In This Article
In This Article
Yes. While calorie counting leads to weight loss, it’s not the only way to lose weight. The key to losing weight is to create a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit is when you spend more energy than the calories you consume.
However, there are other ways to achieve a calorie deficit without counting calories or relying on calorie-tracking apps.
For example, you can drink water (which has zero calories) instead of a can of soda which adds 150 calories to your daily intake.
Switching to a vegan diet that consists of whole fresh fruit and vegetables may also reduce your total calories without calorie counting.
Calorie counting is when you measure the number of calories you consume from the foods you eat. This includes the total calories you get from:
People usually count calories when they’re trying to reduce their calorie intake. To lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories than what you’re used to eating.
A calorie deficit occurs when you continuously provide your body with fewer calories than it needs. One way to achieve it is with calorie counting.
That said, there are other ways you can reach a calorie deficit and lose weight without tracking your calorie intake.
Calorie deficits require you to eat fewer calories than the energy you spend.
Since you won’t get enough calories to provide all of your energy needs, your body will burn any stored fat and use them as an alternative energy source.
This fat-burning process is what causes you to lose fat and weight.
Below are some tips for reducing your daily caloric intake without a calorie counter:
One of the simplest ways to reach a calorie deficit is to eat more nutrient-dense foods and less calorie-dense options. Here’s why:
Eating more nutrient-dense foods (like fruits and vegetables) and less calorie-dense foods can reduce your calories and overall food intake.
You don’t have to completely avoid foods with high caloric density. Some like nuts, avocados, and fatty meats can be good for you on occasion.
When deciding on what to eat, always choose healthy whole foods and opt for the healthier option. This may help with eating fewer calories.
Here are some examples of healthy eating:
Eating your favorite desserts and pastries once in a while is fine for satisfying your sweet tooth. But you shouldn’t eat a lot of these sugary treats.
Foods and drinks that are high in sugar can increase your calorie intake and blood sugar. They can trigger cravings and cause you to eat more food.
You should also watch out for hidden sugars in food. Some examples are:
Adult women should consume no more than 24 grams (100 calories) of added sugars. Adult men can only eat up to 36 grams (150 calories) of sugar per day.1
Sauces and dressings add calories to your food. Drizzling small amounts or using them as side servings to dip food into will help limit your intake.
But if you want to add flavor to your meals without the extra calories, use herbs and spices instead.
A quick way to decrease your calorie intake is to eat foods from a smaller plate. Make sure you maintain a healthy diet by portioning your meals as follows:
Once you finish a small plate of food, wait until the next meal before you eat so you don’t end up eating more calories.
While restaurants may offer nutritious foods, cooking your meals at home better ensures that you eat healthy and consume fewer calories.
It’s because you will have complete control over the ingredients and amount of calories you put into your food.
Meal planning lets you schedule meals up to several weeks in advance and decide which recipes to use.
Sticking to a scheduled meal plan may help you cut calories while ensuring that you eat nutritious foods. It also encourages healthy habits for eating.
For instance, you’re less likely to eat takeout if you plan your meals.
You don’t need to count calories or macronutrients—such as your carbohydrate, fat, and protein intake—to create a weight loss meal plan.
As long as you consistently make healthy food choices and eat smaller portions than what you’re used to, you can get a calorie deficit.
Stress, fatigue, sadness, anger, and boredom can trigger emotional eating. An emotional eater uses food as a means to cope with negative emotions.
If you’re an emotional eater, you need to pay attention to your emotions and how they affect your appetite. This is known as mindful eating.
When you eat mindfully, you can pay closer attention to your emotional triggers and stop yourself from eating food just to feel better.
It can help you avoid adding unnecessary calories to your diet, which can lead to weight gain.
Eating slowly gives your body enough time to suppress hunger hormones so you would feel full. Studies show that people who eat slowly:2
Drinking water before meals satiates you and keeps you from quenching your thirst with soda or other high-calorie drinks. This helps reduce your calories.3
Green tea may also support your weight loss efforts.
In a study, two groups of people were given a bottle of oolong tea each day. One group had green tea extract mixed into their tea. The other group didn’t have any.
The group that received green tea extract in their tea lost more body weight. They also had significantly lower body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI).4
Exercise is an excellent way to burn fat. When combined with a reduced-calorie diet, it can help you lose more weight.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobics every week.
If you’re not used to exercising, you can start by walking for five to ten minutes per day. As you get more comfortable, you can gradually increase the minutes you spend on brisk walking per day.
Check with your doctor before you increase your physical activity. People who are obese, overweight, and have heart problems may need specialized routines.
Yes. Some weight loss diets don’t require you to count calories.
Intermittent fasting methods, like the 20:4 fasting diet, help you lose weight by limiting your food intake to “eating periods” when you’re allowed to eat.
A vegan diet restricts your meals to plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. Since these foods are low-calorie and satisfying, they can reduce your calories.
Noom’s weight loss program is another great option. It teaches you to build healthy habits so you can reach a calorie deficit without counting calories.
Remember to consult a nutritionist or dietitian before attempting to lose weight. Your doctor can determine the safety of a diet based on your current health.
In some cases, your doctor might recommend weight loss methods that require calorie counting—such as ketogenic diets.