We want to lose weight. Is it possible to lose weight without dieting? Absolutely it is. We get caught in the trap of the dieting cycle, that is dieting, losing weight, going back to eating what we want, put the weight on, and then we go on a diet again. We lose the same 10lb over and over again. By doing this we do not learn how to lose weight in ways that are sustainable, natural and safe.
Many diets involve calorie counting, gaining points for good foods eaten, losing points or gaining bad points against eating foods that are not allowed’. We are limited to what we can eat and when we can eat. It is very restrictive and not natural.
We want to be able to lose weight in a way that feels like a natural progression to a healthier lifestyle, one that is sustainable and enjoyable.
How can you lose weight sustainably?
I have listed below 33 ways and I have put them in order of what to work on. This gives you a good place to start and an idea of what to do next. Do the next section, when you have accomplished the section beforehand, so that these tips are sustainable for you and you are building a healthier lifestyle slowly
- Set action goals
Start here by setting a goal. Where do you want to be in a month’s time? 6 months time and 1 years time? Be flexible on those goals. Life does get in the way and we can be thrown curve balls. We do not want to fall into an all or nothing trap at the expense of hitting our goal. Have goals in mind, but know it is ok to flex and change them at any time.
- Drink more water
This is easy and invaluable to start with. Start filling up a glass for every cup of tea or coffee. Hate water? Add some lemon, cucumber or fruit to it. Train your taste buds to like it.
- Cut out the fizzy, drinks
This is where we have so many hidden calories. 1 litre of drink has 106g of sugar. A teaspoon has 4.2g of sugar, so that is 25.23 teaspoons of sugar. Start finding an alternative, even if it is carbonated water or fruit flavoured water, which still have sugar in them, but it is less sugar.
How to break free from diets and still lose weight
Gain free access to my 5 easy steps which teach you how to lose weight and keep it off without dieting. Yes it's possible!
- Sugar alternative
We all know the dangers of sugar. It can raise blood pressure, it can cause inflammation, overloads the liver and the sugar gets turned into fat. It can all lead to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, or worse to a heart attack or stroke.
- Stop buying sugary food
Whilst it may be easy saying to stop eating sugary food, you are only causing temptation if you keep buying it. It can be hard when you have to buy for others in the house and they all want the sugary snacks. Though you can help to re-educate them and also buy the sugar alternatives for them as well. Look in your supermarket in the free from aisles for alternative ideas.
- Less carbs
Now you have settled in to eating less sugar and hopefully you have got comfortable and ok with your chosen alternatives. Now is the time to cut back on the carbs. By this I mean processed white food. Foods like bread and pasta and even potatoes. This also includes cakes, crackers, muffins, bagels, anything from the bakery section.These types of carbs turn to sugar very quickly once we have eaten them. They have little to no fibre and therefore little nutritional value.
- More fruit and veg
What do you replace your carbs with? Add in more fruit and veg. Instead of the pasta salad, have a chicken or fish salad. Have a salad instead of a sandwich. Instead of crisps have some fruit. Instead of chips with your dinner, add on extra veg. Get creative and start trying out new veg.
- Stop dieting and start nourishing
Now is the time to start working on your diet mentality and your way of eating. With diets they tell us all of the things to cut out. Which is a good place to start, however they often do not go on to teach us about nutrition. We need to start thinking about food and its nutritional value. Food has a value. We can only eat so much, so we want to eat items that give us the most amount of energy and can help us to heal, rather than food that harms us.
- More Protein
Protein is essential for our diet. It helps build muscle and strength. It also boosts your metabolism.
- Less processed food
If you are now adding in more protein, it is a good time now to look at how much-processed food you are eating. Processed food is food that comes out of a jar, bottle, tin, and has a wrapping on it. It is not in its natural state. To get to the state we buy it in the supermarket, it has to go through a process which may have had chemicals added to it to help alter the state of the food or to help preserve the food. Many of these foods also have lots of sugar and sugar alternatives added to it. Start eating fruit as a a way of cutting out processed food, or start cooking things from scratch instead of buying pre-dinners.
- Add in rather than take out
Rather than focus on the what you are not allowed to have, start to focus on adding in healthier foods. How can you sneak in extra veg in your meal? Ideally you will make ⅔ of your plate vegetables. Try having a green smoothie instead of cereal.
- Cut your portion size
It is very easy to eat way more then you need. Many of us are cut off from our stomachs and can’t feel the moment we are content and the time to stop to go into over eating. When we load too much on our plates, it is too tempting to leave some of that nice food on the plate. Instead of making it hard for ourselves, dish up a slightly smaller portion.
- Quit snacking.
Start to cut out the snacking in between meals. Before you have a snack, you can ask yourself, Are you really hungry? Often we are a bit peckish. If we know we are going to have dinner that evening, can you wait until your next meal? If you are hungry but your next meal is quite some time away, choose fruit or a healthy alternative. Carrrot stick and hummus are a good treat.
- Stop eating after your dinner.
Eating late is not good for digestion. We need time for our food to settle. If we are eating treats after dinner, like puddings or sweet treats, that raises our blood sugar levels and then it makes us even hungrier the next day.
- Try intermittent fasting
When you are feeling comfortable with your eating habits and you now want to boost your health, you need to try intermittent fasting. This is not a diet, but more of a lifestyle. You are not eating anything less, or cutting anything out, you are eating your food in a shorter window of time. A good place to start is start by not eating anything after dinner and fast for 16 hours. The next morning, break your fast with a protein breakfast. Dr. Mindy Pelz has a great guide for getting started with intermittent fasting.
