menu iconknow your dna logosearch icon
No Counting Calories Diet Plan: Why it Works and How to Start
Updated on January 11, 2023
Back to top
back to top icon
Diet / Weight Loss
No Counting Calories Diet Plan: Why it Works and How to Start

If you want to lose weight but feel overwhelmed or discouraged by the thought of counting calories, you are not alone. 

Calorie counting may be a popular way to lose weight, but it isn’t your only option. Below, we talk about other things you can do to lose weight.

You can drop those extra pounds and avoid weight gain without a single calculation. And best of all, you’ll eat plenty of satisfying, nutritious foods without keeping track of anything.

How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories 2

19 Tips For Losing Weight Without Counting Calories

Here are some easy-to-follow tips so you can lose weight without counting all of the time:

1. Eat More Low-Calorie Dense Foods

It’s not just how much you eat that matters, but also what you eat. Replacing calorie-dense foods with low-calorie alternatives is a great way to reach a calorie deficit.

The key is to feel full while eating fewer calories. This means choosing high-fiber and other healthy whole foods that are filling but low in calories.

Examples of low-calorie dense foods include:

  • Vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • Eggs
  • Berries
  • Legumes
  • Reduced-fat milk and yogurt

You can read our guide on calorie density to learn more.

2. Avoid High-Calorie Dense Foods

You’ll also want to avoid calorie-dense foods. Foods with high caloric density have more calories than they have nutrients. 

Keep in mind that high-calorie foods aren’t always unhealthy. Nuts are high in calories and fat, but they are also fairly nutritious. Olive oil is another healthy option, but it's high in calories.

That said, there are plenty of high-calorie foods lacking in nutrition. This includes foods that are high in sugar, processed foods, and red meats. 

You want a good “bang for your buck” when it comes to calories. The calories you consume should make you feel full and help you meet your daily nutritional needs.

3. Watch Your Serving Size

Most people eat more than they realize. The ever-increasing serving sizes at restaurants are partially at fault. People don’t know what a proper serving looks like anymore.

If you want to quickly measure food servings, use your hand as a measuring tool.

Protein servings should be about the size of your palm. Carbohydrate servings can be fist-sized. Even if this isn’t exact, it helps you get a feel of your food intake.

You can also use calorie counting apps to see how many calories there are in food without doing any math.

4. Balance Your Plate

A great way to reduce your calories is to make sure you eat balanced meals. Most people aren’t eating enough servings of vegetables each day, so increasing this benefits you.

A balanced plate is half-filled with vegetables. The other half can be filled with protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

This way, you’ll get plenty of fiber and nutrition and automatically reduce calories.

A good sample plate might be half full with broccoli, a quarter full with grilled salmon, and a quarter full with whole-grain rice.

5. Eat Mindfully

If you’ve caught yourself eating “dinner” directly from the bag of chips, you are selling yourself short. Mealtime should be a ritual. 

You should put your servings of food on a plate, sit down, relax, and eat slowly. Focusing on your meal is a form of self-care. Plus, it helps you make better food choices.

The Noom Diet Plan is a great place to start if you want to learn mindful eating.

6. Avoid High Sugar Coffee Drinks

If you’re addicted to a morning or afternoon dose of caffeine, make sure it’s not the undoing of your diet. Many of today’s coffee orders are more dessert.

Opt for low-calorie coffee or switch to home-brewed coffee so you can get your much-needed jolt without adding too much sugar (and calories) to your diet.

7. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Most people assume that you should stop eating desserts if you want to lose body weight. But this doesn’t need to be the case. 

In fact, some of the best weight loss diets (Noom and Weight Watchers) let you eat your favorite foods.

Besides, suddenly cutting out sweets can cause sugar withdrawal. Sugar withdrawal causes unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

This can send you into a dieting tailspin and cause you to binge on sweets. So instead of eliminating sugar from your diet, we recommend satisfying your sweet tooth in a healthy way. 

For instance, you can eat fresh fruit to top your meal. If you want to eat desserts like cakes, pies, or candy, eat half of what you normally would.

8. Limit Condiments

Things like mayonnaise, ketchup, and salad dressings are high in calories. You could be adding several hundred calories to each meal without even realizing it. 

To reduce your calorie intake, you should cut back on your use of condiments. Consider using the drizzle method or dipping the food into a small side serving of a condiment.

9. Avoid Hidden Sugar

Just because a food doesn’t have “sugar” on its ingredients list doesn’t mean you are safe.

Many processed foods contain sugar, even if they aren’t sweet, or their food label doesn’t directly say they have sugar.

Breakfast cereals, condiments, sweet yogurts, and carbonated beverages are some foods with hidden sugars.

