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Readers Respond: How do You "Painlessly" Cut Calories from Your Diet?

Responses: 48


Updated June 16, 2009

The tricky part about cutting calories to lose weight is finding enjoyable foods that have fewer calories to replace higher-cal foods. This takes a lot of trial and error. How do you cut calories in your favorite meals? Do you know some tasty low-cal recipe substitutions? Or, have you found a lighter version of a food that tastes just as good as -- or better than -- its regular counterpart? Please share your favorite "painless" ways to cut calories.

Just started my diet

I started my diet by taking a look at how many calories I was taking in a day. And than I started to decrease them and eventually cut out over 1100 calories/day averaging at about 1400/day. I work out 3 days a week at the gym with 30 min cardio and 30 minute machines along with doing excercises 2 days a week at home. I have started my diet 3 weeks ago and so far have lost almost 10lbs. I just measure everything I eat and keep a log of everything I eat and total the calories for that day. I also keep track of my weightloss and workout routines so I switch them each time. The only thing I have to work on is finding foods that keep me full for periods of time cause I'm usually hungry about an hour after I eat a meal.
—Guest Monica

Lost 43 pounds

Do it the right way, healthy eating and exercise. There's no better way to lose weight than the good old way. Remember, it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle change. Once you lose the weight, you have to stick with it for the rest of your life or you'll just gain all of the weight back. Two years ago I got motivated to lose weight. I started eating healthy and exercising 30 minutes a day. I lost all my weight in about 6 months and now, almost 3 years later, it's all still off. That's because I continue to eat healthy and exercise. It has been a habit to me to eat healthy foods. Yes, once in a while I indulge but I have learned that I can't have sweets every day. I feel great about myself, the way my body looks, and best of all, I'm healthier than ever! Weight loss is difficult and maintaining the weight is also difficult. All I can say is, go for it. The end results will be fantastic, good luck to those who are trying to lose weight!
—Guest Ilovemycavalier


Run five minutes a day at first, and then gradually add the minutes, before you know it, it will be half an hour, and calories will be flying out of your stomach!
—Guest britney

Simple tips to weight loss

Eat your major carbs earlier in the day between 11 am and 1 pm. Snack healthy throughout the day. Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime and exercise 30-40 min. a day (power walking is the easiest way to lose the weight).
—Guest Lynette Tompkins


I have begun not a new diet, but a new lifestyle. This I believe is the best way to view fitness and nutrition. Most of the foods I eat are raw fruits and vegetables, that are tasty to eat and easy to put together for lunches. Yams wrapped in a wet paper towel and microwaved for 5 min are great! Green peppers, cauliflower, bananas, radishes, carrots, etc. are also good. Check the frozen foods section of the grocery store for bags of vegetables that you can throw in the microwave to steam -- very easy to cook and nutritious. Most importantly, I cook my own meals, and thus know exactly what is going into them and how to portion them to fit my ideal calorie intake. Since this is my new lifestyle, there will be no exceptions and no days off. The benefits will be leaps and bounds better than the cookies, ice cream and fried foods.
—Guest Dankdafied

Stay focused.

I know it's hard the whole weight-loss journey, but you have to remind yourself daily of why you're doing what you're doing. Always make sure, first and foremost, you're doing it for yourself. Look in the mirror often -- it helps to notice the small changes while staying focused on the big picture.
—Guest longtime coming

Have a salad with a side of dinner. . .

I started having a large salad for my meal and having a side of what ever high calorie entree I prepared for my family- spaghetti, or some nice fall casserole. Also, I plan to start some new tradition this holiday season in that, rather than making six different kinds of pie for Thanksgiving, We'll try one new dessert ( this year we'll do a pumkin cheesecake -- it is better than a slice of pumpkin, pecan, coconut cream, and bananna cream, with whipped cream. I've also started roasting our vegetables rather than boiling or sauteing. And I made up several dinners ahead of time and put them in the freezer, so we can have nutritious home made meals even when there is a time constraint.
—Guest Kell Kell

cut calories

When I go to a restaurant, I ask the waiter to put half of my order in a box to go before he brings me my meal...If it's not in my place, I woun't be tempted to eat it!!
—Guest Rocio


I have a terrible sweet tooth and always crave something sweet after I finish a meal. I keep a supply of Tootsie Pops on hand. They're only 60 calories each and by sucking on them you can make them last a long time. I only allow myself 1 a day but it usually takes care of the sweets craving after dinner.
—Guest Lynn

Frozen Grapes instead of M Ms

I like M&Ms, and frozen grapes are a great swap. I wash the grapes, then portion them off in baggies and freeze them. When I eat them, I let them get slushy, but don't let them thaw all the way (they get mushy if they completely thaw out). They're round pieces of sweetness like M&Ms, but unlike M&Ms, they're good for you.


Make your own dressing -- just stir together apple cider vinegar and soy sauce.
—Guest smile

Smaller more frequent meals

I've seen this mentioned already, but thought I'd say it again. The easiest way I've found to cut total caloric intake was to spread the food out to 5 small meals a day. You never get too hungry and, very soon, the size of you stomach shrinks making you feel full sooner. I've found I can actually cut back more than the recommended 500 calories per day for losing weight and never feel hungry. 30 down and 30 to go!
—Guest Steve

Easy to do

Water instead of soda and juice. I still have 1 glass of milk a day for calcium and protein and only drink juice to take my pills. Also watch your portions, just because you can fit half a bottle of juice into a cup/glass does not mean that is 1 serving. Take out a measuring glass and look at what "1 cup" actually looks like.
—Guest Kim

not willing to sacrifice

i love reading how everyone is losing weight-but personally i REFUSE to use artificial sweeteners and all that other "crap" to lose weight. I would rather have the extra calories and have "real food" even real sugar or chocolate vs the fake ones. I just started and it is amazing to see how many calories are in foods you would not think to count-like grapes and bananas!
—Guest tamika

Works for me!

Fresh foods. I quit drinking coffee and soda (for a variety of reasons, sugar being only one of many dietary concerns for me)- and 'replaced' my wake up routine with a brisk walk to a coffee shop a bit further away for a small soy chai latte. After that, it's water (and the occasional glass of wine) for the remainder of the day. For snacks, I keep a variety of berries in the fridge. Blueberries, cherries, raspberries, and even cherry tomatoes. Yumm! There are no chips in my house. At least one meal a day is prepared fresh (or leftovers from yesterday's makings)- Load on the asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, yellow squash, red belly peppers, tomatoes- add a dash of olive oil, no more then a pinch of salt, lots of pepper, garlic. Toss it around, and eat as much as you want. If you have a friend or partner you often indulge with, consider making a pact to only 'indulge' together- and even then, keep it to special occasions. Find people to be around who will support you. Hope this helps :)
—Guest Happily Lost

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