Most people who have weight to lose focus on exercise, but the easiest way to shed fat is actually by focusing on what you eat.
By consuming fewer calories than you’re burning, you are guaranteed to lose weight. But eating fewer calories than you’re used to can prove to be a very difficult adjustment. Here are 10 tips for sticking to your calorie deficit:
Know Your TDEE
For safe weight loss, you should be eating around 500 calories less than your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE.
Not knowing your TDEE could result in choosing a too-low calorie goal that is unhealthy and causes frustration. Use an online TDEE calculator to ensure accurate values.
Buy a Food Scale
Investing in a food scale and weighing everything you eat allows you to be much more accurate in your calorie counting. Without precise food measurements, you could be overestimating your calories, causing you to eat too little, or underestimating, causing you to eat too much.
Choose High-Volume, Low-Calorie Foods
Make the most of your calories by padding your meals with foods that are low in calories, like celery, broccoli, oats, and clear-broth soups. Low-calorie foods can be consumed in high volumes, which take longer to eat and trick your body into feeling fuller.
Don’t Drink Your Calories
When you’re living on a deficit, every calorie counts. Stick to low or zero-calorie drinks like black coffee, herbal tea, diet pop, and water to leave more room for food calories. If you love high-calorie drinks, use them as a special weekly treat instead of a daily splurge.
Log Meals Ahead of Time
When possible, plan out your meals and count your calories for the day in advance. Logging your meals and snacks will ensure that your food always fits into your calorie target.
Plus, if you know what you’re eating for the day, you’ll be motivated to stay on track and not add extra snacks.
Often, the feeling of hunger can actually just be thirst in disguise, so keep yourself well hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Not only is drinking water good for your body is general, but it will also help with weight loss by making you feel fuller.
Your favorite meals are not necessarily off-limits, but you may need to make some substitutions, like using skim or almond milk instead of 2%, or zero-calorie cooking spray instead of olive oil. Smart substitutions can shave hundreds of calories off your favorite recipes.
Stick To The Same Daily Calorie Goal
Exercise machines can greatly overestimate the number of calories burned, so on workout days, eat extra only if you are feeling weak or dizzy. Otherwise, think of the calories burned as a weight loss “safety net.” Sticking to the same calorie goal every day will promote consistency in your diet.
Make Your Own Meals
Many restaurants now publish nutritional information in their menus, but if your chef puts even a little extra cheese, oil, or creamy sauce in your dish, the calorie count can greatly increase. Try to eat at home as often as possible so you can ensure your meals are always filling and healthy.
Choose Non-Food Rewards
Losing inches off your waistline is a big accomplishment, but celebrating with cake or pizza encourages poor nutritional choices.
Instead of relying on food as a reward, find non-food rewards to motivate you, like concert tickets, beauty products, or new workout clothes.
If you’re looking to shed fat in a healthy way, lowering your calorie intake is the best and safest way to get consistent results. But it’s easy to get frustrated when you’re eating less than you’re used to. Use these tips to maintain your calorie deficit and achieve your weight loss goals.