Lose weight without dieting
If you are wondering how to lose weight without dieting you have come to the right place to find out.
The topic of how to lose weight without dieting is not new age or spiritual per se. However, I believe we can only be healthy and at peace when we take care of all our bodies: Physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Accepting ourselves as we are, and finding tools to lose weight is crucial for our emotional health too.
Let’s find out in this post how you can lose weight, but before we get to the core of the post, I want to show you how science has proven that diets don’t work so you can finally break free from dieting.
And, it is estimated that 90% who go on a diet put all the weight back on.
Let’s see how we can stop the mad dieting cycle.
How I learned that diets don’t work
Before I had my first child I was slim, although I wasn’t happy with the way I looked; I wanted to be thinner.
Looking back at the clothes I used to wear they were small (U.S. size 6), so I’m not sure what I was seeing in the mirror, but it was not my idea of perfection.
After having my first son, I continued to eat the same way I did before getting pregnant, but to my horror I was not losing all the extra weight. I assumed it would take time, but time passed and I was still carrying the extra weight.
About a year after I had him I started to diet, and at that point I started to have a very unhealthy relationship with food. Food became my main preoccupation and obsession, while up to that point it had never affected me that much.
I had done the occasional diet in my twenties, but I never really worried about it to that extent.
Since I had my first child, every time I started a new diet I would lose weight, only to gain it again within a short period of time.
Many years later, I had my second child; at this point it was my fourth pregnancy as I had previously lost two babies.
The first time my OBGYN told me my baby’s heart had stopped beating I cried for hours (and weeks); I was utterly devastated.
Subsequently, I lost another baby, and by the time I got pregnant for the fourth time, and despite my best efforts to be positive and happy about it, I was terribly worried about losing my baby again.
During the last pregnancy, I started to obsess over how often I could feel the baby kicking, and the OBGYN ultrasound checkups were a nightmare.
Instead of looking forward to seeing my baby, I would be holding my breath until I could hear the baby’s heartbeat.
I was given plenty of reassurance that she was okay, but I would leave the doctor’s office and eat.
I was fully aware of what I was doing, thinking that I shouldn’t be eating so much. But I did it anyway.
I just felt the urge to eat, and I thought I could deal with the fat body later. In my last pregnancy, I ate way more than I ever did with my first one; and subsequently, I put on A LOT more weight.
The reason I tell you my story is because now I have the experience of going on many diets (unsuccessfully) and I can testify to the fact that if losing weight was as simple as eating the right food, the diet industry wouldn’t be worth billions of dollars.
For the past decade I have tried many diets and I have read many diet books. Today, I don’t diet, and I have no intention of ever going on a diet again.
I hope that all the information that I have gathered helps you to understand why dieting might not be working for you and what you can do to lose weight.
Scientific reasons why diets don’t work
I have been on a diet for two weeks. And all I have lost is two weeks.
1. We can’t force our body to diet
Our bodies will tell us when to eat, what to eat, and how much, and this will change on a regular basis. We move out of trust with our body when we get caught up in dieting.
The moment we try to change the body, the body resists.
It is a primary survival mechanism; if we cut down the amount of food we give it, the first thing it does when it feels threatened is to store fat. It is not a case of lacking will power, it is the body’s intelligence kicking in, doing what it is supposed to be doing, balancing itself and conserving energy at all costs.
Deepak Chopra, in his book, Quantum Healing, Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine explains:
Unless some degree of control is gained at a very deep level, obese people can spend their whole lives forcing themselves to diet, a self-defeating tactic that only makes the mental distortion worse. The loss of 10 pounds is registered in their brain as famine, and the next time food is offered, the brain will not stop until 15 pounds is put back on, adding an extra five as a safety margin against the next famine. Obese people have been known to gain weight on diets where no extra calories are offered beyond the bare minimum to sustain metabolism. The reason for this is that the brain can actually alter the metabolism in such a way that the calories are stored as fat instead of being burned up as fuel.
