It’s a message as old as time. “Exercise more, eat less, and you’ll lose weight.” We’ve heard it from doctors, registered dieticians, and nutritional organizations who truly believe that calories are the only reason our weight fluctuates up and down. In all actuality, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
The truth is that different foods influence hormones and hunger in various ways, which means that all calories are NOT created equal. In fact, all of that calorie counting you may be doing in an attempt to lose weight isn’t even necessary. Here are several proven ways to put your weight loss on autopilot and start losing weight without keeping track of calories.
1. Losing Weight: Reduce your carbohydrate intake.
Studies have shown time and time again that individuals who stay away from refined, simple carbs automatically consume fewer calories, which kick starts weight loss without a ton of effort.
In a study by the University of Cincinnati in 2009, 53 obese women were randomly placed in a calorie-restricted, low-fat group or a low-carb group for six months. While the calorie restricted, low-fat group lost around 8.6 lbs. (3.9 kg), the women in the low-carb group lost 18.7 lbs. (8.5 kg). Simply by eating until they were full, the low-carb group lost twice as much weight.
If you need help cutting out carbs, start by eliminating negative carbs (sodas, sugars, sweets, and starchy foods) from your diet. This includes bread, potatoes, and pasta. If you can’t imagine a diet without these things, make healthier choices. For example, opt for red and sweet potatoes over white potatoes, select whole-grain bread and pasta, only eat them in moderation.
By reducing your daily carb intake to around 100-150 grams per day, you’ll start to see results. To lose weight even faster, cut down your carbs to less than 50 grams per day.
Note: If you are a training athlete for crossfit or any other sporting event, reducing carb intake could potentially hinder athletic performance as complex carbs have a very big role in energy supply to the body. It is fine to eliminate simple carbs such as sugars, soda pop, and starchy food, but if you are training for performance you will always want to include a variety of complex carb sources in your diet to keep energy levels high.
Complex Carb Sources:
- Whole grains
To learn more about complex carbohydrates and how they can affect your athletic performance check out this article.
2. While you’re getting rid of carbs, replace them with protein.
This is especially true at breakfast. In a 2005 study, 30 overweight women were given either eggs or bagels for breakfast. When lunch rolled around, the women who ate eggs for breakfast ate fewer calories. This continued throughout the day, as well as for the next 36 hours. Essentially, the eggs did such a good job of filling them up that they ate fewer calories automatically at later meals.
In a second study conducted in 2008 by a different group of researchers, 152 overweight women and men were divided into two groups for eight weeks. While one group ate eggs for breakfast, the others had bagels. At the end of the eight weeks, the egg group had lost:
- 61% greater reduction in BMI.
- 65% more weight loss (2 lbs. compared to 1.3 lbs.)
- 16% bigger reduction in body fat.
- 34% larger decrease in waist circumference.
3. Include plenty of protein in your diet.
When it comes to enhancing your metabolism, decreasing hunger, and increasing your body’s fat burning ability, protein can do it all. Studies have found that because the body takes longer to digest protein, it automatically speeds up calorie burning. In addition, protein leads to a feeling of fullness that decreases hunger.
In a 2007 study published in American Society for Clinical Nutrition, it was determined that increasing the amount of protein in your diet automatically reduces your calorie intake by 441 calories every day.
Protein has also been shown to enhance muscle growth, particularly in weight lifters. If you are struggling to add protein to your daily diet, opt for eggs, fish, and meat as much as possible.
4. Trick Yourself.
Yes, it can be hard to control how much you eat, which is why you may need to trick yourself. Instead of pulling out a large plate and opting for small portions, choose one that is much smaller and fill it up. This will “trick” your brain into thinking that it has eaten more than it actually has. Yes, it sounds a bit silly, but psychologists who have studying this have found that it tends to work.
5. Add fibre to your diet.
Foods with a high water content, such as specific fruits and veggies, help you feel fuller longer, despite ingesting fewer calories. Multiple studies have shown that individuals who eat foods with a higher water content lose more weight than those who do not. In addition, soluble fibre is broken down in the digestive tract into a bacteria that produces butyrate, a fatty acid, which is thought to have substantial anti-obesity effects.
6. Decrease your appetite and enhance your metabolism with coconut oil.
Coconut oil is full of medium chain triglycerides, which are fatty acids that go straight to the liver for digestion, where they are transformed into ketone bodies or used as energy. In addition, they have been shown to enhance energy expenditure by as much as 5% in a single day.
To possibly reduce your BMI and waist circumference substantially, studies show you should consume 1 oz. (30 mL) of coconut oil each day. Essentially, you should take the time to replace your current cooking oils with coconut oil.
7. Reduce your stress, while getting ample sleep.
The amount of stress in your life, along with the amount of sleep you get, are crucial to keep your body and hormones functioning at an optimal level. In fact, insufficient sleep is one of the top risk factors for obesity. In adults, it increases the risk of obesity by 55%.
Too much stress has the ability to increase your cortisol levels, a hormone which increases the accumulation of body fat, as well as your risk of developing chronic diseases.
As you can tell there are a lot of different ways to help yourself lose weight over time. My suggestion to you is, pick a few of these methods, or all of them and stay consistent with them for at least 6 months and you will see results!