It seems so innocent—a few extra bites of food here, a bit less exercise there—but little things can mean a lot when it comes to your weight.
Many Americans gain a pound or two each year, and some gain even more. Some researchers say that just a 100-calorie imbalance—that is, taking in just 100 calories more than are burned each day—may be responsible for the upward trend in the number of overweight Americans.
But there's good news, too. Correcting this imbalance by eating a bit less and moving a bit more helps halt unwanted weight gain. Researchers recommend two small changes daily: trim 100 calories from food and take an extra 2,000 steps (about one mile), which burns about 100 calories.
Below are some simple ways to cut and burn about 100 calories:
Cut about 100 calories from what you eat and drink:
Spread sandwiches with a tablespoon of mustard or fat-free mayo in place of the same amount of regular mayo.
Swap one cup of a regular soft drink for water or a diet soft drink.
Bite into a veggie burger instead of a beef burger.
Slice a typical piece of apple pie about one-third smaller.
Lick a kiddie-size or single-scoop cone instead of a double-scoop cone.
Switch from two tablespoons of regular blue cheese dressing to the same amount of the reduced-calorie version.
Add ¼-cup less shredded cheddar cheese to your omelet.
Portion out one serving of chips or pretzels instead of munching two or more servings straight from the bag.
Drink two cups of fat-free milk instead of two cups of whole milk.
Share a small bag of fries with a friend.
Spread one less tablespoon of peanut butter on your sandwich.
Munch a medium apple instead of a big chocolate chip cookie.
Satisfy your chocolate craving with a "fun size" bar instead of a full-size bar.
Choose a cup of fat-free yogurt made with low-calorie sweetener instead of a cup of "fruit-on-the-bottom" low-fat yogurt.
Ladle out a bowl of broth-based veggie soup instead of a higher fat cream-based variety.
Eat an open-faced sandwich, eliminating one slice of bread.
Use a 6-inch fajita size flour tortilla in place of the 10-inch burrito size ones for quesadillas.
Burn about 100 calories with these activities*:
Do some mild stretching for 34 minutes.
Grab a partner and waltz for 28 minutes.
Clean the house for 25 minutes.
Take the dog (or just yourself) for a brisk 22-minute walk (3.5 mph).
Play golf for 19 minutes, walking the course and carrying your clubs.
Dig and weed in the garden for 18 minutes.
Ice skate for 15 minutes.
Shovel snow for 14 minutes.
Swim laps for 12 minutes.
Cross-country ski for 12 minutes.
Run for 10 minutes (5 mph).
Play singles tennis for 10 minutes.
*Based on a 150-pound person.