Sneaky things that make you fat

Dropping body fat is simple — on paper. It’s a little trickier in reality, but here are some tips to help you get to your goals. First off, let me tell you this — the way to drop body fat is to feed your body enough each day to sustain muscle and organs, plus activity levels, and no more. That is where the trick is – the little sneaky extras that we are often unaware of. It doesn’t take much really, just a few simple changes here and there and you can easily drop 500 calories a day – which equates to a pound of body fat a week.

So where do these sneaky calories hide? Many of them are liquid calories, things we drink without thinking. A large ‘double double’ contains 180 calories. Have one per day for five days and you have added 900 calories per workweek. That’s a possible one-pound of fat gain a month. Things like that sneak up on you so easily, and make a big difference. Now, I’m not saying you have to give up coffee – my inbox would fill with nasty messages. What if you made a subtle change though? What if you swapped out the sugar with stevia (which you can buy at any health food store in packets or liquid drops). That drops your coffee by 90 calories per serving; half a pound a month right there. Now, instead of cream in your coffee, what if you switched to milk? That drops another 30 calories off. Your cup of Joe becomes a mere 60 calories per serving, and if you run up a few flights of stairs or park in the far end of the parking lot, you can burn that off.

Another sneaky liquid culprit would be fruit juice, pop or drinks like iced tea. A typical 500ml iced tea will donate 150 calories to your daily intake, a small apple juice at only 300ml is 130 calories. A 330ml can of pop is similar as well at 140 calories average. So if you had one per day of any of those three, you end up with 3,000 calories a month, which is basically a pound of fat storage from excess sugar. While a pound a month may not seem like much, that’s 12 pounds a year, and that’s just annoying.

I will say that the best thing to change all of these choices for is water – it has so many benefits it would take another whole article to cover them all. But if changing to water is too much, there are things you can do. Try diluting any of the above drinks by 50% with water – not only will you save money, but you cut the effective calories in half per serving. I’m not a fan of the free varieties of these products, as the artificial sweeteners tend to be unhealthy in their own right.

Another excellent way to outsmart the sneaky calories in these beverages is to drink a full glass of water first, and then, if you still feel like the sugary drink, you have at least improved your hydration.

For my final little tip – it sounds like a line from the 80s movie about Harry and Sally but it does make a difference — get stuff ‘on the side’. What stuff? Butter, salad dressing, toppings, dipping sauces etc. As little as one tablespoon of butter, dressing or any of the other above mentioned extras has nearly 100 calories. Most people would enjoy two or three tablespoons of dressing, and if you get the butter already on your bread, you will easily get more than you bargained for. By having these items on the side, you can add just enough to add some flavour, but not so much that you sabotage your body.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake. He can be reached at 403-887-7667 or check out for more information.