Do you spend your life counting calories or points? Measuring your food and restricting your portion sizes?
If this sounds like you, then you’re in for a treat today.
What if I told you that you can throw away your kitchen scales, and bin anything that tells you the calories in what you’re eating, or asks you to count your calories?
Does it sound too good to be true?
Does it sound impossible?
If you’ve been consistently told that you need to count calories to lose weight, then I’ve got some bad news for you. It turns out that a review found people who count calories may lose weight initially, but simply gain weight in the long run. In this post I’ll show you How To Lose Weight Without Counting Calories.
Counting calories is not the answer to weight loss.
You can lose weight and eat a significantly larger volume of food throughout the day simply by adopting a whole food, plant-based diet.
Plus, by making the right dietary choices you’ll be able to keep it off permanently, without counting calories.
How To Lose Weight Without Counting Calories
It all comes down to the energy density of the food you eat.
The what? I hear you.
Calorie / Energy density is the number of calories per gram of food. For instance, animal products such as chickens, cows, fish or any other animal source, are high energy density foods, whereas potatoes, beans, pasta are low density foods.
This means that you can eat more but still lose weight.
Experiments have shown that you tend to eat the same amount of food (volume) at a meal, regardless of calories. When you’ve eaten enough, your stomach sends a message to your brain telling you that you’re full.
The key is to eat lots of low calorie/energy dense foods.
Just one tablespoon of olive oil has 119 calories. But so does:
41/2 cups of cherry tomatoes
12 cups of shredded iceburg lettuce
17 cups of raw spinach
3 cups of cooked spinach
4 cups of raw broccoli
2/3 cup of baked sweet potato
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26.
So it makes sense to stop cooking with oil and pouring oil over your salads, this just adds a whole heap of extra, empty calories. Instead of the oil, you can have four and a half cups of cherry tomatoes, or 17 cups of raw spinach (it bit much even for me!).
Another way to look at it is to see what 100 calories can give you. You can eat…
285 grams of steamed broccoli
555 grams of tomatoes
310 grams strawberries
or you can eat:
70 grams grilled chicken
25 grams cheddar cheese
105 grams baked white fish
As you can see, you can eat lots more plant-based foods than you can of anything else.
One hundred calories of plants are more likely to fill you up, than 100 calories of animal or processed foods. You’re going to have to eat lots more of the high calorie food to give you that same feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
In fact, if you don’t eat the steamed broccoli you’d have to eat four times the amount of grilled chicken (400 calories v 100 calories) or 11 times the amount of cheese (1100 calories v 100 calories) to get the same feeling of fullness.
Why does plant-based food make you feel fuller?
It’s all about the fiber and water content of food. Water weighs a lot but doesn’t have any calories. Fiber is similar. So foods that are high in water and fibre are also generally lower in energy/calories.
You will not find fibre in animals. Fibre is only found in plants.
What About Portion Size?
Researchers, as long ago as 30 years, showed that they were able to help people lose weight, not by asking them to reduce their portion size, but simply by encouraging them to substitute high calorie dense foods for less calorie dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.
On average, people lost 17 pounds in just 21 days, but they didn’t eat less.
They ate more!
Their calorie intake dropped by 40%, but they ate more food, four pounds of food per day.
This isn’t the only study that found you can lose weight by eating more, more low energy food that is.
A review of 15 studies with 755 participants found that people who switched to a plant-based diet, lost weight even without exercise or calorie counting.
In another study, it was found that vegetarians were consuming on average 363 fewer calories every day.
That’s about the same amount of calories that you cut out when you go on a ‘typical’ diet that restricts your food intake.
As Dr Greger says:
… that seemed just like what vegetarians ate normally, so a vegetarian diet could be considered an all-you-care-to-eat version of a calorie-restricted weight loss diet, naturally inducing weight loss and also helping maintain healthy weight status long term. So just following a vegetarian diet alone, without focusing on calorie reduction, could result in weight loss.
How likely is that you can stick to a plant-based diet long term?
Dr Greger goes on to say…
They are in fact among the only type of diets that have been shown to be sustainable long-term, perhaps because not only do people lose weight but they often feel so much better.
And there’s no calorie counting or portion control. In fact, vegetarians may burn more calories in their sleep! Those eating more plant-based diets appear to have an 11% higher resting metabolic rate. Both vegetarians and vegans in this study just naturally seemed to have a revved up metabolism compared to those eating meat.
Remember To Consume Nutrient Dense Foods At Every Meal
The calories you need to consume every day to support and nourish your body should come from nutrient dense foods.
Nutrient density is the ratio of nutrients per calorie. You should aim to make sure that you get the most nutritional bang for your buck and make sure every mouthful of food has as many nutrients as possible.
Whole foods such as vegetables, fruits whole grains and legumes are high in fibre, water, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants but are low in energy density.
White bread is a great example of empty calories – it is energy dense and nutrient poor.
So for a simple way to lose weight and keep it off permanently, without counting calories or restricting your portion size, simply start following a whole food, plant-based diet that consists naturally of low energy dense food, that are high in nutrient density.
If losing weight for your holidays is one of your goals, then consider following a whole food, plant-based diet and you’ll not only be able to help your body to detox daily, but you’ll be able to lose weight too!