Calorie counting has both advantages and disadvantages. It has a place, even if it isn’t always completely accurate. Our systems absorb energy in diverse ways, not to mention the hormonal fluctuations caused by ingesting different meals. Eating 300kcal of salmon, for example, has a very different effect on the body than eating 300kcal of doughnut.
The one will make you feel satisfied and offer your body with necessary nutrients and minerals, while the other will make you want to eat yet more crispy creme since your off switch isn’t working. So, while calories are important, they are not made or absorbed in the same way.
However, there is no escaping the fact that calorie counting is time demanding, not to mention tedious. I can’t even keep track of my eating for more than a few days as a health coach. There’s more to life than that snoozefest, believe it or not.
So, how can we stick to a become thin eating plan without counting calories?
1. Prioritize natural, whole foods.
Foods that are as near as possible to their natural state. We get more unhealthy the further we move away from nature.
By definition, less processed foods are lower in calories. They are healthier for the body, are less likely to cause overeating, and give your body with the vitamins and minerals it requires to thrive.
According to one study, consuming whole meals boosts the thermic effect of food (meaning you burn more calories by digesting it) and increases feelings of fullness, implying you need to eat less.
ACTION — Simply eat more natural foods as they were intended by nature.
2. Choose carbs with a high water content.
Carbs are not the devil, despite what the low carb or Keto warriors would have you believe. They are an important part of your diet, they fuel your body and muscles for training, and you don’t need to fear them.
ACTION — Choose carbs like oats, rice, quinoa, beans, lentils, and potatoes that have a high water content. Unlike dry carbs like pasta, bread, and crisps/chips. Again, the high water content will help you feel fuller and more satisfied, allowing you to better balance your hunger levels without the risk of overeating.
3. Make lean protein sources a priority.
Again, this relates to satiation; they provide your stomach that wonderful feeling of fullness, which is necessary for muscle growth and maintenance. More muscle means more metabolic burn, which means your body is better prepared to burn and use up fuel.
We’re often told that it’s all downhill after 30, and that this is due to our slowing metabolism, but a new study suggests that this isn’t the truth, since metabolism doesn’t slow until around the age of 60.
However, the decrease of muscular mass, particularly in women, may be a contributing cause. This is why maintaining muscular mass in our older years is so important.
This is especially significant for women approaching menopause, when their muscular mass begins to deteriorate.
ACTION — Include lean proteins in at least some of your meals, aiming for 25–30 grams of protein every meal. Chicken, turkey, game meats, fish, lean cuts of beef, fish, shellfish, lean cuts of pork, and eggs are all examples of lean proteins.
4. Start with your vegetables.
This is such a basic method, but after I started using it, I noticed a significant improvement in my ability to recognise fullness cues and stop eating when I felt satisfied.
ACTION — Always eat your vegetables first when having a meal. First and foremost, fill up on nutrient-dense foods, then move on to protein, and finally, carbs. Of course, there may be moments when you just want to enjoy your food without thinking about it, and I encourage you to do so, but starting with nutrients is a fantastic habit to develop.
5. Keep Your Plate in Balance
In my post 11 Simple Strategies To Help You Lose Weight Naturally, I discussed utilising the hand measure approach, however I believe the plate portion method is sometimes easier to notice when portioning out your plate.
ACTION — Fill 12 of your plate with vegetables, 14 of your plate with protein, and 14 of your plate with carbohydrate or fats. Consider making vegetables and protein the foundation of your diet.
6. Make Lean a habit
Maintaining a lean body will mostly come from increasing lean muscle mass. This aids in maintaining a flexible metabolism, which means your body burns more calories even when at rest.
ACTION — Each week, perform at least two strength training sessions and one high-intensity metabolic exercise.
7. Make a move Daily
For many of us who spend many hours a day seated in front of computers, modern life means increased sedentary living. Only athletes conducted organised exercise in the 1960s; everyone else just went about their daily lives because there was so much more mobility. We also ate fewer processed meals back then.
If you have an active job, that’s fantastic; you may already be getting enough exercise in your day. If you work from a computer, you’ll have to be more deliberate about getting up and exercising. I’m sure you’ve heard that a million times before, but are you truly doing it?