Monday, June 06, 2005

Easy Calorie Cutting Tricks

I have lost nearly 20 lbs. since starting Tae Kwon Do. I'm happy about it, but at the same time paranoid about putting it back on. That isn't likely to happen as long as I keep up my workout routines, but I have started making a few small changes to my eating habits - not dieting, I am talking permanent changes - to insure that I keep the weight off:

Going to Skim - I like milk and drink a lot of it. I changed from whole to 2% as a young adult, changed from 2% to 1% about 10 years ago, and now made the change to skim. Savings: I drink nearly a gallon and a half of milk a week (I have cereal nearly every morning), so this is mainly a savings of 60 fat grams a week. However since I am a calorie counter, I'll count the 720 calories a week.

No Cream in My Coffee - I am one of those people you see at Starbucks happily pouring a third of my cup with half-and-half, essentially turning my venti coffee into a grande cappuccino. Well, that will not be happening any more since I am now only using skim in my coffee as well. Savings: Half and Half has a whopping 39 calories and 3.5 fat grams per fluid ounce, and people putting it into those venti containers are putting in several fluid ounces. I have to average this one down since I usually have coffee at home and put in 2%. I'll put in an even 100 calories saved per week, which is being conservative.

Cutting Down the Alcohol - When I was in my 20s I didn't drink except when going out or on special occasions, so maybe once a week. When I hit my mid 30s I found myself having one - sometimes two - "unwind after work" drinks nearly every day. I am changing to something closer to my old ways, keeping the weekly drinking down to 3-4 times a week, and when I do, I have low-carb martini instead of a high carb beer. Savings: A martini has about half the calories of a regular beer, and of course no carbs. Neither have any fat. I'll put this down as a calorie savings of 500 a week.

Leaded to Unleaded Colas - The old joke about the guy who gets a double bacon cheeseburger with a supersize fry and a diet coke was the reverse for me: I'd find myself in a restaurant having a sensible lunch with a regular coke, so I thought it was time for a change. But this one is proving to be the hardest. I think aspartame has the same long, bad aftertaste as saccharine, and if I have had a diet drink with Splenda, I haven't noticed any taste difference with that either. I don't mind just drinking water, but I drink a cola for its caffeine in the afternoon and don't want a hot drink (coffee or tea) to get it. Savings: The average coke has 140 calories, and I had one usually four times a week, so I'll put this down as 560 calorie savings a week.

So these changes - which are all in my drinks - don't require going hungry, but rather a change in my tastes. And it amounts to around 1880 calories the week, which is nearly a whole day of not eating every week for someone on a 2000 calorie a day intake. So imagine how much the savings accumulate over the course of a year.

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