When reading the ingredients list, watch out for the following:

  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates
  • Glucose
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose
  • High-fructose corn syrup

Limit food items that contain these ingredients. You can also use food tracking apps to find out which ones contain hidden sugars.

10. Be Picky with Protein

If you’re eating a lot of high-fat meats like beef, you can cut calories by opting for leaner proteins such as chicken.

Keep in mind that how you prepare your protein is important. If you’re cooking deep-fried chicken, the oil you use to fry it can drastically increase your calories. 

On the other hand, grilling or baking can lessen your calories without reducing your protein intake.

11. Get Enough Sleep

Inadequate sleep can cause food cravings and hormonal imbalances. This makes it more difficult to lose weight.

Your body needs at least 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night. Make sure you get enough.

12. Stay Hydrated

Drinking water is a great way to improve your chances of weight loss. Water fills you up, so you're less likely to overeat.

Studies show that people who drank water before a meal ate significantly less compared to those who didn't.

Proper hydration helps your body function better overall, too. In addition to weight loss, you’ll have more energy, healthier skin, and better digestion.

13. Know Your Hunger

People don’t always eat because they are hungry. Negative emotions, stress, and fatigue can also trigger hunger.  

Unfortunately, you may end up eating more calories than you would. So before you even think about food, pause and ask yourself why you want to eat.

If you are eating because you’re stressed or tired or want to “reward” yourself after a bad day, then it’s not a good reason to eat.

You should only eat only when you’re hungry, so you don’t resort to emotional eating. The better you understand your moods, the easier you can control your hunger.

We usually recommend Noom for this. Unlike other weight loss programs, they provide tips and coaching on stress management.

14. Cook at Home

While there are restaurants that offer healthy meals, cooking your meals at home is almost always the better option. 

When you cook your own food, you'll have complete control over the ingredients and amount of calories you put in.

15. Make a Diet Plan

Creating a meal plan promotes healthy eating. Without a plan, you can easily make bad choices, like ordering takeout.

Some people do well with a very detailed food plan, while others just need a general idea of what they’ll have day-to-day. The key is to find what works for your schedule.

You can use weight loss apps to plan your meals. Many of them provide access to healthy recipes and meal planners.

16. Invest in Smaller Plates

Want a simple way to eat less? Put your food on a smaller serving plate.

This might seem too good to be true, but if you cannot add plenty of food to your plate, you can’t eat those extra calories. Just don’t go back for seconds.

17. Don’t Skip Meals

Cutting calories doesn’t mean you should limit the number of times you eat in a day. Skipping meals can be counterintuitive since you may eat more at a later time.

The key to long-term weight loss is to develop healthy habits you can stick with. You don’t want to deprive yourself or do anything that only works temporarily.

You can still eat three meals a day and lose weight. The key is to eat more food with low-calorie density and eat less high-calorie density foods.

18. Make Tea Time Part of Your Routine

Do you find yourself snacking mid-day as a pick-me-up? Consider adding the refined ritual of tea time to your daily calendar.

Tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants that speeds up your metabolism. Studies show that tea catechins burn fat, which aids with weight loss.

Tea is also a low-calorie drink with just 1-2 calories per cup. Make sure it's plain brewed tea and not sweetened to avoid any excess calories.

19. Start Exercising

Most weight loss experts know that your diet is the most important part of weight loss. “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet,” as the saying goes.

But this doesn’t mean that exercise can do absolutely nothing for you. Pairing healthy choices with exercise can help you get a calorie deficit. 

Make sure you check with your doctor before exercising. People who are overweight, obese, and have heart problems, may require specialized routines.

But for most people, some walking may be enough.

Can You Lose Weight Without Counting Calories?

Yes. While calorie counting helps, it’s not the only way to lose weight. The key to losing weight is to create a calorie deficit.

  • Simple food swaps can have a huge impact on your total calories. For example, if you drink water instead of soda, you can reduce your intake by 201 calories with each meal.
  • Opt for weight loss diets that make you lose weight without counting. For example, a vegan diet that consists of fruits and vegetables can help you consume fewer calories.
  • Make exercising a habit. 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.

The average person should eat between 1200 and 1800 calories per day to lose weight. Your daily calorie limit will depend on your sex, activity level, age, and other factors. 

With the right diet and lifestyle, you don't have to count calories to lose weight.

Updated on January 11, 2023
Minus IconPlus Icon
6 sources cited
Updated on January 11, 2023
Kelly Jamrozy
Kelly Jamrozy
Content Contributor
Kelly has experience working with clients in a variety of industries, including legal, medical, marketing, and travel. Her goal is to share important information that people can use to make decisions about their health and the health of their loved ones. From choosing the best treatment programs to improving dental and vision health to finding the best method for helping anyone who is struggling with health issues, she hopes to share what she learns through informative content.
Back to top icon