The pace of modern life means that we want things instantly including weight loss.
Any diet that screams instant results is always the most popular, even if it means sacrificing your metabolism and mental health as a result. And while some extreme regimes will give you relatively quick results, few are sustainable.
When it comes to sustainable weight loss, slow and steady is inevitably the key to success, however unattractive it may sound. This translates into a slight calorie reduction, most days over long periods of time. For example, a 300-500 calorie reduction each day over three to four weeks is likely to result in ½ -1kg of weight loss each week or 3-5kg each month which is not insignificant. So if you are keen to shed a few kilos before Christmas, here are some easy ways to slash 500 calories from your day in ways that you will barely notice.
1) Drop the sauces and spreads
If you consider that a single tablespoon of mayo contains 100 calories, tomato sauce 20 calories and a spread of butter or margarine 20-30 calories, being strict with your meal additions, spreads and sauces each day will save you at least 50 calories on a daily basis and much more if you eat out regularly. Just be sure to order sauces on the side and say no to butter and margarine. Save 50 calories.
2) Swap your bread
Large slices of Turkish or sourdough bread can have double the calories of small thin slices of dense grain bread or thin wraps. Always seeking out this lighter options will save you at least 100 calories per day. Save 100 calories.
3) Reduce the size of your coffee
With a latte or cappuccino offering between 60-100 calories, simply ordering a piccolo or even ¾ size drink will drop close to 50 calories per cup of coffee you have. Ditch the sugar and you are minus another 15-20. Save 50 calories.
4) Cut your meat portions
We often consume double the recommended portions of meat and chicken with our evening meal. For example, a 500g packet of meat or chicken should serve four people but in many cases it will feed two. Loading up your plate with vegetables and salad and halving the size of your meat or chicken serve will save you at least 150 calories per meat or chicken based meal. Save 150 calories.
5) Ditch the filler carbs
White rice, large serves of pasta, couscous - a few of the filler carbs we are often adding to meals out of habit. For active individuals who may need a higher carbohydrate diet these foods may add the energy rich foods needed to fuel the muscles of active people, but for the majority of sedentary individuals we do not need these heavy foods at night. Swap this part of your meal for extra vegetables each night and save at least 100 calories. Save 100 calories.
6) Eat one less snack
While we may need a light snack to get us through the long time period between lunch and dinner, if we plan an early lunch, few of us unless we are particularly active, or eat breakfast especially early will need a morning snack. In fact, for most of us a few berries and a cup of tea will tide us over until lunchtime. Save 100 calories.
7) Swap one piece of fruit or juice for an extra vegetable or veggie juice
Now there is nothing wrong with eating fruit, it is a nutrient rich source of natural sugars but like anything there can be too much of a good thing. If you consuming more than 2 pieces of fruit, or enjoy a juice each day, simply swapping to a vegetable or vegetable juice will save you another 100 calories. Save 100 calories.
8) Buy portion controlled treats
Chances are you like to enjoy a little treat after dinner - a few biscuits; ½ tub of ice-cream; a few rows of chocolate - all foods which can form part of a calories controlled diet when portions are controlled. So, if you enjoy something sweet while you are watching your favourite TV show, purchase only portion controlled treats that give 100 calories or less per serve. Chances are you will be eating at least ½ the extra calories you usually would. Save 100 calories.
9) Go for low alcohol wine or beer
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a few drinks but the calories consumed via multiple glasses of wine or schooners of beer can add up. A simple swap to a low alcohol variety of wine or beer at least a few times each week can save you 20-30 calories per glass. Save 50-100 calories.
10) Add a low calorie meal in each day
Salads, vegetable stir fries, shellfish and soups are exceptionally low in calories and when used to form the base of meals can ½ the number of calories per meal. For example, a prawn stir fry with vegetables contains significantly less calories than a beef variety; while a soup or plain salad for lunch has ½ the calories of a large sandwich or hot meal purchased at a food court. Basing one meal each day around these light options will likely save you 200-300 calories in a single meal. Save 200 calories.