You and I and everyone else who‘s ever seen a weight loss ad of any kind knows that the foundation of basically ANY weight loss plan is to burn more calories than you take in. This is absolutely true with the exception of a few foods that demonstrate that a calorie is not in fact always a calorie as in the example of foods high in fiber or foods that don’t cause the same weight gain as expected for their calories like nuts.
If you’re interested about the nuts thing, watch/listen to this.
But this article is about NOT calorie counting and STILL losing weight. It’s exactly how myself and all of my weight loss clients lose weight. It’s about understanding the principles of food combining, food timing, and the ratio of nutrient density to caloric density.
The trouble with counting calories is you miss the point on all the benefits of REAL FOOD. If you’re only reading nutrition labels to see how many calories something has, you could technically eat exclusively all the foods that cause heart disease, diabetes, and cancer and still be eating in a calorie deficit. Would you lose weight? Yes if you’re in a caloric deficit. Can you still die of a heart attack and get diabetes even at a normal weight? You bet!
The other benefit of not counting calories is that it’s more sustainable. Writing down every single thing you eat is hard enough, but also specifying the amount and brand in an app to correctly calculate your macros is not something most of us can sustain for 60+ years.
I take 3 months to teach my clients the details and personalize the application to their lifestyle, food preferences, and habits they find sustainable, but here are a few major principles:
Nutrient Density. Eat more foods that are nutrient dense but calorically light. You don’t have to look up the nutrition facts of foods though because I can tell you two categories of foods that already satisfy this: fruits and non-starchy veggies. The more you eat of these, the more you’ll lose weight. That’s over-simplified but it works.
Food Addiction. Understand that certain foods are as addicting to us as cocaine and opioids. Those foods are salt, sugar, and oil. If you identify that eating food that contains these makes you crave more of those foods, it may be time to see if you can reduce or get off these foods. Sugar addiction is the most common and if you feel you have it, I suggest going without any sugar for 3 weeks before seeing how often you can have it without falling off the sugar wagon.
Sustainability. I might sound like a broken record but if you can’t do your weight loss plan forever, then it’s not the right plan for you. If you absolutely hate brussel sprouts and your weight loss plan includes them as the main non-starchy veggie that you consume more of, I’m gonna bet that you won’t still be eating brussel sprouts in 1 year.
Give it time. Your body is not supposed to have massive fluctuations in weight or you‘d die from starvation from a month of eating 1200 calories a day. So give your body time to lose weight. In my experience, 3-4 weeks of doing the SAME EXACT THING is the time it takes to truly know if something is working or not. It’s also enough time to make something a habit which brings me to...
Habits. Whenever possible, weave a nutrition or lifestyle change into a routine or habit. If a change isn’t a habit, it means it’s on a to-do list and to-do lists often get new things added and prioritized over older items on the to-do list. If something is woven into your life, like sleeping every night, it will stay in your life whether work gets stressful or not. You can also form habits for stressful situations too. We work on that with my clients as well.
If you don’t know where to start, start with these 5 things and see how you’re doing in 4 weeks. If you want help with a personalized plan that incorporates all of this, schedule a call with me here and we’ll do it together!