Being on a strict diet can be tough on both your mind and body, leading to binge eating, poor body image, low metabolism, fatigue, and many other issues. Which is exactly why I teach my clients to NOT diet. However, if you still want to lose weight without dieting, there are options without actually counting calories or living your life attached to your fitness tracker. To lose weight, you don’t need to follow a strict diet plan or exercise excessively. There are ways to lose weight without restrictive eating and without extreme exercise.
How to Lose Weight Without Dieting
You can increase your fat loss by making a few simple healthy lifestyle changes. Obesity rates are rapidly increasing in the United States. So weight loss is a concern for many individuals who have noticed the scale slowing increasing over the years. Health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure all increase as one’s weight continues to steadily increase. However, dieting isn’t the solution. We all know that diets don’t work long-term.
You may have asked yourself, “Why is it so easy for them and such a struggle for you?” The truth is strict diets don’t work. You end up messing up your metabolism long-term and gaining back all the weight, and then some after you begin to increase your caloric intake to a healthy amount. There are ways to lose weight without starving yourself. The key is to live a healthy lifestyle through mindful eating and daily movement into your life. So, how is unintentional weight gain assessed?
How is unintentional weight gain assessed?
The weight gain that occurs after several months of not dieting or exercising can be an indication that someone is gaining weight. This may be due to the person’s metabolism slowing down, or the person may be eating more while not burning off the calories. Either way, this is what is referred to as unintentional weight gain. In addition to gaining weight, the person may also experience a decrease in energy level and overall health.
Why is unintentional weight gain important to note?
Unintentional weight gain can be a symptom of a much more serious health issue. This needs to be addressed with your local physician to ensure there are no other serious health problems causing your weight gain.
To live a healthy lifestyle, individuals need to be aware of what is happening in their body. Stress, anxiety, and depression are all indications of a possible unhealthy lifestyle. Holistically speaking, all facets of our lives intertwine. If you’re stressed at work, you’re more likely to overeat later in the evening as a form of coping mechanism to relieve your stress.
So, how much weight do you need to lose? It is important to discuss your weight concerns with your personal physician. He or she can best determine a healthy goal weight for you to achieve with your personal health issues being addressed.
What does a healthy lifestyle look like?
A healthy lifestyle means having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. These are simple tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle is important, but this appears different for everyone. The first steps are to assess where you are currently with your exercise and eating habits. Healthy movement for a 70 year old woman looks far different than it does for a 30 year old healthy man.
The healthy lifestyle should be simple to follow and not drastically different from what you are currently doing. A change in diet is not easy, so you need a plan that works for you uniquely. Eating well will help keep you full, and eating snacks between meals helps reduce your overall calorie intake and hunger.
Why don’t diets alone work?
There are many factors that can influence our weight and health, but no single diet works for every person. For example, a vegan diet might work for someone who eats mostly raw fruits and organic vegetables, but not for someone who prefers to eat meat. The same goes for a low-fat diet. We all have unique needs and eating habits.
It’s important to eat as healthy as possible and exercise, but the success of any diet is determined by other factors, such as food choices, eating habits, daily stress levels, and genetics. By controlling some of these factors, like decreasing stress, we are more likely to achieve successful weight loss even without a crazy exercise regime. The diet and supplement industry is designed to keep us unhealthy and overweight. It’s a vicious cycle of dieting, gaining weight, and dieting again. That is why the focus should be on healthy habits and lifestyle changes.
Simple Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting
- Drink Your Water
One of the first things you can do to lose weight without restrictive eating, dieting or exercise is drink more water. It’s important to drink water and other fluids. This likely is not the first time you have heard this, but it bears repeating. You need to drink more water if you want to lose weight, with or without dieting. It’s essential for your body to function properly. Water is important for so many reasons, from making sure you are hydrated, to giving you sustainable energy. It is also important when you don’t want to diet, but feel like you are constantly hungry.
Oftentimes we mistake dehydration for hunger. In many cases, you might actually be thirsty, so water can help solve this problem. A good rule of thumb that people like to use is if you feel hungry, drink a glass of water instead. If the hunger goes away, you are simply thirsty. But if you’re still hungry, go ahead and eat.
- Aim for a Balance of Nutrients
If you are trying to lose weight without dieting, one of the key things to do is plan. When putting your meals together, you don’t need to count calories or macros completely to lose weight. But it helps to look at the nutrients in your meals and ensure that all the most important ones are there. An easy way to do this is simply to ensure you have at least one source of protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates. Sometimes, the balance is a little off where you have 2 carbs and protein, other times you have a little of each. But these nutrients help ensure you get what your body needs, without having to focus so much on every macro.
Eat more vegetables. A study from Purdue University found that people who ate more vegetables lost weight more easily than those who ate fewer. We all know that increasing our consumption of fruits and vegetables is beneficial to our health. But it is important to have balance on our plate too.
- Eat More Fiber
Fiber provides many health benefits, including the prevention of heart disease and cancer. However, it is often overlooked when dieting. Eating more fiber can help you lose weight by increasing your feeling of fullness. Rich, complex carbohydrates are not only great for keeping you full because of the higher fiber content, but also loaded with wonderful nutrients for your body. Most dieting tips in any plan to lose weight fast will tell you to cut out carbs, but the truth is complex carbohydrates fuel our brains and give us fuel for our workouts.
- Complex Carbohydrates
Research has shown that smaller portion sizes of complex carbohydrates can help you on your weight loss journey. By focusing on nutrient dense foods rather than simple carbohydrates, your body will feel more satisfied because you are receiving the proper amount of vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly.
