Tricks to cutting your calories

I think we all understand the losing weight, maintaining our weight is not always an easy task.  Being in thehealth and fitness industry for a while now and accomplishing my own weight loss after having my first daughter I have learnt a number of tricks of the trade and want to share a few with you that have worked for me and studies have brought it to our attention.  Some may work for you and some may not but anything is worth a try and it is better than turning to shakes, diets and skipping meals.

You will note with some of these tips I have referred you to various resources. Some of these studies have been conducted on small groups and from my teachings an extremely valid source is approximately 400 people or more. So we sometimes have to be sceptical about what we read and take in other factors that may have contributed to these results.  Also, some are observational studies and therefore need further studies.  However, I have lead you to articles of some validity and not wikepedia, so with that in mind I will let you be the judge if these tips may work for you personally.

So have a read of the following and if you have any further questions please do not hesitate in contacting me at  If you have a tip you would like to share that has worked for you, whether it be included below or something I haven’t mentioned, please also feel free to send through.

Choose Low GI foods – You may have heard of the glycaemic index (or GI containing foods). These are carbohydrate-foods based on their effect on blood sugar levels over time (approx. 2hrs) Carbohydrate-containing foods are compared with glucose or white bread as a reference food, which is given a GI score of 100. The GI compares foods that have the same amount of carbohydrate, gram for gram. Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion have a higher glycaemic index (GI more than 70). These high GI carbohydrates release their glucose into the blood quickly, such as a baked potato, leaving you feel hungry again quite quickly after consuming them. The carbohydrate foods that slowly release glucose into the bloodstream, such as oats are referred ti as having a low glycaemic indexes (GI less than 55). These foods release glucose into the blood stream slower and flatter, lengthening digestion and helping you feel fuller for longer.

You don’t have to start following a complete low GI diet but including some of these foods in your diet or substituting these for others ie. swap white bread for grainy bread. This will help you feeling fuller for longer and stop you reaching for the cookie jar for 3pm cravings.

Some examples of the GI rating of various carbohydrates include:

  • low GI (less than 55) – soy products, beans, fruit, milk, pasta, grainy bread, porridge and lentils
  • medium GI (55 to 70) – orange juice, honey, basmati rice and wholemeal bread
  • high GI (greater than 70) – potatoes, white bread and short-grain rice.

 Chew Gum – Studies have found that the act of simply chewing gum can increase energy expenditure while reducing your calorie consumption.  Why? The nerves and muscles that control the jaw are stirred when making the chewing action and they send signals to the brain that make you think you are full.

Eat an apple before lunch (15% less food at lunch) – An apple consumed before a meal has been shown to reduce hunger, therefore reducing calorie intake while increasing fibre intake. Studies have shown that consuming an apple (or similar low GI fruit – see above) at the beginning of a meal provides a feeling of satisfaction and therefore resulting in less interested in over consumption of food.

Mindful eating – This relates to basically keeping a food diary! Studies have shown that those that record their intake are more likely to be successful at reaching their weight loss goals as being mindful about what you eat can result in fewer calories consumed.  Ever think twice about that piece of chocolate cake when you know you physically have to write it down on a piece of paper? This can also apply to those that aim to bulk up, by recording your information you should see the results you are after.

Don’t do food shopping when hungry – According to this study, shopping on an empty stomach can lead to you purchasing high calorie foods as these become more appealing. Also the time of day has an impact on purchasing high calorie foods also. Purchases between 4 and 7 were more likely to result in high calorie foods than between 1 and 4 when you are more likely still be hungry from lunch.

Eat breakfast – Observational studies have demonstrated that those that eat breakfast are likely to eat a healthier diet overall. Skipping this meal leads to you feeling hungry throughout the day leading to poorer food choices.  This may totally contradict what I just said but also may be worth a read for an alternative view.

Portion Sizes – An oldie but a goodie. When eating out we usually receive a huge quantity of food that we just don’t need.  Start observing or teaching yourself about size equivalents – for instance, next time you make your breakfast pull out a measuring cup and see how much you are having in the morning, if too much pull it back.  Gives you an idea in the future of the quantities you are eating.  Use smaller plates, bowls and cups. It tricks your brain into thinking you are eating the same amount as you would on a bigger plate.

