The power of one dietary change in losing weight explained


The kids are back in school, and many of us are getting back into a routine. 

Here are some helpful hints that will help you adopt some healthy eating practices for you and your family.

What do ten pounds of fat look like?  For a rough estimate, imagine forty sticks of butter or margarine or ten one-pound cans of vegetable shortening.  Looks like a lot. Yet how many of us add this much weight in a year without realizing it until our pants fit tighter or our belt runs out of notches. It takes an excess of about 3500 calories to gain a pound. Break that into smaller bites and 100 extra calories a day can put on about ten pounds a year.  

The good news is losing ten pounds can be as easy as eating 100 calories less each day for a year.

Sometimes, we’re too hard on ourselves when we’re trying to lose weight. We eat some pretty awful tasting foods, forgo getting together with friends if food is involved or take the joy out of eating through a monotonous and limited “diet.” While people have lost hundreds of pounds through some of these methods, it’s often the same ten pounds over again! One dietary change may be all it takes.  

Here are some simple changes, involving just one food; each will decrease your daily intake by about 100 calories.  The calories saved are approximate, check Nutrition Fact labels on specific foods for exact amounts.

Size Down Your Cereal Bowl

The amount of cereal most adults eat is approximately twice the serving size listed on the box. That’s not necessarily bad but may be one place calories are sneaking into meals.  Check the portion size you’re pouring in relation to the size cited on the box; decide if you’re pouring more calories than desired.  Try eating from a smaller bowl to aid in portion control.

 Modify Your Milk

Instead of drinking two cups of whole milk, switch to two cups of one percent low fat or skim milk.  The nutrients are comparable.

 Rethink Your Soft Drink

Substitute a 12 ounce can of a diet soft drink at zero calories for a similar amount of a regular soft drink at 150 calories. (Or drink a cold glass of water, perhaps with a slice of lemon!)  Downsize Your Soft Drink: If you’ve been drinking a 20-ounce container of a regular soft drink, switch to a 12-ounce container size.

“Dress,” Don’t Drown,” Your Salad

A two-cup serving of salad greens should have about one tablespoon of dressing on it.  If you’ve been using three (or more!) tablespoons of dressing per two cups of salad, try cutting back to one and one-half tablespoon of dressing or less. Or experiment with some of the reduced calorie versions even then, your salad will taste best if “dressed,” not “drowned.”

 Modify Your Mayo

 Switch from two tablespoons of regular mayonnaise to two tablespoons of low-fat mayonnaise.

Top Your Potato With Fewer Calories

It’s easy to slather a couple of tablespoons of butter or margarine (200 calories/two tablespoons) on a baked potato. Try switching to sour cream; you can have as much as a   fourth cup for 100 calories. For even fewer calories, use one of the light or fat-free sour creams. Or substitute yogurt for sour cream.

 Be Size-Wise With Fast Food

Try one or more of these strategies the next time you visit your favorite fast-food restaurant, and you easily can save 100 or more calories:

•If you’re not very hungry, perhaps a “small” “regular,” “junior” or whatever terms is used by the restaurant for its smallest burger, may be enough for you.

• Skip the mayonnaise when ordering your favorite fast-food sandwich

•Order the smallest size of fries or split them with a friend.

•Instead of fries, consider a side salad with a fat-free or reduced calorie dressing.

•Order a diet soft drink or plain water.

 count your cookies

A single medium-sized cookie easily can have about 100 calories.  Often, we pop two or more into our mouths before we realize it. If you feel you’re not getting enough “crunch” by limiting yourself to one cookie, try eating an apple instead – the calories are similar.

Practice Portion Control With Popcorn

Microwave popcorn can be a great snack, but it’s easy to eat half a bag or more. An entire package might yield ten or more cups, or possibly over 500 calories! Limit your serving to a few cups or try some lower-fat versions. To gauge how many cups of corn you’re consuming, one cup is about equal in size to a baseball or your fist.

 Lessen Your Liquor

If you drink alcohol, limit your daily consumption tone drink for women and two drinks for men as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2000.  A typical five-ounce glass of wine has 100 calories; a twelve-ounce serving of beer, 150 calories; and one and one-half ounces of distilled spirits, 100 calories.

Note: As a general rule, the “Dietary Guidelines of Americans recommend a gradual weight loss of no more than one-half to two pounds per week and with the guidance of a healthcare provider, especially for obese children and older adults.  It’s difficult to obtain adequate nutrients if you consume less than 1200 calories per day – supervision by your physician is especially important when dropping below this level.  It’s beneficial for most people to increase their activity level and eat less.


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