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Cut Calories Without Dieting

Cut Fat and Calories Without Deprivation
  -- By Nicole Nichols, Health Educator & Fitness Instructor
The word "diet" doesn’t always mean eating less to lose weight—although that’s what we commonly associate it with today. Someone "on a diet" is trying to eat less, or stop eating sweets to fit into a smaller pant size.

Diet has another meaning. It also describes the food that you normally consume—following a vegetarian diet, an American diet, or "My diet consists of meat and potatoes." Improving your normal diet by making gradual, but permanent changes is a healthier way to lose weight than by just restricting calories.

Low calorie and fad diets can have serious health implications—insufficient vitamin and nutritional intake, lethargy, slowed metabolism, hormonal effects, and even dehydration. Dieters commonly experience intense feelings of hunger and deprivation, which can lead to "cheating" or bingeing over time.

Here are a few tips to help you decrease your caloric intake without "dieting" or feeling deprived.

Don’t eyeball it
Studies show that people tend to underestimate how much they really eat every day. In doing so, we consume too many calories without realizing it. Research shows that keeping a log by recording exercise and food intake is one of the best predictors of successful weight loss.
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Hold the fat It’s important to remember that not all fats are bad. Certain oils (olive, canola), and nuts are nutritious and healthy to eat. However, fat does have more than twice the calories per gram than carbohydrates and protein (9, 4, and 4, respectively). And generally, people consume too much and the wrong kinds of fats, which means excessive calories. Drink water, not alcohol
Not only does alcohol contain 7 calories per gram, but it also lowers self-control when it comes to food. Limit your alcohol intake and your body will thank you. Save alcohol for a post-meal indulgence, rather than drinking it before or with food. Studies show that alcohol lowers inhibitions and control when it comes to eating, causing people to eat more than those who waited to drink after finishing a meal.

Drink water throughout the day, before, and during meals to help curb your appetite. Oftentimes, people think they are hungry when they are actually thirsty or dehydrated. Dehydration can slow metabolism, but the process of drinking water and warming it to body temperature involves energy and burns calories. Plus, being well hydrated gives body at least 10 minutes more energy for exercise, according to a study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine.


To lose a healthy one pound of fat per week, all it takes is a 500-calorie deficit per day (which can be achieved by reducing calories, exercising more, or a combination of both). For a healthy lifestyle, not a diet, that is easy to stick with, try incorporating some or all of these easy strategies to reduce calories without giving up the pleasures of eating.