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Making smart food choices and modifying your eating habits can make a huge difference in the amount of calories you consume.
Making smart food choices and modifying your eating habits can make a huge difference in the amount of calories you consume.

Health, Dr. Mao, Santa Monica, Columnist

Easy Ways To Cut Calories, Increase Longevity: Dr. Mao's Wellness Living

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Posted May. 5, 2013, 8:56 am

Dr. Mao Shing Ni / Mirror Columnist

Did you know that one pound of fat equals a whopping 3500 calories?! By cutting just 500 calories each day, you can lose up to one pound a week to reach your goal weight.

If cutting 500 calories sounds a bit overwhelming, start with cutting just 250 each day.

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer from starvation or exercise burn out to achieve this.

By making a few tweaks to your diet and exercise routine, you will be cutting those calories almost without even realizing it!

Food For Thought

Making smart food choices and modifying your eating habits can make a huge difference in the amount of calories you consume.

When studying the habits of centenarians for 20 years, I learned that people tend to live longer when they consume fewer calories. Try the following simple strategies to slash unnecessary calories and gain a flatter belly.

Downsize your cups and plates.

Some studies show that we tend to eat everything on our plate, even if we are already full. Centenarians I have interviewed shared a common habit – they all stopped eating once they were three-quarter’s full, which is less taxing on the digestive system than overeating.

We can work towards this same habit by making a few dish switches.

Opt for a 10-inch plate instead of a 12-inch one and you can save about 500 calories by eating 20-25 percent less.

Beware of those oversized coffee beverages, which can contain up to 700 calories. Lose the whipped cream, flavored syrups, and full-fat milk and save yourself even more calories.

Don’t go nuts!

Although nuts should be eaten for their heart-healthy fats and trove of nutrients, it is easy to overindulge in these crunchy companions. Depending on which nut you choose, one handful contains about 175–200 calories.

If you are not careful, you may find yourself eating a bowl – and about 500 calories.

To save some calories, portion out one handful and eat nuts that require shelling like pistachios, which will slow down your munch time.

Bonus Tip: Some of my patients nibble on High Performance supplements for a vitality-enhancing snack. High Performance is a combination of unique Chinese food herbs, exotic seeds, and wholesome grains that strengthens digestion and boosts your energy naturally.

Boost Your Metabolism To Burn Calories

Increased muscle mass equates to a higher metabolism. That means by just sitting, you will effectively burn more energy.

Strength training is effective for building strength and improving your overall health.

However, if pumping iron isn’t part of your workout plan, multiple forms of cardiovascular exercise will improve the power in your muscles, burn calories, and boost your cardiovascular health.

Just remember, if you are outdoors, put on your sunscreen to protect your skin from the UVA and UVB rays. Try the following fun activities to become a burning machine!

• Move like a mermaid.

Fish make it look easy with their graceful movements, but swimming works almost every muscle in your body. You will increase your endurance and strength, while hitting your goal 250-calorie mark. Try freestyle, breaststroke, or any other style you enjoy for 25 minutes.

Be a pedal pusher.

If you are up for a challenge, try a mountain bike ride, which can also burn 250 calories in around 25 minutes. Mountain biking utilizes your core, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, while improving your balance and agility. Enjoy a beautiful, warm day and explore the beauty and bounty of nature!

• Make like a monkey.

Remember all of those games you played as a child: tag, hopscotch, and swinging in the jungle gym? Well, it’s never too late to enjoy the monkey bars. Join your children in the park and burn 250 calories with a variety of activities.

All you need is about 45 to 60 minutes – but who’s counting when you are having so much fun?! Engaging in activities that you love will keep you active and ward off disease for years to come.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post.  Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey.  To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit

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