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How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories
Updated on August 16, 2022
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Diet / Weight Loss
How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

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

Calorie counting may be a popular way to lose weight, but it isn’t your only option. 

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

How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories 2

Counting Calories for Weight Loss

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

Counting calories helps you limit your calorie intake. Basically, you want to count calories in every food you eat. You can use a food journal but a calorie-counting app makes things so much easier.

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. 

There are two ways to achieve calorie deficiency:

  1. Changing your diet
  2. Exercise

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.

Many weight loss diets can make you lose weight without counting. For example, a vegan diet which consists of fruits and vegetables can help you consume fewer calories.

Combining a healthy diet with exercise not only reduces your calorie consumption. It can also help you burn fat.

Exercise increases your total energy expenditure or the number of calories you burn in a day.

If you’re not used to exercising, you can start by walking 5 to 10 minutes per day. As you get more comfortable, you can progress to 22 minutes of daily brisk walking or 30 minutes for 5 days.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobics every week.

19 Ways To Lose 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; it’s 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 while consuming as few calories as possible. This means choosing high-fiber and other filling foods that are low in calories.

Examples of low-calorie foods include:

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

Here is a guide on calorie density.

2. Avoid High Calorie Dense Foods

Along the same lines as the first tip, you’ll also want to avoid calorie-dense foods. Foods with high calorie 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 is 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. 

Think of it this way: 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.

While you can measure your servings, this is just as much of a hassle as counting your calories. If you want a fast way to measure your serving size, 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 how much food you should be eating.

Tip: Calorie counting apps can tell you how many calories there are per serving of food. Since they do the calculating, it doesn't take much effort.

4. Balance Your Plate

A great way to reduce your calories without counting 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, 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 chew slowly. Focusing on your meal is a form of self-care and it helps you make better food choices. 

The Noom Diet Plan is a great place to start if you want to eat mindfully.

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. 

The good news is most coffee shops offer lower-calorie alternatives, so you can get your jolt without adding several hundred calories. Or you can also switch to home-brewed coffee to control the amount of sugar you put in.

7. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Most people assume that you should stop eating desserts as part of your weight loss efforts. 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 must indulge in “traditional” desserts like cakes, pies, or candy, eat half of what you normally would.

8. Limit Condiments

It’s common for people to cut down on their serving sizes and make better food choices, but get frustrated when they don’t lose weight. The culprit might be overconsuming 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. 

Cutting back doesn’t mean eliminating condiments. But if you’re trying to reduce calorie intake, 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 say.

Breakfast cereals, condiments, sweet yogurts, and carbonated beverages are some foods with hidden sugars. When reading the ingredients list, watch out for:

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

Some food tracking apps can tell you if your food contains 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 Adequate Sleep

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

If you aren’t getting at least 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night, it’s time to rethink your sleep regimen. Your body will thank you in more ways than just weight loss.

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. Sometimes, people turn to food when they feel thirsty because they mistake it for hunger.

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. Sometimes, emotions and fatigue can make you want to eat even though you aren’t hungry. 

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 it will be for you to keep your hunger under control.

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 have complete control over ingredients. You know exactly what ingredients to use and how much of them go into the meals you prepare.

15. Make a Diet Plan

Creating a meal plan prevents you from making impulsive decisions 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. Without a plan, you can easily make bad choices and exceed your calorie limit.

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 extra calories 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 developing healthy habits you can stick with. You don’t want to deprive yourself or do anything that only works temporarily.

Eating three meals a day isn’t going to stop you from losing weight, as long as you eat healthy. This means choosing the right foods and eating the right portions.

The only exception to this rule is if you're on intermittent fasting.

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 encourage fat-burning, 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.

Tip: If you are new to exercise, fitness apps can help you get started with simple workouts.

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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.
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