10 Ways to Cut Calories to Get fit, Stay Fit, and Fit in your Clothes – Part I
Stereotypical Disclaimer: It’s that time of year when many people try to get healthier. But before changing your diet or starting an exercise program, talk with your physician. Learn your limits, and don’t give yourself a heart attack or starve yourself to death. And if you do, don’t come cryin’ to me because you didn’t heed that warning. Shoes seen above: Brooks Trance.
Here’s some brutal honesty: I’m not a doctor. Nor am I a physical trainer, dietitian, health coach, psychologist, or bodybuilding champ. What I am is a guy who grew up in a family where exercise and healthy eating weren’t priorities. Saturday morning breakfast used to be pancakes, bacon… and fresh donuts. Same plate, same meal. How my pancreas survived I’ll never know.
When I got out on my own I started exercising regularly. I eventually figured out that what I put in my body directly affected my workouts, my mood, and what kind of clothes looked good on me. I changed what I was eating, and slowly the junk weight got transferred into welcomed strength weight. My immune system became a brick wall, and now it doesn’t take an internal pep talk to resist a donut.
Keeping your gut more or less flat takes no more than gradually increasing your exercise regime and reducing the amount of daily waste calories you put into your system. Here’s how to do the latter.
1. Change the way you view food.
Here’s four words to ask yourself before you grab that piece of birthday cake at the office or the burger from the drive through: Is it worth it? Are you really going to remember that piece of cake or burger an hour from now? Look, indulging in a well prepared meal with your significant other or friends is one of life’s great pleasures. A couple hotdogs and a few beers at the ball park is as well. But more often than not, food is fuel. And you MUST fuel up. But you have to make the right choices. So before you crack the lid on the Ben and Jerry’s carton when it’s just you and the couch on a random Tuesday night… ask yourself if it’s worth it. Because more often than not it’s not.
2. Keep a food journal
It’s easy to ignore the “is it worth it?” question if you’re not being held accountable at the end of the day. Buy a small spiral bound notebook and each night before you head to bed, make some quick notes on what you ate that day. I usually write down the “bad” food I ate, how many drinks I had, and how many drinks I’ve consumed so far that week (beer is a bit of a vice.) Plus a few notes on my chosen workout. It takes no more than 30 seconds and it’s just enough accountability to make you think twice before eating something unnecessary and bad for you.
3. Throw out almost all the bad stuff in your house
You know what the bad stuff is. Toss almost all of it and find healthy replacements. For the potato chips, use lightly salted popcorn cakes. For ice cream? Look into the brand “skinny cow” for their low calorie low fat ice cream sandwiches. If there’s no healthy replacement (say, for soda), just get it out of the house period. Remember, food is fuel. And diet soda won’t get your anywhere. (That said, a Dry Soda is a nice treat every once in awhile.)
4. Do 90% of your grocery shopping along the outer aisles of the store
Grocery stores are smart. They know that by keeping the food that spoils the fastest to the outer aisles, they’ll spend less time walking through the store each day to restock it. It’s all the highly processed high-calorie junk that’s on the interior. It can sit longer. Stick to the fruits, vegetables and meats located along the outside aisles and your body will thank you for it in the end.
5. Learn how to firmly say no to junk food pushers
Misery loves company, so people who eat terrible and feel worse because of it almost always try and pawn off their junk food on you. They’ll offer you an unasked for piece of pizza, cinnamon sugar bagel, or a handful of M&Ms. Politely say no thanks and stick to your guns. If they continue to press, tell them you’re watching your “girlish” figure. Throw in a curtsy if you must. Works for me every time.
There’s the first half. Look for the final half tomorrow…