22 Ways To Balance Calories (and watch the pounds disappear!)

You’re most likely checking off the basic things you need in order to lose weight…from exercise snacking to strength training…from drinking daily protein shakes to eating healthy fats. And most importantly…you’re probably keeping your calories in a deficit. The good news is, there’s a whole host of other things you can be doing to accelerate your weight loss goals even further. And, none of them require going to the gym. Try this ultimate list of 22 smart ways you can zap fat, exercise your taste buds, and rev up your metabolic machinery…without even realizing it.


1. Stop the fridge fight.

It’s easy to feel like you’re going from 0 to 60…from craving to binging! To stop a fridge binge before it happens, try to distract to delay. If you can delay the urge long enough, you can probably avoid it. Instead, try take a few seconds to focus on your breath. Try this simple exercise… inhale for a count of 5, and as you’re inhaling, count slowly to yourself…1,2,3,4,5. Then exhale for a count of 5. Repeat the cycle four times and notice how your focus has moved away from food.

2. Get a case of the “if’s.”

People who use a technique called “if-then planning” are more successful at achieving their weight loss goals. It’s a simple technique that comes in handy when resisting temptation and building good habits. For example, your “if-then” statement might be, “If I get hungry after 7pm, then I’ll brush my teeth instead.” This way, you’ve already decided exactly what you’re going to do when the urge arises, you can execute your plan almost unconsciously.

3. Get caught in the pages.

One trick for curbing cravings is to find a distracting alternative, such as reading an engaging story. In just a few minutes, your urge to eat will subside. Right now, I’m absorbed in the book, “A Gentleman In Moscow.” 

4. Play with a puzzle.

You’re less likely to dwell on hunger when your brain is figuring out how to put together a jigsaw puzzle. As a kid, I remember spending hours with family putting together an elaborate scene from Paris. Now, there are puzzles available at your fingertips as apps on your phone! Whenever you feel like you’re about to fall into a compulsive eating trap, clicking on your puzzle app can make a huge difference in your anxiety levels.

5. Supersize it!

Instead of drinking out of a regular glass or water bottle, supersize it and grab the biggest bottle you can find! The bigger your glass is, the more you’re likely to drink. Plus, drinking water sends the body signals that you’re filling up and don’t need to eat more food. Remember, getting water into your system is the perfect way to reduce your appetite. If you fill up on a glass of water at least 30 minutes before your meal, you’re almost guaranteed to eat less.

6. Put On Placemats

Having a formal place setting tricks the mind into thinking you’re eating more than you really are, which can boost satiety levels. Think of it as the Zen of eating: “If you treat every dining experience with greater respect, you’ll be less likely to use your fork as a shovel,”

7. Keep your ghrelin and leptin balanced

Weight loss is tied to your sleep quality. Sleep deprivation also creates an imbalance of ghrelin and leptin, the hormones responsible for alerting your body when you’re hungry or full. So when you’re sleep deprived, you’re prone to overeating.

8. Don’t sabotage your salad.

It may not seem like it, but drizzling bottled dressings on your leafy greens can sabotage your salad. By pouring sugar-filled dressing on a first-class salad, you can derail your dinner! If you take a peek at the ingredients, store-bought salad dressing is often filled with sneaky sugars and artificial additives. You don’t need to settle for these hidden chemical emulsifiers and artificial colors to spice up your salad. Instead, dress up your salad with one of these six DIY dressings.

9. Spike your BMR.

Burn calories without even moving by adding more protein to your meals and snacks! Your BMR, or basal metabolic rate, actually accounts for most of the calories you burn each day…and they’re the calories you burn by simply living. Great news…What you eat can help increase your BMR! Protein requires more energy to digest than carbs or fat, which helps your body burn more calories. Plus, it keeps you satisfied for longer, to help avoid overeating. Easy solution? Try this Chocolate Avocado Shake for your next afternoon snack! 

10. Plan a girls night out. 

Need a good reason to have some quality girl time? Here’s one…for every couple games of pool or ping pong you play, you’ll burn 111 calories. Get your gal pals together, and have some fun!

11. Cook a romantic dinner.

Instead of dining out for date night, cook a candlelight dinner for two. Between moving pots of water and chopping veggies, you’ll burn more calories than driving to a restaurant.

12. Grab a rag.

If you house is overdue for a cleaning, this is the perfect excuse to grab a rag and start scrubbing! It’s a double-whammy…you’ll burn calories at an alarmingly high rate, and your place will sparkle afterwards!

13. Eat with your non-dominant hand.

Sometimes all it takes is one small change to make a big difference. Research has shown that you’re more mindful about eating if your fork or spoon is in your non-dominant hand. A Cleveland Clinic study showed that even people eating movie popcorn with their non-dominant hand ate less.

14. Just breathe.

Did you know that breathing deeply can lower blood sugar levels? While you’re slowly inhaling and exhaling, repeat a short poem to yourself to help stay focused. I love saying aloud this poem by ee cummings:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

15. Give yourself some TLC.

Going to the spa, having a massage, or rubbing some lotion on your body is soothing and calms your appetite. If you don’t have time to slip to the spa, try this 8-min stretch to stimulate fluidity to your body and mind:

16. Chill Your Cans

Next time you buy any canned foods containing fat (such as soup or gravy), refrigerate it before you open it. This will allow the fat to rise to the top, so you can scrape it off.

17. Say no to sugar.

One of the most effective ways to slash calories is to completely cut soda. One 20 oz. bottle of Coke has a whopping 240 calories. For a great alternative, try a fresh iced tea with a dash of stevia. 

18. Think about your food before you eat it.

In one study, participants ate less when they visualized their food before eating.  Prior to a meal, spend a minute thinking about what you’re about to indulge in. There are subtleties you’ll discover in each bite, and richer, more nuanced taste sensations to explore.

19. Cut your food into little pieces.

When it comes to tricking your mind, it’s all about quantity. Cutting up food makes it seem as if you’re eating more. As a result, you’ll actually eat less. 

20. Get rid of the temptation.

It’s time for a pantry raid! One surefire way to keep you from eating unhealthy snacks is to keep the temptations out of your kitchen! You can’t eat what isn’t in your cupboards, so throw out the junk and stock your kitchen full of healthier alternatives.

21. Don’t Rely On The Healthy Menu

When dining out, did you know that you eat 54% fewer calories if you check the nutritional information of the items of the menu before you order? So even if you’re checking out the healthy menu, make sure you take a peek at the calorie count before you dig in your fork.

22. Power off.

Your hunger hormones spike when you’re overwhelmed, so turn off your phone for 1 minute. When you power back on, you’ll find yourself feeling calmer, which will reduce your risk of binging. Plus, a British study of office workers found that when they read, and sent emails, their heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels spiked. Before you check Gmail again, ask yourself, Can it wait? (Yes, it can.)


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