Whether it's no-fat, low-fat, carb-free or a celebrity-endorsed fad, dieting can be a demoralising business. If you've had enough of yo-yo dieting, take a look at these easy ways to cut calories every day.
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You are what you drink
You might have a fridge stocked with celery sticks and low-fat yoghurt, but all that abstinence will do you no good if you don't pay attention to the liquid calories you're inadvertently taking on board. The average can of cola, for instance, packs a 140-calorie punch, while fruit juices, smoothies and hot chocolates are also to blame for putting pounds on. Try diluting fruit juice with sparkling water, choose the skinny version of your favourite morning kickstart, or simply turn to herbal teas or good old H2O.
Watch the alcohol
And on the subject of liquid refreshment, have you added up how many calories you consume on a night out? Drink just one bottle of wine a week and you will be getting an extra 2,000 calories a month – that's the equivalent of 10 bags of crisps.
A medium glass (175ml) of dry white wine contains 130 calories. Order a large glass though, (250ml) and that goes up to 185 calories. Drink the entire bottle and you'll have consumed 555 calories. Mix wine with soda to cut down on the calories or have a diet soft drink in between the glasses of wine.
Be careful with condiments
It seems perfectly sensible to assume that a salad won't do your waistline any harm, right? Wrong. While the green stuff is fine, that tasty dressing contains a surprising number of calories. Dips, sauces and dressings could be undoing your hard work, so take a closer look at what added extras you're putting on the plate.
Spice up your life
If you're already missing your mayo, why not take a new and exciting approach to your meals? Adding herbs and spices to your home-cooked meals allows you to add real flavour without adding any calories. And the likes of chillis, ginger and cayenne pepper are thought to increase the metabolism, which might even give your weight loss plans an unexpected boost.
Try a dry fry
If you buy one weight loss gadget this year, make it a really good non-stick pan. Frying in even a little oil can seriously boost your daily calorie intake, with most containing roughly 120 per tablespoon. But with a decent non-stick pan, you can greatly reduce the need for oil when you're cooking, thereby cutting calories without compromising on taste.
Say no to TV dinners
Do you eat your meals in front of the box? Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests you could be piling on pounds as a result. The study found that eating while distracted often causes us to ignore our tummy's full-up signals so that we eat more than we need. So if you're keen to cut calories, ditch the sofa and take to the table for dinner.
Take it slow
These days it seems our lives are busier than ever, and rushing through lunch or dinner is the norm for many. However, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that you are full, so eat too quickly and you are almost certain to eat more than is necessary. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who chewed each mouthful 40 times reduced their calorie intake by 12 per cent compared to those who chomped just 15 times. While 40 might seem a step too far, the message is simple - take your time.
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Have you managed to lose weight without a fad diet? What are your top dieting tips? Leave your comments below...