Let’s talk calories. They are a hot topic when it comes to weight loss. And, there is so much confusion around how many calories you really should be eating to successfully lose weight. But, here’s the thing. Not all calories are created equal, and cutting calories without starving yourself is not only possible, but the only way to really make a healthy weight loss diet sustainable.
Read on to learn about how to cut calories (the healthy way), and how to to do so without feeling totally deprived.
What You Need to Know About How to Cut Calories The Healthy Way
First, we need to talk about some basics here. When it comes to cutting calories, you definitely don’t want to reduce them too much. You certainly don’t want to follow a diet that recommends drastic calorie restriction, as not eating enough can actually trick your body into thinking you’re in a state of starvation. And, when this happens, your body won’t let go of fat. In fact, you may hold onto fat, and start to lose muscle. Yup, not exactly what you want when trying to lose weight or boost your fitness results.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to make sure you are eating enough calories to support every body processes, because yes, even just eating, breathing, and going about our day to day life requires calories. Here’s a good chart put out by health.gov that breaks down the minimum amount of calories you need per day. Ideally, do not go below this, and definitely, don’t follow any diet that suggests you should! Going too low will only have a negative effect on your health and metabolism.
Note: How many calories you require will depend on factors like age and activity level. There is no one size fits all!
And, just a quick note here. The more you focus on whole foods and clean eating, the less you’ll have to obsess over calories. Why? Because when you nourish your body properly, you’ll feel nourished, satisfied, and less likely to overeat.
Ok, so now onto the information you really want to know. Here are five hacks to cutting calories without starving yourself or feeling totally deprived.
Our Favorite 5 Hacks For Cutting Calories Without Starving Yourself
#1 Cut Out the Junk First
One of the very first tips to cutting calories without starving yourself starts with getting rid of all the junk. Start clearing out all the foods that your body doesn’t need (aka pastries, white bread, sugary beverages). These aren’t going to provide your body with any nutritional benefit, so your body isn’t going to miss these things! Start by removing one junk food item from your diet at a time until you are eating primarily whole foods. Read on to find out what to eat instead of these sugary foods.
#2 Eat Veggies & Low Sugar Fruits Instead
As you’re clearing all the junk out of your diet, fill in those gaps with some nutritious veggies and low sugar fruits. Choose to snack on a bowl of berries instead of that brownie or cookie when craving something sweet. Slice up a cucumber and enjoy that when you’re craving something more savory. Not only are these plant-based nutrient-rich superfoods better for you, but they are also way lower in calories than having a processed cheeseburger or a toaster pastry for breakfast.
#3 Focus on Fats
While fats often get bad press for making us “fat,” when you choose healthy fats, this actually isn’t the case at all. And, heads up-our brain is made up of nearly 60% fat, so we literally need fat for our brains to function. And, not only that, but fats are satiating, so adding a little sliced avocado, or a handful of nuts to your snack or salad, will help keep you full much longer and may make it less likely that you’ll overeat. So, go ahead and eat all the healthy fats, because eating them may actually make it easier for you to reach your weight loss goals. Want more info on eating fat to lose fat? We have all the deets covered here.
#4 Get Enough Protein
Just like getting enough fat in your diet, making sure you are getting enough protein is also key to cutting calories without staving yourself. When you focus on getting plenty of clean protein in your diet, you may find that you feel more satisfied after a meal. Studies show that protein makes us feel full, plus it may also help reduce appetite. So, it’s a win, win when you are trying to cut those cals. Focus on getting some protein into each meal (think poultry, eggs, lentils, beans, tofu, or tempeh). Protein + healthy fat equals the perf combo to help you feel full, while also helping you eat less in one sitting. Hello calorie cutting success!
#5 Use a Bento Box
You know those cute little bento boxes you may already be using to pack your kiddos lunch? Well, these same lunch boxes may be a really easy way to cut calories without depriving yourself. We like this bento box, because it’s stainless steel (no yucky plastic BPA exposure), and it provides a visual guide when it comes to preparing your meals and portion sizes. Try adding your protein like a chicken breast in the large section, add a healthy fat like olives of some sliced avocado in one of the small areas, and a complex carb in the other. Something like almond flour crackers with some organic sliced cheese or fresh berries works well!
Portioning your meals out in a bento box will help you stick to reasonable portion sizes, so you are less likely to overdo your calories. Viola, there you have just one more easy way to cut calories without starving yourself or feeling deprived.
Cutting Calories Without Starving Yourself is Easier Than You Think
While cutting calories may seem like a daunting task, with these five hacks, you can totally cut calories without starving yourself. So, if you are in the process of trying to find ways to lower your total calorie intake (and want to do so the healthy way), follow these tips. Not only will they help you eat less, but they will help you eat healthier. Win, win!