If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to eat differently in a way that puts you in a negative calorie balance. A negative calorie balance means that you’re consuming less energy than your body needs for your daily activities, and it’s the one instance that the word negative can actually push you towards your goal rather than away from it.
This bit of information might leave you with the impression that you have to count calories to lose weight. But what if you buy most of your foods at a market in nylon bags rather than packages with conveniently placed nutrition labels? Does this mean that you’re doomed to not reach your goal?
I’m here to tell you NO. You DO NOT have to count calories if you don’t want to and I’m here to show you how you can start to lose weight without counting calories.
Start with the Ingredients and How You Cook
The calories in your final meal depend on the ingredients that you put into the meal and how the meal is cooked. You don’t need a nutrition label to know that a cooking spoon of oil has more calories than a tablespoon or that fried chicken is more calorie dense than boiled or grilled chicken. Start by looking at the types of food you eat at each meal and how you cook them, and you can cut calories even before they make it onto your plate or into your tummy.
If you’re not sure what ingredients should make it onto your plate or even into your pot, I’ve created a Free Quick Guide that teaches you the types of food to eat to Start Losing Weight Today. Click here to download it.
Evaluate Your Portion Sizes
If you’re already diligent about the ingredients you use in your meals or the ingredients in the meals you eat outside, you’re off to a great start. And if you make sure to cook your at-home meals in a way that adds the least amount of calories in the cooking process without sacrificing taste, you’re doing even better. But if you’re still not seeing the weight loss results you want, then your next stop should be to look at how much you’re eating.
Any food, no matter how healthy, can make you gain weight or stay stuck at a plateau if you eat too much of it. So when you see the number on the scale staying stuck, look at your portion sizes.
This is where having a simple accountability system, like a food journal that tracks your portion sizes, can help. You can always refer back to the journal to see how much you’re eating and make the decision to cut down your portions in a way that’s less likely to leave you deprived.
Split Your Portions
Majority of the restaurants serve way more food than is necessary. For instance a serving of steak is usually at least 250g (8oz). This is twice what a normal serving should be. And these large portion sizes apply to more than just steaks.
Knowing this, you can ask the server at your restaurant to split your meal in half and put it in a take away box before it comes to you.
This works because as human beings we generally tend to eat what is put in front of us, this is especially true if you grew up with a “don’t waste food” credo. Setting the excess food aside first can help you be proactive about avoiding this trap. Remember that your body is not a refrigerator.
If you think the restaurant won’t be willing to do this, consider the fact that you’re a paying customer.
Don’t Wait Until You’re Too Hungry to Eat
Waiting till you are too hungry makes it much more difficult to make healthier choices when it’s time to eat. Let’s use an analogy, think about what happens when you start running out of petrol. First, the fuel light on your dashboard comes on as a warning sign, then your car will eventually stop once your tank is completely empty if you keep driving.
When you’re in this situation you’re likely to reach for anything that you can get your hands on to get you going again – fried plantain chips, meat pie chocolate et al. Unfortunately it seems that in times like these the only available options tend to be the unhealthy stuff.
What is a woman to do to avoid this scenario? Always have a healthy snack handy. Some examples are a hard boiled egg, an apple, diced up carrots, or roasted groundnuts. A snack like this can help take you to the next meal or at least buy you a little time to make a healthier meal choice.
Be Kind to Yourself
This is particularly critical. No one is 100% every time. Eating healthy with no indulgences 60% of the time is a good start, 80% is even better, but wanting to be able to do it at 100% for the rest of your life is unrealistic. That’s like asking yourself to never have chocolate, pizza, or the other foods you love that aren’t necessarily healthy. I can’t even imagine a world without pizza, and I’m sure that there are some foods that hold the special place in your heart that pizza holds in mine.
Keep your perspective and be kind to yourself on those days that you are less than perfect at doing the things that help you achieve your goals. If it feels like you are beating yourself up every time you fall, it will be much harder for you to get back on track and keep going.
Remember living healthy is about living – it is about the journey. So be kind to yourself.
I want you to pick at least one of the strategies presented in the post to implement as you work to lose weight without calorie counting.
This post doesn’t quite cover all the strategies that you can use to lose weight without dieting or calorie counting, but it’s a good place to start.
If you want to take things a little further I wrote a FREE Quick Guide to help you Start Losing Weight Today without restrictive meal plans or calorie counting. In it, I teach you a single action that you can start taking today to lose weight.
Plus it includes a simple accountability system that you can use to keep track of this one action every single day to help you make progress your weight-loss goals. Click here to download this simple and FREE Quick Guide.