Losing weight can be boiled down to a simple principle of burning more calories than you are eating. If you’re looking to lose weight, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of counting calories to drop body fat. But in many cases, this isn’t practical.
Counting calories only works if you have the knowledge and dedication to stick with it for an extended period.
The fact is, there are several different ways to lose weight without counting calories. If you stick to a plan, you have a general grasp of nutrition, and follow the tips I’m about to share – you’ll have no problem losing the extra few pounds.
The Science Behind Losing Fat
Before I share some tips on losing weight without counting calories, it’s important you understand the mechanisms behind the body, what a calorie is, and what constitutes fat loss.
A calorie is simply stored potential energy. Not all foods are the same and some foods have more calories per gram than other foods. Of the three macronutrients – one gram of protein contains 4 calories, one gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories, and one gram of fat contains 9 calories.
When you eat food, the energy is either stored into muscle or fat. And when your body has energy from the food you just ingested, it doesn’t have to seek out energy from your own fat or muscle stores. The problem lies when you begin to eat more calories than your body burns off. This is when the calories are stored as fat rather than burned off as energy.
To begin losing fat, you need to be eating less energy than your body requires, also known as a calorie deficit. Losing weight is a matter of eating less than your body needs.
Counting Calories Can Be Daunting
The reason everyone in the weight loss industry loves to preach calorie counting is because it works. It’s a simple equation of eating just below the required amount your body needs to start burning fat.
Having to count every single gram of food you eat throughout the day can be a giant hurdle especially for beginners. And while calorie counting is a method that can work, it simply isn’t practical for most.
If you don’t want to count calories but still want to lose weight, the fundamental rule you need to understand is to…
Create the habits that allow you to regularly eat less calories than your body burns off.
Here are 7 methods you can start utilizing today to lose weight without counting calories.
#1 Decrease Carbohydrates and Increase Healthy Fats
One of the most effective ways to immediately start losing weight without having to count calories is by lowering the amount of carbs you eat and replacing them with healthy fats.
Several studies show that people who eat less carbs begin to lose weight even without having to count calories. An efficient way to do this is by simply cutting out any significant sources of carbs in your diet. Foods like pasta, bread, potatoes, candy, sugars, and even rice contain large amounts of carbohydrates.
An obsession with carbohydrates isn’t healthy. Of all three macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, and fats – carbs are the only one that isn’t required for our body to survive. Because of this, our body turns to carbohydrates first as a source of energy and when we don’t burn it off right away, it’s stored as fat.
Replacing carbohydrates with healthy fats such as coconut oil has a multitude of benefits. Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are converted directly into energy.
Also, fats are directly responsible for hormone regulation. One of them being the hunger hormone, ghrelin. By simply increasing the amount of fats you eat and lowering your carbohydrate intake, your body will adjust its hormones, lower its insulin levels, and you’ll feel less hungry.
#2 Drink Water
We’ve heard it time and time again to drink more water. And while it may sound obvious, staying hydrated is a key component to lose weight without counting calories.
There are many times where you may feel hungry when, you’re just dehydrated. Research has shown that by simply increasing the amount of water you drink, you’re speeding up your metabolism which means faster fat loss.
A great way to start is by drinking two cups of water immediately upon waking up. This will give you a boost of energy since your body has been deprived of water throughout the night. It’s also a good habit to start drinking at least a cup of water before every meal. This way you’re not gorging yourself on food when you just needed to hydrate.
#3 Eat a High Protein Breakfast
Replacing those sugary, carb-laden bagels and cereal breakfasts with a more nutritious breakfast consisting of eggs and another source of lean or vegan protein will drastically improve the rate at which you lose weight.
Eggs have what is to be considered the densest micronutrient profile and will provide you with sustained energy throughout the day.
Additionally, eating carbs like bagels, cereal, or toast for breakfast will make you crave more carbs throughout the day. It’s a vicious cycle that can be completely mitigated by simply cutting carbohydrates out especially for breakfast.
Sugary foods and carbohydrates are known to raise and lower your blood sugar drastically. These dips are known to stimulate certain parts of the brain responsible for hunger and unnecessary cravings.
#4 Sleep More
With the busy lifestyles we live, it can be very easy to neglect proper amounts of rest. But what does this have to do with losing fat?
Your body rebuilds itself during deep sleep. When you are lacking a full night’s rest, you begin to drive your stress levels through the roof in addition to the hormones directly responsible for hunger, ghrelin and leptin. Poor sleep directly affects cortisol which is known to increase body fat.
For these reasons, sleep should be one of your main priorities especially if you want to lose weight without counting calories.
#5 Exercise Everyday
If exercise isn’t already a part of your daily routine, making it a habit to do some form of physical activity will do wonders for your body. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to the gym and lift weights four to five days out of the week.
New research conducted by the American Geriatrics Society has concluded that even just light exercise such as cleaning around the house or a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day has been linked to a decreased risk of death.
While there are certainly more benefits to including days of weight lifting into your regimen, starting off with a 30-minute walk everyday will drastically improve your health.
#6 Eat High, Fibrous, Nutrient Dense Foods
Incorporating vegetables, fruits, and natural, whole foods into your diet is one of the most effective ways to begin losing fat. This is because fiber will fill you up and decrease your cravings without the extra calories.
Simply increasing the amount of foods, you ingest that are high in fiber will ensure you don’t crave high amounts of carbs that end up turning into fat on your body.
Here are some high fiber foods I recommend:
Find vegetables that you like and incorporate it into your diet regularly.
#7 Do NOT Drink Your Calories
There are hidden calories in many foods that you wouldn’t expect – sugary fruit drinks, ALCOHOL, soda, and even certain smoothies that are considered “healthy” have a lot of calories that you should avoid.
These sugar-laden drinks make it far too easy to consume calories without realizing it. The fact is, most drinks that include liquid calories have no place in your diet, especially if your goal is to lose a few extra pounds.
Some of these drinks you should avoid include soda, sports drinks like Gatorade (unless you’re running, cycling or any outdoor activity where you’re sweating and losing electrolytes and sodium), and even fruit drinks like Naked juices. My recommendation is to simply stick to water, coffee (yes in moderation 1c a day 8oz), tea, and natural low-calorie drinks.
Trust the Process
By following the recommendations, I have laid out, you’ll be well on your way to losing fat and reducing your hunger – all without having to count a single calorie.
Remember that leading a healthy lifestyle should be taken one step at a time. There will be days where it may seem like you aren’t seeing any progress and it may even feel like you’re taking one step forward but two steps back
It’s important to remember to trust the process. If you stick to nutrient dense foods, avoid process carbs, sleep more, stay hydrated, eat a high protein breakfast, and avoid drinking your calories — you will reach your weight loss goal in no time.