Losing Weight Without Tracking Calories
With obesity more prevalent now than ever in today’s food-obsessed society, it goes without saying that you’re not alone of if you’re looking to lose that spare tire around your hips. The problem is most people don’t want to track their food intake in order to lose weight… but don’t worry, you don’t need to.
THE DEADLY CONSEQUENCES OF BEING OVERWEIGHT
The “ American” lifestyle for most people includes sitting behind a computer for eight hours a day while mindlessly grazing on calorie-dense, nutrient-devoid foods. Those same individuals usually don’t get much exercise aside from their mighty trek from the parking garage to the office.
Sadly, the health complications associated with being highly sedentary and overweight can be life-threatening if left uncontrolled. In fact, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States (8.3% of the population) have diabetes, most of which are type-2, and that number is increasing at an exponential rate.1
Moreover, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and being overweight is strongly correlated with cardiovascular detriments.2
You’re probably already aware of all the consequences being overweight can bring about, but why is it that more and more people are becoming obese as time progresses? Maybe ignorance really is bliss? Or maybe it’s something more than that?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to overeating, but appetite regulation gone awry is definitely a major culprit, along with lack of desire to track food intake. These two factors will be discussed herein so you can learn how to successfully lose weight without the need for tracking your food intake.
APPETITE REGULATION IS KEY FOR SELF-CONTROL
You may feel that you lack the requisite discipline to flourish on a diet, especially when the idea of enjoying foods you genuinely enjoy without tracking food intake is brought into play. While your willpower plays a role in your ability to control yourself when indulging on foods you enjoy, another chunk of it is influenced by your appetite.
Before moving on, let’s make sure you clearly understand differences between the terms appetite and hunger. Appetite is used to describe the psychological desire to eat food, whereas hunger is the body signaling the physiological need for food.
For example, if you eat a wholesome meal then you should no longer be hungry. However, if shortly thereafter you get a sweet tooth for ice cream, that is your appetite (psychological desire) kicking in.
Bellow are some proven appetite-reducing suggestions that should decrease your desire for that quart of strawberry ice cream when the clock strikes midnight.
Tips to Decrease Your Appetite Naturally:
• Eat Slowly: Eating slowly gives your brain and gut time to connect and recognize you’re filling up. If you eat too quickly, the signals don’t kick in until it’s too late.
• Stay Hydrated: The benefits of staying hydrated are rather numerous, and keeping enough liquid in your stomach while you eat can create a sense of fullness (not to mention it’s good for digestive purposes).
• Stop Eating Just Before You’re Full: When you’re trying to lose fat, you will undoubtedly be a bit hungry at times. Over time though this will subside as your body adapts.
• Manage Your Stress & Anxiety: Many people are likely aware of “ stress eating” which seems to be a common occurrence in depressed individuals. It can only be of benefit for you to manage your stress/anxiety so before eating try to be in a calm, pleasant mood; usually this will positively affect your appetite regulation.
• Get Plenty Of Sleep: Sleep loss usually results in feeling stressed out, which as aforementioned is generally not favorable for good appetite regulation.
WHERE’S THE DIET?
By now you’re probably thinking, “ Where is the diet plan? Do I just eat whatever I want?” The short answer to that is, “ Yes.” B
ut, there are some tips you should follow to successfully lose weight without tracking your food intake.
START YOUR MEALS WITH LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES
Leafy green vegetables are loaded with micronutrients and fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Examples of quality leafy greens include spinach, broccoli, lettuce, and cabbage. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is digested in a unique fashion so as to not impact blood sugar levels negatively. Moreover, fiber provides bulk to waste in the intestines and promotes healthy gastrointestinal (GI) functioning.
There are two classes of fibers—soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers mesh with water to form a gel and slow the digestive process, which can help keep blood sugar levels from swinging. Soluble fibers are eventually fermented by bacteria in the intestine to short-chain fatty acids and energy. Therefore, it is recommended to start your meals with a big salad and/or a few servings of leafy greens. This will help promote satiety and give you the micronutrients you need for optimal health.
EAT PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL
Protein is arguably the most important macronutrient for losing weight and overall health purposes. The myriad functions protein has in the human body include neurotransmission, energy production, cardiovascular function, immune system regulation; protein is also the key macronutrient for building and repairing body tissues (such as muscle).3
Most women fear that eating an adequate amount of protein will make them bulky and muscle-bound, which is quite an irrational fear really. If anything, protein is imperative for females looking to lose weight as it provides a significant amount of satiety per gram and helps preserve lean body mass.
Processed carbohydrates and saturated fats, on the other hand, don’t provide nearly as much satiety and therefore it’s easy to overindulge on such foods. Some examples of high-quality protein sources include chicken breast, fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and lentils/beans.
Thus, it is advised that each meal contain at least 15 to 20 grams of protein, which equates to roughly a fist-sized portion of animal meats. You should be able to “ guesstimate” how much protein is in a meal by simply reading food labels and eyeballing the portions.
THE REST IS UP TO YOU
Believe it or not, it is totally okay for you to eat any junk food you want – in moderation – with your meals after you’ve eaten your vegetables and protein. The main thing is to not eat junk prior to your vegetables and protein, as this negates the benefits vegetables and proteins have on satiety and healthy digestion.
Eat your vegetables and protein, and then indulge a little with some foods you’ve been craving, if you want. Remember, vegetables provide the raw fiber needed to keep your gut healthy while protein keeps you full and helps the body regenerate lean tissue.
1) Diabetes Statistics – American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). American Diabetes Association Home Page – American Diabetes Association. http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/?loc=DropDownDB-stats
2) Go, A. S., Mozaffarian, D., Roger, V. L., Benjamin, E. J., Berry, J. D., Blaha, M. J., … & Fullerton, H. J. (2014). Executive summary: heart disease and stroke statistics–2014 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 129(3), 399.
3) Wagenmakers, A. J. (1997). Muscle amino acid metabolism at rest and during exercise: role in human physiology and metabolism. Exercise and sport sciences reviews, 26, 287-314.