According to the National Institutes of Health, healthy weight loss requires a reduction in caloric intake of 500-1000 calories per day to lose about 1-2 pounds per week. This number may seem daunting at first. However, there are several simplistic ways that you can eliminate 500 calories from your diet each day and remain satisfied.
Chew Food For Longer:
A Chinese Study in 2011 found that subjects who would chew their food 40 times vs. the average 15 chews consumed 12% fewer calories. Longer durations of chewing resulted in lower levels of ghrelin produced in the body. Ghrelin is the hormone that is released in the body in response to fasting and decreased after a meal. Consuming food at a slower pace will therefore result in a decreased level of hunger. With reduced hunger, energy intake per meal will decrease and you are much less likely to consume all of your food.
Eat Smarter At Breakfast:
It is easy to become oblivious to how many calories you consume at breakfast. Bagels or muffins both contain a large amount of calories with little nutrition. A medium sized bagel can contain between 250-400 calories. Add cream cheese and you are well over 500 calories just for breakfast. Instead, try a high fiber cereal and a bowl of fruit. Fiber from cereal will make you feel satisfied for longer. Some fruits, like raspberries, contain a high amount of fiber with little calories.
It may come as a shock to you if you count how many calories you consume each day solely from beverages. An average can of soda may contain up to 160 calories and juices typically contain over 100 calories per serving. If you do not include beverages between meals, consuming these drinks with meals alone can add up to almost 500 calories. Drinking water, with a faultless zero calories, can cut out those harmful calories without having to reduce food intake. Continual water drinking can also help suppress feelings of hunger, as thirst pains are sometimes mistaken for increased appetite.
Substitute Side Dishes:
When eating out at restaurants, it is especially tempting to choice fries or other unhealthy options as side dishes. French fries, depending on how they are cooked, can contain up to 500 calories alone. In addition, restaurants often provide larger than a serving of fries, making it easier to consume more calories. Opt for lighter options like fruit or a salad. A small green leaf salad with fresh vegetables and limited toppings can serve as a great alternative that helps cut calories.
By incorporating these small variations into your diet routines, it is simple to eliminate 500 calories from your diet. Although cutting calories may be challenging at first, especially eliminating the foods and beverages you love, your body will start to feel the benefits shortly after. In addition to a healthy diet rich in nutrition and consistent exercise, reducing your caloric intake by just 500 calories a day can result in consistent weight loss that will not leave you feeling deprived.
Maintaining A Healthy Weight On The Go [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: National Institutes of Health; 2010 Apr [cited 2015 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/AIM_Pocket_Guide_tagged.pdf
Losing Weight [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [updated 2011 Aug 17; cited 2015 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html?s_cid=govD_dnpao_082
Li J, Zhang N, Hu L, Li Z, Li R, Li C, Wang S. Improvement in chewing activity reduces energy intake in one meal and modulates plasma gut hormone concentrations in obese and lean young Chinese men. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;94(3):709-16.
National Nutrient Datatbase for Standard Reference [Internet]. United States Department of Agriculture [cited 2015 Jan 28]. Available from: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/
How To Easily Cut 500 Calories A Day [Internet]. How To Get Rid; 2014 Sep 7 [cited 2015 Jan 28]. Available from: http://www.howtogetrid.org/health/how-to-easily-cut-500-calories-a-day/
Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:
Nestle, M. (2007). Eating made simple. Scientific American, 297(3), 60-69.
Guth, E. (2014). Healthy weight loss. Jama, 312(9), 974-974.
Dwyer, J. T., Allison, D. B., & Coates, P. M. (2005). Dietary supplements in weight reduction. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 105(5), 80-86.