While counting each and every calorie you consume will undoubtedly be an effective way to lose weight, it is also difficult to keep track of.
It is easy to mis-count your total calorie intake, and it can also be stressful, which can make your mealtimes less enjoyable.
Read on to learn why calorie counting may not be the best method you can use for weight loss.
#1: Food labels lie
Did you know that the labels you are supposed to read before you purchase may not be accurate?
The manufacturer allows a 20% leeway, which for a meal that states only contains 400 calories could really contain as much as 480 calories.
#2: You body does not absorb every calorie
From digestion to things like chewing, we all use calories in different ways. Some foods are more quickly digested too so this can also have an impact on your weight.
Despite what is sometimes said, it is not as easy as saying that your weight can be adjusted by “calories in, vs calories out”.
#3: Not all foods will satisfy you
Even if two sets of different foods contain 200 calories this does not necessarily mean that they will both fill you up the same.
Processed foods like white bread is quickly digested so will not keep you full for long, whereas fibre-rich and proteins will.
#4: It can cause an unhealthy relationship with food
If you are focussing all your attention on food and how many calories it contains you will forget how to appreciate when you should eat and when you have had enough.
All that you will know is the calories.
Food should be enjoyable, but if you are focussed too intensely then you will feel guilty too, which can lead you to skip foods that contain essential nutrients that you body may need.
How to lose weight without counting calories
What if I were to tell you that it is possible to lose weight without worrying about calories. I bet this would make you happy.
First off, you should think of your weight loss journey not as a diet but as a lifestyle change.
Diets are often thought of as a short-term goal, so any weight lost will likely return. However a lifestyle change is more of a long-term goal, that will prepare you for a lifetime of healthy living.
You will obviously need to look at what foods you are eating, but instead of worrying about calories. Instead focus on the types of food you eat and the portion sizes.
Cut back on junk food and takeaways, although the occasional one will not harm. Just limit it to once a week.
Instead a diet of fresh whole foods are best, so fruit and vegetables are a must with every meal.
The reason for this is that they are nutrient-rich so will fill you up and provide you with the nutrients your body needs without causing weight gain.
Fibre-rich (whole grains, beans and lentils etc) and protein-rich (chicken, turkey and lean meats) foods are also recommended.
Fibre can help to fill you up, and as it is slow to digest can help to keep you feeling full.
Protein on the other hand can release energy slowly so you will not suffer any lethargy during the day. It is also required for maintaining and growing muscle, which you will need in order to achieve your weight loss goals.
The next thing to think about is exercise. If you are new to exercise then start slowly, perhaps go for a brisk walk daily just to build up a little fitness before you contemplate joining the gym.
For those who are not complete beginners then you can either join the gym or work out at home.
Whichever you choose there are plenty of ways that you can work up a sweat, for example the following workout could help:
What I would suggest would be not to rely solely on steady-state cardio like the treadmill or elliptical machine.
I would recommend to you is that you consider lifting a few weights. Don’t worry you will not become masculine.
The aim is to build muscle so that when you are at rest your body will continue to burn calories. Research has shown that those with more muscle mass will be able to burn more calories.
For those who are short of time to workout I would suggest that you look to try HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training.
With these workouts you will only exercise for a few minutes, but as you are working intensely you could potentially burn hundreds of calories.
Our final tips to help you lose weight without counting calories are:
- Drink more water
- Stop drinking soft drinks
- Cut back on added sugar/salt
- Get more sleep (at least 7 hours per night)
- Take control of stress
Hopefully these few tips will help you to get those weighing scales moving in the right direction.
Remember this is a lifestyle change and if you stick to it, not only will your weight fall but your health will improve too.