Okay, in my last post I talked about the importance in monitoring your calories when losing body fat (visceral and subcutaneous fat). This is hugely important, perhaps the single most important factor in my opinion is your calorie intake. Nutritional content is vital to your health too, but in all honesty, you could most likely eat junk food all day long and still drop fat so long as you eat below your calorie maintenance level.
So in this post I want to give you some tips on things to eliminate or reduce to help lower your calorie intake.
Ways to Cut Calories: Eliminate High Calorie Foods
Okay, so to reduce the calories, you really have to read labels (a no brainer). But here are some specific things I have found that will add on the calories like crazy, while offering little or no nutritional benefits (and they don’t ease your hunger either). As always, run this by your doctor for specific advice before trying any advice here yourself.
- Beverages–In my opinion, water should be the beverage of choice when possible. Water has a whopping ZERO calories. So drink up friend! Plus people on the cholinergic urticaria forum also report how drinking lots of water helps. Sodas, fruit juices, coffee, lattes–and the like will pile the calories on. One can of soda has about 100-150 calories. That is a lot considering you can get 0 with water. Fruit juices can also have high calories from the added sugars–so watch out there. I am drinking 100% water for my beverages–with the exception of smoothies and shakes I have recently been making (but I count those as a snack meal, not a drink). One latte with eggnog at Starbucks is a whopping 475 calories–more than what I just had for lunch!
- Beer–Beer and alcoholic drinks have a LOT of calories (hence the “beer belly” phrase). If you sit down and drink a few beers every night, you are adding hundreds of calories on top of your normal diet. Yikes. You better watch this one. I don’t drink so this isn’t an issue for me, but in case anyone out there does, watch it.
- Cooking Oils–This was a “biggie” for me. I always thought that because I ate olive oil (reported one of the healthiest oils), that I was eating really well. I wasn’t. Truth of the matter is that while olive oil IS relatively healthy, it is also VERY high calorie. I am talking 120 calories for 1 tiny tbsp of olive oil. This was a big “aha” moment for me. Remember how I said that last summer my hives went crazy? Well, around this time, I began using olive oil for everything! I mean I would cook fried potatoes and salmon cakes in olive oil almost daily. I probably used 1 cup of the stuff per day. I was probably eating 400-700 of calories in olive oil alone. Yikes. So watch this when cooking meat on the stove, cooking brownies or snacks that call for shortening, and other things. I have basically eliminated olive oil (except for a bit here and there) due to its very high calorie content.
- Fast Food–Again, fast food places tend to use loads of oils in cooking their fries, meats, etc. This piles on the calories. I have researched a few fast food meals that I will eat. Taco bell’s crunchy tacos are only about 170 calories each (140 since I get no cheese)–not too bad. I eat tacos every once in a while, but other than this, I basically avoid fast food.
- Restaurants–Again, you can sometimes pick your own foods at restaurants, but people go to restaurants to get GOOD food. Since GOOD food often requires a lot of ingredients, this also translates to piles of calories. So eating out at restaurants will pile on the calories big time. In fact, do this: Next time you eat in a restaurant, see if there are more overweight people, or skinny people in there. I’ll bet you will see more overweight people. Eating out will not only cost more money, but it will add the pounds. Cooking at home is much better, and you can count your calories more efficiently.
- Condiments & Dressings–Again, ranch dressing, ketchup, bbq sauce, and all of these condiments add towards your calories. Some dressings are VERY high calorie (in the hundreds). So you need to watch these closely and reduce, eliminate, or switch to a lower calorie dressing.
- Processed Foods–Not all processed foods are high calorie, but you really have to read the labels. For example, cereals, snacks, cookies, potato chips, candy bars and all these things can sometimes be very high calorie. Start counting calories and separate the bad calorie foods from the good ones. You can still enjoy “high calorie” snacks so long as you don’t go over your calorie intake. But limit it as much as you can and opt for less calorie foods.
- Milk Products–Things like cheese and ice cream have a ton of calories in them. So each time you eat pizza, etc. you are guzzling down the calories. I can’t eat dairy products due to a slight allergy and intolerance. Also, you would be surprised how much you DON’T need milk. I make all kinds of things–brownies, pancakes, smoothies & shakes, and all sorts of things with NO MILK needed. I have nothing against milk (and it can be a good source of calcium and protein), but you really have to watch dairy products for the fat and calorie content.
- Peanut Butter— I’ve been eating peanut butter lately in a shake I have been making, 1 tbsp is about 200 calories. So this is a relatively high calorie food (considering my lunch is barely even that much!).
- Homemade snacks–Cookies, brownies, and so forth that you make from scratch can also contain a large number of calories. Make sure to add all ingredients and calories together so you can know exactly how much it will be.
- Gum, Mints, etc–Most mints, gums, and candy are relatively low calorie, but I wanted to include it on the list to stress just how you can get extra calories from places you would never really think about it. Even the smallest source of food, drink, or anything should be monitored for its calorie content.
Learning To Cut Troublesome Calories
As I said, when I realized how many calories I was eating of stuff I didn’t even care about (like olive oil), it was a wake-up call to really start eliminating “wasteful” calories from my diet. The first thing I cut out was soft drinks. I enjoyed drinking a Sierra Mist with my meal, but I realized I could do without it. I don’t even miss it now!
I then started to cut out pancakes. The problem with pancakes is that I would have to add oil to the pan to cook them so they didn’t stick. So this was basically adding an extra 120 calories or so for each pancake. I cut those out.
I then cut way back on all processed food that was high calorie. I started to slowly replace them with lower calorie foods and snacks. This was challenging at first, as I really had to search for a few low calories snack (I will post a few of these soon).
Example of Calorie Differences: Which Food Product Has the Most Calories??
Okay so check this out– I just now cooked lunch. I am going to post a picture of my lunch and show just how important it can be to monitor your calories and how deceptive calorie intake can get. Sorry for the slight blurriness–my digital camera wasn’t cooperating today. Here is a picture of my lunch:
Okay, so do you see the small tbsp measurement on the plate? If you filled up that small tbsp measuring cup 2 times with olive oil, that is about the same calories of the total food on this plate. The food on the plate is around 260 calories, while 2 tbsp of olive oil would be 240! Which would you rather waste 240 calories on–a couple tbsp of olive oil, or some cooked salmon with veggies? Yum.
As a matter of fact, my current calorie goal is about 1800 per day. So I could eat this exact meal almost 7 times per day and be shedding fat like crazy. Of course I don’t eat it that much (you should only eat salmon2-3 times per week due to mercury), but you get my point.
How was this meal 260? I put lemon juice on the salmon and veggies for flavor (0 calories), I put seasoning on it (0 calories), I put the same “secret seasoning” on my veggies for flavor, and also cooked my salmon in a way so to avoid excess oils and calories. This meal was DELICIOUS, healthy, and filled my stomach up.
In my next post I am making (right now), I am going to tell you about a product I just bought that my wife and I LOVE. It has helped me cut my calories, reduce cooking time, and more. After that post, I am going to mention a few low calorie snacks to try. I will also post some more nutrition info as soon as I can, and something else I have cut out 100%.
Read the Next Post for My Secret Low Calorie cooking method
This is yet another post in my recent series of posts how my cholinergic urticaria went from being very severe to tremendously better (basically gone now). If you have not yet read my previous posts, then I strongly urge you to read them first so you can know exactly how this has progressed: