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When trying to overcome the challenge of weight loss, it’s easy to fall into a few common traps and be tricked into thinking it involves a lot more than it actually does. You might be spending numerous hours each week sweating in the gym thinking that will be the key. Or maybe you’re jumping on the newest and flashiest diet train, such as keto, hoping it will help you start shedding the pounds and keep them off permanently. The problem with these approaches is that when it comes down to it, they’re just not doable long-term.

Getting down to a healthy and sustainable weight doesn’t require drastic measures by any means. The most important factors are self-awareness and discipline. In most clients I work with, it only takes a little bit of cleaning up their diet and being smart when it comes to what I call calorie culprits, or foods that have a fair amount of hidden calories in them, to start making some great progress. Considering it takes a caloric deficit of roughly 3,500 calories to lose a pound of body fat, a safe and simple reduction of only 300-400 daily calories will start making an immediate positive impact.

 

Top 5 Calorie Culprits & Weight Loss Killers

Food Quality

Above anything else, pay attention to the quantity and quality of food you’re consuming. Your body doesn’t just need calories, it craves nutrients. This is why not long after plowing those potato chips you feel hungry again. You gave your body calories, but there was very little quality in them. Although many people looking to lose weight are consuming too many calories, a good amount actually don’t consume enough quality calories and it severely bogs down their metabolism, making them unable to let the weight go. Plain and simply, clean up the quality of food you’re eating and you’ll naturally find that sweet spot of how many calories you actually need by listening to your body’s hunger cues.

 

Healthy Items

Unfortunately, you might be one of many that is continually tricked by the marketing machine that the nutrition industry is into buying so called healthy foods thinking they will help you lose weight. Items listed as organic or non-GMO are marketed to shoppers as if they’re healthier, when if fact, they’re really no different when it comes to basic nutritional content. Other products such as granola and trail mixes are typically packed with added sugars that will make it pretty tough to move the scale.

 

Liquid Calories

Limiting calories in liquid form is one of the best places to start when pursuing weight loss. Fruit juices lack the fiber and nutrients one would get from the entire fruit and contain fast-digesting sugars that jack your body’s insulin up, turning off your body’s fat-burning mechanism. Sodas and sports drinks are loaded with cheap sugars or can contain unhealthy artificial sweeteners that can also wreak havoc on your body’s hormonal and metabolic systems.

 

Condiments

Small add-ons to your food selections can quickly up your calorie intake over the course of a day. Items like cheese, ketchup, butter, mayonnaise and salad dressing are very calorically dense. Putting one less tablespoon of mayonnaise and one less 1 oz slice of cheddar cheese on your sandwich, for example, eliminates over two-hundred calories alone. Since it’s only the taste of the condiment you really need, start your weight loss progress by just cutting back on the amount of the condiments you’re using. This can easily shave off a few hundred calories or more per day, which is a large percentage of a pretty typical diet requiring anywhere from 1600-2200 daily calories.

 

Alcohol

I’ll admit, it’s hard to beat a great margarita at a place like Vinyl Taco downtown, but between the high sugar levels and actual alcohol content, more than a cocktail or two is a recipe for disaster because of the slowdown of fat metabolism and the hormonal disruption it causes in your body. If you’re enjoying a couple drinks out on a local patio or at the lake, reach for low sugar or sugar free mixers like club soda, seltzer water or by using just a splash of fruit juice for a bit of flavor.

 

Looking for great taste without all the calories? Here are a few great options in the F-M area:

 

GP’s Greek Kitchen

2553 Kirsten Lane S

Fargo

 

Power Plate Meals

621 2nd Ave N

Fargo

 

1380 9th St E

West Fargo

 

Tropical Smoothie Café

1650 45th St S

Fargo

 

2424 13th Ave S

Fargo

 

Cracked Pepper

4955 17th Ave S

Fargo

 

Check out more of my Fargo Monthly articles!