The No-Calorie-Counting Way to Eat Healthier

Couple cooking healthy meal while wearing Fitbit trackers

Say goodbye to fiber-starved juice cleanses, copious amounts of cabbage soup, and lemon-cayenne-pepper concoctions: This is the year you adopt a simple—and sustainable—weight loss eating plan.

As I mentioned in Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, the My 5 plan is based on efficiency—finding out which health practices pack the biggest punch—and the food component of it is no different. What’s that mean? It means you don’t have to count calories (though you can if you have time!), weigh food, splurge on exotic ingredients, or avoid restaurants. No, all you have to do is follow three, easy guidelines:

  1. Eat 5 times a day—three meals and two snacks. This equates to eating approximately every three hours. Eating before you’re ravenous will help you stay in control of what and how much you eat. Studies also show that eating more frequently, compared with the conventional three-meals-a-day approach, can help keep your blood sugar and metabolism steady—both of which are good for weight loss.
  1. Make sure every meal contains the “big three of satiety”: protein (seafood, eggs, chicken), fiber (veggies, fruit, seeds) and healthy fats (olive oil, avocado). Snacks, too, must contain protein and fibrous carbs. Aside from their individual benefits—protein boosts metabolism, fiber aids digestion, and fats support heart health—these three nutrients also help you feel fuller faster and for longer.
  1. Ensure each meal is made up of the following: one portion of protein (fish, eggs, etc…) equal to the mass of one hand; a palmful of either a high-fiber fruit (blackberries, apples), a whole grain (quinoa, oats), or a legume (chickpeas, lentils); at least one thumb-size portion of a healthy fat (avocado, olives, nuts, seeds); and unlimited veggies (broccoli, zucchini, spinach).

It should also go without saying that you need to stay hydrated. Water is best—don’t drink your calories! I suggest eight cups a day for women and 10 for men.

5 Pounds by Harley Pasternak


If you need more guidance, check out my book,
5 Pounds: The Breakthrough 5-Day Plan to Jump-Start Rapid Weight Loss (and Never Gain it Back!) for shopping lists, meals plans, and sample recipes. And remember, diet is hugely important to weight loss, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. If you implement the other four steps of My 5 Plan, your diet need not be drastic.

Next: Find out how to Get Fit in 5 Minutes a day. (Yes, 5 Minutes.)

13 Comments   Join the Conversation

13 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I LOVE the simplicity! I’m a 60 year-old female working as a Realtor. Up until 2 years ago, I weighed 118 lbs, was fit and limber – full of energy. After some surprising health issues, I became listless and medication packed on the pounds to 148. I’m off meds now, physically recovering and am down to 135. Always on the run, what food can I pack to take with me?

  • I am 82 yrs old and have a fit bit. When weather permits I walk 10,000 steps a day and sometimes more. Walking has helped to control the pain of arthritus. Now I am going to try your eating plan.
    I love my fit bit.

  • I weighed 120 last year and have gained 20 pounds since August. I had foot surgery and couldn’t exercise until recently. Question: how can I drop 20 pounds without running or aerobics. Help!!!! Thanks

    • If you are using Fitbit, follow their calorie recommendation that goes along with the program. Work on building muscle, which burns calories more effectively. Try different methods of getting your heart rate up…interval training, stationary biking, rowing…Work towards slow, steady progress. You can do it!

      • This is what has helped me, I’ve gone from 192lbs. to 123lbs. I stopped eating processed foods for the most part. No soda, not even diet. I drink 7 to 8, 20oz glasses of water each day, fruits, vegetables, Steel cut oats, natural peanut butter 1 Tbs. (the kind you grind yourself). I measure everything, I have a routine so its like a well oiled machine now. I have about 2 to 3 oz. of meat but lean meat. I truly believe that eliminating Processed food is the Key. Its like a drug, every once in a while I’ll walk past the chips or cookie isle and think how easy it would be to sit in my car and eat the entire box/bag. It took me a year, I walk 30 to 60 min. a day take a couple classes a week, body pump or spin.

    • Drinking your calories mean liquor. Water has no calories so your comment makes no sense. Drink water regardless of what you eat.

  • Just diagnosed with upper irregular heart beat possibly ftom sleep apnia or blockage. What exercise can I participate in? I’m 62 love my fitbit. Diet sounds great.

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