There’s no way around it; if you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. But, let’s be real—when you hear the term “calorie deficit,” what’s the first thing you’re likely to think of? Deprivation.
We have good news: it doesn’t have to be that way! You can burn more calories than you consume without overhauling your lifestyle or depriving yourself of the foods you love. In fact, with a few simple swaps and changes, you can create the calorie deficit you need to lose weight—without even noticing the changes.
But what, exactly, are those swaps?
In this article, we’ll cover small changes that you can incorporate into your diet and Aaptiv exercise routine that will help you create a calorie deficit with as little effort as possible.
Swap out flavored drinks for sparkling water
Calories from drinks can add up quickly. A 12-ounce can of Coke has 140 calories. A 16-ounce Snapple Lemon Iced Tea has 150 calories. A Starbucks Grande Vanilla Latte will set you back 250 calories. Even “sports drinks” like Gatorade are chock full of calories (a 20-ounce Gatorade Thirst Quencher contains 125 calories).
If you want a quick and easy way to create a calorie deficit, swap out your flavored drinks for sparkling water. The carbonation makes sparkling water a bit more exciting to drink than flat water—and if you want to jazz up the flavor (without the extra calories), just drop some fruit and herbs into the glass before you pour (mint and blueberry is a great combination!).
If you absolutely need your coffee fix, no worries—just keep your coffee order as simple as possible. A cup of black coffee is only two calories—and a tablespoon of coffee creamer will only add an additional 30 calories.
Swap your moderate pace cardio for HIIT
If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to get the most out of every work out. And while steady state cardio (for example, running at a moderate pace for 30 minutes) certainly has its benefits, calorie burn isn’t one of them.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) includes short, intense bursts of activity/exercises with recovery time in between. HIIT workouts are shorter than more traditional workouts, but you can burn more calories (and fat!) in less time; in fact, HIIT can burn as much as 30 percent more calories than other workouts.
If you’re trying to create a calorie deficit and lose weight, swapping out a few of your long walks or jogs with a HIIT workout each week can help you up your calorie burn—even though your total workout time may be shorter.
Swap your tried-and-true workout routine for something fresh and new
It doesn’t matter how effective a particular workout is. If you get bored with it, you’re not going to give it your all—and your calorie burn is going to plummet as a result.
If you’ve been stuck in a workout rut, switching things up can help reinvigorate your fitness routine—and help you burn more calories.
If you’ve been doing yoga for months, try a boxing class. If your go-to is the treadmill, try breaking a sweat on the stair climber. If you love running, try supplementing your runs with a yoga class.
The point is, adding new and different activities into your exercise routine can help keep you engaged with your workouts—and the more engaged you are with your workout, the more calories you’ll burn.
Add leafy greens to your meals
Technically, this isn’t a swap—but if you want to cut calories from your diet, a great way to do it Is by adding greens to your meals.
It may sound counterintuitive (“how is adding food going to create a calorie deficit in my diet?”), but adding leafy greens to your meals can help you lower your overall caloric intake. Leafy greens, like spinach and kale, pack a serious nutritional punch. They’re full of vitamins, minerals, and—most importantly—fiber. It takes your body longer to digest fiber, so leafy greens will keep you fuller, longer—and will help you curb snacking between meals. And because leafy greens are significantly lower in calories than most other foods (a cup of spinach only has seven calories), you can add them to every meal without seeing a noticeable difference in your daily calorie intake.
Bottom line? Leafy greens are low in calories and high in fiber—and adding them into your diet can help you avoid more high-calorie foods that won’t keep you satiated.
Get out there and swap your way to a calorie deficit
Creating a calorie deficit can feel overwhelming. But now that you know the right diet and exercise swaps to make, you’ll be able to burn more calories than you consume—without even noticing any major changes to your lifestyle.