Oh summer, how we adore you. The sun shining, the morning birds chirping, the delicious mountains of fresh fruit at the farmers market… What’s not to love? Oh yeah, realizing that your summer shorts feel a little bit tighter than they did last year (insert eye roll here). While we’re all about body confidence, it’s also nice to feel your absolute BEST about yourself. And what’s more frustrating than rocking your work outs 5 days a week, eating clean(ish), and still having those stubborn lbs stuck on there? Not much. Fortunately, most people (us included!) are self-sabotaging by consuming loads of unnecessary, empty calories. Why is this fortunate? Because it can be easily changed with a few diet tweaks.
We’ve listed our top 5 ways to eliminate those extra calories. and help get yourself in tiptop shape.
1. Cut the Liquid Calories
Liquid calories used to be one of our biggest downfalls. We would buy two bottles of lemonade/fruit juice, and finish them before the week was over. On average, that equals an extra 2,000 calories, and 371 grams of sugar. Even if you only go through one bottle of juice, that’s about 840 calories and 185 grams of sugar. Just LOOK at those numbers. That’s insane.
Eliminating things like soda, juice, sweetened teas, energy drinks, etc. is one of the easiest ways to cut out a bunch of extra (and empty) calories. As often as you can, stick with water. The more you do this, the less you’ll crave those sugary drinks. If you find plain water boring, add lemon, lime, mint, or fruit (oh you fancy, huh?). Once you make this a regular habit, you’ll realize how crazy sweet your old drinks were, and begin to prefer that tried and true H2O.
2. Check Your Additives
There’s nothing wrong with a little sugar and milk in your coffee, right? And then some mayo on your sandwich. And an extra slice of cheese on your burger. And some syrup on those pancakes… Whoops. Next thing you know, you’ve added hundreds of extra calories into your diet without realizing it. When we add little things here and there, we forget that they do in fact contribute to our total calorie intake. Most of the time, our little additions aren’t necessary either. Stop putting creamer in your coffee every day, and slash at least 200 calories a week (and that’s if you’re only using the recommended serving size… which nobody does). Cut 3 of those extra cheese slices out of your sandwiches each week, and lose another 300 minimum.
These are little changes that add up to a big difference. So next time you’re reaching for the syrup, ask yourself if you really need to drown your pancakes, or if just a little drizzle will do the trick. Your body will thank you.
3. Stop Late Night Snacking
Another one of our cardinal sins. Late night calories will absolutely destroy your diet. We’re not sure why it’s so easy to smash an entire bag of Doritos at 10pm, but it happens. And if it happens frequently, you’re doing unprecedented damage to yourself. Not only does your body store most of these calories as fat since your system is winding down and preparing for sleep, but most of us aren’t snacking on broccoli either. Even mild late night grazing is harmful and can pack on thousands of extra calories throughout the week. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional late night ice cream binge, but the key word is occasional. Like, once a month. Max. Otherwise, try to set a cut off time each night to be done eating. We usually aim for 7:30 or 8. And if we have to eat something, we make it a fruit or veggie. You’ll be amazed by how much weight you can drop just by making this one little change. And how much better you’ll feel in the morning.
4. Check Your Labels
Unless you’re one of those people who has the time/willpower to subsist only on fruits, veggies, grains, etc. (and if you are, KUDOS to you!), then chances are you’ve got some packaged food in your pantry. And herein lies another sneaky way empty calories clog your diet. Even seemingly ‘healthy’ pre-packaged snacks harbor loads of sugar and other useless ingredients. While high fructose corn syrup has been made out to be the devil lately, companies still slip in extra doses of sugar through ingredients like sucrose (or anything that ends in -ose), brown rice syrup, honey, molasses, invert sugar, dried cane syrup, etc. Guys… It’s STILL processed sugar! And it’s still bad for you.
So next time you grab that ‘healthy’ yogurt choice, sneak a peek at the label. Chances are it has about 12+ grams of sugar. Look at the ingredients and the nutrition facts before you buy. If it has more than 5 grams of sugar per serving and a hefty list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce, pass on it. If it’s not in the house, you won’t eat it.
** Side note: be sure to look at the serving size! That seemingly innocent bottle of super charged hydration drink with ‘only’ 12 grams of sugar probably contains 2 servings. Which means you’re consuming a whopping 24 grams of sugar if you finish it.
5. Limit Alcohol
We know, we know. You just can’t live without a glass of wine at night. Or that beer. Or a cocktail. IF you’re just indulging in one alcoholic beverage a night, you’re probably fine. But how many people really stop at one? An average glass of red wine contains about 125 calories. At one a day, that’s 875 extra calories a week. At two glasses a day? You’re up to 1,750. If you’re making a mixed drink, this number is even higher (and often contains a big dose of sugar). And no, the calories don’t stop adding up when you’re unable to count the number of glasses you’ve had.
Cutting alcohol from your daily routine is one of the easiest ways to slash those extra calories. Haven’t you noticed that most public figures site cutting out alcohol as one of their first moves to get in shape? There’s a reason for that. Quit the habit, save the glass of wine for a night when you really want it, and it’ll taste that much better.
So there it is, 5 easy ways that you can eliminate those excess calories from your diet. Remember, all of these little things quickly add up to big changes. So take it one step at a time, and you’ll start seeing results in no time.