Counting calories really can be a burden. Find out how I stopped counting calories and am able to maintain a healthy weight.
Just starting this one off by saying that this is what has worked for me. Other things may work for you, but I’m just sharing my experiences (and why I think my way of staying healthy is the best way… kidding… kinda).
I know there’s all these apps like My Fitness Pal and other places where you can enter all the foods you eat and it will tell you how many calories you’ve consumed in the day. That’s kind of the new thing. And I know a lot of people who have lost weight that way. And you know, I’ve tried living that life, and I have to say, it’s not all that fun.
Counting calories is time consuming and tedious. It takes time out of your day. Counting calories can be restrictive of the foods you actually want to eat. Counting calories can be highly inaccurate – labels can be wrong by up to 20 percent! And really when it comes down to it, there are no studies that have shown that counting calories will result in long-term weight loss.
So then how do people do it if they don’t count calories to make sure they don’t “go over?” Here’s the thing. For me, there’s no magic number. I have no clue how many calories I eat in a day. I would assume somewhere between 1200-2000, but I really don’t know. I could be way off. It could be 3000. No clue. And it doesn’t really matter, because I’m doing awesome. Remember that post I wrote last year about how I started to count calories? Yeah, that lasted about 2 weeks before I went back to my happy and healthy place.
The place where my weight rarely fluctuates more than a few pounds up and down. I rarely overeat and get that too-full-can’t-move feeling. And the best part – I never feel like I’m deprived of the foods I love.
So this is what I do.
1. Listen to Your Body! This is for real 100% number one the most important thing you will need to do if you want to maintain (or even lose) your weight without counting calories. Be in tune with your body. Know when it’s actually physically hungry instead of bored or tired. Know when you’re feeling satisfied (not full, satisfied). If you stop when you’re full, it’ll be too late. You really need to eat slowly and listen. I wrote a post about how to tell if you’re physically or emotionally hungry, and I think it may help you out.
2. Portion Control. Pre-portion out your snacks. Eat on a small plate. Ask for a to-go box when the waitress brings out the meal. These are all things you can do to be sure you are eating the right portions. There’s no real need to weigh or measure out your food unless you’re really not sure what the right sizes are for foods. In that case, do it for about a week until you get the hang of the right portions. You can look online for reference.
3. Sit Down When You Eat. None of this standing in front of the fridge or at the counter to eat. Sit down away from the computer and tv, and focus on one thing. Eating. How your body is feeling. How the food tastes. The whole process. If you’re distracted by all your electronics, you aren’t even going to realize when you’re starting to get full, and then you will have over-eaten.
4. Chew Every Bite Before Taking Another. I have to admit – I struggle with this one a bit at times. I’ve noticed that I love food so much that sometimes the next bites goes in my mouth before I’ve even swallowed the first. I know that sounds ridiculous and totally gluttonous, but it’s a problem that a lot of people have when it comes to overeating. I have to remind myself to SLOW DOWN and really enjoy each and every bite.
5. Eat Foods You’re Actually in the Mood to Eat. If you don’t love kale and are only eating it because you think you’re “supposed” to, well then stop. There are TON of healthy options out there. Pick the foods that you love and truly enjoy eating. Don’t waste your tastebuds’ time on mediocre fare. Choose only the good stuff! Think of it this way. If you were craving a grilled cheese sandwich hardcore, but you convinced yourself to eat a kale wrap when you don’t really like kale, you’re not going to be happy. And when you’ve finished that wrap, I can pretty much guarantee that you’re still going to be craving that grilled cheese sandwich and possibly even eat that on top of the kale wrap. If you had just chosen the grilled cheese like you wanted in the first place, you would have been happy and consumed much less in the end.
I hope this helps you to understand a life without calorie counting. I’ve tried life both ways, and I have to say that a life without really thinking or stressing about what I’m eating is a much more enjoyable one.
What works for you? Are you a calorie counter? Do you enjoy it?