Lose weight without counting calories

Podcast Episode #011: How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

Counting calories may be an effective way to lose weight, but who is really going to stick with it long-term? It's a lot of work and often becomes pretty overwhelming. Here are some much simpler suggestions for creating a healthy weight-loss diet.

How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories? [Full Text]

Today I have a great question from Tracy. Let's dive right in.

Tracy says,

"The hardest thing for me is what to eat and how much to each. I don't like counting calories or trying to find foods and see how many calories are in them. What is the best way to eat for fat loss and energy increase?"

Really great question, Tracy. Thanks for writing in. What is the best way to monitor what we're eating, aside from just counting calories?

To answer this question, I've recruited a really special guest for today's show. She's been a holistic nutritionist for 15 years, and she specializes in digestive and intestinal health. She's a writer. She's a speaker, a teacher, and she's just full of all kinds of knowledge that I know we're all going to benefit from. Let's welcome Lorene Sauro to the show.

Lorene, thanks a lot for joining us today. I just wondered if you could start off telling the listeners a little bit more about yourself, how you got into the whole healthy eating industry.

Lorene: Well, it's my pleasure to be here. I got started because, like many people who end up in the health industry, I had health problems. I had endometriosis for a number of years. I also have arthritis in my hip. I wasn't getting any answers that I thought were suitable. I thought I was far too young to be having all these issues, and so I went to the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition to become a holistic nutritionist.

Then I educated myself because I didn't want surgery. I didn't want drugs. I didn't want any of the options being offered me. I've done very, very well. Even though I have missing cartilage in my hip, I have absolutely no pain or inflammation. The endometriosis was resolved. It's been great.

I didn't expect to have it morph into a career, but it did, because there was a lot of people who have similar problems to me, and they weren't getting answers either. From that, I morphed it into focusing on gut health, because there was a connection for both my arthritis and my endometriosis for gut health. That's sort of how I ended up where I am today.

Dave: That's why I decided to have you here, because I'll admit I'm not an expert in gut health. I'm hoping you're going to be able to shed some light for Tracy. Her question basically surrounded creating a diet that's good for weight loss and good for increased energy, but without counting calories. I'm sure you deal with clients all the time that think it's all about calories in calories out. I don't know if you can just start us off by sharing some thoughts on that. Where would you begin with a client that's looking for weight loss and energy?

Lorene: First of all, I'd want to see what the client is doing with their daily eating habits. It's funny, because I just met with a client today and this was exactly the conversation we were having. How does he not count calories, and yet lose weight? The first step is, well, let's see what's you're eating. Let's see what's worthwhile in what you're eating, and then let's just scale it back, if he's overeating.

You Have to Start Really Chewing Your Food

But the problem is with a lot of people, especially if they're lacking in energy, there could be something else going on with symptoms in their body. Primarily that's why gut health is so fascinating to me. It has to do with the gastrointestinal system. One of the easiest ways to start, and I know this may sound simplistic, but people really need to do this, is to chew your food.

Want to lose weight? Start chewing your food WAY more than you do right now!

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Because if you chew your food, first of all you're putting ... There's hormones in your saliva, leptin and grehlin, who regulate your appetite. If you chew your food, then it means that your body will have an opportunity to figure out what it is you ate, and therefore signal the brain that you've received the nutrients that you need, and that you've received the amount of food that you need, and you'll eat less.

They've actually done studies on this that the more people chew, the less they eat, and that from this they get better digestion, which means they get better use of their nutrients, and they have more energy. It's such a simple thing to do, is just chew your food.

Dave: Let me ask you there, how many times should they be chewing their food. I've heard rules of thumb before that say, "Chew each bite 20 times." Is there a magic number that you tell people try and do that?

Lorene: No, what I tell them is, chew your food till it's liquid.

How many times should you chew your food?...chew until your food is liquified

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What you're wanting is the saliva. The more you chew, the more saliva you release into your mouth, so the more you chew the more liquidy it's going to become. There's an old expression that you should drink your food and chew your drinks. In other words, if you're having a smoothie, which you don't chew, you need to pretend to chew before you swallow. But if you're having food, obviously you want to chew it to liquid.

The reason there's not a set number is different foods require different chews. Something that's dry toast really needs to be chewed 20-30 times. Meat is another one that needs to be chewed 20-30 times. But pasta? Maybe 10 times, 15 times. Whatever it is to make it liquid before you swallow.

Dave: From a practicality standpoint, do you find that clients who follow this rule, are they taking an hour to eat every meal? Does it make people's meal time really long?

Lorene: No, actually, because they'll stop eating sooner. They may find they're going to have more food left on their plate than they would have had before they started chewing. Once they get the hang of it, they'll adjust the portion size.

It's going to take more than 5 minutes. A lot of people, they eat their meals in 5 minutes, which is ridiculous. But 20 minutes, that's a good amount of time to take to eat your meal. If you're doing those sort of smaller meals throughout the day, that's A) a great way to sustain energy throughout the day, but also you don't have to take as much time to eat, because there's not as much food there.

