According to the American Dietetic Association, the difference between weight loss and weight gain can be as little as 100 calories a day. Most Americans suffer from 'weight creep' - those nagging pounds that creep on over the years - at an average of about 2 pounds per year. That's 20 pounds in ten years. 40 pounds in 20. Can you afford to weigh 40 pounds more than you do now in twenty years?
The difference could be as simple as cutting out 100 calories a day from your daily diet - or adding 100 calories a day to your daily routine - or a combination of both. How hard is it to cut 100 calories a day out of your diet? Take a look.
Are you a coffee lover? If you drink your coffee with whole milk, you can save 100 calories a day by drinking two cups with skim milk instead.
Do you drink non-diet soft drinks? One 16 ounce Pepsi is 250 calories. Skip one Pepsi a day and you'll be cutting out two and a half times the suggested calorie reduction.
Substitute a plain donut for a jelly donut. You'll cut out 120 calories. Think you're doing better by choosing the lighter croissant? Think again. A croissant has as many calories as a jelly donut - 289.
If you eat out at Mickey D's, skip the dressing on your salad, or you might as well have a burger. One packet of French dressing has 160 calories.
If you go out with the guys, drink one less beer. Each 12 oz beer, even a light brand, averages 100 calories.
Want to burn it up instead of avoiding it? Here's how much time you need to spend at various activities to burn 100 calories.
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Swimming energetically for just 15 minutes will burn 100 calories.
You can burn 100 calories for every hour that you do housework.
Only have ten minutes? Jump rope. At 700 calories per hour, you can burn up 100 calories in just 10 minutes!
Knit for an hour and fifteen minutes. At 85 calories an hour, it's not a major calorie burner, but if you combine that with the potato chips you can't munch while you're knitting you could be saving some substantial calories.
Stay late at the office for an extra forty - unless of course, you're missing your workout at the gym. An hour of office work burns about 140 calories.
Hop on the trampoline for fifteen minutes. Moderate aerobics exercise burns 400 calories an hour. Put on some music and dance on the tramp through four songs and you'll be doing great.
Go for a 10 minute walk - but aim for a brisk pace. Power walking burns 600 calories an hour. You can burn 100 in ten minutes.
Play a round of golf at the club. Half an hour of golfing - without a golf cart - burns 120 calories.
The beauty of it all is that you can build any of the suggestions above into your daily routine, and create a healthy habit that will keep off extra pounds and take off those that you want to lose now.