Food & Fitness

Operation Lose Five Pounds: Painless Tips

It’s all across the media: losing just a little bit of weight can significantly boost our immune systems. How’s that for motivation to tackle five or ten pounds?! Thinking about it as “weight loss”, however, can be overwhelming and make it seem like a chore. There are many simple ways to contribute to a healthy, gradual weight loss without even noticing the difference. Here are some of my favourites:

– Exchange the tablespoon or teaspoon of oil for a spritz of oil from a “Misto” canister. Misto’s are basically a spray bottle but it is specifically designed for oil. You can fill yours up with your favourite kind of oil (mine contains extra virgin olive oil), and use it as a replacement for Pam (which has unhealthy chemicals in it) or for any time when you would normally use a dollop of oil or butter. I have never come across a recipe in which I couldn’t use my Misto when it came to using a frying pan. I use the Misto for cooking eggs, sauteeing garlic, and for “greasing” any kind of pan. There have been times when a recipe would call for 2 tbsp of oil and I would instead use a quick spray of my Misto; the recipe still turned out perfect. A tiny bit of fat goes a long way in cooking; you do not need to use piles of it for either the cooking process or the flavour in most recipes (some recipes do require those fats to give big flavour to the dish- but if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s probably a good idea to stay away from those kinds of recipes ;)).

– Make scrambled egg whites instead of using whole eggs. I adore eggs and I think they are one of the most powerful foods, nutritionally speaking. Whole eggs have an abundance of nutrients and the perfect ratio of protein to fat. Egg whites do not have nearly the same amount of nutrients as whole eggs, but they are very high in protein and they are very low in calories. I don’t recommend eliminating whole eggs from your diet altogether, but using egg whites instead of the whole egg for about half the time that you eat eggs will be beneficial. Don’t throw out the yolks! Either save the egg yolks to use in another recipe, or else buy cartons of Simply Egg Whites (check the ingredient list: the only ingredient should be “egg whites”) and use that as your egg replacement. I always have whole eggs and a carton of Simply Egg Whites in my fridge. I am not a fan of Egg Beaters because they add all kinds of other ingredients to the egg whites. It’s healthier to get the Simply Egg Whites and add whatever you like to it at home. I really like just sprinkling my egg whites with freshly ground black pepper and some crushed red pepper flakes, but you can add any seasonings you like, or Laughing Cow Cheese, etc.

– Cut portions in half. I buy my bread from local bakeries, so the bread tastes fantastic but the slices are also unnecessarily thick. I recently discovered that one slice of their bread can be anywhere from 110 to 140 calories- eep! If I want to have peanut butter and jam on toast, one slice alone could easily be about 200 calories. Cut the slice of bread in half before you toast it; put the other half of the slice back in the bag and save it for later. Alternatively, you could toast the whole slice and cut it in half after it’s been toasted; use the extra half to make bread crumbs or croutons. Sometimes I find that I can’t decide between savoury and sweet, and I want both eggs on toast and peanut butter/jam on toast, so cutting the toast in half is the perfect option in this situation. I can have my egg on one half and my nut butter on the other!

– Set out everything the night before. A major part of losing (or maintaining!) weight is to plan. When I decide the night before what breakfast I will have, I can set out the ingredients so that it’s all ready to go first thing. If I’m having a green breakfast shake, I can even make it the night before so that it’s in the fridge when I stumble into the kitchen at 6am. Another option is to simply have a couple of choices for breakfast ready: sometimes I wake up wanting something savoury after I already “decided” I would have fruit, for example. But if you have a “backup” breakfast plan ready, you won’t have to try to figure out the next healthy choice. It’s already been figured out for you the night before and you’re all set! The same applies to exercise: lay out your yoga mat and a set of dumbbells on the floor before you go to bed, and you won’t be able to avoid it in the morning. Especially if you put them right in the centre of your house where you’re liable to trip over them if you don’t pick them up and pump out a few reps. Thank you, natural clumsiness, for making me do my workout in the a.m.

– Go for protein. It will fill you up. Deal with it (that’s what I have to tell myself every time I want bread and Earth Balance :)). I still think it’s super important to have a good balance of carbs/fats/proteins, but having a slightly higher ratio of proteins to carbs/fats is a good idea when the focus is healthy weight loss. There are many vegan sources of protein, but I find that some animal products- such as eggs and egg whites- really do the trick to keep me satiated, so it might actually be easier (for some of us!) to lose weight by eating animal products rather than focusing on a mostly-vegan diet.

Those are some of my favourite tips, which I’m trying to employ! Check out my food diary if you’re interested in seeing what my daily eats are like (I’m posting less these days, but you can still check out the archives). What are some of your healthy ways to (painlessly ;)) lose weight? I need all the help I can get!


  1. Diane Fit to the Finish

    These are excellent tips! One thing besides all your great food tips is to ramp up your exercise a bit. If my weight creeps up a few pounds then instead of just walking fast for 30 minutes, I’ll do 40 minutes.

    Your food tips are spot on. One thing I do is try and wait before I have a snack. I’ll drink a cup of hot tea and see if I really “need” that snack or not.

  2. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    All excellent tips, Sagan!

