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How to lose weight without counting calories

Does this look like too much calculation?

Let's be honest, unless you are an accountant, mathematician, or someone who loves numbers, counting calories for every single meal, every single day does not always feel great. Infact for most people out there counting calories is something that they hate and would really be happy if they could just stop spending time and energy behind counting calories and eat without too many, if at all any calculations. After all when you eat, you would ideally like to eat without too much thoughts and enjoy the food, right?

Before we move on, I would like to share my opinion on the point, that do calories even matter? Some people believe that calories consumed vs calories burned is the most important factor when it comes to weight loss, while others believe that the type of calories is what matters the most in terms of deciding whether you gain, lose or maintain weight. My personal opinion on this matter is very simple, I believe that both the factors, that is type and number of calories do matter. I mean it is true that 500 calories from brown rice and chicken is certainly not the same as 500 calories from ice cream and and a burger, but also if you burn 2000 calories a day then eating 3000 calories only from "good foods" will not help you to lose weight either. Enough said.

One of the first things that have to be kept in mind when trying to lose weight is to ensure that you exercise regularly. Also it should be seen that adequate strength training is done to increase the metabolism and get lean shapely muscles, rather than end up with a body that lacks any tone when the weight is gone. Moving onto counting calories, if you have ever tried to calculate every calorie that goes in your mouth, you will know how tough it can get. I mean it is relatively easy to know the number of calories in a particular food when it is raw, but what about when you cook it in some curry or gravy, which makes it difficult to determine the exact extra calories that the gravy provides. It gets even tougher when you eat at restaurants. Of course if you eat at McDonald's then maybe you can ask for the chart informing you how many calories does the burger that you are eating contain, but what about most other eateries? So as you can see that it can be a real hassle to calculate calories unless you eat only at home, and that too only boiled food.

Talking about eating boiled food, I would like to inform you that it is not necessary to eat only boiled food to lose weight. You can eat regular food with maybe a little less gravy/curry and still lose weight. Besides I do not think that eating bland food does the mind a lot of good, and it is also not necessarily the most healthy option physically either. So eat good food that makes you feel good, rather than food that makes you feel as if you are a prisoner for life. Of course if you are entering a bodybuilding or figure contest in 6-8 weeks, then relatively bland food for that time period maybe essential, but it should not be a lifestyle in my opinion.

So then here are 8 points that will help you to lose weight without counting calories and other nutrients like protein, carbs, fats, etc.

1) Limit food intake to 3 meals a day- if you are not going to count your calories then eating 3 meals a day is the best way to go. Smaller number of meals will mean that you are less likely to eat more than what you burn in the day. With the usual recommendation of 6 meals a day, the chances of extra calories being consumed during the day are high, thus I would not recommend it if you are not going to count the calories. However if you have to snack someday in between meals, then eat a few nuts, a piece of fruit, rather than something too heavy.

2) Eat till satisfied rather than stuffed- ideally you should eat your 3 meals till you are satisfied, but not too stuffed. There should be just a little empty space in your tummy to let you know that you could have eaten maybe just a little bit more. This little deprivation will help to create the fat loss at the end of the day. Since you are eating 3 meals a day, you need to eat to the point where you know that you will start feeling hungry when it is time for the next meal. If you feel too hungry several hours before the next meal, then you have under eaten. And if you still feel full when it is time for the next meal, then you have overeaten, simple.

3) Eat balanced meals to avoid deprivation of any nutrient- even though you are eating lesser calories, you still need to eat all the essential nutrients without falling drastically short in any one of them. The best way to ensure this is to eat well balanced meals in all the 3 meals that you have during the day. Here are some good choices to ensure that you have balanced meals:

Protein- whole eggs, milk,
Carbs- oats, wholewheat bread, bananas
Fat- nuts

Protein- chicken, meat, fish, cottage cheese, pulses, yoghurt
Carbs- brown rice, wholewheat pasta, boiled potato
Fats- oils used for cooking
Additional- some boiled veggies

Same choices as lunch

4) Limit junk food- needless to say that junk foods like ice creams, chips, etc are not an ideal part of a diet...ever, let alone when you are not counting calories! These type of foods end up just adding to the calorie count without providing any real nutrients like protein, vitamins, etc. That being said it is not necessary to cut them out entirely either. Make a plan and allow yourself to indulge in such foods only once or twice a week on particular day/s. This way you will be able to keep a control on their consumption. Also do make it a point to see that you do not eat too much of these foods at one go. Keep the servings small and you can eat them without much damage.

5) Reduce gravies, dressings- as I have mentioned earlier that you do not and ideally should not restrict yourself to only boiled food all the time, we as human beings tend to do well when we eat good and tasty food. The problem however is that food which is rich in gravy and dressing also quickly adds up where calories are concerned. To avoid this problem keep the gravy and dressings to a minimum. Ideally it is best if you can cook your food with little to no gravy (think grilling). If however you eat in a joint family where the cooking is done with loads of gravy, and you have no say in it, then you should pick out the pieces of meat/fish or whatever the food is, and have it with no more than a few spoons of the gravy. This way you get to avoid too many extra cals and also get to eat tasty food.

6) Ensure that the food does not overlap on your plate- ever been to a buffet to see people eating in plates where the food has got mixed up in such a way that it is hard to make out what the original preparation was? I am sure you must have seen it, and probably have been guilty of doing so too. Now the very rare occasional pigging out in a buffet maybe ok, but on a regular basis if the food tends to overlap when you put food on your plate, then it is a sign that you need smaller servings. Dont get me wrong, I am not saying that you cannot mix chicken curry with rice when you eat it, its just that when you take it in a plate, it should not be overlapping before you mix it up.

7) Keep second helpings in check- needless to say that a second round of the chicken pasta is going to add more calories to your body. And when you are not counting calories you need to be very careful of second helpings. Ideally limit yourself to one major serving, and eat the food slowly.

How you look and feel is a great way to know if you are on the right track

8) Pay close attention to your body- when you do not know exactly how much food is entering your body, then the way you look and feel is the best way to know if you are doing it right. Here are some signs that may indicate that you are doing it wrong:

  • Too much muscle loss- if your arms, chest, are getting smaller much faster than your waistline and you are not getting harder while you get smaller, then you may be losing more precious muscle than fat. It is likely because you maybe eating too little food and starving your body too much. To correct this eat a bit more. Preferably eat more protein first, and then if there is still no improvement, add some fat and carbs too.
  • Too tired- if you feel tired and weak all the time, then you probably need to increase your carb intake slightly 
  • No fat loss- while the scale may not change in terms of overall weight initially (you might add some lean muscle initially), you should see some changes in the way your clothes start to fit you in about 3-4 weeks time. If your clothes are not getting any loose, then you will probably need to eat a little lesser at mealtime and/or exercise more. But please do not make drastic cuts, make small reductions first and see how your body reacts

So there you have 8 simple points that should help you to lose weight without counting calories. And do remember that training and recovery are the two other very important factors that should not be ignored when you want to optimize fat loss.

One last thing that I would like to mention before I end is that if you are seriously interested in becoming a professional athlete then eating without a tailor made plan is not the best idea. It maybe ok to not count calories and nutrients when you are not into professional sports or working out professionally, but for a pro it is not the best way to go. With that being said, for the rest of us employing these 8 simple points during mealtimes will help us to lose the extra fat for sure.

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