Performance Fitness trainer and nutrition expert, Elise Miller, penned this post. She really walks the walk and has excellent ideas for how you, too, can successfully reach your health and fitness goals. Check it out!
Top Five Calorie-Cutting Methods
– Elise A. Miller
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the best workout plan in the world will never make up for a crappy diet. You already know you’ll be way better off eating mostly real, whole foods and not packaged junk. If you want to change your body composition, you must be accountable for what you eat and don’t eat. But you can still gain weight eating wild-caught salmon and kale. As far as your fat cells are concerned, any caloric surplus will get stored as fat somewhere on your body.
So to lose weight, you have to eat a little bit less. And you know this too. But what I know, from talking with dozens of clients over the years, is that they hate tracking calories. Those little apps, oy vey! The thing I also know is that many people don’t even try it out for a couple weeks to see if it’s really the nightmare they suspect. Do you really want to close the door on a tool that might actually help you reach your goal? Are you afraid you’ll learn that you eat twice as many calories as you need? Is that so very bad? Isn’t that what you want? A clear reason why the scale won’t budge? There is always a reason, my friends. And that reason is you. This is truly liberating, because it means it’s not the job of the dude down the block to improve you. It’s yours.
This article is not here to shame you into installing MyFitnessPal. You don’t “need” an app to lose weight. But you do, in some way, need to cut calories. For the duration of your lifetime, which I assume is how long you want to keep the weight off, you will need a tool or two.
In no uncertain terms, here are the top five calorie-cutting methods:
- Log it – Surprise! The app works. The good thing about it is that it remembers your foods, your meals, even your recipes. So the more you use it, the easier it is to log, because you’ve already plugged in all your typical meals. Even if the numbers aren’t dead on, you will think twice before grazing your way across a buffet table.
If you still hate the idea, ask yourself: How badly do you want to transform your body? If you’re all right the way you are, cool. But if you kvetch all the time about your belly or thighs or whatever body part you wish would just shrink already, then maybe you can withstand a little PITA to make it happen. It’s a small sacrifice for the larger goal, and come on—you’re probably on your phone all the time anyway.
- Shoot it – take a picture of what you’re eating. Why does this work? That visual objective shot of what you’re about to eat does not lie. How many leftover Halloween Kit-Kats can you snap photos of before you’re sick of your own BS? On the flip side, that bowl of sweet potato-ground turkey hash with roasted broccoli looks mighty fine!
- Feel it – Simply put, be a little hungry at least once a day. You don’t want to ever starve yourself. Ever. I mean that. Starvation does terrible things, namely slowing your metabolism and sparking a binge, making it even harder to lose fat. But a little bit of tolerable hunger, from say, skipping dessert or having a smaller than usual dinner or Sunday brunch will let you know in no uncertain terms that you are eating just a little bit less.
- Palm it – the size of your palm equals the serving size of protein you should be eating at every meal. Simple, right? A scoop of protein powder, a chicken breast or thigh, a few ounces of ground beef or turkey, a fish filet or a handful of shrimp. It all fits in your palm. Make protein the featured star of all your meals and you’ll be ahead of the game in terms of controlling your calorie intake AND your satiety. Protein is the key to not feeling deprived. Palm some protein today!
- No “S” it – You’ve tried (or never tried) logging your calories and macros. You hate it. It’s not for you. Forget it already. Photos of your food? No thank you. You agree you could allow yourself to get a little hungry. You’ll give me that. But you won’t like it. Palming it is silly you say, and just—well, you’re not going for it. To you I say, try the no S rule from Scott Abel Fitness. Most days of the week, and you can start out with just one, you eat no: sugar, sweets, snacks, seconds, spirits. You may want to add no starch here as well, or more to the point—no DRY starch: no crackers, pasta, bread or other floury items. Potatoes, oats and rice are fine, as long as they don’t take over your plate.
- Leave it – Okay here’s a bonus. You can make this one into a game. Practice not cleaning your plate. Intentionally leave a bite on your plate. This helps change your mindset from one of craving to one of control. You can also play the three-bite game. Have dessert but only eat three bites. It may take some practice, but think about all the great desserts you can taste and I mean really taste, because you know you’re only eating three bites. Leave the rest. Let your friends and family fight over the remaining cake. You can sit there smugly, with beautiful posture, feeling awesome because you don’t have to suck in your gut anymore.
So there you have it. Five—no, six—effective tools for you to use in order to transform your body, along with an ass-kicking workout plan of course. I encourage you to experiment with all the options here. See what works for you without shrugging anything off before you’ve even given it a shot. Once you know from experience what works or doesn’t work for you, you’ll have a personal, individualized method for reaching your health and fitness goals.
Elise Miller has been a trainer with Performance Fitness since 2013. She is an ACE-certified personal trainer, qualified TRX instructor, SFG II Kettlebell instructor, and has a Level 1 certification from Precision Nutrition. In addition to her wicked fitness chops, Elise is also a published author, including two novels, and lives on Philadelphia’s Main Line with her husband, two kids and two teeny rescue dogs. You can find more about Elise’s writing here.