Diet Tip: Hold the Cheese

I once read a post where the author had suggested the only way to succeed at weight loss was to make significant changes.  That small changes were not enough.  I suppose there are some circumstances where that may be true; like military boot camp.  But in almost all circumstances, it is probably far better to stack small good habits to get big results.  For example, as of the beginning of last year let's say you weighed 200 pounds.  Throughout the year you ate what you wanted without any meaningful exercise and you stayed roughly the same weight throughout the year.  Now imagine you made only one change: hold the cheese.  If you ate exactly the same types and quantity of foods as the year before excepting any cheese, how would you fare?  First, all of your sandwiches, hamburgers, and tacos would likely be 150 calories less.  Your spaghetti, cheesy eggs, and any other breakfast or dinner entree which normally has cheese would likely be 150 calories less too.  If twice daily you hold the cheese, your total daily calorie intake would be 300 calories less.  

According to Go Ask Alice, a Columbia University healthcare promotion website, it takes a 3,500 calorie deficit to lose one pound.  While in the real world there are a multitude of factors that influence weight loss beyond a simple 3,500 calories, at least having a place to start makes the discussion easier.  So, 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound.  Now that you are holding the cheese, you are eating 300 calories less per day.  Dividing 3,500 by 300, you will lose a pound approximately every 12 days.  Each month you could theoretically lose 2.5 pounds.  Over one year you would stand to lose 30 pounds.

The question is: how hard is it to hold the cheese?  I like cheese as much as the next guy but cheese rarely makes the meal.  I certainly love cheese while drinking wine.  But eating a hamburger sans the cheese isn't significantly less satisfying than a hamburger with cheese.  The same goes for a ham sandwich.  So if holding the cheese means losing 30 pounds a year, which would you rather have?  A thinner you or a little cheese?

The same principle of holding the cheese applies to anything else. Holding the sauce, limiting the salad dressing or choosing a lower calorie alternative, or subbing skinny buns for regular bread will all add up over time.  If you stack multiple practices together, imagine how many wasteful calories you can cut out of your diet without hardly trying.  So start today by holding the cheese and get ready for a thinner you tomorrow!