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The good news is reaching that goal is easier than many weight-loss newbies think, provided you build that daily calorie deficit by working with (not against!) your personality. Take our simple quiz to identify your weight-loss personality, and try our tips for kick-starting your daily calorie deficit. Once you see how easy it is, you'll be motivated to find new ways to keep your routine fresh – and say buh-bye to a pound of flab each week.
Keep in mind that, over time, your body may acclimatize to your new fitness routine. To keep results coming once you hit a weight-loss plateau, consult with a registered dietitian and/or personal trainer.
1. Your typical workday lunch is:
A. Packed and sitting in the fridge, ready to go, the night before.
B. Something yummy from a restaurant near your office.
C. Whatever's on special at the office cafeteria.
D. A spur-of-the-moment choice. Could be from the cafeteria, a local restaurant, home-packed leftovers or a frozen-dinner entrée you impulse-bought while grocery shopping.
2. It's Wednesday and you and your hubby have a date night this Saturday. That means:
A. You've lined up dinner reservations, bought movie/theatre/concert tickets, and know what book you'll be buying when you're killing the last half hour before you have to get home to relieve the babysitter.
B. You'll see what your man planned in response to your teasing demand that he wow you with a great night.
C. You'll see what's playing at the movies when you get there and grab a bite at either the concession stand or a nearby restaurant.
D. You'll probably visit a hip cocktail lounge before dining at that new restaurant everyone's been talking about … unless you end up going to the rock-climbing gym and hitting your fave diner afterwards instead.
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3. Your spring/summer wardrobe is:
A. In your drawers and closet. (The fall/winter stuff is packed into boxes.)
B. Going to be carted home in shopping bags soon, LOL.
C. In your drawers and closet, along with the fall/winter stuff. Actually, it's mostly the same wardrobe, minus sweaters and boots!
D. What's left after you edit your current wardrobe, then pick up some newer pieces here and there over the course of the next few months.
4. Let's talk about your bucket list. What does your vacation of a lifetime look like?
A. "My dream vacation highlights all the best a specific destination offers (and yes, I've already chosen the destination). I want to visit all the must-sees and I’ve planned this trip down to the last half-day!"
B. "I have to admit, I love to travel and I don't have a bucket list or 'trip of a lifetime.' I've taken one ... or a few, already."
C. "A white-sand beach, the sea, a hammock under the sun, a steady stream of fruit juice or rum punch. Ahhhhhh…"
D. "I have plenty of dream-vacation ideas, but at this point I can't narrow it down to just one 'vacation of a lifetime': It changes by the month!"
5. Your perfect Mother's Day consists of:
A. Brunch at a local bistro, followed by some quality time with your extended family and an outing.
B. Breakfast in bed and then an afternoon at the spa, courtesy of your loved ones.
C. Breakfast in bed, lounging around the house all day unwinding, watching your favourite movies and puttering about.
D. Whatever your family surprises you with. The more surprising, the better!
If you chose mostly As, you're a planner
You like to stay organized and plan ahead. You'll get a natural satisfaction out of combining ways to create a 500-calorie-a-day deficit.
2 planner-friendly deficit-creation ideas:
1. Upgrade your packed lunches.
• Trade that chicken fillet sandwich (515 calories) for a small, single-patty cheeseburger (319 calories).
• Swap diet soda (which may make you crave real sugar afterwards) for sparkling water or skim milk (90 calories per 250 mL).
• Include low-fat, high-fibre fruits, such as cherries (10 cherries pack about 50 calories) or dried fruit leather (60-80 calories per package) in your lunch.
2. Book your workout time ahead and treat it like a three-times-a-week commitment, not an option.
Here are the calorie burn rates of some activities that may appeal to your personality type:
• Yoga (300 calories per hour)
• Weight training (225 to 450 calories per hour)
• Tennis (410 calories per hour)
• Circuit training (600 calories per hour)
• Running (600-plus calories per hour)
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If you chose mostly Bs, you're a hedonist
You live for your senses. You like to squeeze as much pleasure from life as you can. For you, the key to carving out a daily 500-calorie deficit will be to trade one set of pampering, pleasurable habits for another.
2 hedonist-friendly deficit-creation ideas:
1. Improve your indulgences.
• Swap that daily medium Café Mocha (190 calories) for a more waist- and wallet-friendly medium coffee with double milk and double sugar (100 calories)
• Love chocolate chip cookies? Swap the bake-from-a-mix version (80 calories per cookie) for a ready-made cookie from a bag (50 calories). And stop at one!
2. Motivate yourself by turning gym time into spa time.
Indulge in the sauna or steam room after a workout. And stash your best bath and body products in your gym bag to reward yourself for exercising.
If you chose mostly Cs, you're a lazybones
Your motto is Why make things complicated when they don't have to be? Here are some small ways you cumulatively can burn 500 more calories than you consume each day – without feeling stressed.
2 lazybones-friendly deficit-creation ideas:
1. Make healthier eating easy.
• Rely on simple snacks that make calorie control easy, such as 100-calorie, pre-portioned snacks. Or go with one of nature’s one-portion snacks, like an apple (82 calories), a banana (105 calories) or orange (62 calories).
• If you don't like packing lunches from home, stick to calorie- and fat-reduced frozen lunch entrees, and take the guesswork out of restaurant and takeout choices by downloading an iPhone app that lists the nutrition content for popular dishes at major food chains.
2. Make working out simple. The less you have to do to slot in your workout, the less likely you'll be to bail. Try out the following:
• Walking home from work (almost 400 calories per hour).
• Biking to and from work (600 calories per hour) at a leisurely pace.
• Exercising at home to a high-impact aerobic workout DVD, such as a step class video (745 calories per hour).
If you chose mostly Ds, you're a novelty seeker
You live for excitement and are up for new things, so incorporate that into your calorie-deficit goals. Mix up these calorie-cutting tricks to find new ways to carve 500 calories from your daily routine.
2 novelty-seeker deficit-creation ideas:
1. Turn healthy eating into an adventure.
• Participate in Meatless Mondays (http://meatlessmondays.ca/?page_id=2) to cut back on your fat consumption – and help the environment – while trimming your grocery budget at the same time. Check out heart-healthy and taste-bud-tantalizing vegetarian recipes here.
• Experiment with healthy, vitamin-rich, low-cal exotic fruits and vegetables. Pack some dragon-fruit cubes into your lunch (60 calories) or peel some lychees for a snack (125 calories per cup).
2. Keep your workout routine fresh and exciting so you stay motivated.
Mix up group classes like kickboxing (745 calories per hour) or yoga (300 calories per hour) with outdoor pursuits like running (600-plus calories per hour) or vigorous biking (745 calories per hour). Indoors, alternate between gym time and swimming lanes (600-plus calories per hour).
Note: Calories-burning estimates for all physical activities are based on a 155-pound person.
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