A pound per week is considered a healthy rate at which to lose weight for sustainable weight loss that does not put excessive strain on the body. In general, to lose one pound in a week you need to be consuming around 3, 500 calories less than you would consume to maintain your weight at its current level.
In order to achieve weight loss, it is necessary to consume less calories from food than you are burning through exercise or other physical activity, so to achieve a calorie deficit you need to either reduce your intake or increase your exercise levels, although a combination of both tend to get the best results.
A deficit of 3,500 calories per week, which equates to around 500 calories less per day, may seem like a lot to cut from your diet. However, there are some easy food swaps and exercise tips that can save you calories in a way that you will barely notice you are on a diet. Here are some of the easiest ways to save calories and lose that pound this week at various meals.
Eat a healthy low calorie breakfast
Skipping breakfast is not recommended, as it kick starts your metabolism after the period of fasting overnight, however, it is easy to consume a lot of calories at this meal without realizing it so make some of these lower calorie choices for a healthy start to the day.
- swap a bagel for an English muffin and save around 220 calories
- swap a pork sausage for a turkey version and save around 125 calories
- choose low fat milk to save around 70 calories per glass
- swap creamy, fruit or Greek yogurt for low fat natural or diet fruit versions to save between 50 and 100 calories per tub.
- Swap toasted granola cereals for high fibre flake type cereals and save yourself up to 400 calories per cup.
- Measure out serves of cereals to make sure you are only eating the recommended serve size, this can save up to half the calories you may normally consume as cereal tends to be easy to overeat.
- Substitute 2 of the whole eggs in an omelette or scrambled eggs and save around 125 calories.
Plan ahead your lunch
Lunch can sometimes be a rushed meal, so it is important to plan ahead to make sure healthier options are available. If you are in the habit of buying or eating out for your lunch, research your options online and find out lower calorie options from your favourite restaurants.
- Choose thinly sliced whole-wheat bread rather than a roll to save around 50 to 100 calories and save even more by choosing an open sandwich with only one slice of bread.
- Swap mayonnaise for a low fat version and save around 45 calories per tablespoon, or save another 40 by replacing it with mustard or 25 by using a tablespoon of hummus instead.
- By choosing a salad instead of fries you can save up to 300 calories.
- Swap a cream based soup for a vegetable one and save up to 40 calories.
- Swap a medium sized banana for a cup of strawberries and save around 45 calories
- Choose a low fat vinaigrette on a salad instead of a creamy dressing such as ranch and save about 40 calories per tablespoon.
6 food swaps to make your dinner lighter
This is often the largest meal of the day and can end up being the highest in calories. Cutting all visible fat off meat, not adding extra fat to foods for cooking where possible and reducing portion sizes can all help to reduce calories along with these easy swaps.
- Swap potato salad for a mix of tomatoes, cucumber and onion with fat free dressing and cut around 250 calories.
- Replace beef with a white fish for a saving of about 100 calories per serve
- Replace a hamburger bun with an English muffin and save around 120 calories.
- Add a cup of grated vegetables to every pound of ground beef when making dishes such as bolognaise, lasagne, burgers or chilli. This increases fibre and vitamins and can also cut the calories by about 30 per serve.
- To save 30 calories per 2 tablespoons, use natural low fat yogurt as a topping for baked potatoes, burritos and potato wedges.
- Swap potatoes for cauliflower and save around 100 calories per cup. This can also be pureed as a mash alternative.
Snacks and drinks
These may seem small and insignificant, but can easily add up if you make high calorie choices or snack a lot throughout the day. Drinks can also be higher in calories than expected and are often forgotten when people are calculating how many calories they are consuming.
- Choose a herbal tea rather than a chai tea latte and save around 250 calories.
- Swap traditional ice cream for frozen banana puree and save up to 150 calories.
- Choose oven roasted pitta or tortilla chips rather than potato chips and save around 50 calories.
- Have a vodka and soda instead of a margarita and save 250 calories (See also: Is drinking alcohol good for you)
- Swap a can of soda for a low calorie version or, even better, for water and save 150 calories.
- Swap a small packet of potato chips for a cup of air popped popcorn to save over 130 calories.
You cannot lose one pound per week without exercise
A combination of increased physical activity and decreased calorie consumption is the easiest way to lose weight. Remember that every little bit counts and even small amounts of activity can contribute to burning more calories in a day.
People of different sizes will burn different amounts when doing various types of exercise and this is also dependent on the intensity at which you do the exercise. For this reason the values given here are based on the average.
- Spend an hour cleaning the house and burn around 250 calories.
- Do an hour spin class and burn around 500 calories
- Ride a bike at a moderate pace for an hour and burn about 270 calories
- Hit the dance floor for an hour and burn over 400 calories
- In-line skate for 15 minutes and burn 250 calories. Add some hills and burn even more.
- Jump rope for 20 minutes and burn around 250 calories
- Play Frisbee for an hour and work off up to 250 calories.
By choosing a combination of these activities and calorie saving eating ideas you can easily achieve a 500 calorie deficit per day and lose that one pound per week without even noticing you are dieting.