Dave: I love this tip, because it's sort of like automatic portion control.

Lorene: Yes. Yes. Letting your body decide the portion control instead of your eyes and your mind. Right? We eat with our eyes. We see stuff and we want to eat it. Yeah. It's a great tip. You'll get tired of chewing and say, "Okay, I don't want to eat any more."

Dave: I love that. That's so practical. That's what we're all about on this show is practical advice. That's perfect. Chew your food more, which will slow down your eating time a little bit but still be reasonable, and then that kind of controls your overall intake.

Lorene: Absolutely.

Dave: What else would you say? From a gut health standpoint, what are some other, what's a simple thing that someone could do to improve their digestion?

The Importance of Eating Fermented Foods

Lorene: Well, they could add fermented foods. You can take probiotics, but they don't necessarily aid the digestion of your meal as well as fermented food. They do help your gut in quite a number of ways.

They will help with some of the absorption. But any ... This is why we invented fermented foods. You can just add it to the meal that you're having. You don't necessarily need to come up with some new recipe. I mean, you can do that if you like. But you don't have to come up with a new recipe just to eat the fermented foods. You can add it to things. If you wanted to eat sauerkraut, I just put it on top of the soup just as I'm about to serve it. Then it gets mixed in with the soup. But you haven't heated it, so you haven't killed the good bacteria. It's very effective at aiding digestion.

Dave: That was going to be my next question. When I think of fermented food, I think of yogurt and sauerkraut. About a year ago I read this book on fermentation and was in a real kick to eat more fermented food. Once a day I'd take a big spoonful of sauerkraut and just sort of gulp it down. I'm not a big sauerkraut guy. Are there other specific foods that you recommend that are easy ways to incorporate fermentation into your diet?

Lorene: Oh, sure. There's kimchi, which if you don't like sauerkraut you might not like kimchi either. Although it's very spicy. There's kefir. Kefir is amazing. It's got 32 strains of good bacteria and yeast. You want to help your gut health, have kefir. But it has to be the Russian kefir. The brand that is easiest to find is the one from Liberte, it's in a little tub like this. It's not the one that looks like a milk jug. Don't buy that one.

What About Wine as a Fermented Food?

Then things like red wine, or white wine, in small amounts, actually aids digestion. That's why it was invented. Not to get drunk on Saturday night.

4 ounces of red wine is a great way to improve your digestion and your "gut health"

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Dave: Can I just stop you there, because that's something that I get asked all the time. You'll probably read it in the media. There's always studies coming out saying that wine has all these health benefits. So when you say in a small amount, what does that actually mean? How much of a glass does someone need to drink?

Lorene: I wouldn't do more than 4 ounces.

Dave: Okay. I thought you meant 4 glasses. Four ounces.

Lorene: Four ounces. A glass of wine is a good digestive aid, and you're getting the health benefits, and your liver likes it better. Your liver would rather have it once a day than 7 glasses on Saturday. It doesn't like that. But it likes consistency. It's okay with a glass a day.

Dave: So even if you're working with a client who's specifically looking to lose weight, you'd still give them the okay to have a glass of red wine each day?

Lorene: Yeah. First of all, red wine, or white wine, by the way. White wine is good for people, too. It's making a comeback. People were just looking at certain types of phytochemicals that were in the red grapes that weren't in the white grapes. But white grapes have their own set of phytochemicals that are just as healthy for you. But, again, it makes sense, right? It's a fermented product.

It's all about balance, because if you don't have a balanced sort of perspective, if you try to adhere to some really strict diet regime, whether it's a lifestyle choice uptight diet, or it's a calorie restrictive type diet, you're going to be unhappy, and you can't live that way.

The truth is, most people go on these diets, and they lose the weight, but then they gain it back. It's like 95% of all people gain back the weight. Clearly that's not the answer. You have to make it work within your lifestyle. Where do you go? Who do you associate with? What kind of places do you go to eat at? How do you negotiate around that? What can you do when you're not with your friends to up the nutritional quality of your diet, because you've got free choice now. And then just the portion sizes. It's all portion sizes, and exercise.

Dave: You're speaking so much of my language here. We talk a ton about habit building, and everything that you just mentioned is based in habit.

Lorene: Yes.

Dave: So cool.

Lorene: It's not going to change, right? The habits are not going to change ... Sorry, the habits can change, but you're not going to give up your life because you've decided to lost weight or decided to be healthier. It's just not going to happen. You have to make it work with the way you socialize, and how your family is. You've got to make it work.

Your "10 in 4" Takeaway

Dave: One of the things that I like to do in this show is to give listeners, I call it a 10 in 4 Takeaway. That's sort of like their homework. Okay, if you really want to apply this, here's what you should do. So going back to Tracy's question, she was saying, "I want more energy and I want to lose weight. Don't want to count calories." The number 1 thing that listeners could do is ...

Lorene: Chew your food.

