Updated: May 6, 2019
Summer is just around the corner, and whilst many people look forward to the longer days and better weather, some of us go into panic mode regarding our 'summer bodies'.
Whilst I don't actively encourage a goal based purely on aesthetics, for many of us, losing a few extra pounds can make us feel more confident during the summer months. It is common knowledge that you can't totally transform your body and build a new physique in a short space of time, but it is entirely possible to make a huge difference in just a few weeks - if you work hard enough.
As we know, a calorie deficit is how we lose body fat and counting calories can be an easy way to get to grips with how much you're eating, and therefore how to control your intake. However, it can be exhausting to keep track of every single bite of food - focusing purely on the number can turn into an obsession which can totally take away from the joy of meal times, leaving you feeling out of control and unable to eat anything without checking the caloric value. It doesn't teach you to listen to your body's hunger and satiety signals, and you lose the ability to eat mindfully, trusting your body to tell you when you're full. Counting calories is an easy short term fix for weight loss (and gain) and I do recommend it in these situations, but the long term solution has to come from lifestyle changes.
So, if we need to create a calorie deficit, how is this possible without counting every calorie you consume?
The answer is mindful eating, and focussing on smart swaps. Instead of a diet based on low calorie snacks and diet fizzy drinks, nutrient dense foods built into a balanced diet of carbs, fats and proteins will make you feel fuller for longer and give you more energy. With that in mind, here are some of my top tips to lose weight by reducing your calorie intake, without actually counting a single calorie:
1. Fill half of your meal plate with vegetables
2. Up your hydration. Try to drink a pint of water before you start a meal.
3. Slow down. Try and make a meal last 20 minutes, ensuring you chew each mouthful properly.
4. Try to avoid eating mindlessly out of boredom. When you open the fridge, ask yourself if you really are hungry or if you're just bored. If it's the latter, find something else to do!
5. Increase your protein intake.
6. Don't be scared of fats! Including avocados, nuts, cheese, eggs and oily fish in your diet provides essential nutrients.
7. Use smaller plates.
8. Increase your fibre intake.
9. Get plenty of sleep!
10. Swap your daily fruit juice or fizzy drink for water or squash.
I hope this has helped some people make a few small changes in their daily life to aid fat loss without becoming addicted to counting calories.
If in doubt, always speak to a qualified Personal Trainer or Nutritionist for expert advice.