50 Ways to Cut Calories Without It Being Absolutely Terrible

Why are these ideas not terrible? Because they don’t involve you completely changing your diet or completely removing every food you love from your life. It’s all about finding moderation and creating awareness of what you put in your body.

The fancy stuff that most people focus on only matters once you master the basics ūüôā

No more chitchat – right to the list:

  1. Drink (none) as little of your calories as possible.
  2. Leave one/a few bite (s) of food on your plate at the end of every meal.
  3. Always have a vegetable at a meal.
  4. Load your plate once per meal – no going back for seconds
  5. Choose mini servings of desserts at restaurants
  6. Don’t eat anything that is free at restaurants (bread, chips, etc…) <— TOUGH!
  7. Always get the steamed veggies as a side dish at the restaurant – and still get whatever you want for the main dish.
  8. Try to avoid cream sauces, stick to lighter red sauces on pastas.
  9. Never eat anything out of a bag or container – make yourself put it out on a plate first.
  10. Have a big glass of water before you eat.
  11. Eat your salad or vegetables before your main course.
  12. Sub a 30-50 gram protein shake for one of your snacks or meals
  13. Buy the low calorie version of the foods you eat (check the labels, its not always the low fat version!)
  14. Choose grilled versions over fried or breaded versions of protein
  15. Mustard over mayo on sandwiches
  16. Plan your meal before you eat it – log it or write it down prior to actually eating
  17. Eat fruit for your main carb at breakfast
  18. Order salad dressings on the side, and only add what you need to the salad
  19. No calories in the coffee – either drink it black or use a zero cal option
  20. Do you eat appetizers at home? Then stop eating them at restaurants
  21. Stop eating when you are satisfied
  22. Don’t order anything with the word “double” or “triple” in it
  23. Always choose thin crust
  24. Eat with your non-dominant hand
  25. Learn how to cook
  26. Learn about calories, and what foods are sneakily high in them
  27. Eat protein at every meal
  28. Use diet mixers with you booze
  29. Always get water or diet soda at restaurants
  30. Just say no to supersizing or jumbo options
  31. Try not getting cheese on sandwiches (do you REALLY taste it?)
  32. Eat fresh fruit instead of dried fruit
  33. Choose leaner cuts of meat
  34. Pick one part of your meal and eat half of what you normally do
  35. Start tracking your food
  36. Write out a list of trigger foods that you can’t seem to control yourself around (yes, just becoming aware of it will help in the long haul)
  37. Place high calorie foods higher up in your fridge, and closer to the floor in the pantry
  38. Stop giving food morals – it’s just food
  39. Eat 30 grams of fiber per day
  40. Use a teaspoon of oil/fat instead of a tablespoon
  41. Put butter and jelly on your toast? Skip the butter
  42. Make your own salad dressing or use zero calorie brands (Walden Farms)
  43. Don’t get the combo meal – just get the sandwich and water
  44. Get a fruit side at fast food restaurants – most have them
  45. Swap plain Greek yogurt for sour cream
  46. Use a food scale
  47. Use a smaller plate then normal
  48. Ask for a take home container with your meal – and bag up anything more than your normal portions.
  49. Don’t eat snacks at movies.
  50. Cut yourself some slack. Maybe you don’t need to cut more calories…maybe you need to be more patient. Maybe you are going through a stressful time and holding onto water weight – and in that case, cutting calories will only hurt you by adding MORE stress. Are you confused yet? Here is the deal: lists like this pop up everywhere, and they can be helpful, but many people will just blindly follow them or pick an random a few things to try. Instead, be aware of your body. WHY are you where you are right now? What do you really need to focus on? Maybe one of these tips will make the biggest impact on you, so focus on that and ignore the other 49. Consistency and enjoying the process is what it all is about.

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The Way We See The Problem Is The Problem

Last night I was reading a book that I have been meaning to read for some time now, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

I got halfway down page 48 and read this line, “The way we see the problem, is the problem”…

I had to re-read it several times to let it sink in. Once it did, it was perfect. The author goes on to write, “people are intrigued when they see good things happening in lives of individuals…that are base on solid principles. They admire such personal strength and maturity…and their immediate request is very revealing of their basic paradigm…”

What is the usual immediate request?

“How do I fix this?” “What are some tricks/tips?” “Tell me what to do…”

Now the author goes on use examples such as kids misbehaving, marriages falling apart, and managers failing at work…but I’ve got to take the nutrition approach.

The way we see the problem, is the problem…

What will me writing out a specific meal plan for you change in your life?

What will me telling you to eat this and not that change in your life?

What will me telling you what I eat change in your life?

What will me telling you the “secrets” to fat loss change in your life?

