Counting calories is boring. Not only is it boring, but with a hectic work, social and family life, plus fitting in gym workouts, you don't really have time for it. The good news is you can lose weight without meticulously counting every single calorie. Forget about weighing your celery or measuring chicken breast to the precise gram -- eat sensibly and control your portion sizes, and you'll lose weight.
Fill up on protein. Low-carb diets are often touted as the best way to lose weight, but this could actually be due to the added protein you eat when going low-carb. High-protein diets help keep you feeling fuller for longer, meaning you snack less and eat fewer calories overall, according to Kathleen Zelman, dietitian at United Healthcare. Next time you're peckish or want to pack in the protein, reach for some chicken or turkey breast, eggs, lean red meats or low-fat dairy such as cottage cheese or skim milk to help beat the mid-afternoon munchies.
Eat more veggies. Vegetables do contain calories, but a serving of broccoli or a big spinach salad has a lot fewer calories than the same volume of rice or cereal. Vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, help you feel full and give you lots of fiber, according to trainer and diet coach Jen Comas Keck. Fiber aids with weight loss by increasing satiety, meaning you're less likely to feel hungry and snack on junk.
Keep craving-busters handy for when you just can't say no to a treat. Instead of opting for dessert, cookies or chocolate, try just one square of 85 percent cacao chocolate, advises Comas Keck. This will give you your chocolate fix without piling on the calories. Organic cocoa powder mixed with hot water and a teaspoon of natural sweetener such as stevia works well, too. If all else fails, grab a small piece of fruit or a handful of berries for something sweet without too many calories.
Use your palm, fist, cupped hand and thumb to measure portion sizes at every meal. On your plate should be a palm-sized portion of protein, a fist-sized serving of vegetables, a cupped handful of starchy carbs and a thumb's worth of a fattier food such as nuts, seeds, olives or cheese, advises nutritionist Ryan Andrews of Precision Nutrition. Your protein should come from chicken, turkey, lean red meat such as extra lean ground beef or sirloin steak, soy products or low-fat dairy; your carbs from brown rice, whole-wheat bread or pasta, potatoes or fruit; your fats from nuts, seeds, olives or cheese; and your vegetables can be anything green or brightly colored.
Find the meal frequency that works for you and stick with it. The best meal frequency is the one you find most satisfying and easiest to follow. If bigger meals make you feel fuller, then opt for three meals each day. Likewise, if you find you get fewer cravings eating more frequently, eat five or six half-size meals every day.
- Weigh yourself once a week and take physique photos to judge your progress. If you're not losing weight, decrease your food intake slightly. If you're losing more than 3 pounds per week and feeling lethargic and run down, eat a little more.
- Consult your doctor before beginning a new diet plan.
- United Healthcare: Do High Protein Diets Cause Weight Loss?
- Jen Comas Keck: Troubleshooting Common Diet Problems - Part I
- Precision Nutrition: Calorie Control Guide for Men and Women
- British Journal of Nutrition: Increased Meal Frequency Does Not Promote Greater Weight Loss in Subjects who were Prescribed an 8-Week Equi-Energetic Energy-Restricted Diet.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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