- Eat Plenty of Protein
Protein is an important nutrient for maintaining a healthy body weight. But the amount you should be eating depends on each individual’s needs and goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, protein can be a valuable part of your diet.
However, the amount of protein you should eat depends on how much you weigh. Dietary guidelines for adults recommended protein intake of 46–56 g or 0.8 g/kg of ideal body weight per day (1). To increase your protein intake, try to include at least 25-30 grams of protein in each meal.
- Slow Down and Eat Mindfully
How do you learn to detect your internal hunger cues? Be aware of hunger and fullness levels. Many people trying to lose weight learn to detect their internal hunger cues by checking in with your body. First, begin by pausing and asking yourself if you are truly hungry, bored or stress eating. Take time to silence any outside noise and truly assess your current mood and physical state. When was your last meal? Over time, you can recognize your hunger signals.
Now on to eating mindfully. The focus should be on eating much more slowly, so that your body has enough time to know when it is full. How many of you have gotten into the habit of eating food while being distracted, such as watching TV or working? If you are eating your meals too fast, your brain doesn’t even have time to register how much you have eaten or how full you are.
Try to slow down and not have outside distractions while you are eating. Eat each bite slowly and deliberately. Practice eating a meal without looking at a computer screen or watching TV. It can seem weird in the beginning, but this helps you focus more on your food and your own internal hunger cues. We all know how hard it is to turn down junk food when we are hungry, but what is even more complicated is turning down chips or ice cream when we watch a movie while eating our dinner on the couch.
What makes you eat more than you wanted, and how can you counter feelings of shame surrounding your food choices?
You can counter feelings of shame surrounding your food choices by actively seeking opportunities to feel pride in what you eat. For example, if you’re ashamed of the amount of processed foods you eat, try to eat more fruits and vegetables. If you’re ashamed of the amount of drinks you drink, try to reduce your intake of sugary beverages.
- Make Meal Planning Simple
If you’re like most people, meal planning isn’t always easy. But research has shown that by meal planning your food, you can lose weight without ever breaking a sweat. A simple meal plan can help you lose weight without a diet by taking the guesswork out of daily meal choices. It saves you time, money, and you know the healthy ingredients in your meal ideas.
- Keep Unhealthy Foods in the Cabinet
Instead of keeping the unhealthier foods, like chips and cookies, on the counter, hide them away in the fridge or cabinet. You aren’t keeping it out of the house completely, but you will only go for the food when you crave it, rather than simply viewing it on the counter and wanting it out of pure convenience.
- Decrease stress to lose weight
Research has shown that added stress can contribute to weight gain and hinder the weight loss plan you might be on. Stress also causes insulin levels to rise, which triggers your body to store fat and raise your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Stress also causes you to eat when you’re not hungry. This is key in your weight loss plan to prevent overeating and gaining weight back.
Stress can also increase cortisol levels in your body, which is a hormone that causes you to feel exhausted. If you’re feeling exhausted, talk to a professional about what other factors might be causing your exhaustion. You might suffer from vitamin deficiencies or even depression. It’s best to have your physician involved in any weight loss journey you might be on.
The best way to prevent stress from causing weight gain is to take time for yourself. There are simple ways to relieve stress right at home. Many experts believe the best way to relieve stress is through exercise. Exercise will help you feel better and improve your mood, which allows you to eat healthier foods. You can also try simple breathing or meditation exercises. Also, opt to get out in nature for some fresh air.
- Increase Daily Movement
Daily movement is so important not only for our overall health, but also if you are trying to lose weight. Can you lose weight without exercise? Sure, but the important thing to remember is your health is not directly related to merely a number on the scale. You need good cardiovascular exercise and strength training to combat future health issues. We need strong bones, healthy joints, and a strong heart for true overall health. How can you make your workout more effective? Walking is wonderful for losing weight. Not only is it a straightforward exercise that you can do almost anywhere, but it’s also a great stress reducer.
- Improve Sleep Quality to Lose Weight
The last thing is to get enough sleep. Sleep helps your body repair itself, but also helps you manage stress. Sleep is an essential part of any weight loss journey. Sleep is an important modulator of neuroendocrine function, and glucose metabolism, and sleep loss has been shown to cause metabolic and endocrine alterations, including decreased glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity, increased evening concentrations of cortisol, increased levels of ghrelin, decreased levels of leptin, and increased hunger and appetite (2).
Studies have found that people who sleep fewer than six hours a day are more likely to be obese. Sleeping seven to nine hours a night is the optimal amount of sleep for weight loss (3).
There are simple ways to help if you have sleep issues. First, try to avoid any caffeinated beverages after 3 pm. In addition, try to avoid using alcohol as a sleep aid before bedtime. Instead, try a drink of soothing herbal tea or warm almond milk with honey before bedtime.
You may also consider taking melatonin supplements. Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate our internal sleeping patterns. You can find many safe melatonin products in the supplement section of your grocery store. However, there are many foods that naturally help increase your melatonin levels. Consider eating cherries or drinking tart cherry juice before bed.
- Key Takeaways
The most important thing to remember when losing weight is to take it slow. Don’t expect yourself to lose ten pounds in a week, or even one pound in a day. Instead, set small goals that you can accomplish over a few weeks. For example, if you want to lose two pounds a month, start by moving for 30 minutes a day, and gradually increase the length of your exercise as you get more comfortable. But please don’t try some restrictive diet plan to lose weight.
Speak to your doctor when formulating a healthy goal weight that you can achieve with your health history in mind. The key to losing weight without dieting is to develop habits that you can stick with for the rest of your life. Once you get into a routine, it will be a healthy lifestyle, not simply a fad diet.