Your weight is controlled by the difference between how many calories you burn and how many you eat. Losing weight is as simple as entering a state in which you burn more calories than you eat. When you do this consistently, over a long period of time, your body is forced to burn stored fat for energy causing weight loss. Reducing your calorie intake is a big part of losing weight (in addition to exercising more). Here are a few ways you can cut your intake without counting calories.
1. No Soda. Eliminating soda from your diet can have a huge impact on your caloric intake. One serving of soda contains approximately 100 calories. If you get your soda from a gas station or fast food restaurant, you’re drinking way more than a single serving, even if you order the small size. Soda is pretty much just liquid sugar which allows it to be digested very quickly. This leaves you hungry which can lead to over eating further increasing your calorie intake. Replace soda and other sugared drinks (sweet tea, coffee, fruit juices) with water.
2. Eat More Fiber. A big problem with soda is that it contains no fiber. Fiber is a complex carbohydrate which means it gets digested very slowly. A food that is high in fiber will keep you full for longer than a food that is low in fiber (ex: soda, candy, doughnuts). Foods high in fiber include vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread/pasta.
3. Don’t Go Shopping When You’re Hungry. The absolute worst thing you can do is go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. When you let yourself get hungry, you start to get cravings. If you happen to be around food when you get these cravings, you’ll start throwing everything into your shopping cart. The result will be a refrigerator full of unhealthy junk food that you’ll have to eat. Going shopping while you’re hungry not only sets you up for an unhealthy diet, it will also create a huge grocery bill. Eat before you shop.
4. Buy Smaller Plates. Though this may seem like a waste of time, when you don’t have room on your plate for more food, you can’t put anymore on. You’ll eat what you have on your plate and when you’re done you’ll feel full, not wanting anymore. If you use a bigger plate, you’ll simply force yourself to eat everything that’s on it regardless of if you’re still hungry.
5. Cook Your Own Food. Learning how to cook isn’t an easy step to take but it is a healthy one. As you learn to make better dishes, and cook more often, your calorie intake will start to go down. Processed and restaurant foods are loaded with calories because the portions are way too big. They’re also filled with fat and sugar making them very unhealthy.
Honorable Mention: Low Fat Foods. Slowly start to incorporate foods that are low in fat or fat free into your diet. You can start with your dairy (milk, cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese) and include meat (tuna, chicken and low fat cuts of beef).
The Bottom Line
Losing weight can be summed up by a simple phrase: eat less, move more. By taking a few simple steps, you can easily reduce your calorie intake without counting calories and meticulously keeping track of your meals.