How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

If you’ve ever been on a weight loss diet, chances are that you’ve counted calories, or points, or macros at some point. We’ve been told for years that the key to weight loss is to eat less calories than you burn.

To some extent, that is true. However, there are problems with this strategy.

The Problem With Calorie Counting for Weight Loss

First of all, depending on a calorie or macro tracker to tell you how much to eat is training your body to ignore your own hunger and fullness cues.

Over time, this leads to you becoming more and more out of touch with your body cues, making it easier to overeat when you’re not “tracking” all of your calories.

Second, calories are simply a unit of energy, and they don’t tell you anything about how food is affecting your body. Not all calories are created equal and different types of nutrients have vastly different effects on your metabolism.

You can be in a caloric deficit, but if your blood sugar is out of whack, your inflammation is off the charts, and your hormones are out of balance, your body is going to resist weight loss.

Lastly, calorie counting is a losing strategy for weight loss because long-term calorie restriction slows down your metabolic rate, making it extremely difficult to keep the weight off once you’ve reached your goal.

If calorie counting hasn’t worked for you in the long run, it’s not your fault. This strategy simply isn’t effective for long-term results.

A Better Approach to Weight Loss: How to Stop Counting Calories

There is a better way to lose weight and keep it off for good. The key to sustainable weight loss that lasts is to work with your body instead of against it.

Your body is hard wired to resist dieting. Your body doesn’t really care about your desire to fit into a pair of skinny jeans. God created your body with mechanisms to keep you safe and to keep you alive.

Under eating, in the form of significant calorie restriction, is perceived by your body as a threat. In response, your body will attempt to reserve energy by slowing down your metabolic rate and hanging on to excess body fat.

In order to lose weight efficiently, your body needs to feel safe. That means that you’re going to have to stop starving yourself and start giving your body the nutrients that it needs in order to release excess body fat. And if you want to be free from the calorie tracker, you’re going to need to learn to get in touch with your hunger and fullness cues again.

There are 3 key areas you need to focus on to lose body fat and keep it off, without counting calories.

1. Balance Your Blood Sugar: The Key to Crushing Cravings & Losing Body Fat

Balancing your blood sugar is essential to fat loss and is the key to crushing food cravings and managing your appetite. It is normal for blood sugar levels to fluctuate throughout the day, but many of us experience wide fluctuations in our blood sugar, which is problematic.

The wide fluctuations in blood sugar keeps your body from burning fat, leads to mood swings and energy crashes, and causes you to crave sugar and carbs.

When you keep your blood sugar steady, food cravings dissipate, you feel much more satisfied between meals, and your body is able to burn fat more efficiently.

Here are 4 tips that can help you get started with balancing your blood sugar:

  1. Balance your meals with protein, healthy fat, and fiber. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein with every meal.
  2. Choose higher fiber carbs most of the time. Carbs are not the enemy of weight loss, but refined carbohydrates do have a bigger impact on blood sugar. Higher fiber carbs from whole food sources help keep blood sugar stable.
  3. Avoid eating carbs “naked”. Don’t eat carbohydrates by themselves. When you pair a carb with protein and healthy fat, it blunts the effect on blood sugar and keep your levels more stable.
  4. Eat regular meals, every 3-4 hours. Eating sporadically throughout the day, or skipping meals, leads to erratic blood sugar levels.

2. Eat Mindfully: Getting in Tune With Your Body

Once your blood sugar is balanced and your appetite is better regulated, it will be much easier to implement this second step, which is mindful eating.

Mindful eating is the practice of being fully present end allowing yourself to enjoy your meals, as well as paying attention to your body and how it feels. This habit increases joy and satisfaction with eating, but it also helps you manage your food portions.

You were born with an internal calorie counter that told your body how much food you needed to function and stay healthy. Dieting and eating patterns full of highly processed foods have made us out of touch with that internal barometer.

Mindful eating will help you get in touch with those cues again so you can eat the right portions of food for your body. Here are some tips for being more mindful with your eating:

  1. Eliminate distractions at mealtime and actually enjoy your food. Yes, that means putting your phone down while you eat! You are more likely to overeat when you are distracted.

  2. Stop labeling food as good or bad. When you label foods as off limits, it increases your desire and preoccupation with them, making you more likely to over-induldge when you do eat those foods.

  3. Choose to indulge when it’s truly worth it, and be intentional. Avoid eating treats or snacks because they are available and first ask yourself, “do I really want this?”

  4. Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues. Avoid coming to a meal overly hungry, and stop eating when you are comfortably full, not stuffed.

3. Optimize Your Metabolism

The real secret sauce for losing weight without counting calories is to optimize your metabolism. Traditional dieting slows down your metabolic rate.

If you boost your metabolism instead, you’ll burn more calories each day. This means you can eat more food without gaining weight.

This is the most effective approach for keeping weight off in the long term.

There is no magic pill to boost your metabolism, but there are plenty of steps you can take to increase your metabolic rate.

  1. Focus on building muscle. When it comes to exercise, your focus should be on gaining strength, not burning as many calories as possible. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn every day. Lifting weights will help you build muscle, as well as help you get more toned.

  2. Manage your stress. Chronic stress increases levels of cortisol, which wrecks your metabolism and makes you store belly fat. While you can’t avoid stress, you can help your body to manage it. Take 10 minutes every day to rest and release stress.

  3. Prioritize 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep increases your stress hormones and fuels cravings for carbs and sugar. Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your metabolism!

  4. Eat enough fuel. Stop limiting yourself to 1,200 calories a day. That’s not enough food for an adult, and restricting your calories for an extended period of time will slow down your metabolism.

  5. Take care of your gut. The bacteria in your gut, aka your microbiome, play a huge role in your metabolism! The good gut bugs help regulate your glucose metabolism and fat storage. If you have too many of the bad guys and not enough of the good guys, it can slow down your metabolism and increase your appetite.

  6. Tackle inflammation. Chronic inflammation is another common cause of weight loss resistance and poor metabolic health. Focus on eating more whole foods like lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and whole unprocessed grains. Cut down on ultra processed foods, which are pro-inflammatory.

Choosing a Weight Loss Approach That Works for YOU

The most important key to picking a weight plan is choosing a strategy that works for your life. There isn’t ONE right way to lose weight.

Choosing a plan that you can stay consistent with is actually what will get you the best results. Permanent weight loss takes time and patience. Plans that promise quick results are likely the plans that are also hard to sustain and lead to weight re-gain.

Focus on developing healthy daily rhythms that actually work for your life and stay consistent. You will get results!

Need help losing weight without relying on calorie counting? Apply for my coaching program, Nourish & THRIVE to get the support and accountability you need to lose weight and keep it off for good.

Scroll to Top