If you’ve been wanting to lose some body fat, but the idea of dutifully entering every little thing you eat and drink in a day into an app has put you off, then read on!
I’m not going to go into whether or not tracking is healthy (spoiler alert: it’s simply a tool that is appropriate for some, but not others), but it’s definitely not a necessity for weight loss.
Here are some of my tips to ‘accidentally’ reduce your caloric intake, without becoming a slave to MyFitnessPal.
Eat Your Protein
I couldn’t go a blog without mentioning the importance of protein. Protein fills you up and helps you feel full for longer, so making sure to include a good source of protein at each meal and snack isn’t just about bulking up. If we feel full and satisfied for longer after a meal, we’re far less likely to reach for that muffin in between meals. It’s an easy win!
Eat Your Vegetables
Although I could go on and on about the long list of benefits provided by vegetables, one big one is their ability to bulk out a meal for very few calories. Trust me, we’re not struggling to lose weight because we’re overdoing the green beans. Aim for half a plate of vegetables at both lunch and dinner, alongside a quarter of a plate of protein, a quarter of a plate of complex carbohydrates and a tablespoon of fat, and we can make sure our main meals contain a more appropriate number of calories.
Watch Your Snacking
I’m definitely not anti-snacking. Having a couple of high protein, high fibre snacks planned for in between meals is an excellent way to keep hunger at bay (take that Dr Seuss). What we do need to watch, is the mindless grazing that can occur in the office, or after dinner. This is a really good way to inadvertently eat far more than we think we are. Make sure when we’re snacking, it’s from our pre-prepared, pre-planned snacks, and try and refrain at other times.
Yes, you can eat out for every meal and still lose weight, but you’re making things much harder on yourself. Remember, cafés’ and restaurants’ only job is to make you want to come back because of how delicious their food is, not provide perfectly balanced meals with appropriate calories. A little bit of planning can make sure dinner time is more in line with your goals than that kebab…
Reduce Liquid Calories
A standard coffee/beer/wine/can of soft drink contains between 120-150 calories. Having a couple of these a day can really blow our calorie budget if we’re not careful. I’m definitely not saying you can never have these things, but we do need to be aware of the amounts and frequency that we’re consuming them. Reducing your coffee size to a piccolo/macchiato, having 4-5 alcohol free days a week and switching to diet soft drinks are all quick little swaps that will help reduce your total daily calories.
Moderate Discretionary Foods
Anyone who says you can’t have *insert your favourite food here* (definitely burgers right?) and lose weight doesn’t know what they’re talking about. BUT, discretionary foods (or ‘occasional’ foods) are very, very easy to overeat. That’s sort of their jam. So if we’re looking to reduce our total calories, reducing the frequency and/or the portions of these foods is going to be a great place to start. Don’t cut them completely though! (what’s the point of a life without burgers?) Instead, aim to include these foods once or twice a week, or look for healthier alternatives, like using Your Prep seasoned beef mince to make burger patties (ok no more burger talk)