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  • Writer's pictureVicky DeRosa

Small Changes for Big Weight Loss

Updated: Jun 2, 2019

Losing weight might be easier than you think.

Many of us go through life thinking that the key to weight loss is a specific diet plan. There are so many diets out there: low carb, low fat, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, Atkins, the list goes on and on. I would like to suggest small changes you simply may not have thought about. You see most of the time it is not about being on a diet. It is the small things we do, mostly as habits we don’t even think about, that are preventing us from real weight loss and long-term weight maintenance.

Just like everything else in life, it is our habits that form us. So before even going into great detail about the things we can change today, what I would like to suggest for you to do is just for the next three days keep a journal on everything you eat and drink. You see the reason why I’m suggesting this is that it seems like most people we work with are always shocked to find out how often they are consuming some form of sugar. They don’t even realize how many sodas they actually have a week, how much ketchup they consume, how much salad dressing they’re using. Did you know, friends, that some salads with the wrong type of salad dressings can be worse for you than a burger and fries? So for the next few days keep a notebook and pen with you and keep a journal of everything you eat. And I mean teaspoon for teaspoon.

Let’s look at some of the top offenders keeping you from losing weight.

Ease Up on the Squeeze

Using everyday condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, steak sauce, soy sauce, and dressings can sneak unwanted calories, sugars, processed salts, unhealthy fats, and/or chemicals into your food; all of which can inhibit your health and weight loss! In fact, take a look at some of the calorie, sodium, fat, and sugar content in JUST one tablespoon of these popular condiments:

  • Ketchup = 160mg sodium, 4g sugar

  • Barbecue sauce = 175mg sodium, 6g sugar

  • Soy sauce = 879mg sodium

  • Steak sauce = 280mg sodium

  • Mayonnaise = 94 calories, 10g fat

  • Ranch dressing = 73 calories, 164mg sodium, 8g fat

There are so many benefits to your health and waistline by switching to healthier alternatives. Let’s take a look at some options:

  • Using lemon, lime, and healthy oils as dressings are alkalizing to the body to offset the acidic foods you may be eating. I also find that when I use lemon and lime in my food, I have less of a craving for not-so-healthy foods such as dessert.

  • Rather than salt, using herbs and spices in your food can provide nutrients and benefits ranging from anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to helping to fight cancer and lower blood sugar! Additionally, herbs and spices provide so much fantastic flavor! I use tons of herbs and spices in my cooking and hardly ever use any salt. While unhealthy fats (such as partially hydrogenated oils) may increase your bad-cholesterol levels and risk for chronic diseases, healthy oils (such as extra virgin olive and coconut oils) can be very beneficial to your body and heart healthy!

  • Instead of soy sauce, try a product such as Bragg’s Liquid Aminos sauce for a similar taste without the preservatives. Dilute it to lower the sodium content!

  • Instead of ketchup, try salsa. However, maybe if you avoid ketchup it will help you avoid the fries and hot dogs that go with it

  • Instead of barbecue sauce, combine a bit of a healthy oil with garlic and spices such as paprika or chili power to help satisfy that BBQ craving.

  • Swap out mayo for a good quality mustard, home-made hummus, or avocado.

  • Instead of bottled salad dressing, try miing up a bit of healthy oil with garlic, lemon juice or mustard, and spices such as pepper and oregano. This one is huge. Many people don’t realize how much they’re taking away from that great healthy salad they’re about to eat when they douse it in unhealthy salad dressings.

Stop Drinking Pop

I hear a lot of people say, “I only have one soda a day.” Think about this for a second: 1 pound equals 3,500 calories. So let’s just say you decide to break that habit and give up the daily can of coke. Just that one change in your lifestyle would help you lose 1 pound per month. You might be thinking how could that be possible? Well, 1 can of soda has around 140 calories, and if you drink 1 a day that (140 x 30) 4,200 calories. That’s a bit more than a pound a month. Crazy, isn’t it?

