Do you have to count calories to lose weight? Not necessarily, but awareness is the key to successfully reaching your goals.
Think of it this way:
Your calorie needs are like a budget when it come to weight control. If you are on a budget you wouldn’t shop without looking at a price tag, right?
When you are trying to lose weight, your calorie “budget” drops by about 25% (usually around 500 calories/day). To be successful, you do need to be sure you’re cutting expenses, but you might not have to watch every single penny (or calorie).
So how can we cut calories each day without tracking each one?
- First, focus on mindless calories. Pay attention to what foods you’re eating and how much. Can you swap a high calorie food with a similar low calorie option? Can you eat slower? Can you be satisfied with a smaller portion size?
- Start to learn how many calories are in the foods you commonly eat. Not because you always need to calorie count, but so that you can begin to develop and idea of which foods are low calorie options and which are not. Also be sure to check the nutrition facts panel and figure out how many servings you eat.
- Balance your meals. Filling up half of your plate with vegetables and fruit is a good way to reduce the overall calorie density of the meal. The other half of the plate should include lean protein and a whole grain or starchy vegetable.
- Pay attention to what your body needs. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are satisfied (not full).