T Nation

Dieting without Counting Anything

I was thinking about being simple. What I mean by that is not counting anything but instead just eating when hungry while making smart choices.

Has anyone ever kept lean or became leaner by not counting anything and just eating a good amount of protein at every meal along with some veggies and some “good fats” here and there.

For example:

egg whites with tomatoes and onions
5 fishoil caps

chicken breast with tomatoes, onions and lettuce

lean ground beef with mushrooms

Metabolic Drive

whey protein shake

egg whites with beacon
10 fishoil caps

This is just an example of simplicity. Anyone ever leaned out by just eating alot of all kind of veggies and protein, doing cardio, and lifting?

If that’s what you’re doing I would suggest counting calories.

i’ve been on a cut for about 10 weeks(there was 2 weeks in there were the cut was out the window due too illness and other reasons) but after the 2nd week I knew what I could eat and what I couldn’t and knew generally how much i was eating and wat was contained in it.

looks solid to me. For your average person like you or me as long as you know you’re in some kind of caloric defecit and the foods are clean I wouldn’t worry about counting every single calorie and nutrient.

Now if you were trying to lean out for a contest on the other hand…

i’ve kept lean (actually getting leaner) while not counting everything as opposed to being more precise with each meal. I think stressing over every single meal might cause that cortisol to sky rocket =p

this is a fine way to do things to get from say, 25% BF to 12% or so (if you’re a male with average genetics, which I’ll assume you are) it’s similar to john Berardi’s “7 habits”.

however, as you get further away from your genetic “set point” the body begins to fight back harder and harder. your body begins producing more “hunger” hormones and produces fewer “fullness” signals. This, coupled with a reduced BMR and activity level, is why eventually, to get really lean, you have to begin being more precise with your diet (i.e. counting calories).

So while just “eating clean” works initially (mainly because when people cut out junk food they tend to eat fewer calories without thinking about it) it will only work for so long before you hit a plateau, meaning it’s time to break out the food scale baby!

(this style of eating also works for so called “maintenance” periods when you don’t have the time or energy to focus 100% on diet)

From personal experience, eating clean while not counting everything seems to work alright as long you’re very active (lots of cardio and lifting).

Only thing I can say about what you’ve outlined is that cutting out the yolks on the eggs eliminates a lot of the protein and cholesterol that would usually come from the eggs. Also, carbs in the form of oatmeal and whole grains only before and after training as well as upon waking seems to be ok.

I like counting my calories, but I started writing down menus that give me exactly the macro nutrients I need on workout days and off days. So I don’t have to count anything anymore, I just follow my menus.