Small Steps, Big Change: How to Lose 50 Pounds Without Really Trying

Keri Gans

When it comes to losing weight, sometimes it isn't what you are eating but how much you're eating or how often. By simply downsizing your portion or reducing the amount of times you eat something per day, week, or month, you can lose weight without feeling totally deprived. To further drop the pounds, you could also make some simple swaps that will leave you satisfied and, trust me, not miserable.

The ten tips below add up to a considerable amount of weight loss per year--50 pounds, to be exact. How many you follow may depend on how much weight you need to lose. However, if you aren't consuming any of these foods on a regular basis, the change might not be significant at all.

[See Google's Most Popular Diets of 2012: Hit or Miss?]

1. Once a week, skip the cheese on your hamburger (may I suggest ground sirloin).

Calories saved per year: 5,876

Weight lost per year: 2 pounds

Simply swap the cheese for a slice of tomato, onion, and lettuce.

[See Is Dairy Healthy or Not?]

2. Consume 8 ounces, not 12 ounces, of your morning orange juice.

Calories saved per year: 20,384

Weight lost per year: 6 pounds

If you still want to drink 12 ounces of liquid, add seltzer to your juice.

3. Go for the "tall" latte instead of the "grande" on your daily Starbucks run.

Calories saved per year: 32,760

Weight lost per year: 9 pounds

To lose an additional 3 pounds, order your latte with non-fat milk instead of whole milk.

4. Drink two less glasses of wine each week.

Calories saved per year: 12,584

Weight lost per year: 4 pounds

Replace the wine with sparkling water, club soda, or seltzer with a twist of lemon or lime.

5. Once a month, purchase a small popcorn instead of a large popcorn at the movie theater.

Calories saved per year: 13,680

Weight lost per year: 4 pounds

6. Once a week, top your salad with Italian dressing instead of Caesar dressing.

Calories saved per year: 7,696

Weight lost per year: 2 pounds

[See How to Sneak in a Salad]

7. Once a week, downsize your burger from 8 ounces to 4 ounces.

Calories saved per year:16,016

Weight lost per year: 5 pounds

Try loading up on steamed veggies to make up for the smaller portion of beef.

8. Twice a week, choose an English muffin instead of a bagel for breakfast.

Calories saved per year: 24,960

Weight lost per year: 7 pounds

[See Stop the Excuses: Eat Breakfast]

9. Once a week, eat half a cup of ice cream instead of an 8-ounce cup.

Calories saved per year: 11,960

Weight lost per year: 3 pounds

To lose an additional 2 pounds per year, switch to frozen yogurt.

See Fro-Yo Is Tasty, But Is it Good for You?]

10. Once a week, ditch the french fries, and opt for a baked potato.

Calories saved per year: 12,064

Weight lost per year: 3 pounds

Top your baked potato with salsa, mustard, or horseradish. If you add loads of butter and sour cream to your potato, you will most likely gain 3 pounds.

[See 10 Fiber-Friendly Food Swaps to Help You Lose Weight]

Hungry for more? Write to with your questions, concerns, and feedback

Keri Gans, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian, media personality, spokesperson, and author of The Small Change Diet. Gans's expert nutrition advice has been featured in Glamour, Fitness, Health, Self and Shape, and on national television and radio, including The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, ABC News, Primetime, and Sirius/XM Dr. Radio.