Low-Calorie Life: How to Eat a Low-Calorie Diet

Though not a comprehensive ‘how-to’ tutorial…these tips are important when beginning or resuming a low-calorie diet. Use them to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Before you begin your low-calorie diet:

1) Be Realistic. If weight loss is your goal, don’t set yourself up for disappointment or health problems by setting unrealistic goals. This should be a positive experience, so start with small, achievable goals. For lasting weight control, aim to lose no more than two pounds per week.

Crash dieting is bad for you! Among other things, it will ultimately slow down your metabolism, making it difficult to shed pounds as your body typically goes into preservation or ‘starvation’ mode when you don’t consume enough food. A low-calorie diet that dips below 1,200 calories daily is too low!

2) Clean out your kitchen/pantry! High calorie leftovers and goodies such as cookies, cakes, full-fat cheeses and other full-fat dairy products should be tossed out! Cast out seasonal candies and treats, too. Replace them with wholesome, fresh, unprocessed naturally low-calorie foods. Remember, you can only prepare and eat the foods you have readily available. You can’t polish off a package of cookies if they aren’t there!

3) Restock your refrigerator and pantry with healthy, wholesome ingredients. Start fresh and new. Substitute low-calorie and light products for their high calorie counterparts. Buy whole grain pastas, breads, and cereals; and keep plenty of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables on hand.

Low-calorie diet tips

4) Slowly cut back on excess calories. Start by monitoring your portion sizes. Portions (and plates) have grown so much that we don’t recognize what a standard serving is or looks like anymore.

Always read nutrition fact panels as food packages often contain two servings but the nutritional analysis label refers to one serving. Become familiar enough with standard serving sizes to be able to ‘eyeball it’ and use smaller plates for meals. Remember, by definition, low-calorie foods offer 40 calories per serving.

5) Minimize your fat and junk food intake. Doing this can and will drastically decrease the amount of calories you take in. Why? Each gram of fat equals 9 calories, whereas each gram of protein or carbohydrate equals 4 calories (less than half). Also cut back on “empty” calories. Refer to what are empty calories for more information. Small changes make a big difference. Swap your 12 ounce can of soda with sparkling water (which is not low-calorie but is actually calorie-free!) and you’ve just lost 1 pound per month!

6) Always eat breakfast. Wait – put down those pastries! Consuming a healthy low-calorie breakfast jump starts your metabolism and sustains you until lunchtime, keeping your blood sugar steady. Ninety-five percent of those that are most successful at losing weight are breakfast eaters. In addition, noshing on a nutritious low-calorie breakfast gives you the opportunity to start the day right, filling up on premium fuel, such as vitamin & mineral-rich whole grains, low/non-fat dairy products, and fresh fruit.

Now you are ready to begin/resume your low-calorie diet!