Episode 113 – How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

Key Topics Covered

cut tracking calories

Weight change occurs under the principle of calories in calories out and this is happening whether we track it or not.

Therefore we just need to set up situations that improve the likelihood of consuming an appropriate amount of calories for our goals.

Increase Fibre & Protein Intake

  • Dietary fibre helps us feel more satiated.
    • This can make a big difference, especially if current fibre intake is pretty low
  • Consuming more whole grains, fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, and legumes and displacing higher calorie foods will probably decrease overall energy intake.
  • Per calorie, protein is the most satiating macronutrient.
  • A high protein intake will lead to a greater satiety effect when calories are equivalent.
  • Ultimately, this may reduce overall energy intake.

Practical Examples

  • In practice, we have seen many examples of people maintaining a lean physique by just prioritizing protein, fruits, and vegetables – even when given unlimited amounts of them.
  • Another extreme example is a study that had participants eat 4.4g/kg protein per day.
    • This is already quite a lot of calories just coming from protein. If they had a decent amount of carbs and fat, you would expect them to be in a large surplus.
    • On average, they actually ended up losing weight.
    • Although we don’t recommend going to this extreme, this just highlights the high satiating effect of protein.

Volume Eating 

volume eating representation
  • This is the concept of eating a larger volume of lower-calorie foods.
  • This may help you feel more physically full while eating less calories.
  • A good visual representation of this concept is comparing something like 100 calories of olive oil vs 100 calories of broccoli – the volume is far different.
  • One example in practice could be buying a ‘MyMuscle Chef’ meal and adding 200g of vegetables.
    • The overall calories would be very similar, however, it would be far more filling.
  • Another example is even just choosing lean mince vs higher fat mince. You can have almost double the amount of lean mince for the same amount of calories.
  • Again, this is not something you should take to an extreme.

Meal frequency

  • You don’t want to go on either end of the spectrum of meal frequency.
  • If you’re constantly grazing, this will typically lead to a higher intake of calories.
    • To put this into perspective, if you were tasked with consuming as many calories as possible in a day, you would try to eat as often as possible.
  • Alternatively, if your meal frequency is very low, this could also cause you to struggle with hunger management.
  • Ultimately, you may want to consider a more moderate meal frequency.

Adjusting Things Based On Your Hunger 

  • On one side, you have those who are more robotic, completely ignoring hunger, and are purely focused on the calorie target.
  • On the other spectrum, you have those who are of the philosophy that you’re body will intuitively know how many calories are right to eat based on hunger cues.
  • Something to keep in mind is that when we have specific physique goals, a natural response is a change in hunger.
    • If you’re in a surplus, your hunger will decrease and if you are in a deficit, your hunger will increase.

Finding a Balance

  • Something that can be useful is to have a balance of both sides.
  • If you are trying to put on weight and actually feel hungry, work with this hunger and eat.
  • Additionally, if you know you haven’t been eating enough and aren’t hungry, you can try to still eat more.
  • In terms of helping with weight loss, when you feel these hunger cues, you can try to wait until you feel a little bit more hungry before eating. For example, going from a 4/10 of hunger to a 5/10.
  • It’s important to keep in mind, that a certain amount of hunger is normal.

Strategies to Minimize Overeating

Women enjoying her food mindful eating

Frequency of ‘Relaxed Meals’

  • Too frequent may make it a struggle to stay in a deficit.

Flexible vs Rigid Approaches

  • There should be some level of flexibility.
  • It is going to be very hard to see long-term success without any level of flexibility.
  • You also don’t want to go too far on either spectrum.
  • Having some degree of rigidity e.g. planning out meals, can be very effective.

Mindful Eating

  • This includes aspects such as eating slower, chewing more, putting your cutlery down in between bites, and really taking the time to enjoy the meal slowly.
  • This strategy has helped with weight management in many studies.

Liquid Calories vs Solid Foods 


  • Liquid calories are a lot easier to consume and are less satiating.
  • When we are trying to create a deficit, reducing the amount of liquid calories consumed can be an effective strategy.

General Movement & Formal Exercise 

  • Something that is quite interesting is that compared with sitting, you typically burn 1.2x more calories from standing and 1.3x more calories from walking.
    • When you consider that you can stand/walk for a very long period of time, this can compound into quite a lot of energy being expended.
  • Another thing to consider is that adding in formal exercise doesn’t significantly help with weight loss directly.
    • One explanation is that you may increase energy intake as a response.
    • Another is that this can sometimes lead to less movement done throughout the rest of the day.
  • With this in mind, there are so many other benefits to participating in regular exercise.
    • It has also been shown to have better outcomes in maintaining weight loss.
  • Doing a combination of both can be very effective.
walking on road


  • Increase fibre (atleast 25-30g /day).
  • Eat a high amount of protein (1.8-2.2g/kg/day).
  • Consume more foods that are low energy but high in volume.
  • Changing your meal frequency if it is currently too low or too high.
  • Having a good balance of relaxed meals, flexibility and rigidity
  • Practice mindful eating.
  • Avoiding liquid calories.
  • Adding in more daily movement and exercise.

Relevant Links / Resources

Blog Posts

Studies Mentioned