Sure, answering simple questions might get you a little closer to your goal, but most of the time these type of questions lead to short term solutions, initial progress, followed by back tracking into usual habits.

There are people out there who will gladly give you these answers, for only $49.95, and they will probably help you – in the short term. They may “fix” some of your problems…only to expose deeper issues and struggles when it comes to your mindset and relationship with food.

The more and more you look for a quick fix and an easy solution, the more and more that very approach will contribute to your underlying chronic problem.

So what the heck do you do?

Good question. Everyone is different. Your needs, your intolerances, your habits, your cravings, your guilty pleasures, your body type, your hormone status, your food you enjoy, your food that you hate, your stress and emotional eating tendencies…

This is why cookie cutters rarely work (long term). Remember what I have said, if you lost weight doing something for 12 weeks, and gained it all back, did it really ‘work’?

Because I want to provide SOME actionable content here, I guess I will give you my 3 general “best” practices when it comes to changing your mindset and relationship with food – and playing the long game.

1 – Take away any morality and power you have given to food. It is not bad, it is not good – it is food. It is nourishment. It can under nourish, and it can over nourish. You are a human being, the most advanced creature on this planet, and that is a 2×2 square brownie – who has more power?

2 – Learn about your food. What food contributes to your most calories? What food surprises you when it comes to calories? What food is less calories than you thought? What food is high protein?

If you want to change your body, take some time to learn about what you are putting in it.

3 – Focus on and Enjoy the process. Stop fixating on your goal weight in 6 months. Stop talking about how much you weighed in college. Focus on the now. What are you currently doing to improve your current situation?

Looking to change your relationship with food? I am opening up 3 limited spots in my online coaching program in the New Year. Fill out this quick survey to find out more!

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8 Ways To Prevent Getting Sick

 

Now, these are not guaranteed to keep you from ever getting sick, but they should hopefully increase your chances of making it through winter with minimal damage.

The irony is that I thought of this post this weekend, and as I write this, I feel like I have something coming on in the form of a little winter cold…oh well, must be karma.

1) Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate

You can never get enough water, but especially in winter many people actually drink less because of the temperatures not being hot. However, you actually tend to lose MORE body water in the the cold winters  Рso make sure you are drinking more water than you think you need.

2) Eat Your Fatty Fish

We should all know, Salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are awesome for anti-inflammatory properties and may help keep your immune system strong. Eating salmon twice per week is great and all, but for most of us that isn’t a realistic option – so consider getting a Omega-3 supplement –>¬†http://amzn.to/2kq9VyY

3) Get Your Vitamin D

This might be the most underrated and under appreciated vitamin out there. In Wisconsin, we don’t see the sun nearly enough to produce enough vitamin D, and most of us don’t get nearly enough through the diet. What is enough? I recommend everyone who experiences cold, dark winters take 5000 IU D3 per day.

Order this now if you don’t take it –>¬†http://amzn.to/2kraKYx

4) Zinc It Up

One of the more common micronutrient deficiencies in athletes, vegetarians/vegans, and those who sweat a ton, Zinc is crucial for proper immune function.

Zinc has two standard dosages. The low dosage is 5-10mg, while the high dosage is 25-45mg. The low dose works well as a daily preventative, while the high dosage should be taken by anyone at risk for a zinc deficiency.

For a great overall supplement, I recommend ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium and Vit B6)

-> http://amzn.to/2l2E6jY

5) Garlic is the Herb For You

A study in the journal Advances in Therapy found that people who took garlic supplements for 12 weeks between November and February got fewer colds than those who took a placebo. And of those who did get sick, those who took the garlic supplement felt better faster.

Don’t feel like eating a clove a day? Try this:¬†http://amzn.to/2BeoAI4

6) Be Smart About Training

Listen to your body. If you’re feeling sick, especially in your chest, lungs or stomach, maybe you need to take a day off, hit a warm shower, and chill out for a day.

Exercising while being sick will only delay your return to optimal health, might annoy your fellow gym members who don’t want to get sick, and honestly you won’t get much out of the workout because your body is too busy fighting off the illness, it won’t be delegating many resources to your muscle repair systems.

7) Eat the Rainbow

Load up on veggies and fruits – and eat many different colors. I don’t need to preach why this is important, just know that the different colors mean many different kinds of anti-oxidants and awesome phytonutrients that will help your body.

8) Why No Mention of Vitamin C??

Vitamin C is usually the go to for the common cold – however, more and more studies have shown that taking Vitamin C does not decrease your chances of getting sick. However, once you do get sick, taking some Vitamin C may help.

