While counting calories might be effective strategy for some people, others find it difficult. To count calories, you need to measure portions, find the amount of calories in the food you eat and write it all down. For some it creates a lot of stress and gets too hard to continue.
Good news, you can lose weight without counting calories if you use smart strategies I explain below.
- The amount of food on your plate
If you’ve been overweight for as far as you can remember, it might be hard to know what is the right amount of food you should eat. What you should focus on is, are you really still hungry after eating something? You see, when we eat dessert after dinner we don’t eat it because we’re still hungry. We eat it because it’s just the way it’s served at restaurants or maybe your parents used to serve dessert after dinner and you simply got used to it. When you grab things to eat, think of foods that fill you up the most and leave out those that will make you even hungrier. Start you meal with: any vegetables, raw or cooked. Make yourself a salad with a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Then eat your meal consisting of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats, what’s also called a balanced meal. Here’s the list of most filling, low calorie foods:
- Greek yogurt
- Oatmeal ( even though it’s filling, most people I know including myself feel hungry fast after eating it so I recommend pairing oatmeal with some kind of protein source such as greek yogurt, unflavored protein powder or egg whites).
- Vegetables and fruits: carrots, celery, broccoli, watermelon, cucumber)
- Lean meat (like turkey, chicken)
- Potatoes (they earned a bad rep because of association of greasy chips and French fries, but boiled potatoes have protease inhibitors that fill you up fast for only 160 calories for medium potato).
Sugary, fried and processed foods make you hungry. Because they contain tons of additives that make you want to eat more, you can’t stop on eating one Oreo.
2. Eat healthy
Skip white bread that’s often served in restaurants before a meal, substitute fried for grilled or boiled, and don’t get a dessert. If you truly want it, make it special to eat it on occasion. Use healthy dessert substitutes such as fruit, dried fruit, protein bar, dark chocolate, and smoothies. Eat more whole and natural foods, and treat yourself occasionally. You should be eating the best for your body and just a little bit for your soul :). Don’t forget to drink lots of water.
3. Eat slowly
Don’t eat when you’re stressed or on the go. It’s better to wait if you’re having a busy day and have some time for sitting down and enjoying your meal. When you enjoy every bite, you’ll get fuller faster. Calm down, do breathing exercises and then sit down to eat if you feel stressed about something.
4. Be aware of media. Trust me I love following cooking pages that make me drool when I look at their yummy recipes. But looking at pictures of food will definitely make you hungry. I noticed I’d start craving something sweet after seeing attractive pictures of desserts. Don’t check those pages especially before bed as it may leave you suddenly hungry.
5. Get busy
We all know when we’re bored, we check out fridges more than we should, looking for “something” we don’t even know what. When you’re busy, you remember to check it only when your stomach is ready to eat (and it will be happy to eat anything, even broccoli will look more delicious). If you’re stay at home mom, you’re probably around food all day, but it’s a good idea to set yourself eating schedule (which is also good for kids as they won’t be skipping meals or filling up on snacks).
No doubt exercise is the best remedy to speed up weight loss. Besides burning calories, you’ll have less cravings for junk foods. After a good workout when you feel depleted you’ll feel so good to load on healthy food because this is when you’re truly hungry. Exercise boosts serotonin levels so it also will make you feel happier and will reduce sugar cravings.
7. Get fresh air daily
It’s amazing what fresh air and healthy amount of sunshine can do! When I spend hours outdoors in the summer, I always feel more energized and less hungry. In the winter if I stay home a lot, I feel like I want to get more lazy and eat something sweet ( especially when it’s holiday season). Don’t let those feelings make your decision! Even if where you live, winters are cold and snowy, you can still get out at least for 10-15 mins. Dress up warm, and especially on sunny days go for a brisk walk. Being outdoors helps to regulate hormones which may help overeating and improve general health.
8. Last but not least, SLEEP!. I know, especially for moms (and dads!) it’s a painful topic (raise your hand if you know the pain of interrupted sleep!). But finding time to sleep and nap is crucial when you try to lose weight. When you don’t get your sleep, your body produces a hormone that makes you crave sugar, more food and you definitely will find it hard to move around and exercise. Even a short nap will help to gather energy to exercise. And the more energized you are, the more you will be moving around without noticing.
As you can see, with these tips it is possible to lose weight without following any special diet or counting calories. Getting in shape starts with improving your health as well, which these habits can do. Let’s get on that journey today!