Can You Lose Weight Without Counting Calories?

Can You Lose Weight Without Counting Calories?

Losing weight is as simple as burning more calories than you consume, right? Not necessarily. Calorie counting is something that we get asked about a lot, and while calorie intake is an important consideration, it is possible to reach your weight loss goals without meticulously tracking calories. 

In this article we’ll take a look at the science of calories and weight loss.

If you want to achieve and maintain your ideal weight without obsessively counting calories for the rest of your life, we can help. We are a team of qualified, experienced nutritionists who specialise in weight loss. Schedule your complimentary call today to find out how we can help you. 

WHAT IS A CALORIE DEFICIT?

A calorie deficit is when you consume fewer calories than your body burns in a day. When this happens your body switches to burning stored fat as energy. The traditional approach to weight loss has been to primarily count calories, aiming for a daily calorie deficit to reduce body fat. The idea being that if you were to eat 1,500 calories and expend 1,800 calories in energy, you should be in a calorie deficit, burning fat and losing weight.

HOW MANY CALORIES DO YOU NEED A DAY?

The number of calories a person needs per day depends on a variety of factors like age, sex, activity level, and your metabolism. To maintain weight, women typically require between 1,600-2,400 calories per day, while men require 2,000-3,000 calories. However, these are general guidelines and individual calorie requirements vary from one person to the next. Working with a qualified nutritionist can help you understand how many calories you need to facilitate weight loss, without compromising your health or energy levels.

WHAT’S THE EVIDENCE?

In general, studies show that ‘reducing calorie intake is the most important factor for weight loss’. However, healthy, long-term weight loss requires more than just achieving a calorie deficit. One study compared a low-carb diet to a calorie-restricted, low-fat diet. The carb-restricted group lost more weight and saw more positive health implications than the low-fat, calorie-restricted group. This is just one example of how what you eat is just as important, if not more important, than how much you eat.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT 

Restricting calories alone is not the best way to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way. If you knew you wanted to restrict your energy intake to 1500 calories a day, and you knew that a plain slice of white bread was 75 calories, would you just eat 20 slices of white bread and nothing else and hope for the best? The way that our bodies convert the food we consume into energy (or store it as fat if unused) is a really important factor in weight loss, and of course we need to be mindful that we’re providing our bodies with all the nutrients it needs to function and remain healthy both short and long term. This is proven by the study referenced above, where meaningful diet changes (to reduce carbohydrate intake, for example) had a better long-term impact than simply counting calories. 

CALORIE TRACKING WITH APPS: MYFITNESSPAL

Many people try to lose weight by religiously tracking calories using apps like MyFitnessPal. Using MyFitnessPal for two to four weeks can be a good way to gain insights into how many calories you’re consuming in a typical day. As well as helping you to understand your calorie intake, it can also help shed light on your dietary habits in general. For example, you might think that that Pret croissant is an occasional treat, but daily food logging might show you that you are indulging more regularly than you thought. The calorie numbers on apps like MyFitnessPal should be used as a guide as they’re not always completely accurate. Look our for the verified foods or scan the barcode on your food packaging to get the most accurate readings.

For some people, relying too heavily on the use of calorie-counting apps may lead to obsessing over numbers and losing sight of overall health and wellness goals. They are typically not recommended for those who struggle with eating disorders, or have done in the past.

HOW CAN YOU CUT CALORIES?

If you are looking to reduce your calorie intake, here are some strategies that may help you:

Consume more high fibre, low calorie foods like vegetables, salad and low sugar, fibre rich fruit. Fibre helps us to feel full so these foods are satisfying as well as being nutrient dense.

Ensure you eat 20-30g of protein at every meal. Protein rich foods are particularly satisfying, meaning they’ll fill you up and keep you satisfied, helping to prevent overeating and snacking between meals.

Drink plenty of water. Thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so staying hydrated can curb overeating.

Finally, remove nutrient-devoid, ultra-processed foods from your diet. These can add significantly to your calorie intake without nourishing your body or benefiting your overall health.

HIDDEN CALORIES

Many people underestimate the calories in certain foods and drinks. Things like sugary beverages, sauces, dressings, and fried foods can pack a surprising number of calories. Being mindful of these “hidden” calories can help you cut back without obsessing over numbers. If you do track your calorie intake when embarking on your weight loss journey, remember to factor in all of these extras. You may be surprised at how quickly the numbers add up. 

LOW-CALORIE SNACKS

Building balanced meals around protein, healthy fats and plenty of fibre-rich vegetables means that you’ll be less likely to feel the need to snack. But there are some low-calorie snack options that can satisfy your cravings if you’re someone that can’t cut out the snacks completely. Try vegetable crudités with a tablespoon of olive oil hummus, two hard boiled eggs or a high quality protein shake.

LOW CALORIE MEALS

Some examples of nutritious, low calorie meals include: a grilled white fish fillet with a large serving of roasted Mediterranean vegetables and a tablespoon of olive oil, chicken stir-fry with bell peppers and cauliflower rice, lentil and vegetable curry with a side salad or baked sweet potato topped with black beans and avocado. We work with our clients to provide tailored meal ideas and recipes to suit their state of health, their lifestyle and their taste preferences. 

WHAT IS INTUITIVE EATING?