So instead of waiting to get sick and pounding mega doses of Vitamin C, pay attention to the first 7 tips – and hopefully you will prevent yourself form even getting to that point!

 

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To Hell With Average

 

Sometimes a title just needs to grab your attention.

After discussing avoiding the Holiday Season weight gain with some clients, I got to thinking. Instead of coming up with “tips and tricks”, why not just change the status quo? A paradigm shift of sorts.

***Average American gains 5-10 pounds during the Holiday season by the way…BUT that is because the AVERAGE American is overweight, and according to the most recent studies, healthy weight individuals actually only gain 1.3 pounds during the holiday season***

Why be average? Why be like everyone else? Really. Lets look at average:

2/3 of Adults are Overweight or Obese in America

The norm is to be overweight or obese. Now yes, I know these numbers are based on BMI data, and strong muscled up men and women might be technically overweight according to BMI….but just take a look around. Do you see more tight buns and chiseled arms or saggy butts and big guts?¬†

So what do we do about this? How do you and I solve this epidemic???

Let’s dive deeper into the “Average person”…

According to a Nielsen report, United States adults are watching five hours and four minutes of television per day on average.

5 hours of TV time!!! Yet…

The average American only gets 4000-5000 steps per day.

The usual recommendation is 10,000 steps per day…

Only 59% of Americans get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

While it’s more than average getting enough sleep, 41% of people are not. Why is sleep important?

  • Cognitive function – your brain recovers
  • Immune function – your body recovers
  • Hormone production – your muscles and sex drive recover
  • Cardiovascular function – your blood pressure lowers
  • Fat loss – you burn the most fat while you sleep

“Hey average American, cut back on 2 hours of TV, use one of those to go for a walk or exercise and one of those to sleep, and we might get this obesity rate down pretty fast.”

Here is your “average” food group consumption:

https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/current-eating-patterns-in-the-united-states/

Source: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/current-eating-patterns-in-the-united-states/

How about beverage choices?

Americans on average drink 58 gallons of water per year.¬†That’s 7,242 ounces of water annually — 20 ounces daily, which is 2.5 cups. And ZERO calories…

I recommend consuming at LEAST half your bodyweight in ounces. i.e.  If you weigh 200 pounds, then drink 100 ounces.

Americans on average drink 44 gallons of soda per year. 5632 ounces…or 67,584 calories per year…from soda

Alcohol consumption is tougher, but 30% of American adults don’t drink, and another 30% only consume one drink per week on average, but the top 10% of alcohol consumers drink 74 drink per week. Yes 74…

Median consumption is 3 drinks per week for those who drink. It’s hard to guess calories because of the types of drinks can vary.

So what do we do with all of this???

If you fall into these “norms” then pick one and get to work. I like starting with step tracking. Find out how many steps you get in a day, and try to add 500 each day, week by week, until you are up to 10k per day.

What if you are don’t fall into these norms, but still struggle to lose weight? Look again. Do you truly meet all the dietary recommendations? Do you consume enough water? Do you get enough sleep?

Are you CONSISTENT with most of the healthy habits? Or do you jump on and jump off the routine often?

I always say, CONSISTENCY is the secret sauce. It’s not sexy, it’s not trendy, but holy moly does it work.

Your success in the long term will always be determined by the persistent execution of the most basic things. So don’t be average. Looking back at those stats, it’s really not THAT hard to be better.

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You Can’t Run Away The Fat

 

Sure, go from zero running to some running to lots of running and you will probably lose some weight. But then what?

I’ve seen it, in people I know, in people I read about, in people I see out in public…the weight loss stalls.

Now, I used to be that meat head that would say “cardio is dumb, you don’t need to do cardio, just lift and diet and you will be good”.

While I partially still agree with this – I also don’t think cardio is dumb. It is very important to make sure your heart is strong and functions well or, well, you die. If you ENJOY running – or more traditional cardio, and it doesn’t harm you – then more power to ya, run run run!

However, using cardio as a sole means of fat loss with complete ignorance of diet and some cross training is a recipe for disaster.

The three common traps that cardio lovers seem to fall into are:

  1. Weight loss stopped? Time to run more.
  2. I run a lot/train for marathons – I can eat whatever I want.
  3. I want to be better at running – so I will run more!

When weight loss stops on a pure cardio routine, many peoples first instinct is “I need more cardio”. Here why that might not be the best idea.

www.active.com

When you live by the cardio – you die by the cardio. Meaning that the more cardio you add and add and add to your week, as soon as something happens in your life that doesn’t allow you to run 10 hours per week, your progress will backfire and your weight will rocket back.

Without paying any attention to creating a slight caloric restriction through food instead of just trying to run more, you set yourself up for trouble when trouble strikes in your life.

