8 Ways to Cut Out the Extras

Woman measuring her waist.

Losing weight is not easy, and it gets infinitely more difficult around the holiday season. In the past, you have probably tried diet after diet that may have worked in the beginning but then you stray a little bit and the pounds start creeping back up. Why does it always seem to much harder to lose than the time before? Believe me, I have seen this with many of the clients I work with.


When I have clients track what they are eating, some of them tend to forget to write the “extras” down. What do I mean by “extras?”  These are the little things that you just may not even think about like finishing your kid’s dinner or tasting food while you are cooking…it’s all extra calories in. An extra 100-200 calories a day can add up to a 10-20 pound weight gain in one year! In order to avoid those extra pounds and actually lose them, here are 8 quick tips or changes you can make to cut 100-200 calories out of your daily routine!


  • Control olive oil use during cooking: Many people do not measure olive oil when they are cooking and 1 Tbsp. has 120 calories. Be sure to measure it out or use only enough to coat the pan. Alternatively, you can use chicken broth or nonstick cooking spray on a nonstick pan to save even more calories.
  • Cut regular soda consumption in half (or cut it out): This is usually one of the first things I have people cut. By cutting 1-2 regular sodas out of your diet and sticking to zero calorie beverages or water, you can easily save 100-200 or more calories.
  • Re-evaluate coffee choices: While black coffee is low in calories, flavored creamers and syrups are not. Try using zero calorie sweeteners and low fat milk to save calories.
  • Portion control: The average plate size has increased 36% since the 1960’s and today many people determine where they will eat out based on how much food they can get for a low price. Even though you may think you’re getting one serving, it’s likely much more. Many people do not realize that a bakery shop sized bagel is actually 4 grain “servings.”
  • Push the bread bowl away: Either don’t touch it or stop at one piece so that you’ll have room for your main meal. Don’t arrive at the restaurant so ravenously hungry that you attack the bread and down 2-3 rolls!
  • Dressings/sauces: These can easily add up so ordering dressings on the side can help you save 100-200 calories. Also choose the light or fat free option over creamy dressings for a lower calorie choice.
  • Substitute sides: Instead of French fries or onion rings choose steamed veggies or a side salad. You will not only save over 100-200 calories, but you will get the fiber from the more nutritious choices which will help fill you up, eat less, and help with digestion.
  • Drink Alcohol in moderation: Going out to eat with family, friends, or for business can lead to 2 or more drinks in one night. A 5-oz glass of wine or a light beer is right around 100-120 calories. By just cutting down by 1-2 in one night can save you 100-200 calories–not to mention reduce your risk of cancer by following the moderation principle instead of overindulging.


Watching the “extras” could be your ticket to losing those last few stubborn pounds!

Tara Collingwood
Tara is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness, and health promotion and is quoted in a variety of media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

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