Weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise – that’s what most dieticians say. Looking at those percentages, it seems that there’s no way to lose weight but to start counting your calories and to engage yourself in a regular workout routine. No debate for exercise, though. But for calorie counting, it’s a different story. Because there are contradicting studies stating that you should not count calories while other reports revealed that you should.
By the way, if you’re not into exercise, read Zumba: Workout videos for beginners to shift your sedentary lifestyle to a slightly active lifestyle.
To count or not to count?
Even if you hate exercising, when you try Zumba you’ll probably say that it’s easier than counting calories. Well, who wants to count calories anyway? The tedious task is impractical to match your lifestyle – especially for a busy person like you.
The good news is that many experts disagree with the idea of counting calories. Here are some of the reasons:
- Calorie tracking apps database shows few occasional inaccuracies, especially outside the US. – Which calorie-tracking app should you count on? by Graham Bower
- The human body does not extract every calorie from the food indicated on the food labels.– Rethinking the Calorie by Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley
- The introduction of a smartphone app to an average overweight primary care patient has unlikely shown a significant weight change. – Effectiveness of smartphone application for weight loss compared to usual care in overweight primary care patients: a randomized controlled trial by Laing et al.
- Getting the same level of intensity in a calorie tracking app is difficult than in personal coaching. – Using a weight-loss app? Study says it doesn’t help much by Lynne Shallcross
Does it mean that calorie deficit is not necessary for weight loss?
In the previous article, Weight Loss: How to prevent loose skin, it introduced the term calorie deficit. The idea is to eat lesser calories than the total amount of calories you burn during the day. If you will not cut it down, you’ll need to exercise more to lose weight. Therefore, counting your calories is necessary at least in the first few weeks of your routine.
But as promised, you’ll learn the ways how to count calories by not really counting it.
The trick is simple — mindful eating.
If exercising requires you to be fully committed to showing up on your schedule, calorie deficit requires you to be mindful each time you eat. If you want to lose weight, you must focus on the three habits below:
Cutting down the amount of your food intake also means that you are cutting your calorie intake. According to myfitnesspal.com, a cup of white long-grain regular cooked rice is equivalent to 205 calories. Therefore, if you only eat a half cup during lunch, you only get 102.5 calories.
However, your tummy won’t deceive you. If the half cup would still make you hungry, you may end up eating too many snacks or dinner to beat your hunger. So, the next thing that you need to do is to evaluate the food you eat through the satiety diet.
Eating foods with a high satiety index is effective when you don’t skip breakfast. If you feel full in the morning, there’s a lesser chance that you overeat during lunch or grab an empty calorie snack.
However, if you are more satisfied in eating rice or bread in the morning, don’t deprive yourself. But mind portion control. Eat until you feel full so you can keep the hunger at bay until lunch. Drinking two glasses of water before breakfast also helps in eating less.
Smoothies are satisfying too but they are better to satisfy you during snack time while fighting your sugar craving.
Keep a food journal
According to a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, people who keep a food journal lose weight twice as much as those who don’t. Don’t worry about the hassle, a calorie tracking app is all you need.
Although the tracker gives you estimates, the values are still close to the actual count. The numbers are still significant as it reminds you that you have a goal to meet.
As soon as you finished eating, log in the information on your tracker so you’ll know how much more you should eat for the rest of the day.
Although experts have different opinions about calorie counting, you can’t ignore the fact that calorie itself is an essential unit to measure every food you take. But keep in mind that food must be enjoyed. Forget about the numbers just mind the portion.