Snag their effective weight-loss plans to drop pounds.
Counting calories can be an easy way to get a handle on how much you’re eating, and it’s helped lots of women lose weight. But it can be exhausting to jot down every last bite. “Just focusing on the number can get all of us, especially women, hung up. And that can make anyone feel out of control,” says Isabel Smith, R.D.
Instead of calorie counting, Smith teaches clients to fill their plates with 25 to 30 percent carbs (like whole grains), 25 percent protein, and 40 to 50 percent non-starchy vegetables. The idea is to eat as many low-calorie, filling options, like veggies, as you want and limit others that have more calories per serving, says Smith.
“It is possible to lose weight by counting calories,” says Karen Ansel, R.D. “But it doesn’t teach you to listen to your body’s hunger and satiety signals, especially since we don’t have the same calorie needs every day.” If you run five miles one day, you need more calories to fuel your body than if you sit on the couch watching football the next.
Still not convinced? Here’s how seven women ditched calorie-counting and finally lost weight.
“I started doing five to six CrossFit sessions per week in July 2013. I kept hearing people at the gym saying they were doing a Whole30 challenge. So in November 2014, I decided to do the Whole30 program. I honestly didn’t think it would work, but I decided to give it a try just to see if I could do it. I always ate plenty of fruits and veggies and few processed foods before I set out to lose weight, but I also ate a lot of carbs. The Whole30 diet is based on what you eat, not how much you eat. For 30 days, I eliminated grains, legumes, processed sugars, dairy, and alcohol. The result is lots of protein and lots of veggies. You can eat as much as you want of the allowed foods, so no calorie counting is needed. As long as I did some food prep for the week, it wasn’t difficult to stay within the parameters. I don’t weigh myself, but I could tell that my body had changed drastically in that month. I had new muscle definition, my clothes fit differently, and other people noticed a change. I continued to lose weight after the challenge by swapping my breakfast cereal for other carb-free options. I also switched from drinking beer to wine. Now that I’ve kept the weight off for over a year, I feel comfortable wearing tight clothes and bathing suits.” —Amelia Elliott, lost four inches in her waist
“Last year, my friends introduced me to Facebook, which is where I found Jason Rosell of Caliente Fitness. After 30 years of my weight going up and down, I was tired of diets where I had to count every calorie or point. I didn’t enjoy eating and got anxiety every time I went to a restaurant. On my new meal plan, I cook a lot more and use less oil and salt. I try to eat only brown rice, and I cut back on sugar. Now I eat a half-cup of rice instead of one-and-a-half cups. And I have a lot more chicken, eggs, and fish, and veggies, which make me feel full. However, I still have a sweetened McDonald’s iced coffee once a week. I also started eating smaller meals with snacks in between to keep me from skipping a meal and getting so hungry that I eat everything in sight. At the same time, I started Jason’s full-body digital download workout DVDs, which use just your body weight. I do them with my friend who lives near me, so we save money by working out together. At first I started with two 12-minute workouts per week. Now I do the advanced 36-minute DVD three times a week. In the first four months, I dropped about 20 pounds, and in five months, I lost another 15. I work at a nail salon, and clients who haven’t come in a few months have noticed. When I show them my before and after photos, they don’t believe it’s me. I’m 52, but I’m stronger and feel better now then I did in my 20s.” —Sandy Lam, lost 35 pounds
“In the past, I obsessed over every mouthful I ate, set my calorie target too low, and found myself bingeing when I lost my willpower. That’s when I started doing Kayla Itsines’ 28-minute BBG resistance sessions three times a week at home while my kids took a nap. On the non-resistance days, I’d go for a long walk or run. Some days it would take me an entire day just to get through a workout with all the interruptions, but I just did the best I could at the time. A month later, I started my diet. Now, instead of counting calories, I think about the nutrients I’m gaining from food. There are many diet foods that are low in calories but high in sugar and additives. I concentrated on sticking to whole foods regardless of their calories and tried to avoid anything processed. I also practiced mindful eating by paying attention to hunger and satiety cues. Learning to eat intuitively took some adjusting, but each week it became easier, and I found my cravings for those high-sugar foods diminished. In the first 12 weeks of BBG, I lost nine pounds and dropped a dress size. Over the last eight months, as I’ve built strength, my weight increased again by about six pounds, but my dress size has remained the same.” —Melinda Wood, lost 10 pounds