Dave: Chew your food.

Lorene: That's a great exercise, right? They're probably going to stop listening to this and go have a snack, right? They can start right away. They don't have to go buy anything. It doesn't cost them any money. The other one I would say is don't drink with your meals.

Dave: At all? Even water?

Lorene: No. You can have a couple of sips if your mouth is dry, but no volume of water. Increases gas and bloating. Bloat puts weight on. It interferes with your digestion. That would be the other one.

Dave: Okay, question about that, because I know in the weight loss programs that I run, hydration is a big part of it. Most people are pretty chronically dehydrated. Do you have a set standard, like don't drink this many minutes before or after a meal?

Lorene: I would wait 1 hour after a meal, and then drink all you like. I agree with you. A lot of people, their hunger is really thirst. If they drink between meals, and make sure they're quenched, and they can drink about half an hour, they say 15 minutes, but I say half and hour before you eat, too. That's fine, too. But if they're thirst is quenched, they'd probably also find they eat less.

Lorene's Course in Fermentation and Digestive Health

Dave: Fantastic. We try and keep this show really quick, but I do want to ask you. You have a fermentation course. That's something I'd like to tell my listeners about, because I think it would be very helpful for many of them. Can you tell us just a little bit about what's in the course, who should maybe consider taking the course? What's it's all about?

Lorene: Well, it's a combination digestive course, and fermentation course. It starts out with a 4-week, I call it the jump-start digestion program. It essentially is 4 weeks of teaching people really how their body works from a digestive and intestinal, how to improve gut health and all that sort of thing. Because people have no clue. Once they do, life makes more sense.

That's the first 4 weeks. Then there's an online fermentation course that goes through, which they can opt for, which goes through all the health and history of all the different fermented foods, how to make them step by step, plus recipes, plus menu plan, the whole shootin' match, so that if they want to add more fermented foods it's all there for them.

Dave: Most people who would sign up for this course, would it be for the purpose of weight loss, or are there other symptoms that it would really address as well?

Lorene: First of all, gut health has been connected to every health condition going. It's even been shown to be helpful for people who want better performance from exercise, people who are suffering from stress, diabetics, people with heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, depression. You name it, gut health has been connected now, officially, with research studies, officially with everything. So it would benefit everyone, because the sooner that gastrointestinal system is improved, the better you'll get the nutrients into your body, the better you can respond to it and health and feel better and help everything work better.

Dave: On that point, I was going to say, I was reading an article recently that talked about people who have a "healthy diet," but still aren't relieving any of these symptoms. Is that possibly because they never had the chance to health their gut?

Lorene: Yeah, because a lot of people don't know that their gut health isn't optimal. Because there's a lot of status quo stuff that people experience, burping, and flatulence, and just general discomfort in their gastrointestinal area, plus the way the nutrients are being utilized, they don't actually realize that they're not functioning opt- ... That's how we say it, functioning optimally. They're just not functioning optimally.

Once their gut health starts to improve, everything improves, because they feel better. They get the nutrients into them. The body loves to heal itself. If you give it what its looking for, it will take care of you, because we're programmed to survive first and foremost. Yeah, it could be the reason why they're experiencing this.

Dave: I can attest to exactly what you said. In one of my earlier podcast episodes, I believe actually it was podcast number 1, I talked about how for a long time I suffered from bloating and gas after every single meal. I didn't know any difference. I didn't know that other people didn't experience that. It wasn't till I really analyzed what I was eating and removed a bunch of foods and added a bunch of foods, that now I can eat without that. Exactly like you said, I had no idea.

Lorene: Most people don't. I've even met people who don't even know what bloating is. They just think it's normal that they're bigger at night than they were in the morning. I say, no, that's not how it's supposed to be. But yeah, it would benefit everybody. I don't know how most people feel, but a lot of people when they have issues, they're very frustrated. They feel like their body's betrayed them.

What I have found is, some knowledge is some power. With knowledge comes the power to make changes and understand what's going on within you, and that's what I'm trying to help people with.

Dave: Awesome advice. Just to recap, we're going to chew our food. We're going to add fermented foods, if we can. And then no drinking while we eat.

Lorene: Yes.

Dave: So simple. Thanks again for joining us, Lorene. Anyone listening, I'll, in the show notes, put a link to Lorene's fermentation and gut health course, so you can check that out. We'd love to have you back on the show, because I know you have ... This was just the tip of the iceberg in terms of your knowledge when it comes to digestion and just overall good health.

Lorene: I'll be happy to come back again.

Thanks for joining me today!

Beate Probst - October 8, 2015

Awwwwsoooome Dave, so interesting. That was actually one of the methods I used as well when I had my big weight loos, the chewing made a big difference. Felt very good as I sit here watching your pod cast with a glass of vino 🙂

    Dave Smith - October 8, 2015

    It’s tougher than it sounds to get into the habit, but chewing more really does make a big difference. Hope your 4 ounces of wine were satisfying 😉

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