- Eat mindfully
Often we eat unconsciously. That is we have no awareness of how full we are getting or sometimes the amount we are eating. This is especially if we are eating our meals in front of the tv or snacking whilst driving or doing something else. We become disconnected from our bodies and the food. Start eating at a table and bringing your awareness into how you are feeling whilst eating, paying attention to tastes and textures and notice when you reach the contentment stage.
- Healthy gut bacteria
By eating more fibre and fruit and veg, you are providing your gut with the healthy bacteria it needs. This bacteria helps to fight off diseases, it also helps to control your immune system and is good for your brain health.
When we have an overgrowth of the bad bacteria, it can cause illnesses such as yeast infections and it makes us crave sugar.
- Exercise every day
We all know it is important to exercise. It boosts cardiovascular health and can prevent many degenerative and other diseases.
- Move more
Exercising, doesn’t mean you have to slug your guts out at the gym. It can be that you move that bit more around the house, or you go for a quick 5 min walk around the block. Moving more can be things like running up and down the stairs, dancing in your living room, moving whilst cooking.
- Do more activities that you love
If you are going to do more exercise, it makes sense that you find things that you love. So many of us don’t go to a gym or go running because we hate it. So why would we go to a gym, because we think we should. It’s not going to happen. We are much more motivated to go when we find something that we enjoy doing.
- Get enough sleep
A good nights sleep will help us balance our hormones responsible for hunger control. When these are out of whack, we can feel even hungrier. Being tired, our bodies will crave fuel to give us energy. Again this is likely to be food high in sugar, fat and salt to give us a quick energy boost, but it will not be the most healthiest of foods. Start working on how you can get an extra 30 mins and notice how you feel.
- Minimise your stress
Stress is a big factor in overeating. Your body sends out the hormone Cortisol to help manage the stress. Our bodies think that we need fuel to help manage it and of course we turn to food. Unfortunately, we will turn to food that is high in sugar, fat and salt. This will be the quick satisfying food but detrimental to our health. We can also lose track of how much we have eaten and eat mindlessly to help forget about the stress. Do activities likee yoga, pilates and meditation to help manage your stress.
- Feel your emotions
Our emotions are something that we often like to shy away from. They can feel too intense, too overwhelming. We often turn to food unconsciously to help us not feel these emotions. You may notice eating anytime you are sad, angry, happy, bored. Eating fills in that gap nicely and you no longer have to feel. By learning to sit and stay in an emotion we can learn that it is ok. It is not going to kill use and it helps us to process what we are feeling. We then learn that we do not need to turn to food to help us manage our emotions.
- Work through emotional issues
Are you eating all the time? We cannot seem to manage not beeing able to eat. When I see clients, it transpires there is quite a lot going on in their lives. They are having to deal with quite a bit from sick elderly parents, difficult children, illness in the family, overloaded at work. This causes us a lot of stress and worry. Thinking that we are superheroes and just get on with it, does not help us. We can end up again turning to food to help us cope. Recognise what you are dealing with and it is ok to talk to someone about it.
- Process and work on your past trauma
If your emotions are too much for you, there could well be a reason. When we have experienced trauma and or abuse, it is too much for use to cope with. However by talking through these with a therapist can help process these past hurts. They no longer weigh over us like a dark cloud. It gets easier to deal with it. We again learn to stop turning to food to help us deal with it.
- Work on your mindset
Our mindset is not necessarily about being strong to resist temptation. More about being aware of the triggers causing you to eat and the mindfulness to notice what you are doing. Understanding why you are driven to eat will help you to manage your eating.
One of the first things I say to clients is to stop restricting yourself. Many go on diets where they cut out lots of food. Yes we do not want to be eating pizza, ice creams and cakes but totally cutting them out only causes us to crave them some more. Cut them out slowly, it is ok to have an ice cream, just have one now and again. The same with the rest of your food. Allow yourself to have what you want, but in moderation.
- Get a support system
A support system is one where you have friends and specialists who are there to support you. They offer you good advice, they have your back when you stumble. The weight loss journey can be lonely one and you are going to come up against many temptations and obstacles. But having someone to confide in can help you pull through difficult times.
- Fill life with joy
When life is filled up with the things and people that we love, there is no room for food to fill that gap. Food can be exciting. It can fill us with joy and make us feel good. So the more we fill it with things that we love doing and our own positive emotions, we no longer need to get that from food.
- Build healthy habits one at a time
When we start a diet our motivation is high, but it can be very hard to sustain all of these new habits we have set ourselves. We then don’t do them and get into an all or nothing mindset, where we think negatively of ourselves because we have not kept them up. Instead, change one habit at a time that is sustainable. Because you are changing one habit, it is likely that other positive habits will form because of it.
- Little and often
Stop trying to change everything at once. This is way too difficult to maintain. At the first hurdle, we will go straight back to what we know because that is what our unconscious is programmed to do. Change something small, get that down then change something else. Change then becomes easier and easier.
Consistency is king/Queen. There will be no perfect day, no perfect way of eating. You will slip up and be tempted by that dessert. That is ok. This is why it is easier to start small, because you can maintain new habits and be consistent about them. This is going to help you to keep going rather than making big grand changes.
- Course correct
As you go along and you are building in all of these suggestions, you may need to tweak and change things. That is what we do to keep going on our path. Expect to have to keep working on that mindset, change your work out programmes and keep tweaking your diet to help you get the results that you want.