I’ve always found calorie counting boring. Let’s face it, if a person eats a couple of thousand calories a day, and needs to lose a little weight, is it really necessary to count every single calorie?
Here is an easier way:
First, you need to keep in mind that one pound of fat, whether it is a pound of butter on your kitchen table or an undesired “love handle” around your midsection, contains 3,500 calories.
Second, if you didn’t gain any weight yesterday, you consumed exactly as many calories as you burned.
Third, to lose a pound in the next seven days, eat axactly the way you ate yesterday minus 3,500 calories during the seven days; this means 500 calories less per day.
It’s up to you where to cut those calories. Instead of counting all the calories you are eating and calculating smaller portion sizes across the board, it is often easier to single out some “extras” you might be able to give up. Switching from 20 oz of soda or juice to 20 oz of water or diet soda shaves 250 calories in one fell swoop, for example. Cutting out that jelly doughnut brings your total savings to 500 calories, but you don’t have to give up “junk”; a good sized baked potato is 250 calories before the butter and sour cream…
In other words, you can cut 500 calories a day anywhere you want, by giving something up, or by switching from a high calorie to a lower calorie food.
What about exercise? I knew you would ask! Walking burns roughly 100 calories per hour, which means you could keep your diet the same, and walk for five hours every day instead!
Addendum 8/26/11 Recent research suggests the body will try to sabotage calorie reduction by slowing the metabolism when you cut back calorie intake even by 250-500 calories per day: