sense accountability and self-empowerment. BORING.

Well if you are already bored, feel free to close out, and try that fad diet again. The one that failed you last year…but this year will be different.

Yes, and if you watch your favorite movie for the 5th time, the ending MIGHT be different this time too. But it won’t.

Hear me out, check yourself with the next 5 tips, and pick one to focus on for the next 4 weeks. Crush it, own it, and let’s go!

1) Reducing portion sizes of the things you already eat.

Before you even think about changing up your whole diet from one end of the spectrum to another (sure, you could work here eventually) why not just look at the foods that you already eat, and eat less of them?

This may sound insulting to some based on how easy this might sound, but it’s truly just a slight caloric reduction at its finest, and if they are foods that you enjoy and eat normally you are actually more likely to stick to it.

Love Cheerios at breakfast, but your jeans are feeling tighter and tighter in the waist? Take an honest look at how much you are eating, and shrink it down a bit.


Cutting out 140 calories doesn’t seem like much, but if you do this at 3 meals this comes out to 420 calories – enough to definitely shift you into a deficit for fat loss.

2) Reducing the “Hidden” Calories via altered cooking/ingredients 

What are the hidden calories? Usually, they come in the form of added fats. Not that fat is bad – it’s very essential – but most Americans eat plenty of it, and plenty of the not so heart-healthy kind either.

Deep-Fried Potatoes – otherwise known as French Fries…or Freedom Fries if anyone remembers 2003 – soak up a TON of oil when deep fried. Soybean or corn oil usually – high in inflammatory Omega-6 fats.

100 grams of French Fries = 327 calories (16g of fat)

100 grams of white potato = 77 calories (0g of fat)

But French Fries are so much more enjoyable to many than a plain white potato. This is where my favorite kitchen gadget comes in. The Air Fryer is essentially a high powered mini convection oven that quickly cooks food and crisps it up ever so nice.

This is the one we use, so it’s the only one I have experience with – but it works great!

Black and Decker – 2L – Air Fryer

Just the other night we made air-fried ranch parmesan potatoes…yeah, they were good.

Cut up the potatoes however you want, give a quick spray of cooking spray. Sprinkle the ranch dressing mix (powder) over the potatoes. Air fry until done. Toss back in bowl and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Easy and still more than 60% fewer calories than deep-fried.

There are so many other ways to reduce calories without barely altering a meal or food.

Use lower-fat options for anything dairy, use half the butter, use half the salad dressing, omit the nuts, the list could go on and on…

This is why I am such a proponent of tracking food or at least learning about how many calories certain things have. Knowledge is power people, and you might be surprised at where a lot of your calories are sneaking in.

3) Don’t Reinvent The Wheel

There is this magical website that you can find here. 

With the power of this website, you can literally search for ANYTHING you want and it will find it for you. Let’s say you want a low-calorie meal. You look in your fridge and you have chicken, lemon, and rice.

When you go to this magical website, you type in “chicken + lemon + rice + low calorie” and believe it or not…it will give you all the answers you seek.

For those of us who are more old school, there are tombs of knowledge – known as cookbooks – than can provide recipe ideas for months. Some of my personal favorites are:

Yes, this involves cooking at home. Over and over again, people and studies find, that when you are in more control of your food than others, you will eat less, learn more, and get better results.

Now if you are stubborn and refuse to learn how to cook or figure out how to prioritize your health over your favorite TV show…

4) Plan Your Meals Out…and STICK TO THEM

Restaurants – even fast food places – are really trying to help health-conscious people out. There are so many healthy choices that it is indeed possible to eat healthier when eating out.

You just have to make that choice – and you can, because you are a free-thinking adult. (you really have no excuse)

Most places will have their calories and macros listed somewhere online if they are a chain, or they will at least have the calories displayed on the menu.

Use what you learned above to reduce your intake. Do you need fries? Or do you really just want the burger? Choose what you will get more enjoyment out of, but then make a lower calorie (or no-calorie choice) as your side.

Do you need bacon AND cheese on your burger? Do you NEED full-fat mayo? Do you NEED sour cream, cheese AND guac?

You can omit any of these things and shave off 200-300 calories easy, without changing the volume of your food.

5) Be Aware of The 4th Macro

Carbs, Fats, Protein…and alcohol – the 4th macro.

Coming in at 7 calories per gram, one ounce of hard liquor has about 70 calories.

One light beer has 64-100 calories.

One real beer has 140-240 calories.

One glass of wine has 120-150 calories.

One craft cocktail can have 200+ calories.

One super fruity, loaded gut bomb can have 500+ calories.

Do you need to give up drinking alcohol altogether? No. But again – the info is out there, and many times (especially in Wisconsin) the solution to our fat loss problems is staring us right in the face – from the bottom of a 12-ounce glass.

Truth is – alcohol provides zero benefits for our physical health if we are not at a healthy weight or body fat percentage otherwise. Then the “heart-healthy” benefits are actually still pretty negligible.

What about the stress relief or mental health benefits of a glass or two? Yeah, I get it.

However, this is where I really encourage people to reflect on WHY they are stressed, and how they can better address that stress without booze. I am sure you have run into situations where you are stressed and you CAN’T drink. What did you do instead? Find a solution to your stress that doesn’t involve calories – because food and drink probably won’t fix it!

Before you go seeking out the latest and greatest fad or super-secret method to finally break through your fat loss plateau, take a good hard look at everything above, and be honest with yourself on the kind of effort you have put in with anything above.

It’s pretty simple – not easy – but simple – when you break it down and get to work.

Would you like more guidance on taking back your life, learning to love food again, and getting life long results along the way? IF so —> CHECK OUT ONLINE COACHING***

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Stay healthy my friends,


Published by Mike Gorski

Registered Dietitian and Fitness Coach OWNER OF MG FIT LIFE LLC

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