Consider the following: there are 3,500 calories locked up in each pound of human body fat. If you want to lose that pound of fat, you have to give your body a reason to open it up and use the energy inside of it. This is where the exercise-versus diet debate comes into play. Actually, it’s a moot debate, because the facts are pretty well established at this point.
Here’s how it plays out. Dieting is the most effective way to lose weight. Suppose you go jogging for an hour and burn somewhere in the vicinity of 400 calories. Assuming no other significant variables (i.e. your diet and other habits don’t change), you will burn that 3,500 calories in about eight or nine days. Theoretically, you should lose about one pound of bodyweight in the process.
Of course, you will also be investing eight or nine hours of strenuous exercise. Now, imagine you just cut roughly 400 calories per day from your diet. You would see the same decrease in body fat over the same period of time, and you wouldn’t be wasting any time or energy. In fact – you’d be saving time, as you’d presumably spend less time eating.
Now, don’t take this as a disparagement of exercise. Getting in shape has all kinds of superior benefits. In fact, exercise keeps pounds off more effectively than dieting. However, cutting calories is still the most effective means to weight loss. With that in mind, anyone who wants to lose weight and keep it off is well-advised to start with changes to their diet, and then buy a treadmill and some other exercise equipment so that they can keep that weight off once they have made initial calorie cuts.
For those who are just getting started and are looking for ways to cut calories out of their diet, consider some of the following recipe tips that could work together to see you shaving 300 to 400 calories off of your daily caloric intake:
|Recipe tip||Number of calories cut per serving|
|Use non-fat milk on your cereal instead of whole milk or 2%.||60 or more|
|Make soups from vegetable stock instead of cream or meat stock.||40 to 50|
|Substitute low-fat cheeses in dinner recipes (ex: use part-skim ricotta cheese in homemade lasagne).||90 to 100|
|Start viewing that after-dinner cocktail the same way that you view desert; indulge sparingly and don’t let yourself have both.||200|
|Re-imagine snacking; you will actually become accustomed to eating fresh fruit and vegetables in place of crisps, candy bars, etc.||about 50 to 100|
|Grill sandwiches using non-stick cooking spray in lieu of butter or oil.||35|
|For pita pockets, wraps and sandwiches, go heavy on the vegetables and lighter on the meats and cheeses.||150|
The above are just a few practical examples. In any event, it’s clear that you can cut a significant amount of calories from your diet without making deep sacrifices. In fact, it’s completely reasonable to eat the same dishes you already enjoy, albeit with slight modifications to the recipe.