Your body also becomes very efficient at running at a slow and steady pace. Meaning you CONSERVE calories so you can last longer on your run, but at a slightly slower pace. When fatloss is the goal, efficiency sucks.

Crank up the intensity, hit some sprints (on a bike especially) and turn your body into a furnace in a shorter amount of time.

This is where problem 2 comes in – the “I run a lot therefore I can eat whatever I want”.

There is a generic statistic that says you burn about 100 calories per mile traveled while running so lets just use that for an example.

Say you run 10 miles one day – so “burn” 1000 calories. Then you go to Olive Garden to celebrate with friends and get the biggest past dish you can find because you “earned” it.

Well that dish is 2500 calories, plus the 4 breadsticks you ate – so there you go, you now cancelled out your run plus jumped into a surplus.

The main point being – its very easy to supplant the caloric burn of a cardio workout if you blindly eat whatever.

You must still pay attention to diet, and eat enough for performance – but also if you goal is fat loss, you must be in a slight deficit.

And the last trap – more running = better at running, its not always the case.

Yes, you need to practice any skill to get better.

But for runners, don’t forget strength!

You need to build up the muscles through strength training so they can endure long runs, and the pounding on the pavement.

Strength training not only builds muscle (which boosts your resting metabolic rate) but it also helps build BONE.

How many cardio lovers do you know who have gotten stress fractures? I know a few.

Heavier loading of the bones and especially the axial skeleton greatly improves bone density. This means squats, lunges, step ups, deadlifts, all those good lower body exercises should be done 2-3 days per week. 

So if your goal is to lose some fat here’s what I would recommend:

  • Don’t rely solely on running- if you enjoy it, cool, but you don’t NEED to run. Biking, swimming, hiking, circuit training, are all great ways to get cardiovascular improvements as well.
  • Don’t ignore diet. Your goal should be to lose fat at a pace of 1-2 pounds per week with as little change to your normal routine as possible. So don’t just add in 10 hours of cardio per week because that wont last. Start with bodyweight x 10 for your calorie goal.
  • Weight train – not only to help prevent running injuries, but also to improve your metabolism, your muscle tone, and to improve your mood and energy.

 

 

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Dehydration, Not Just A Summer Problem

For those of you that live in Wisconsin, you probably have realized that it is pretty cold out. We made it this far, but winter is now here! One thing we tend to forget about in the winter is our water intake. Just because it’s not hot out, we can still lose water just as fast as we do in the heat.

When the air is so dry in the winter, our sweat can instantly evaporate into the air without us ever noticing that we broke a sweat. When you breathe outside and can see your breath, that is also water escaping your body.  Also, if you are participating in outdoor sports, you may be even more susceptible to increased water losses.

Winter can also increase risk for dehydration through a survival mechanism that constricts blood vessels in cold weather, to conserve heat and maintain body temperature. When blood vessels constrict, this increases blood pressure.  To lower the pressure, your kidneys make more urine, meaning less blood to fill veins and arteries, and thus more frequent trips to the bathroom and greater risk of dehydration.

How does dehydration affect weight loss?

When we are properly hydrated, our bodies can better metabolize nutrients we eat –¬† this includes all fat, protein and carbohydrates.¬†Proper hydration also assures that proper metabolism of stored fat can occur throughout the day – as our bodies are made up of nearly 2/3’s water.

In the winter, we often reach for more hot beverages, some of which can derail our fat loss efforts. While all beverages DO technically count towards our water intake, some can be much more harmful than others. One common myth is that caffeinated beverages will dehydrate you. While caffeine in its pure form is a mild diuretic, drinking even several cups of coffee or tea will not lead to dehydration. The obvious warm drinks to avoid if you are trying stay healthy are the sugar loaded dessert like drinks from coffee shops.

 

See: Grande Mocha Frappe Carmel Lattechino…Some of these drinks are on the same level of eating 4 king size candy bars…all that sugar and processed fats before your day even starts!

Keep your beverages simple this year, water should be your first, second and third choice!

Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces! (200 lb. person should aim for 100 oz or about 12 cups). How should you track this? I recommend a trick that I need to give credit to Jon Goodman, the author and mastermind behind the Personal Trainer Development Center, Ignite the Fire and the upcoming book Viralnomics.

He suggests you get a water bottle that is a certain measurement, say 32 oz. See how many time 32 goes into your goal (roughly 3 times for the above example of 100 oz.). Place 3 rubber bands around the water bottle at the beginning of the day, and when you finish one bottle, remove a band, refill the bottle, and keep drinking.

Your goal is to have all the bands off by the end of the day! Brilliant!

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