Small Swaps, Big Weight Loss Gains

When you’re working hard to slim down, it can often seem like there are so many big changes to be made. Overcoming emotional eating, becoming a more mindful eater, getting over your aversion to exercise, can certainly be major challenges. But there are many smaller changes you can make on a day-to-day basis that can add up to significant results over time. Plus, these tiny tweaks can help keep you motivated to push through the harder ones. Try one or more of these today, or share of your favorite fat- or calorie-saving swaps below.

Cut the creamer.
Coffee creamer packs in 60 to 80 calories and up to 1.5 grams unhealthy saturated fat per two-tablespoon serving. One percent milk, on the other hand, contributes just 15 calories and 0.2 grams saturated fat per two tablespoons. This one switch can save you 45 to 65 calories per day, which translates to six or more pounds per year. Plus you’ll be cutting the artery clogging saturated fat in your diet.

Change the ratio.
Watching your weight shouldn’t mean forgoing your favorite foods. If you love pasta, rice and other carb-rich foods, for instance, then go ahead and have them. You can enjoy these foods and still peel off the pounds by changing the ratio of these high-carb foods to veggies. For instance, instead of making a stir-fry with 2 cups of rice and 1/2 cup vegetables (about 550 calories), use 1 cup of rice and add 1.5 cups of veggies (about 350 calories). This trick allows you to eat the same amount of food (2.5 calories in the example above), but significantly cut calories (by 35 percent).

Limit alcohol.
If you can’t cut alcohol out completely (as Bob Greene recommends for the first phase of the Best Life Diet), try at least cutting back. Going from one drink daily to four a week can save you at least 300 calories per week (probably more!) Those 300 calories will add up to another 4.5 pounds per year!

Squeeze in just 10 minutes of exercise.
Most of us are guilty (or have been at some point) of the all-or-nothing workout mentality. If we don’t have time for a proper 30-minute workout or longer, why bother? But squeezing in as little as 10 minutes offers big health and weight-loss benefits. For instance, if you ran a 10-minute mile five days per week, that would burn about 500 calories for the week (that’s one extra pound a month!). Not to mention, once you get going, it’s likely that you’ll want to extend your workout beyond the 10 minutes you had initially planned to exercise.

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