8 Proven Steps to Lose Weight Instead of Counting Calories + 9 My Personal Strategy

My previous article was entirely emphasised on why we should stop counting calories for overall health benefits.

But while I focused on reasons to stop counting calories and it impacts our physical and mental well being.

So, here I bring out the healthy ways of getting the result of most of your health goals naturally and holistically.

This is exactly how we should do for better longterm health.

Instead of pulling out your logbook and pens, follow these tips and you’ll naturally begin to drop weight while healing your body and satisfying hunger pangs, ensuring your belly doesn’t constantly ring the alarm that’s it’s hungry. Speaking of which, to curb your appetite quickly and easily—without diet pills or counting calorie plans—don’t miss our essential healthy eating ways.

1. Listen to your body: Notice the sensations your my body before, during, and after eating.

Think about what you eat makes you feel. Is it satisfying? Enjoyable to eat? Does it keep you full until lunch or does it leave you wanting a snack after an hour?

“For example, does the meal gives you sustained energy or do you have an energy crash?”

2. Tune in to what your body actually wants.

Healthy eating encourages you to get back in touch with your body’s own signals that tell us what to eat and when rather than relying on external cues like strict diet rules.

“Diet culture has disconnected us from our bodies and the wisdom that lies within it.” If we were to get out of our head and listen and connect to our body, we’d eat a lot differently.

3. Eat more plants and whole foods.

Fill up on foods containing fiber, healthy fats and phytonutrients like fruits, nuts, beans, virgin plant oils, non-starchy veggies, minimally processed whole grains, and fish, as well as yoghurt with live probiotics.

Cheese, eggs, poultry and unprocessed red meat can be eaten in moderation.

4. Eat fewer processed foods.

It’s best to minimize your intake of ultra-processed foods such as chips, candy, soda and packaged snack cakes — basically anything containing ingredients like artificial flavours, hydrogenated oils and emulsifiers.

5. Cook at Home more.

Take a break from those nightly takeout orders. Take-out and restaurant meals are often high in sugar, sodium and unhealthy fat — not to mention the portion sizes can be excessive. When you’re preparing your own food, however, you’re in charge of the ingredients that go into each meal to assure they align with your health goals.

6. Make a Nutrition checklist.

Make sure all the 5 major food groups have an appearance. (How many servings of fruits did you have today? Did any of your meals contain healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, or nuts?) Keep notes on how many servings of each food group you had-it’s the best way to ensure you get everything you need while avoiding empty-calorie foods.

7. Understand Meal portions.

Three ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards, a half cup of grains is roughly the size of your palm, and one cup of veggies is equivalent to a medium-sized fist. Stick to those approximate measurements so you don’t eat too much.

8. Follow the 80-20 rule

Because creating healthy habits takes time, be sure to leave room for error during your weight-loss journey. The idea is simple: just eat healthfully 80 per cent of the time and leave 20 per cent of the time to splurge. That way, you won’t feel guilty and stressed if you happen to nab a slice of pizza at your cousin’s backyard party.

Just try to keep the bar high on your indulgences. For example, make your own homemade desserts using quality ingredients instead of buying those packaged, processed cakes.

Here are my 9 personal things I do instead of counting calories:

1. I always eat when I’m hungry.

2. I eat foods that I’m actually in the mood to eat.

3. I put my full attention on the meal in front of me.

4. I sit down when I eat.

5. I chew every bite before taking another.

6. I enjoy the flavours, texture, mouthfeel, sounds, richness, crunchiness or softness, saltiness or sweetness.

7. I make an effort to eat healthy foods and make an equal effort to eat the healthy foods that taste good to me.

8. I sometimes choose to eat foods purely for the please of eating them, even when they are not “healthy”.

9. I sometimes choose to eat more food than is comfortable, either because the food tastes really good or because I know I won’t have time to eat again for a while (such as during a busy workday).

It’s empowering to know that your body knows best. It validates all of those signals your body sends you a moment to moment, even the urge to eat a little something extra at the end of a meal.

Now before you go, I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below.

11 Top Reasons Why You Should Stop Counting Calories

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And every time, my friend jump to her calorie calculator whenever eating the food.

But for how long could she continue this habit of calculating every meal?

You’ll have to wait to find out. But first, let’s take a look at how I find people calculating calories….

It’s a funny thing for me to see, as the more u count calories, the less u are paying attention to the food in front of you. It is like looking at a spreadsheet on a plate. All you see is numbers.

Counting calories is a time-consuming, soul-sucking practise that’s actually a lesson in futility, as far as I’m concerned. Yet people continue to do it. They pull out their calorie-tracking apps and plug-in whatever foods they’ve eaten, feeling guilty when they go over their “recommended” calorie amounts, then running to the gym to try to undo it all. And I can’t blame them: The idea that monitoring all your calories is key for ”weight loss” is a popular one.

