Easy Ways to Cut 500 Calories a Day

By Melissa Murphy
Almost every nutritionist and health professional will tell you that losing weight slowly is the best possible way to get down to a manageable weight and stay there. But exactly how much less food should you consume to yield weight loss results? The easy answer is to trim 500 calories from your dietary intake or burn the same amount through exercise. By doing this, you could begin to see weight loss results the first week. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Eat salad but go easy on the toppings. Many people who are dieting think that eating salad is the way to go. And it is if you are careful what you put on top of your leafy greens. Dried fruit, handfuls of nuts, fatty dressings, cheese, and croutons can weight your salad down with tons of calories. Your salad should be mostly veggies with only a very small sprinkling of nuts, dried fruit, or cheese. Also, be sure and measure out your dressing in tablespoons to keep your salad low in fat and calories.

Downsize your latte. There's no reason to do without your morning or afternoon pick-me-up. By tweaking it just a little you can save hundreds of calories with each cup. By asking for non-fat milk and half the syrup, you can create a lighter version of your favorite beverage. Don't forget to skip the whip, as well.

Don't snack from a bag or a box. Yes, by the time you get to the bottom of that chip bag -- and you will get to bottom especially if you are snacking in front of the TV -- your calorie consumption will number in the thousands. Instead, remove 10 or 15 chips or crackers and eat them slowly. If you are still hungry, wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds.

Leave some. This may go against everything that some people have been taught, but it really is an easy way to get to the calorie deficit you are looking for. If you eat 2000 calories a day, simply leave 25% of each food portion on your plate at each meal. Instantly, you will be eating 500 calories less per day.

Eat in courses. If you eat a cup of soup and a small salad before your lunch and dinner meal, experts say that you will more than likely reduce your calorie consumption by more than 600 calories per day. It will also help tremendously if you put about 20 minutes in between your courses. This gives your brain time to receive the message that you are full.

Don't bank calories. Many people figure that if they don't eat all day then they can indulge in anything they want come supper time. This has proven time and time again to be the wrong approach to cutting calories. And the reason is simple: You are starving. Think for a minute about the types of food choices you make if you are very hungry. Do you choose a piece of salmon and green beans or would you be more likely to opt for steak and a loaded baked potato? Not only will you choose less nutritious, higher fat foods, but you will also eat faster which causes you to eat more.

Stand when you can. Sitting at your desk burns an average of about 60 calories an hour. But standing to do your work will burn twice that much. If you simply cannot do your job standing, replace your chair with a stability ball. You will be forced to use your core muscles as you roll around, burning calories all the while.

Work out while you watch evening television. You can burn loads of calories by simply doing exercises during the commercial breaks of your favorite television shows. Some of the best fat-burning exercises to do in one-minute blocks are jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, or sit-ups.

We know the math: A 3,500-calorie deficit will cause one pound of weight loss. But for some, cutting 500 calories a day can prove to be a difficult task. But when you follow these easy tips, weight loss isn't quite so daunting. In addition, by making these lifestyle changes, you will have a program that enables you to lose weight slowly and keep it off permanently.