Weight loss requires serious life changes. After all, you need to burn 3.500 calories to lose just 1 pound. But if you remove 500 calories from your menu a day, you can lose half a pound a week and it will be much easier.
Calorie bargaining is all about making swaps and developing habits that are sustainable for the long-term rather than just depriving yourself, says Charles Platkin, a distinguished professor at the New York School of Public Health (CUNY). - A simple change that cuts down 500 calories a day has a big effect: if these are things you eat three or four times a week, you're cutting down on at least 1, 500 calories a week.
To help you, we've put together 25 simple tips to cut down on calories, in order to help you reach your goal and lose weight.
Eat a salad instead of a sandwich
Two large slices of bread with mayo can add up to 550 calories! Make a salad instead.
Skip the Margarita
These delicious cocktails contain about 800 calories per drink - more than the calories in a meal.
Choose black coffee
A Grande Latte (coffee with a lot of milk) without added sugar has 220 calories, while a cup of black coffee has 2. If you usually drink two cups with a little sweetener, you cut down on at least 500 calories, Platkin says.
Try iced coffee
You'll save about 405 calories.
Chewing slowly on each bite twice as much as usual allows you to feel fuller with less food. Research shows that you can reduce each meal by 100 to 120 calories—eliminating nearly 400 calories for the day—and this way you can satisfy yourself with less food.
Quench your thirst with water and lemon instead of soda
You'll save nearly 200 calories for every soda you skip and easily eliminate 500 calories.
Prepare the food at home
A 2014 study found that people who prepared dinner at home consumed about 140 fewer calories than people who usually ordered takeaway, dined in, or heated up ready-made meals. Make your own breakfast and lunch and you'll cut down your calorie intake by about 500.
Don't sit around
A Mayo Clinic study found that people who walked during the day burned 350 more calories than their sedentary collegues. Take a shopping trip during your lunch break to burn an extra 150 calories. Don't wait at the stop, but go to the next one, don't get on the elevator and take the stairs.
Ask the waiter to prepare half of your food to take home before bringing it to the table
On average, you'll save about 750 calories, according to a new study. Researchers have found that a typical meal at an American, Italian or Chinese restaurant contains almost 1.500 calories - far more than a single meal requires.
Swap ribs for fillet
You'll cut down on about 700 calories. The ribs at a restaurant are about 1, 400 calories. On the other hand, steak is only 700. For an even bigger effect, go for filet mignon - it's usually only 450 calories.
Put your fork down between bites
Slowing down the pace of your meals will allow you to eat up to 300 fewer calories per meal, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. In one day, you will cut down on more than 500 calories.
Sleep 7 - 8 hours
You will eliminate at least 300 calories. Research shows that sleep deprivation not only slows down metabolic rate but also increases our appetite for sweets. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who slept 4 hours a night consumed 300 more calories than people who slept a normal amount. Well-rested people are also much more likely to exercise and even a short workout can burn 200 calories.
Exercise before breakfast and don't eat after 7pm
The combination will save about 520 calories. A recent Japanese study found that when you workout before breakfast you burn about 280 calories during the day compared to doing the same workout in the evening. And a study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that eliminating nighttime snacks helped people consume 240 fewer calories per day.
Do not dip your bread in oil or olive oil
Just a few pieces will quickly add up to more than 500 calories — and it won't satisfy your hunger. Yes, olive oil is a healthy option, but as a condiment it mostly adds calories. Instead avoid bread altogether.
Eat in front of the mirror
A study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research found that when people watched themselves having their meals in a mirror, they chose healthier options and ate an average of about 400 calories
Switch up your walking routine
A study in Biology Letters found that adding brisk walking a short distance to your walks will burn up to 20 percent more calories—even at a faster pace. That means a one-hour walk can easily burn an extra 90 to 120 calories. Exposing yourself to cold air also burns extra calories by making the body more sensitive to the hormone leptin. Study participants who spent 3 hours a day exposed to the cold burned 250 extra calories.
Don't go for the chips and salsa
Those fried salty chips you get at your favorite Mexican restaurant offer little nutritional benefit and a bowl of them contains 645 calories. Salt balance also makes you unable to stop eating. Just say NO.
Choose the smarter side
When you order onion rings at a restaurant, they have about 850 calories per serving. Even if you usually split the order with a friend! Order a salad with one tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette instead and it'll save you 380 calories. Sip water instead of a soft drink and you'll save another 150 calories.
Eat mushrooms instead of meat
In a Johns Hopkins study, people who replaced red meat with mushrooms ate 444 fewer calories, ate just as much and felt just as full. The only thing missing? The calories.
Chew gum and drink more water
When volunteers in a University of Rhode Island study chewed sugar-free gum for an hour in the morning, they ate 67 fewer calories at lunch. Do the same in the afternoon and you'll cut down double the amount of your dinner calories. According to a new study in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, people who drank one to three glasses of water a day reduced their food intake by 205 calories.
Sneak your own snack/popcorn into the cinema
Believe it or not, the large popcorn at the movie theaters contains 1.030 calories. To reduce this amount, taking a small bag of popcorn (which is usually around 140 calories) and a 60-calorie lollipop with you in your bag will save you up to 830 calories.
Leave your phone at lunch
According to the American journal Clinical Nutrition study, people who look at their phone during lunch, whether to check social media or play Candy Crush, tend not to remember their lunch well, feel less full and eat more in the afternoon - with about 200 calories more per day. Taking some time to clear your mind during the day will also save calories: Stress increases your fat-storing hormones and often leads to poor food choices. In a study of women over 50, those who had felt stressed in the previous 24 hours consumed 104 more calories than relaxed women.
Use smaller plates
According to a Cornell study, if you use smaller plates, you will eat up to 25% less. This means that if you eat about 550 calories per meal, you can save about 420 calories per day. The best part? You won't feel like you've had less food, the researchers say.
Pick the smarter options at the ice cream shop
Instead of indulging in a medium chocolate milkshake (720 calories), grab a small chocolate cone (240 calories). This will satisfy your sweet cravings and save you 480 calories. Ditch the bucket and eat with a spoon to save another 20 calories.
Eat fruit before every meal
According to a Pennsylvania State University study, eating a piece of fruit 15 minutes before a meal can help you consume almost 200 fewer calories. Do it three times a day and you'll save 600 calories.