Let me tell you weight loss is about so much more than calories. It encompasses exercise, how you sleep, how stressed you are, and health issues that you may not be able to control, like hormonal changes. That’s why, if losing weight is your goal, it’s important to acknowledge how individual a process it is and figure out how to do it in a way that’s healthy for you.

Reasons to Stop Counting Calories

1) Labels can lie

Seriously. Labelling laws allow a 20% margin of error on the nutrition facts panel. That means your 100-calorie snack pack could be 119 calories. Or that 500 calorie Internet dinner could be nearly 600 calories.

2) Nutrients vary by season, variety, ripeness, etc

There is no way food companies or the USDA could have the nutrient analysis of every variety of food from every region from every season from different growing conditions (i.e organic vs. conventional) and every other variable for nutrients, including calories.

That super-sweet summer fruit likely has more calories (and valuable nutrients) than that tasteless, pick one from the dead of winter. Which one would you rather eat?

3) “More calories equals weight gain” is not an exact science

Trouble is, when you focus on calories, you’re likely to eat less fat (since fat is more calorie-dense than carbohydrate and protein). And when you eat less fat, you’re likely to eat more carbohydrates. See the problem?

4)Focusing on calories often means we restrict healthy foods

This especially happens when it comes to fat. We often omit higher fat foods simply because they are higher in calories without taking into consideration what benefits we might get from them, such as staying fuller for longer and getting necessary nutrients, like fat-soluble vitamins.

5)You don’t know how many calories your body is absorbing from food

Everything from how your food is processed to how much fiber it contains determines how many calories you’re absorbing from it. Even the bacteria in your gut may play a part in how you digest food and how many calories you derive from it.

For example, you’ll absorb more calories peanut butter versus whole peanuts. Due to size differences, one sweet potato varies in calories from another before you even take it off the shelf at the store. Calories absorbed is a complex business that’s light years beyond any calorie-counting app on the market.

6)Counting calories can encourage you to ignore your hunger cues

Focusing entirely on calories, instead of the quality of the food you’re eating and how you actually feel before chowing down (hungry, bored, stressed, etc.), can wreak havoc on those precious hunger cues you’re born with.

Whether you’re eating just because you “have calories left,” even though you’re not truly hungry, or you’re not eating because you’ve “gone over” your calorie allotment for the day, but you’re actually still hungry, you’re doing the same thing: ignoring what your body is trying to tell you.

Trust your body, because it knows what it needs a lot more than some random number or tracker

7)Calorie counting adds to the misconception you can “work off” the food you eat

Nope. Your body doesn’t burn off food calorie-for-calorie like that.

Let me emphasize that “it is where the calories come from that is crucial” in determining whether your body is tempted to store them as fat, use them for energy, or apply them to some other mechanism.

Plus, if you do routinely overindulge then try to work it off in the gym, you’ll be exercising for a very long time, depending on the size of the junky meals you’ve eaten. This, in turn, may cause you to become hungrier…and eat more. Vicious cycle? Definitely.

The good news is that when you only overeat from time to time, your body can handle those extra calories without making you gain weight. It’s when you overeat on a more frequent basis that you can get into the weight-gain territory.

8)It puts us in a restrictive diet mentality

Restriction leads to feelings of deprivation, which leads to feelings of desperation, which leads to binges or obsessive thoughts or cravings, which leads to feelings of guilt or shame, followed by more restriction and over and over”. This is completely normal and not caused by a lack of self-control or willpower — it’s because your body is sensing that restriction.

9)You might fixate on a number rather than on nutrition

If you’re counting calories, you might end up excluding certain nutrient-dense foods from your diet just because they’re higher in calories: think avocados, salmon, olive oil, walnuts or chia seeds. Instead, you might go for something with less nutritional value ― like, say, a 100-calorie pack of crackers ― just because it will help you stay under your allotment for the day.

From a health perspective, it is better to focus on the quality of the diet ― e.g. avoiding ultra-processed foods and eating adequate amounts of produce.

10)You may develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

For some, counting calories (or any other eating plan that requires strict adherence) can lead to an obsession with food, which can result in disordered eating habits and increase anxiety and depression.

If you have a medical condition that requires a specific diet, it should be monitored by a health professional, such as a nutritionist.

11)You may be able to lose weight this way, but keeping it off will be a challenge

Indeed, restricting calories may yield weight loss in the short term, but for many people, it’s not sustainable. And it’s not because of a lack of effort or willpower.

“Eventually the body begins to fight back, activating multiple overlapping mechanisms for preventing weight loss that was developed in our evolutionary past when food was scarce.”

In the end, calories matter, but the number of calories we eat — and burn — are both influenced long-term by the types of food we eat,”

Now before you go, I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below.

By Priyanshi Bhatnagar