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Monday, November 11, 2013

Strategies for Saving and Managing Calories

One of the "cruel" realities of weight loss is that the less you weigh, the less calories you can consume to maintain or lose weight. I have lost 60 pounds and am working on losing 10 more. I am allotted 1,372 calories each day according to Lose It, a very cool free phone app. So, I have to manage those calories really well in order to feel satisfied and stay on track.

I came up with a couple strategies that are working quite nicely for me and hope they will help you too. Instead of topping my gluten-free waffles with syrup (a calorie bomb as 1/4 cup of regular pancake syrup has 187 calories!), I top them with cut-up fruit such as bananas or strawberries, both of which contain nutrients, vitamins, and far fewer calories than syrup. I do spread a little pat of butter on my waffle before topping with the sliced fruit.

Doesn't this look yummy?
Summer waffles!
 I find these so satisfying and filling! Less sugar, more fiber, a plus all the
way around!

I use this principle when eating cereal as well. Instead of adding sugar to my gluten-free Rice Krispies, I add cut-up fruit. I find that I don't need the sugar because the natural sweetness of the fruit is enough.

Another way to save on calories is to switch to unsweetened almond or coconut milk. A cup of unsweetened almond milk contains 30 calories and unsweetened coconut milk contains 45 calories. A cup of skim milk has about 90 calories, so do the math and see if you would rather save some calories while consuming the same volume of "milk".

I have celiac disease, cannot eat dairy, and cannot eat soy. This necessarily limits many food choices for me. Instead of feeling unhappy about this, I have discovered a benefit in that many of the vegan "dairy" alternatives are much lower in calories than their dairy counterparts. A slice of vegan cheese has 40 calories while a slice of dairy American cheese has 70 calories. So, even those of you who don't need to avoid dairy like I do may find a benefit in switching to vegan alternatives. I have found similar benefits in my gluten-free choices. ; )

Of course, not all the alternatives contain the same nutrients as their alter egos-they can contain more or less depending on the item. You need to make informed decisions for yourself. Because I have medical issues that preclude my consumption of gluten, dairy, and soy, I do take supplements to be sure that I get my needed nutrients.

Another HUGE help for me is measuring my food. I realized when I started my weight loss journey that part of my problem was consuming too great a volume of food. I was eating a dinner plate full of rice instead of a portion-way too many calories! Now, my measuring cups and spoons are my best friends. They help keep me on track and mindful of what I am eating.

Did you know 1 cup is a portion?

1 tablespoon = 30 calories of Coffeemate.

What do you do to manage your diet while losing or maintaining a weight loss?

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