Sniff peppermint tea – A study has found that sniffing peppermint tea may suppress eating.  Subjects were found to have eaten fewer calories on the days they were asked to sniff peppermint tea compared to the placebo they were given.    Lots of herbal teas may also do the trick, just drinking some herbal tea rather than reaching for the cookie jar of an afternoon may reduce the calories you may have otherwise eaten.

Have Protein at Every Meal and Snack – Ensuring you include a source of lean/low-fat protein to each meal/snack will assist in keeping you feel full for longer.  Adding a low-fat yogurt, handful of nuts, peanut butter to some grain bread, eggs, beans, or lean meats are great ways to incorporate these foods. It is also recommended that you eat small, frequent meals/d snacks (every 3-4 hours), to keep your blood sugar levels stable and to avoid overeating.

Modify food/choose alternatives to reduce calories – Use oil instead of butter, caster sugar instead of brown sugar. Have 1 sugar instead of 2 or none in your coffee or tea, when heading to the movies take your own food – for instance pop your own healthier popcorn, choose the mini muffin instead of the huge one, check labels for reduced sugar, salt and fat alternatives.  The modifications and alternatives are endless. This link gives you a great idea how you can modify recipes

Cut the fat – Fat and alcohol for that matter have 9 calories per gram whereas carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per grams. So an easy explanation as to why we should reduce our fat and alcohol content.

Eat before you head out – Ensuring you eat a meal or snack before heading out to a party is a great idea to make sure you don’t overeat or perhaps even snack on food you really don’t want. Heading to a stand up finger food party? Always good to eat a proper meal beforehand, you are less likely to indulge in high calorie food because they are so moreish or you are likely not to feel like it at all. Always good to have  a glass of water or soda water in the hand too so you don’t feel like you always have to have food in your hand.

Focus on who you are with and not the food – Focus on the people you are catching up with and you are more likely to eat a lot slower and not as much.

Brush your teeth after your dinner meal – A good habit to get into to stop you for snacking throughout the meal. Not only does it benefit your teeth from the days meals but who really wants to eat something after they have brushed their teeth, just doesn’t taste as good does it?

No snacks after X time? – It is worth establishing a time that you will stop eating of an evening to curb the late-night munchies or simple mindless snacking while engrossed in your favourite tv show – we have all done it! Have a cup of tea, a couple of squares of dark chocolate f you want something sweet after dinner and then do the above – brush your teeth.

Choose Liquid Calories Wisely – Watch for sweetened drinks as these are latent with sugar and help you accumulate calories.  When thirsty opt for water, sparkling/soda water and add some citrus for flavour if you like, low-fat milk, or small portions of 100% fruit juice. Be careful of alcohol calories, which add up quickly also. If you tend to drink a glass or two of wine/beer on most days, limiting alcohol to the weekends can be a huge calorie saver.

Indulge occasionally – A recent study has demonstrated that those people that indulge or have a cheat meal on weekends are more likely to reach their weight loss goals as long term habits are more likely to have an impact that short term ones.  Planning your indulgence can also help, it can be seen as some type of ‘reward’ and keep you on track throughout the week.

Leave time before seconds – Give your body to digest what you have eaten before heading up for seconds. Give yourself approximately 20 minutes and even grab a drink of water before you head up and grab some more, and most of the time you will find you are not really hungry anymore and if you haven’t already you can start packing the leftovers away for lunch the next day.

Create leftovers before eating – This will reduce the amount you have or eliminate the habit to go back for seconds.

Be aware of condiments and dressings – When making dinner or out for a meal, ask for dressing on the sides, that way you don’t receive a meal that is swimming in dressing. Choose low fat varieties when making choices.  And always check the labels as per previous

Learn to say NO – Simply learn to say no to things that you know will compromise your hard work. It is not an easy thing to do at first, but once you start doing it and start considering the effort it took to get up at 6am this morning and run those Anderson St hills, it starts to get much easier.

 Again for further information or questions contact me at


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