Overeating is hard on our body systems just like overspending is hard on our pocketbooks. In our society today, it takes a very disciplined person to not overconsume anything (food, drink, clothes, stuff). Thankfully we live in a society of abundance. We’ve worked hard and have earned the privilege to buy whatever we need and whenever we want it. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing though for our body, mind and spirit health.

Have you ever been on a diet? Let’s face it, dieting for many people just doesn’t work. Research has shown that many people feel depression, feelings of failure, self-blame, irritability, anxiety, loss of control and a decreased self-esteem from dieting. Also, a lot of dieters return to their previous eating habits and regain the weight. Most dieters see their dieting as just a phase of life and not a permanent lifestyle change.

Instead of promoting dieting, as a fitness trainer, I’d rather give ideas and tips to help you cut calories. I recently read an article from American Council on Exercise (ACE) about 50 ways to cut calories. The article presented very common-sense tips like controlling tempting sensation habits, simple food substitutions, wise food choices, surviving the all-you-can-eat buffet, clever calorie cutting ideas for home dining, smart food swaps, guiltless fast food and winning ways to live. Here’s a few tips from each of these categories.

Control food triggers. Certain foods may trigger overeating. If this is true for you, be aware of these foods. Choose grilled foods over fried foods. Choose olive oil-based dressings over creamy dressings.

When eating at a buffet, choose only the foods you really enjoy, fill up on the vegetables, fruits and salads, and skip the foods with a lot of sauce.

To minimize overeating at home, serve the main dish on a smaller plate and don’t leave food sitting on the counter. Don’t keep sugary drinks in your house.

When eating at restaurants, swap out the main entrée for an appetizer for your meal. Try to avoid the oversized portions of foods and drinks that a lot of restaurants serve today. Stay away from the words double, triple, supersize, mega, biggie or jumbo when at fast food restaurants. Practice moderation when eating at restaurants that offer complimentary chips and salsa, peanuts or other foods while waiting for your ordered food.

Eat more whole fruits which contain more fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eat a little protein at most meals to help you feel satisfied.

Along with cutting calories, it’s very important to exercise the heart and lungs (cardiovascular) and exercise the muscles (resistance training). Good health requires work. It’s not free and it can’t be given to you.

Here’s to you (and yes me, I need to hear this also) being willing to cut your calories daily and exercise to stay healthy!

Jonathan Souder is the Fitness Director at Manor House, an Acts Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Delaware. This column appeared in the January 18, 2018 edition of the Seaford Star.