Do You Need to Count Calories to Lose Weight?

calorie counting

The majority of Americans are overweight.

And like the majority of these people, you’re probably looking for a long-term solution to your weight. You likely want to lose it and keep it off for good.

You may have heard that weight loss is simple: calories in versus calories out. This involves counting calories every day and ensuring that you don’t go above a certain limit.

But do you have to count calories to lose weight?

In this article, we’ll go over some strategies you can employ if calorie counting isn’t your thing.

Do I Have to Engage in Calorie Counting to Lose Weight?

We won’t lie. Counting calories does make weight loss easier. It makes it easier to calculate how much food you need per day. It also makes it easier to see how achievable your goal is. By counting calories, you’re making sure you are creating a caloric deficit, which what the body needs in order to lose weight.

But do you absolutely need to count calories to lose weight? No. You can still lose weight without even knowing what a calorie is. And we’ll discuss some of the ways you can do that in this article.

Enroll in a Points Based System

There are diet programs that assign points to food. Points work similarly to calories, but allow people to create a caloric deficit based on the points they assign to food. In essence, you’ll be counting calories, but you’ll do so in the form of points.

Each food is a certain number of points and you’ll have a certain number of points you’re either allowed per week or per day. Your goal will be to stay under the limit or hit it exactly.

Change the Way You Eat

If you change the way you eat, you can create a calorie deficit without noticing.

For example, if you eat french fries every night for dinner, you can easily replace them with a small, healthy salad. You’ll have created a calorie deficit without even realizing it.

Switching out the type of food you eat can help you lose weight almost immediately. Swap candy for fruit. Trade in your soda for diet soda or water. You’ll start losing weight without even having to count a single calorie.

Switch Up Your Routine

Do you find yourself indulging in carbs late at night? Do you crave sugary foods in the morning? Do you need something sweet to get you through the afternoon hump?

Try switching up your routine. Instead of reaching for the comfort foods, reach for fruit or vegetables or another low-calorie alternative. You may find that the weight will come off after changing just this one thing.

Focus on Nutrition

If your goal is to be the healthiest version of yourself, you should focus on nutrition more than you focus on calories.

Instead of deciding what you’ll eat by how many calories it has in it, choose what you eat by the nutrition it has in it.

You can use MyFitnessPal or similar nutrient tracker to get an idea of what you need in each meal. Then, plan your meals accordingly. You won’t count calories, but you’ll still lose weight since the focus is on getting fresh food.

Don’t Starve Yourself

This is a no-brainer, but many dieters find themselves getting caught in the trap of cutting too many calories and then becoming ravenous. They then binge on all the “bad” foods and find that they’re back where they were.

Don’t do this.

Instead, focus on creating meals that are nutritious and fill you up. Foods that are heavy on legumes and other denser items will make your stomach fill up a lot more quickly than something like ice cream, which might even have more calories.

Letting yourself feel full is essential to long-lasting weight loss.

Watch Your Portions

Some people are overweight because they’ve never been taught what correct portion sizes are. If this is the case for you, educate yourself.

Many people in the United States eat portions that are far too big for them. This can result in carrying around extra weight.

Make sure you measure out your food, such as cereal or other loose items. Don’t “eyeball” it, as this can result in you getting far too much food than you need.

Maintaining correct portions is a key to weight loss, and you can do this without counting calories.

Start Exercising

If you want to see lasting results, you need to commit to a whole new lifestyle. This often includes exercising. You may not be used to it, but it is a great way to ensure your body is in the best shape possible.

Pick something physical that you like doing. If you loathe running, don’t decide you’re going to set a goal to run 5 miles. You won’t do it and you’ll get even more frustrated with yourself.

Instead, do something you look forward to doing to kickstart your body into shape.

Practice Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating can be difficult if you live with other people or people have expectations of you. Intuitive eating is what is known as an “anti-diet.” It means only eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. Also means listening to what your body is craving and feeding it that.

It may take a while to get into the pattern, but you can trust your body’s natural instincts to let you know when you need food.

If you have psychological issues, this may be more difficult to discern. However, you can work with a therapist in order to help you verify what is a real hunger craving and what isn’t.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Whether you’re calorie counting or not, it is easy to get discouraged when trying to lose weight. It doesn’t happen overnight, and people often go through cycles of losing and gaining before losing again.

Don’t give up, and don’t lose sight of your goal.

For more tips and tricks on losing weight, visit our blog.