When You Don't Need a "Diet"
Losing added holiday pounds is as simple as eliminating 100 calories per day.
By Gina Shaw
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario
Maybe you put it all on in the last couple of weeks -- an extra helping of mashed potatoes here, a slice of pecan pie there, two or three holiday parties' worth of drinks and noshes, and you find yourself 5 pounds heavier on Jan. 2 than you were on Dec. 2. Or maybe you've been carrying an extra 5 or 10 pounds all year long, and you've made that classic New Year's resolution: It's time to take the weight off.
You don't need The Zone delivering meals to your door, a lifetime membership to Bally's, or a Bowflex in your living room, says Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center, and associate director of the UPMC Nutrition Center. All you need is a little strategy -- and some patience.
"By cutting out 100 calories a day, you can lose about a pound a month, and by summertime you'll have all that weight off," says Fernstrom (remember, that's cutting 100 calories a day from your usual caloric intake, not the overstuffed holiday version). "That's by doing almost nothing. It's really not that hard."
Really? OK, so where do you find those calories, and how do you trim them? Fernstrom has a few tips:
Boost Your Calorie Burn
While you're cutting out 100 calories a day, you can also boost the number of calories you burn -- and you don't need a gym to do it. The best investment you can make in increasing your exercise quotient, says Fernstrom, is a pedometer. You can buy a pedometer for under $10, and by wearing it for just a week, you'll have a much better idea of how active (or inactive) you are.
"We always overestimate our physical activity and underestimate our calorie intake," says Fernstrom. "If your pedometer shows that you're walking less than 10,000 steps a day, you're not moving enough." For the average person, walking 1 mile -- or about 2,500 steps -- burns an average 100 calories. This of course will depend on the individual, the terrain being walked, the speed at which the individual walks, etc.
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