Shed Pounds With 15 Simple Food Swaps

News flash: From sea to shining sea, more and more people are jumping ship from the "overweight" to the "obese" category on the BMI chart.

Take a look around you, and you won't be surprised to find that the prevalence of obesity worldwide is increasing. Here at home, more than one in three U.S. adults are clinically obese, which means that when you add "overweight" to this equation, far greater than 35.7 percent of American adults need to work on their weight. But what about the portion of the population who may not need to lose weight for health reasons but would love to shed a few stubborn pounds, either to win a bet, look better in a bathing suit, or perhaps run a bit faster (approximately two seconds per mile faster per pound lost)?

A pound of fat is worth about 3,500 calories, which is why many experts say reducing your daily intake by 250 calories will aid in the loss of one half pound per week. Burn 250 calories through exercise in addition to the diet deficit, and voila! You've just lost one pound a week.

More: How Many Calories Do I Need?

When it comes down to it, weight loss can be as simple as basic math. But if it were, there probably wouldn't be so many of us complaining that those last 3, 5 or 10 pounds simply won't move. In order to lose those last few stubborn pounds, it often comes down to a battle of willpower (e.g., saying "no!" to extra helpings, locking the pantry after 7 p.m.) and a battle of making the best choices.

PLUS: Top 6 Reasons Your Weight Loss Plan Isn't Working

Sometimes those last few pounds remain not because we aren't trying hard enough, but because we may not realize that day after day after day, our seemingly innocent indulgences really do add up. Here are common culprits that may be derailing your weight loss goals, alternatives that won't leave you feeling totally deprived, and a calculation of how long it may take, if you make the suggested swap, to look even better in your skinny jeans.

Calorie Culprit: 2 tablespoons cream for your coffee
Smarter Alternative: 2 tablespoons 1-percent milk
Calories Saved: 30
Timeline: This one simple daily change will save you more than 3 pounds a year.

Calorie Culprit: 1 package instant maple, brown sugar oatmeal
Smarter Alternative: 1 package Better Oats, classic flavor steel cut oats
Calories Saved:
Timeline: This simple swap is lower in calories and higher in filling fiber (making weight loss a bit easier).

TRY THIS: 50 Quickest Ways to Lose Weight

Calorie Culprit: 1 large banana
Smarter Alternative: 1 medium banana
Calories Saved: 16
Timeline: Portion control every morning will save you nearly 2 pounds a year.

More: Post-Workout Snacks That Aid Recovery

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