8 Surprising Ways You Can Cut Empty Calories Today and Lose Weight
Do you want to lose weight? Cut your calorie intake and step up your exercise! We’ve heard it time and time again that by creating a negative calorie deficit, we’ll be able to lose weight efficiently. They say to lose one pound each week, you’ll have to cut 3,500 calories. This is great in theory, but it’s not what it seems, without realizing it, you’re consuming hundreds of empty calories each week.
You may be scratching your head, wondering whether your idea to lose weight by cutting calories has been false hope all along. The notion of minus 3,500 calories is based on the thermodynamics of food, which is essentially calculated using a Bunsen burner in a lab. So far so good, it seems legit, but here’s the thing – our bodies aren’t Bunsen burners – they work differently!
Take a McDonald’s Big Mac that’s 500-odd calories and then a meal of grilled chicken, quinoa and salad that have the same amount of calories – your body is going to react differently despite the calories being the same. This is where so many people that want to lose weight go wrong – it’s not just about eating the right number of calories, it’s also about cutting those empty calories that aren’t benefiting you in any way. The good news is there are plenty of ways to cut empty calories.
Switch to Juice
Just because it says ‘orange’ it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. A standard 200ml glass of orange juice may only have a mere 93 calories, but its sugar levels are through the roof at 16.4 grams. An orange has even fewer calories – 62 to be exact, 11 grams of sugar, and it even has some fiber, something the juice doesn’t have. So if you’re feeling like something a little fruity, go for the real deal to aid weight loss and cut the risk of diabetes. If you’ve been a juice drinker and make the switch to fruit, you could potentially be cutting hundreds of calories a week, which will help you lose weight.
It might sound a little silly, but the way you chew your food can help you cut empty calories and lose weight. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that people that eat harder-to-chew food have slimmer waistlines…think steak versus burger, fresh produce versus smoothies.
You probably know that when you dine out you consume more calories. Forget the wine and all the add-ons; according to the American Medical Association, the average meal in a chain restaurant has an average of 1,128 calories, which is well over half a woman’s recommended daily calorie intake! Compare that to a decent home-cooked meal that averages 600 calories, and you’ll soon notice the difference. Home-cooked meals have way more nutritional value (and no, those grapes in your wine do not count as one of your 5-a-day).
Get Your Beauty Sleep
A lot has to be said about getting your 8 hours of sleep at night – it’s not a myth! It’s simple – if you don’t get enough quality sleep, you’re likely to pack on the pounds. Shortchanging yourself sleep, results in your stress hormones, such as cortisol rising and forcing your body to defend itself and go into fat-storage mode. If that’s not enough, you’re likely to consume around 500 calories more than you would in any other day. Help control those calories and cortisol levels and do yourself a favor, get at least 7 hours of good sleep every night. Need tips on how to get a better night's sleep? Check out 7 Healthy Habits to Start This Year.
Work Out Pre-Breakfast
The thought of getting up earlier and working out before breakfast may seem like one of the worst ideas ever, but your body may thank you for it. Exercise before breakfast will help you lose weight. It will kick start your metabolism, and help you essentially burn fat all day long! If you don’t believe it, see what Japanese researchers have to say on the matter – they’ve discovered you can burn 260-280 calories more in a day if you do this!
Drink (Water) Before You Eat
Drinking more water is a great habit to get into if you’re looking to lose weight – the health benefits of drinking water are countless.
Pour a large glass of water before a meal and you could find that you’d cut 90 or more. Research shows that it makes you feel full and if you manage to do this three times a day, it could be that you cut a total of 300 calories from your daily eating. Tip: if you’re not a fan of drinking water, squeeze a little lemon in the glass or throw in a few sprigs of fresh mint and slices of cucumber for a refreshing twist.
Before you roll your eyes, read on, disregard the new-age buzzword; ‘mindful eating’ works. The truth of the matter is that we’re incredibly busy people (it’s the nature of the world today) - we lead hectic lives, and so when we do find a moment to eat, we’re doing it over our phones, computers or in front of the TV, and probably 80% of the time it’s food that you shouldn’t really be consuming if you want to lose weight effectively and start living a healthy lifestyle (put the chips or block of cheese down now!).
Stop and ask yourself questions such as: Why I am I eating? Am I eating because I’m bored? Is this the best food choice to fuel my body? As silly as it sounds, eating mindfully could help you slay hundreds of calories in a day! Making time to eat properly also helps. Get into a routine to prepare healthy food and take a break to enjoy it.
If you are on Instagram you would’ve heard all about meal prepping by now. Your newsfeed is probably filled with some beautifully curated meal prep photos that have you salivating and wondering how you can mimic the look.
Yes, meal prepping requires being organized, but it will help you eat mindfully. Plan ahead, figure out what you’re going to eat and prep healthy meals for yourself throughout the week. This way you won’t be counting calories or trying to avoid tempting food.
Once you get into the swing of meal prepping for weight loss and cutting empty calories, you’ll soon discover that you’re not only eating healthier food, you’ll also have even more time on your hands to do the things you love such as going for a run, taking the dog out or just relaxing.