One pound of fat equates to about 3,500 calories, and to lose that 1 pound of fat, you've got to burn more calories than you consume.
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A common mistake is to try to starve off the weight, or overwork the body trying to burn it all off. But your success will come through a combination of the two methods. I've found that if you can create an energy deficit of around 500 calories a day, you can burn the 3,500 calories needed to lose a pound a week, and reach your goals steadily over time.
Thirty minutes of vigorous exercise a day can burn 250 to 400 calories depending on type and intensity. That's the easy part. The more difficult part of the equation is usually learning how to manage calories from meal to meal. Here, I'm going to show you how to cut 100 calories from every meal.
- Drink almond instead of regular milk
- Try a green (veggie) smoothie.
- Use a small glass for your juice (4 ounces) and a small bowl for your breakfast cereal.
- Choose a yogurt with no sweeteners and have only one serving. (Try Greek yogurt.)
- Use a nonstick skillet and cooking spray in place of butter or margarine to prepare your eggs.
- Try turkey sausage or bacon or Canadian bacon for a less-saturated fat and lower sodium substitute for regular sausage or bacon.
- Fill your omelet with onions, peppers, spinach and mushrooms instead of cheese and meat.
- Use two egg whites and one egg for your omelets or scrambled eggs or use egg substitutes.
Lunch and dinner:
- Try a veggie burger or turkey burger instead of beef.
- Put lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles on your turkey burger or veggie burger instead of cheese.
- Grill sandwiches using nonstick cooking spray instead of butter.
- Stuff a pita pocket with more fresh vegetables and less meat and cheese.
- Pick tuna canned in water instead of tuna in oil.
- Substitute low-fat sour cream in recipes.
- Choose 1-percent cottage cheese.
- Skim the fat off soups, stews, and sauces before serving.
- Enjoy your salad with no croutons. Add sliced almonds for a good crunch.
- Use light salad dressing instead of regular, and choose noncreamy types, and get it on the side. Olive oil and vinegar is a great choice, also.
- Trim all fat from beef, pork, and chicken and remove the skin from chicken.
- Bake, broil or grill chicken and fish rather than frying.
- Remember to limit meat portions to 3 to 4 ounces (the size of a deck of cards).
- Add vegetables to your spaghetti sauce, like zucchini, green peppers, mushrooms and onions.
- Add blueberries, strawberries, mango, almonds and/or chicken to a mixed-green salad or spinach salad instead of cheese.
- Use 1 tablespoon less butter or oil in your recipes (you can't tell the difference).
- Use reduced fat cheese in casseroles and appetizers.
- Season steamed vegetables with fresh lemon and herbs instead of butter.
- Use vegetable cooking spray and nonstick cookware instead of butter, margarine or oil.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer, and author of an ebook, "Best of Fitness Answer Man: Volume One." Read more tips on his blog at www.hometeamfitnessblog.com.