Rather than counting calories, intuitive eating involves paying attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. This approach focuses on eating nutritious foods that make you feel good, without restriction. Studies show that intuitive eating as a weight maintenance (rather than weight loss) can be successfully employed and is linked to better psychological health and sustainable weight management. That said, some people struggle to connect with their body’s hunger and satiety cues. More specific guidance around portion sizes, how to structure meals and examples of healthy balanced meal can be helpful for many.

OTHER LIFESTYLE FACTORS

Calorie counting alone is often not enough to ensure long term weight loss. There may be other factors preventing lasting weight loss. Thyroid issues are common, and often lead to weight loss resistance, despite maintaining a low calorie diet. Sleep can also impact your weight, as can chronic stress or hormonal changes around the menopause. Working with a qualified nutritionist who specialises in weight loss will give you the best possible chances of succeeding long-term. 

DNA DIET 

Health testing can identify factors that may be contributing to your weight struggles. We offer a range of tests that help our clients identify whether underlying health issues could be sabotaging their weight loss efforts. DNA testing can help you better understand how your genes play a role in your appetite, satiety and the best dietary strategy for you. Find out more about the so-called ‘DNA diet’ here: What Is The DNA Diet?

WORK WITH US

We are a team of qualified nutritionists who specialise in weight loss. For many of the clients we work with, a more sophisticated strategy than simple calorie counting is required for lasting weight loss. If you’re ready to overcome your weight challenges, achieve your goal weight and maintain it long term, we can help. You can use this link to book in for a complimentary call today. This is an opportunity to talk through your challenges with a member of our team and decide together whether one of our Intelligent Weight Loss programmes is right for you. Or contact us to request a copy of our brochure and we will get back to you soon.

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SARAH LAW

Sarah has worked with hundreds of clients over the past decade to help them live in a healthy body that they feel confident in.


Sarah spent a large part of her teens and 20’s as a professional dancer battling with orthorexia and an unhealthy relationship with food and her body. This created a desire to understand the human body more so she could finally cut through the confusion and end the cycle of yoyo dieting. This fuelled her passion to help other women do the same.

 

Sarah specialises in supporting women who are struggling to lose weight due to underlying health issues. She’s helped many women manage their weight during and after the menopause, as well as clients with thyroid disease and immune system dysfunction. Sarah loves food and sharing healthy recipes with her clients. Her aim is to ensure that clients don’t feel deprived and instead, achieve their weight loss and health goals in a positive and sustainable way.

 

To enquire about working with Sarah, please contact us.

AILSA HICHENS

 

Ailsa is one of our most experienced practitioners. She specialises in helping clients to lose weight, develop a healthy relationship with food and finally feel comfortable in their skin. Ailsa’s mission is for everyone she works with to enjoy the journey and that working with a nutritionist should not be a punishment, but your access to a new possibility.

 

Ailsa is not only an experienced weight loss nutritionist, she is also a skilled coach. She helps our clients overcome emotional eating, destructive habits and self-sabotaging behaviours that have prevented successful weight loss in the past. Ailsa has spent years in clinic working with clients who have experienced yo-yo dieting and have discovered that long term weight loss is not just about eating less until you can stand it no longer.

 

Working with Ailsa you will be comprehensively supported, not only in improving your nutrition and lifestyle, but also your eating habits and your relationship with food. When you work on all these elements together, the results can be truly astonishing.

 

To enquire about working with Ailsa, please contact us.

Test Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of the business. Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning. A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.

NIKKI ANDRIANI

 

Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of th clinic.

 

Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning.

 

A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.

STÉPHANIE ACHAR

Stéphanie is a skilled nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner with additional training in eating disorders, disordered eating and obesity. She believes that working towards both physiological and mental health is key in achieving optimum wellbeing.

 

Stéphanie’s personal experience of emotional eating and the ongoing struggle to find the right support led her to combine the science of nutrition with behavioural coaching to motivate and empower her clients. She specialises in helping people who struggle with their weight and their relationship with food. She helps them develop a healthier and more peaceful relationship with food and their bodies.

 

To enquire about working with Stéphanie, please contact us.

INNA WEARN

Inna is passionate about supporting women on their journey to improved health and wellbeing. She believes that the solution to effective weight loss does not lie in ever more restrictive diets, but a more sophisticated approach that optimises health and vitality, as well as promoting effective weight loss.

 

Working with Inna you will benefit from her in-depth knowledge of female health and hormones. She will support you in developing a healthy diet, lifestyle and mindset that ensures you reach your ideal weight and maintain it in the years to come.

 

Inna is passionate about food with a wide repertoire of delicious healthy recipes and meal ideas to ensure your weight loss journey is as enjoyable as possible!

 

To enquire about working with Inna, please contact us.

ANIA MASON

 

Ania is a firm believer that improving your health and losing weight should be a positive, empowering journey, not one centred around deprivation.

 

After being diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions in her twenties, Ania spent several years educating herself on the power of food and nutrition. She put it all into practise and changed her diet and lifestyle, reversing her endometriosis and thyroid disease. After experiencing such a significant improvement in her health, Ania had a big desire to help others. She embarked on a four year journey to study nutrition, graduating from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition with distinction.

 

Ania specialises in autoimmunity and works with clients who have underlying health issues preventing successful weight loss. Her expertise enables her to successfully support our clients with conditions such as hypothyroidsm (underactive thyroid), PCOS and diabetes. 

 

To enquire about working with Ania, please contact us.

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