Everyone thinks they have to do it to lose weight.
Either that, or track macros. Even though a lot of people who have been told to track their macros don’t know what macros are or how to effectively track them. Which is interesting, and one of the many failings of the fitness industry.
But that’s a rant for another time.
There are a few issues I have with counting calories.
First and foremost, it’s pretty inaccurate. In fact, calorie counts on labels can be off by up to 20%.
(I wrote that out for dramatic effect. Did it work?)
That’s a very large potential percentage of error. Let’s say you’re meticulously counting calories, and you come up with 1,500 for the day. 20% error means that you could actually be anywhere from 1,200-1,800 calories for the day.
That’s wildly inaccurate.
There are other factors that can determine how many of those calories you actually absorb too, but again…another time.
All this being said, I’m actually not anti counting calories. In fact, I have clients right now that are counting calories.
Some people like tracking them. It gives them a sense of control, and fits with the way their brains work. As long as they understand that it’s in no way precise, and as long as it doesn’t put them in an unhealthy mindset with food, I’m cool with it.
Now that we’re clear on my stance on calorie counting, let’s look at some other, and simpler, strategies for fat loss.
Keep A Food Journal
One of the simplest ways to eat less food (and thereby eat fewer calories) is to actually pay attention to what you’re eating. A great way to do this is to write it down. Simply, keep track of everything you eat all day long.
This does a couple of things. First, it creates awareness about what you’re eating. That alone can be huge for people, and enough to trigger some fat loss. Can you tell me what you ate for the entire day last Friday? How about Sunday? How about a week ago? Probably not. Keeping a food journal forces you to pay attention to this.
It also gives you some good data you can use to make future decisions. Let’s say for example you’re looking over the last week and notice that you only had vegetables 4 times in those 7 days. Yikes. That can serve as a wake-up call to be more intentional of how many vegetables you’re eating. If you don’t have a food journal, you’re going to romanticize how well you eat (we all do) and think “I eat veggies pretty regularly,” even if you don’t.
Eat From A Smaller Plate
This may seem silly to some of you, but it can actually be quite effective. A smaller plate does a couple of things. First off, mentally it gives the impression of a very full plate. Imagine filling a regular sized plate with all the items you’re having for dinner and leaving a little bit of space between each item. Now transfer all of that food to a plate that is 2 inches smaller. It’s probably not going to fit. And if it does, it’s going to be very full.
Second, using a smaller plate automatically reduces the amount of food you can put on it…because it’s smaller. This means less calories, as long as you don’t go back for seconds. And thirds. And third-and-a-halfs.
Using this strategy can work well because mentally your plate is full, and it feels like you’ve taken generous portions, while in reality you’re eating fewer calories.
If you thought either of the previous strategies I mentioned were simple, this one is really going to knock your socks off. Unless you’re not wearing socks. In that case, I have no ideas what’s going to happen to you.
We are a rushed society. We pride ourselves on being “busy”. Too busy to make plans. Too busy to invest in our own health. Too busy to make a healthy meal, let alone eat it while sitting down. Yet, we have plenty of time for Netflix and social media. Weird.
A nasty by-product of this “busyness” is that when we eat, we tend to eat very quickly. The problem with this is that when we eat quickly we tend to overeat. Hunger cues aren’t instant. And when we eat quickly, we can easily take in too much food before our body says, “Woah! I’m good!”
Slowing down the pace at which you eat gives you a chance to actually listen to your body. That way, when it says, “No more, please,” you can actually hear it before you’ve got an extra 500 calories in you from your third helping in 10 minutes.
You can slow down by putting your utensils down or by taking a drink of water in-between each bite. Or, try setting a timer for 20 minutes, and force yourself to take the entire 20 minutes to eat your first plate. Try it once. I guarantee you’ll be shocked at how long it feels, and at how less food can be more filling.
So there you have it. Three simple, but very effective, strategies for fat loss that don’t require counting calories. Give one a try, and please let me know how they work for you. If you’re interested in further assistance or accountability, feel free to drop me a message and we can discuss the possibility of working together.
As always, feel free to share this with someone you feel could benefit from this information.
Now, go get em!