Now imagine you are the type of person who drinks 2 or 3 cans of soda a day without even thinking about it – you could be packing on the weight in just soda. So remember that anyway you break it up whether it’s one a day or 3 or 4 or day – 25 cans of coke lead to one pound. So forego the soda pop and reach for a glass of water. Need a little flavor or carbonation? Pick up some seltzer and squeeze some lemon or lime in there. It’ll satisfy your need for taste and bubbles and keep you hydrated to boot! Think this sounds too simple to be true? I have helped many people drop pounds just by making this one small change. They were just as shocked as you are.

Fruit Juices

Quite frankly, drinking juice and offering it to your children as a healthy option, is not only a waste of time but also can be quite harmful. Don’t get me wrong, good fruit juices can be tracked down, but most mass produced juices are not as they seem. Lest you think I am being dramatic, allow me to clarify that what you think may be 100% pure natural fruit juice, just isn’t so. Many mass produced juices, most notably Tropicana, will go through a process which removes the oxygen from freshly squeezed juice allowing for the juice to be stored for long periods of time. This process by which many fruit juices are made usually means that all the “good stuff” is stripped away – flavor and nutritional value. Hence, vitamin and flavor packages must be added later.

Not so shocked yet?  Let me provide you with some fun facts. Are you aware that one glass of juice contains more calories and, tea spoon for tea spoon, equal amounts of sugar as a coke or soda drink? That’s right, you heard me correctly – that glass of apple juice that you may be offering your child on a daily basis has 165 calories and almost 10 teaspoons of sugar.  Wow!  Did you know that a soda drink (same size) has 150 calories and an equal amount of sugar?

So my friends, the next time you are at the supermarket do yourself and your family a favor: Keep on walking passed the juice aisle and stroll on to the FRUIT SECTION and spend your money on fresh fruit.

Skip the Dessert, Er, I Mean the Coffee

I love a good caramel macchiato just as much as the next girl. In fact, if you know me well, you know that I have a tremendous sweet tooth. Here’s the thing, though, you should avoid these drinks and anything other than black coffee like you avoid the plague. Why? The simple fact is you can make a stop at Starbucks or any other coffee joint, order a coffee with some whipped cream and added syrup, and you could be looking at packing on en extra 700 calories onto your day. That, my friends, is more than your dinner should be. Kind of funny, but when you look at it like that it makes you think twice about your coffee drink. Need a little caffeine? Stop and get some black coffee and add a little honey and sprinkle some cinnamon. It won’t be dessert but it’ll be a nice pick me up with some good flavor.

Limit Salad Toppings

I bet you thought you would never hear a health conscious person like me to tell you to step away from the salad bar. Maybe don’t step away but tread lightly. Your salad bowl begins with healthy options such as lettuce and greens – that’s great. Start to pack on veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers, - think low calorie here, my friends. If you have done what most people do and that is top your salad with things such as cheese, potato salad, macaroni salad, bacon, egg salad, and then finish it with some rich creamy dressing – are you ready for this – you could quite easily be looking at a thousand calorie salad. So remember good options at salad bars are greens, veggies, and maybe a little bit of fruit. Try to drizzle with a little vinegar and olive oil and it will drastically reduce the calories.

Milkshakes, I Mean Smoothies

You can’t imagine how many people have written to tell me that they have taken my advice on drinking a green smoothie once a day. They’re so excited about making this healthy choice that they send me their recipes. Can I just say that a green smoothie made with a little bit of spinach, tons of fruits and berries, almond milk, peanut butter, flax seeds, protein powder, oh yeah, and honey or maple syrup – that’s not a green smoothie. That’s a faux milkshake. Don’t fool yourselves. Don’t stop at the health food store around the corner and order a yummy drink that is filled with chocolate and protein powder and think you are getting a healthy low calorie smoothie. Don’t go to the gym, kill yourself for an hour at the gym burning calories, and then stop at the café on the way out and get a protein shake that might as well be dessert in a glass. I’m all for smoothies, but here’s a healthy drink – 80/20: 80% greens, 20% fruit. And yes a little fat is good too – so go ahead and add a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds. That’s a perfect health drink.

Start making these small changes today and see the huge difference they make. If you’re going to take my advice and journal for three days, feel free to submit it to me and I’ll be happy to make some healthy recommendations.

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