Tracking calories has its benefits and downfalls. It is far and away the best way to ensure that you are in a calorie deficit, which is absolutely essential for fat loss. With that said, for some people it can be such a hassle, such an inconvenience that it’s not worth the added stress. You’re running around trying to feed the kids, working a busy day, and the last thing you want to do is enter the meal you just ate into myfitnesspal. We get it! But if you’re not going to track calories, you have to have ways to make sure you are not over eating if your goal is to lose body fat.
Eat when you’re hungry, until you’re full.
This first tip sounds straightforward, but its far too often overlooked. If you’re hungry, you should eat. And you should only eat until you’re not hungry anymore. Often we either enjoy a meal so much that we eat past satiation, or we simply aren’t eating foods that aren’t causing satiation. Highly processed foods, specifically processed carbohydrates are not very satiating, so you won’t get the sensation of feeling full if you eat too many. That’s why eating an entire bag of chips is easy, but the same volume in broccoli would make you nauseous.
Chew Your Food
20-30x per bite. This is necessary as the first part of digestion. Not only does breaking food down better before entering your stomach aid with the digestive process, the mouth is where the primary breakdown of carbohydrates occurs. Amylase, which is an enzyme in saliva, breaks down carbohydrates. If you’re just skipping this step, you are liking missing out on a large piece of digesting your food.
Eat at a Table
Relaxed, stress free eating is crucial. Sit down at a table to eat your meal and take a few deep breaths before starting your endeavor. When you’re in a stressful state it’s impossible to know if you’re satisfied or not. On top of that, your digestive system is not working properly in a stressful state. When our ancestors were hunting and being chased around by wild animals, digestion was not a top priority. Unfortunately our bodies do not recognize the difference between stress from being chased by bears or stress at work.
Choose foods that are filling, but are low calorie. For example, cereal is a high calorie, low volume carbohydrate. It likely won’t fill you up because it simply just not a lot of food. The same goes for something like honey, where 2 tablespoon is about 120 calories. In comparison, you can have 1.5 cups of mashed butternut squash for the same calorie and carbohydrate intake and it will fill you much more!
The food that fills you and are low calories are the ones we don’t eat enough of – vegetables! Eat them!
Really it all comes down to this. Can you make healthy lifestyle choices habits that are second nature to you. Are healthy decisions almost subconscious? When your spouse asks what you’re having for dinner, is the first thought something like salmon, rice, and brussel sprouts? Or is it Pizza?
Building habits around food, daily movement, exercise, hydration, sleep, and stress are where the real gains are made. Focus on these and you will not only lose body fat, but you’ll become a entire different (and better) person!
If you want to learn a common strategy for building habits, read this blog about habit stacking!
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