So on that basis you could say that so long as you control your portions and calorie intake you’ll lose weight, which is true, but which calories you eat and which you cut will make a big difference to your energy levels, health, hunger, cravings and ability to stay on track.
Also you’ll need to know those calories, meaning you’ll have to eat either everything from packages with labels (often the least nutritious foods) and/or weigh everything that passes your lips, both of which are not particularly appealing.
So how do you cut calories without counting or behaving like a food obsessed calculator?
What you eat in the morning will have a knock on effect on the rest of your day. Once sugar levels start rollercoasting it’s harder to stabilise them than keeping them steady in the first place. Protein and fat will keep energy steadier than refined carbs, with eggs being show in studies to be particularly good at keeping you going throughout the morning.
The brain can be fooled and seeing a full plate, even if that’s because it’s a smaller plate, can make your brain believe that there’s a lot of food there. This of course will in turn make you feel more satisfied, and help curb overeating.
Protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients (protein, fat & carbs). As a bonus it also uses more calories just being digested, and speeds up your metabolism by increasing the amount of muscle you have on your body, when teamed with resistance exercise. Eat a decent portion of protein at every meal and snack to feel full.
Thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so next time you’re hungry try having a drink of water or other calorie free drink first. Another trick to use is having a glass of water before every meal, and sipping throughout to fill your tummy quicker.
Coconut oil has bene shown to have appetite supressing and metabolism boosting properties compared to other fats. But beware it’s no lower calorie than butter or other oils, so this only counts if you use coconut oil instead of other fats not in addition.
If there’s one food group to really ramp up the volume on when trying to lose weight it’s vegetables, salad and fruit. High in calorie free water, filling fibre, and lots of vitamins too, vegetables are low in calorie but bulky, making them not only nutritious but also really filling. Increasing portions will mean there’s less room for higher calorie foods.
Not getting enough sleep will result in higher levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, lower levels of hunger supressing leptin, and cravings, especially for sugary and fatty foods, will be worse, as your body tries you to eat these foods for an energy boost.
Carbohydrates are not fattening in themselves unless, like any food, they contribute to an overall excess of calories. But refined carbs like bread and pasta are very easy to over eat and won’t keep you as full for as long as protein and vegetables. Cutting down on the amount of starchy carbs you eat is an easy way to cut calories without feeling starving hungry all the time, provided you keep protein and vegetables high.
I’m not a fan of strictly counting calories because it’s difficult to stick to without weighing every mouthful, or eating only foods from packets with labels.