Crash diets that promise you’ll lose 30 pounds in 30 days don’t work—drastically slashing calories can sabotage your efforts, ultimately stalling weight loss. “Your metabolism is going to slow down because it’s not getting the fuel it needs to burn calories efficiently,” says Lippert, who warns women not to go below 1,200 calories a day. Science agrees: Research shows that calorie-restriction plans often fail, with one-third to two-thirds of dieters regaining more weight than they lost on their diets.
You know what else fails? Calorie counting. Sure, it can ultimately whittle your waist—1 pound of weight is equivalent to 3,500 calories, so skimming 500 calories a day means about a pound a week—but number-crunching every meal is tedious and time-consuming and can take the joy out of eating. “If you get wrapped up in the numbers, it’s very hard to sustain long-term changes,” says Lippert. “Focus on eating whole foods instead and the calories will fall into place as they should.”
1. If you cut out your daily soda habit, you’ll lose 1 pound in a month.
One 12-ounce can of soda has 140 calories and a whopping 39 grams (15 teaspoons) of sugar.
CALORIES SAVED IN A MONTH: 4,200 calories
2. If you replace a glass of orange juice with an orange, you’ll lose a half a pound in a month.
Swapping the juice for whole fruit saves you 48 calories per day.
CALORIES SAVED IN A MONTH: 1,440 calories
3. If you skip your weekly ice cream binge, you’ll lose 1 pound in a month.
Polishing off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey is 1,200 calories a pop.
CALORIES SAVED IN A MONTH: 4,800 calories
4. If you skip the whipped cream on your Starbucks beverage, you’ll lose 1 pound in a month.
A Starbucks Grande Mocha Frappuccino is 280 calories, but add the whipped cream and it shoots up to 390 calories.
CALORIES SAVED IN A MONTH: 3,300 calories
5. If you cut back from two glasses of wine to one, you’ll lose 1 pound in a month.
You can still have your vino, just cap your Cab at one glass per day.
CALORIES SAVED IN A MONTH: 3,660 calories a month
6. If you go meatless for dinner on Monday, you’ll lose a half a pound in a month.
Swapping your usual steak and potatoes for a hefty Grilled Vegetable Stack sandwich saves you 423 calories.
CALORIES SAVED IN A MONTH: 1,692 calories
7. If you skip the bread basket, you’ll lose half a pound in a month.
Even just indulging once a week when you’re out to dinner can add up (three breadsticks = 420 calories).
CALORIES SAVED IN A MONTH: 1,680 calories
8. If you downsize your salad dressing, you’ll lose 1 pound in a month.
Yes to a daily salad, just trim the olive oil from 2 tablespoons to 1 tablespoon and you’ll cut 120 calories per day.
CALORIES SAVED IN A MONTH: 3,600 calories.
9. If you don’t get everything on your burrito, you’ll lose 1 1/2 pounds in a month.
Adding sour cream, cheese, and guac adds an extra 1,230 calories per burrito.
CALORIES SAVED IN A MONTH: 4,920 calories