How to Lose Weight without Dieting

by Melissa Costello

The diet industry is a 20 Billion dollar industry, which to me says that diets don’t work for long-term, sustainable weight loss; if they did, the industry wouldn’t be so huge, and there wouldn’t be thousands of books on the market claiming that their program is the one that is going to solve all your weight problems. Instead, you can adopt some long-term habits to help you lose weight without dieting.

The Downsides of Dieting

Did you know that over 90% of people who diet and lose weight, usually gain the weight back, plus some? Those numbers don’t convey success to me. Why is it so hard to keep the weight off for so many who go on diets, and why isn’t the weight loss sustainable?

Because diets don’t teach us how to shift our mindset when it comes to food for the longterm. They only show us what NOT to eat, or how to deprive ourselves, count calories, or weigh and measure food. They don’t look at the deeper reason we are turning to food in the first place, struggling with overeating and making poor choices.

Diets often leave us feeling frustrated, discouraged, ashamed and like a failure, especially after the weight comes back. Not to mention the amount of effort it takes to maintain the weight loss once it happens. It’s a vicious cycle.

Dumping the Diet Mentality

The first step to losing weight is to reject the diet mentality. Why? Because diets put us in deprivation mode, which often leads to overeating, binge eating and feeling out of control around food. How many times have you started a diet, only to get off track and then chuck it all out the window, while feeling hopeless?

Dieting puts us in a black-or-white mindset and prompts us to see food as good or bad. It forces us to climb uphill instead of being in the flow with our eating and exercise. Food is neither good nor bad; food is neutral. Food is fuel. Food is nourishment.

When we can begin to shift our mindset to relate to food in this way, without deprivation, we will begin to listen to our bodies and what they need. So often, the choices we make when it comes to what we eat, are driven by our minds and not what our bodies truly want or need.

Most of the time when we eat foods that are not necessarily nutritious or nourishing, it’s because our mind or our emotions are making the decision for us. If we were to listen to our body and its hunger cues, we would be making healthy choices all the time. The body wants to be healthy, and it wants to be nourished and respected. Once you start to honor it and listen to it, the weight will start to naturally come off.

5 Tips to Lose Weight without Dieting

Here are my top 5 tips to get started on the natural journey to lose weight without dieting.

  1. Eat only when you’re physically hungry—if you eat when you are not hungry, you can guarantee you will be carrying extra weight.
  2. When you have strong cravings, ask yourself what you are looking for food to give you other than nourishment. Often times we eat when we are stressed, sad, emotional or tired. Stop, take three deep breaths and see if you still need that food.
  3. Allow yourself to eat what you want, without judgment. The moment you start to deprive yourself is the moment you will want to overeat or eat unhealthy foods. If you give yourself permission, without judgment to have the food you want, I guarantee you won’t want it as much as you did when you were forbidden to have it, or it will only take a small bite to satisfy you.
  4. Stop weighing yourself—I know you may think this is an important component to weight loss, but the key here is to listen to your body and not focus on an external number. Too often we get discouraged if the weight isn’t coming off as fast as we think, and then we give up. Notice how your body feels and how your clothes fit.
  5. Move your body every day—instead of telling yourself you HAVE to exercise, ask yourself, “How can I move my body today that feels good?” When you start to do things you love, and not force your workouts, there is a much bigger chance you will stick with it longer.

Just doing one small, positive action each day can get you on the road to natural weight loss without dieting and deprivation.

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