    I’ve found that by spritzing oil when I can, I don’t feel guilty or regretful at all when I do use the recipe amounts, if needed. Save a little, spend a little.. πŸ™‚

    And I just can’t embrace the egg whites, as much as I’d like to. Miz suggested adding them to smoothies, so I may try that route. I’d love the added protein.

  3. Holly

    Love the tips, especially about setting out food the night before and including lots of protein! I can definitely tell when I haven’t had as much protein – I get snackier for sure, and usually crave more carbs than normal.

    One great tip I love is to drink a LOT of water. It helps me not only feel full, but I just feel SO much more energized and refreshed when I do!

  4. Sagan Morrow

    Diane- A little bit of extra exercise is always beneficial!

    Cammy- Good point. Makes it easier to go out to eat or to eat food cooked by other people if you’re more diligent on the home front!

    Holly- Absolutely. Water is super important.

  5. Dr. J

    I’m with Diane as to just adding a little more walking every day. Good for the body and mind.

    The easiest, least painful way to be in shape is to stay in shape. The fact that you are immediately paying attention to a small weight gain shows you are wise.

  6. Geosomin

    Hmmm…I’ll have to look up one of those mistos. I don’t use PAM because of all the junk in it, but a mister I could put olive or grapeseed oil into would be great.
    When it is nice out (like now…finally) I walk or bike to work whenever possible. It really brightens my day and I don’t have to leave any later than I would if was taking the bus. Instant extra exercise in my day πŸ™‚

    I find the simplest way for me to eat better is have veggies there, cut up and clean in my fridge staring at me when I open it…I’m more likely to nibble on carrots and snack peas than crackers and hummus or cream cheese. That’s the hardest thing for me…mindless snacking. I’m starting to learn that if I’m hungry half an hour later I eat…I ate the wrong thing. I try and change how I eat…and not end up snacking my day away πŸ™‚

  7. charlotte

    Love these tips and heaven knows I need them right now! For me it’s really about portion control. I eat really healthy but I can totally overeat – esp. on things like nut butters. 1 Tbsp goes down SO FAST! Love your planning tip – that’s key for me too.

  8. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman

    I’m with you on prepping the night before. I don’t want to know what I’d eat for lunch if I had to decide that day. I prep my breakfast (oatmeal to make at work) and make my lunch all the night before. Because mornings are pretty rushed for me, I just have to grab everything out of the fridge and go.

  9. Andrea@WellnessNotes

    Love your tips! A misto is on my “must get” list! And since I’m paying more attention to protein, I’m staying full much longer.

    My weight loss tips? Sneak in as much exercise throughout the day as you can. As others mentioned, walk as much as you can. Also, there is always time to squeeze in a few sets of push ups, squats and some crunches. Doing them several times throughout the day really adds up.

  10. Sagan Morrow

    Dr. J- “The easiest, least painful way to be in shape is to stay in shape.” So very true! Now if only I could really get these pounds OFF… they’re being stubborn πŸ™‚

    Geosomin- I use my Misto anytime that Pam would be used. It’s a perfect replacement. I love your thoughts on how if you’re hungry half an hour after you’ve eaten, you know you’ve eaten the wrong thing… that’s an interesting way to look at it. And it’s so true! I tend to still have the munchies or be hungry if I have too much of the grainy carbs (particularly if I don’t combine them with some kind of protein).

    Charlotte- ONE tbsp? How about THREE? πŸ˜€ Yeah, nut butter packs a lot of nutrition into one serving… very challenging to not have too much of it.

    Tracey- It’s so nice to be able to just grab everything and run out the door. If breakfast and lunch are already made, it’s one less thing to stress over, AND we can be confident that we’ll be eating healthy the following day!

    Andrea- Definitely get the misto; it’s got to be one of the cheapest “gadgets” out there and it is SO useful. The great thing about push ups, squats, and crunches are that you can do them just about anywhere!

  11. Andrea @

    Love the tips. I’m so in awe of your views about moderation and a healthy way to cut back on food. It’s so easy to go into an all or nothing, drastic sense when it comes to losing weight- but you really seem to have a balanced approach!

    I think that you’re so right, esp with the misto for oil. I think that’s an area where people definitely underestimate the caloric density of a little spot of olive oil. And I love the advice to prep and plan ahead with meals so they’re ready when you are. Great advice here!!

  12. Reeni

    Great tips! I love eggs! Whole eggs. I am going to look for the egg whites and start cutting out some of the fat that way. And I love olive oil – I use it generously – will try the misto.

  13. Walter

    I have been on a healthy diet lately. From what I have learned, it is best to stay away from processed foods because they contain lots of sodium of trans fats. I also discovered that certain foods can counter those stubborn fats like broccoli, green tea and extra virgin olive oil. It really feels good eating natural stuff. πŸ™‚

  14. Sagan Morrow

    Andrea- Much as I adore my nutrition challenges, I don’t want to be that extreme when it comes to loss… I’d rather be able to enjoy myself and then MAINTAIN the loss over the long term!

    Reeni- It’s easy to cut back on the added fats without ANY change in flavour. In my opinion it’s WAY better when the food doesn’t glisten with oil! Love the misto.

    Walter- Real food is definitely the way to go- you’re all set when it’s homemade.

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