How to lose weight without counting calories
If you’re looking to lose weight but aren’t looking to count calories. You’re in the right spot.
Let’s start with Fat Loss 101: In order to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit. And a calorie deficit is just a fancy way of saying you’re eating less calories than your body is burning everyday. Energy in < Energy Out.
Calorie counting is often people’s default when it comes to losing fat because it’s a more accurate way of ensuring you’re in a calorie deficit, and for some people it’s a great option. But for others it can be mentally draining, become obsessive, and seem so overwhelming it makes you not even want to start your fitness journey.
So can you lose weight without counting calories? Absolutely and I’m breaking down 4 simple ways to help you get into a calorie deficit without counting calories.
The Build a plate method
This is my favorite way to lose weight without counting calories. This method helps you build a balanced plate at each meal while still enjoying all of the foods you love on a regular basis. At most meals you’re going to try to eat half a plate of veggies, a palm sized serving of protein, a fist size serving of carbs & a thumb sized serving of fats.
This allows you to get a good mix of mostly nutrient dense filling foods, while also mixing in some more “fun” foods. For example sometimes the carb on your plate may be brown rice but other times it may be tater tots or french fries. Neither is better or worse than the other, and both will fit using the build a plate method, but the brown rice will likely keep you fuller for longer and may be the one you want to choose more often.
You can use this method while you’re at home, going out to eat, at a friend's
house, etc. and it can help you keep portion sizes under control and make sure you’re getting a good mix of macro & micronutrients.
“But Brooks what if I really want pizza one night but it doesn’t fit the build a plate method is that ok” Of course! The goal is to make MOST meals look like this but it may not be possible for every single one. I’d still encourage you to find a way to make each meal more balanced though even if it doesn’t fit the build a plate method perfectly. For example: rather than 4 slices of pizza would you be satisfied with 2 and a side salad? Can you add a protein to your pasta? Instead of the burger bun AND fries can you pick one or the other?
Like with anything the goal isn’t to be perfect, it’s to be consistent.
Eat out less
This is a great way to lose weight without counting calories if you’re someone who’s currently relying a lot on takeout and restaurant meals. Most restaurants have a very heavy hand when it comes to the butters & oils they cook in. Since these are both fats, calories can add up quickly. By increasing the number of meals you’re cooking at home you’re going to naturally decrease the amount of calories you’re consuming largely due to preparation methods. Restaurants also tend to have much larger portion sizes than what’d you make for yourself at home and cutting back on meals out can decrease your total calories consumed pretty dramatically and make it easier to lose weight without counting calories.
Start small and reasonable. If you’re eating out everyday don’t immediately try to go cold turkey and say you’re not eating out anymore at all. That’s not going to set you up for success. After a few days of cooking or meal prepping every single meal you’d likely feel burnt out, order take out, feel like you failed, and possibly throw in the towel on your goal completely. Instead, start with a few meals a week and then slowly cook more meals at home over time.
It can also help to make copycat meals from your favorite restaurants at home. If there’s a bagel sandwich you absolutely love that you Postmates every Saturday morning, pick up the ingredients to make it yourself this week! Find an air fryer version of chick fil a nuggets(I’m sure some content creator out there has created those by now). Or use this time to finally try one of the 10 million recipes you have saved on tiktok or instagram(because I know you do!). Cooking at home and losing weight without counting calories doesn’t have to mean preparing bland meals of chicken & brown rice. Your meals can still be full of flavor and things you enjoy.
If you’re someone who just hates cooking, start with really simple recipes with only a few ingredients. You can get fancier overtime but start with meals that aren’t that intimidating.
Make lower calorie swaps
Another great way to lose weight without counting calories is to make small swaps that reduce your overall calorie intake. For example if your morning coffee is a 300 calorie latte try switching to drip coffee with a little creamer or even just swapping the full fat milk in your latte to almond milk. Instead of the standard 4 pumps of vanilla in the drink could you do 1 pump or the Sugar Free vanilla? If this is something you’re having everyday these small changes can make a big impact over time.
High calorie drinks are a great place to start but other low calorie swaps to lose weight without counting calories could be:
-thin sliced bread instead of regular bread
-using greek yogurt based salad dressing
-choosing a 0 calorie mixer in your alcohol
-diet soda over regular
-replacing red meat with a leaner meat like chicken or turkey a few times a week
Read your nutrition labels and watch out for marketing! Just because something is labeled as “low calorie” or is marketed as the “healthier” option, doesn’t mean that it actually is. Read the back of the label and compare calories per serving on your own. Also remember not to cut calories just for the heck of it. If you hate the taste of the lower calorie option, it doesn’t leave you feeling full and/or satisfied, or it’s just not for you…don’t get it!
Remember: the goal isn’t to eat as few calories as possible and only focus on “low calorie” foods. Instead focus on swapping just a few things you eat on a regular basis that can help to reduce your overall calorie intake.
Move a little more
If you follow my content you already know that I harp on the fact that losing weight comes from your nutrition NOT exercise. But if you’re currently very sedentary and not doing much activity at all, increasing your activity level even a little bit can make a big impact and be a great way to lose weight without counting calories.. Start with walking and slowly increase how long you walk for. From there you can add strength workouts, classes, and more general movement throughout the day.
Adding just a 10min walk a day if you’re currently doing nothing can make a difference. Is adding more and more exercise a forever solution for losing weight without counting calories? No, at some point you will need to make some changes to your nutrition. But it’s a great place to get started especially if this seems like the easiest way for you to start taking action right now.
Whether you choose 1 of these methods or a combo of them, the most important thing is that you get started and keep taking consistent action. The “best” method is the one you think you can stick to most consistently. You can always add more over time but you have to get started and be consistent first!
Want to lose weight without counting calories but still feeling intimidated or worried you won’t be doing the right thing? Let me take all of the guesswork out of it for you! Apply for 1:1 coaching here.