Did you know that weight loss (and weight gain) is simple mathematics? For example, if you were to eat an extra 100 calories per day you would gain 10 lbs in one year. The good news is that the opposite holds true too – burn 100 calories more per day than what you take in and by the end of the year you can lose 10 lb. But why is it so much harder to lose weight than to gain it? Because it takes a matter of minutes (sometimes seconds) to eat 100 calories, but longer to burn it off.
Looking at the big picture of losing say 30 or 40 pounds can feel daunting, so give yourself a break. That is, break your goal down into small doable pieces. Accumulate a 100 calorie deficit per day – burn 100 calories more than you consume – and you will lose 10 pounds by the end of the year. Double that and you’ve lost 20! It’s easier than you might think.
First, do you ever eat something just because it’s there? You can eat a couple hundred calories and not even realize it. The mayo or dressing on a deli sandwich, the butter served with the bread basket or a cookie from the office lunch room… before you know it you’ve eaten 100 calories. Pay attention to condiments and cheese that are added to most sandwiches. If you can take it or leave it, leave it. Watch out for snack plates at the office or home.
It’s easy to eat 100 calories or more when you’re not even hungry. Look at your eating habits to see where you can carve unwanted items. My motto is, eat when you’re hungry and make it worth the calories!
Next, look at the calories you put out. Use an accelerometer (a pager-like device that accurately measures calories burned during activity) to measure your current level of calorie burn and then burn more over time. To burn an extra 50-100 calories park farther away, take the stairs, walk the dog an extra block and do a few jumping jacks. The key is to measure the calories so that you can see your success daily and know that what you are doing is working.
Start measuring calories out and paying attention to “hidden” calories coming in. You will quickly see how to achieve a 100 or more calorie deficit per day and easily have a more fit and trim body next year!