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Positive Vs. Negative Calories – Five Easy Hacks to Eliminate 200-300 Calories Per Day from Your Diet

Bad habits can lead to weight gain
The first step to correcting a problem is to become aware of it.

One thing I’ve found to be true of nearly all dieters is that they consume an over-abundant amount of negative calories.

What Are Negative Calories? What are Positive Calories?

What are positive and negative calories? It’s nothing you’ll find in a research journal. In fact, there is nothing scientific about it at all. It’s something I made up, but it makes sense. It’s a matter of necessity vs. luxury. Decide for yourself.

Simply put, negative calories are habitual and often don’t add much to either the nutritional value, nor the taste of your food.  By addressing these negative, you can shave 200 to 300 calories per day from your daily intake of food. That can add up to 2100 calories per week. That is a whole day’s worth of eating. That adds up over months and years and a lifetime. This simple differentiation of what I call positive vs. negative calories, as you’ll read below, can be all that’s needed to maintain lifelong weight loss. And what is lifelong weight loss? It’s called lifestyle.

Examples of Positive and Negative Calories

I discuss positive vs negative calories in my book, HCG 2.0 - A Modern Adaptation of the Traditional HCG Diet. The difference is simple, the calories that provide you with sustenance (calories that have nutritional value) are positive calories. The calories that provide pleasure or taste are generally negative, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The goal is to find a balance, and I’m speaking here from a perspective of lifestyle, not the HCG 2.0 diet.

For example, you’re not going to order your pizza without cheese. That would be foolish. It's no longer a pizza. But by eliminating sausage/pepperoni from the pizza and replacing it with veggies will save you 100 calories per slice. Another example, do you really need to add a piece of cheese to your burger? A good burger is already quite delicious. Why add an additional 100-150 calories that are in a slice of cheese.

The burger is an example positive calorie. The burger is the meal. However, the cheese is a luxury item you can do without while making minuscule sacrifice to the meal. Would you prefer cheese on your burger? Sure. But will the burger be awful without it?

Can you see where I’m going with this? Humans are habitual creatures, all of us. Many of our eating habits are exactly that… habits. That means you can break them!  Even just tweaking them a bit can easily reduce your caloric intake by 200-300 calories per day. Reducing dairy is a great way to start. Unless you’re an infant, dairy can be completely eliminated from your diet - if you want it to be?  There are so many examples of this that it’s impossible to list them all. Examine your lifestyle and you’ll soon find them for yourself. Find that balance between necessity and luxury. But the problems won't fix themselves. The first step is recognizing them.

5 Easy Hacks to Eliminate 200-300 Calories Per Day

1. Just Because It’s Called Salad, Doesn’t Mean It’s Good for You

Just because you order the Cobb Salad for lunch, doesn’t mean you should expect your co-workers to high-five you. Sure, all vegetables are good, but if they’re accompanied by six different varieties of cheese, fried chicken strips and a half cup of Ranch Dressing, you might as well have ordered the cheese burger and chili fries like they did. The calorie count is identical. Be more sensible. A great way to do this is by substituting fries for the vegetable. Get the entree of your choice, in fact, go for the steak.

2. Stop Feeling Like You Have to Get Your Money’s Worth

I’m not going to lie, I’m guilty of this as well. I was raised very middle class, and when I go out to eat, I look for VALUE. I want to get what I pay for. I was also raised to clean my plate and NOT let anything go to waste.

calories and nutrition for HCG diet
Plenty of calories, but unfortunately not much nutrition here. There is a tiny bit of protein under the fried gristle, but not much.

However, the world, especially America, is a different place now than it was 40 years ago when I was in grammar school and being told to finish my plate. America is now a country that is eating itself to death. We are a nation that is ironically both obese and malnourished. How does this happen? It's called the Standard American Diet, appropriately accronym'd SAD. It is comprised of calorie dense and nutritionally poor processed garbage.

I digress. The point is, you don't eat every French fry in each heaping portion of food that you're given at the local Applebee's. In fact, go with the veggie and skip all the starches you possibly can, especially at restaurants.

3. Taste Is An Acquired Sense

The more you eat of something, the more you’ll like it and crave it. It’s time to start making this work for you, rather than against you. At one time, I hated olives. I began experimenting with different varieties. I found a few that I liked and that opened the door. Now there isn't an olive I don't like.

I could say the same for coffee, but in reverse. I used to drink my coffee with tons of heavy mild and sugar. I still indulge with mild, but I have completely eliminated sugar and/or sweeteners. The elimination of sugar from my coffee saves me 300-500 calories per week.

4. Eat Smarter - Make Food Science Work for You

Food science generally works against us, not for us. Food science is typically utilized by major food manufacturers to increase shelf life rather than nutritional content. The longer a food product can sit on a shelf, the more value it has to a supermarket. That’s why you’re told to shop the perimeters because that’s where all the fresh items are located.

However, on occasion, food science can work FOR you, rather than against you. A simple example of this is zero-calorie beverages. They're not ideal, but if it satisfies your sweet tooth, use them in moderation. Another great example of this are the Starkist Tuna Creation packages. I'm not sure if I would call that an example of food science, but it sure is convenient and tasty. You could also say that items like pre-made cauliflower crust pizza or gluten free noodles are examples of these new innovations that make it really easy to keep it low carb.

5. Allocate the Proper Budget to Eat Healthy - It's Worth It

Let's be honest, what else do you do 3 times per day EVERY single day of your life? Eating is ir, right? So when you go out, treat yourself. Reward yourself. You do this by spending a little extra money on the salmon or the steak. By treating yourself to a nice entree, it's easier to eliminate a heavy starch like a baked potato or french fries and replacing with a steamed or grilled vegetable.


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Thank you for the reminder that it is the little things that add up which can ruin progress!

Replying to

It's true. One thing I always say is that losing the weight is actually the easy part, but keeping the weight off is what is hard. It takes permanent lifestyle change. That's hard. But if you put in the time and learn to eat healthy (taste is an acquired sense), you won't have to count calories your whole life. Just learn to like eating the right stuff... vegetable, lean protein and stay away from processed carbs. Good luck, Scott!!

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