Simple tricks for cutting (or burning) 100 calories a day can help you trim 10 pounds in a year.
By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column
Weight loss really can be as simple as shaving 100 calories per day. Weight loss experts agree that the best way to win the battle of the bulge is not through strict diets but by making small changes you can sustain for a lifetime. All it takes is making small changes in your daily routine.
There is one hitch: You need to keep up the changes to be successful. If you miss a day, no problem; just make up for it the next day. Just keep plugging away, and before long, the small changes will become automatic.
A Simple Formula
If you trim 100 calories per day, either by eating fewer calories or burning more, it should add up to a 10-pound loss at the end of a year. It's a simple mathematical formula; if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.
Let's do the math. A pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. Shaving 100 calories each day for 365 days is roughly 36,500 calories, equivalent to 10 pounds of pure fat. You could double your weight loss to 20 pounds in a year by trimming 100 calories from your diet and burning 100 extra calories each day.
A nutritious diet that is lower in calories will help you look and feel better, and can improve your health, too. Choosing the right foods -- think fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products -- will give you energy all day long and help satisfy your hunger so you eat less. That's another step toward helping you lose weight once and for all.
Easy Ways to Burn 100 Calories
Here are some quick and simple ways to burn an extra 100 calories:
- Buy a pedometer and walk an extra 2,000 steps, roughly equivalent to 1 mile and 100 calories.
- Walk the dog for an extra 20 minutes.
- Jog for 10 minutes.
- Do 30 extra minutes of housekeeping.
- Pull weeds or plant flowers in the garden for 20 minutes.
- Pedal an exercise bike for 13 minutes.
- Climb up and down stairs for 18 minutes.
- Jump rope for 15 minutes.
- Swim for 15 minutes.
- Dance for 20 minutes.
- Mow the lawn for 20 minutes.
- Wash the car.
- Work out in your living room with an exercise video for 15 minutes.
- Golfers, carry your clubs for 15 minutes.
How to Cut 100 Calories From Your Diet
And here are some tips from the calorie-cutting side of the equation:
- Eat a high-fiber, whole-grain breakfast cereal instead of granola
- Use mustard or low-fat mayonnaise on your sandwich instead of regular mayonnaise.
- Have a piece of fresh fruit in place of cookies or chips.
- Drink diet soda instead of regular soda.
- Choose sherbet, sorbet, or low-fat ice cream over super-premium ice cream.
- Use 2 tablespoons of light whipped butter or margarine instead of regular.
- Top your favorite pasta with a red sauce instead of a cream sauce.
- Skip the blue cheese topping on your salad.
- Order a small drink instead of a super-sized drink.
- Hold the bacon on your sandwich or at breakfast.
- Use water-packed tuna instead of oil-packed.
- Eat a snack-sized chocolate bar instead of a whole candy bar.
- Order your pizza with veggies instead of high-fat meat toppings.
- Eat an appetizer as your main meal instead of an entree.
- Skip the extra butter shot on your movie theater popcorn.
- Order your sandwich on whole-grain bread instead of a croissant or bagel.
- Leave the crust on the pie and enjoy the filling.
- Leave 3 to 4 bites of food on your plate.
- Pass on the gravy on your mashed potatoes.
- Try an open-faced sandwich.
- Leave the cheese off your sandwich or burger.
- Switch to low-fat salad dressing instead of regular.
- Use only half the packet of salad dressing when ordering salads to go.
- Eat 2 slices of whole-grain bread instead of a bagel.
- Spread your bread with jam instead of butter or margarine.
- Have a side salad instead of French fries as a side dish.
- Savor 5 Hershey kisses instead of a chocolate bar.
- Choose skim milk instead of whole milk.
- Eat 1/2 cup less of pasta or rice.
- Remove the skin from poultry before eating.
- Choose ground sirloin instead of ground beef.
- Share a dessert.
- Enjoy hummus with baby carrots instead of cheese and crackers for a snack.
- Drink 1 less 12-ounce light beer or glass of wine.
- Choose fruit canned in natural juice instead of heavy syrup.
- Skip the butter or margarine in the pan when grilling sandwiches or eggs.
Published June 29, 2006.
Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD and the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.
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