It has been proven that people on a diet tend to feel hungrier, and it is not a will power problem; it is a normal expected hormonal response.
The Minnesota Starvation Experiment
In the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, Dr. Ancel Keys documented the effect of “semi-starvation neurosis.” The full report and results from the Minnesota Starvation Experiment was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 1950, in a two-volume, 1,385-page text called The Biology of Human Starvation.
The study intended to understand the physical and psychological effects of severe and prolonged dietary restriction.
Thirty-six men were given a diet that contained approximately 3,200 calories a day for the first three months, then 1,600 calories a day for the following six months. (Many diets today don’t offer as many calories.)
The findings of this experiment can be summarized as follows:
• Prolonged semi-starvation produced significant increases in depression, hysteria, and hypochondriasis. Most of the participants experienced periods of severe emotional distress and depression.
• The act of restricting food and the constant hunger made food “the most important thing in one’s life,” said one of the participants. Participants exhibited extreme preoccupation with food, during both the starvation period and the rehabilitation phase. They obsessed and dreamed about food. Men began to obsessively collect food recipes. Interest in anything else diminished.
• Sexual interest was drastically reduced, and the volunteers showed signs of social withdrawal and isolation.
• The participants reported a decline in concentration, comprehension, and judgment capabilities.
The two most remarkable effects of this experiment I wish to highlight are:
- In the beginning, all participants lost a lot of weight. In the first 12 weeks they averaged a loss of a pound a week, but in the subsequent 12 weeks they only averaged a loss of a quarter of a pound a week. That is because their bodies’ survival mechanisms kicked in.
The study showed a marked decline in each participant’s basal metabolic rate (the energy required by the body in a state of rest), and reduced body temperature, respiration, and heart rate.
When the body feels threatened, it will try to conserve energy at all costs by slowing the metabolism and increasing hunger and fat storage.
When we try to lose weight, hitting plateaus is seen as a big inconvenience, yet it is a perfect mechanism of survival, otherwise, anorexics would be dead within two months.
2. When the men were allowed to eat freely again, they had insatiable appetites, yet never felt full. Even five months later, some continued to have dysfunctional eating, although most were finally regaining some normalization of their eating.
This is what Michigan Health University writes in their blog post titled: Weighing the Facts: The Tough Truth About Weight Loss:
Our bodies slow our metabolism, so we must eat less to not gain weight. A study of contestants on the TV show “The Biggest Loser,” for example, found that before the competition, they had an average resting metabolism rate of 2,607 calories per day. After the show, it was 2,000 calories. Six years later, even though most had returned to their pre-show weight, their resting metabolism had dropped to 1,900 calories per day.
This is really devastating news for all dieters. What the study is basically saying is that after all that hard work, some of The Biggest Loser participants not only put their weight back on, they also had to eat a lot less than they did prior to the show so they would not keep putting on weight.
The extreme dieting had caused their metabolism to slow down from needing 2,607 calories on a resting state to needing 1,900. Anything over 1,900 will likely convert to fat and make them put on even more weight.
The Obesity Code
In The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss, Jason Fung, MD, explains that obesity is not about calories, or fat grams, or exercise, but about hormones, and that when insulin levels run too high for too long we develop “insulin resistance,” which can make us fat. Insulin is a hormone that regulates our metabolism.
Dr. Fung believes there is a “set point” for body weight and fatness.
When we try to diet, our weight drops below our body’s set weight and our body naturally activates a compensatory mechanism to raise it (such as our metabolism shuts down and our body temperature and heart rate drops in an effort to conserve energy).
Fung says this is the reason dieters are usually cold, hungry, grumpy, and depressed, and that the problem with obesity is that the setpoint is too high.
To correct the hormonal imbalance, Dr. Fung believes that we need to change not only what we eat, but when we eat, by practicing intermittent fasting. He writes about fasting traditions in human history and how fasting affects hormones.
I can’t say if his dietary and lifestyle recommendations for weight loss work because I haven’t tried them. (Because I believe my overeating issues are primarily emotionally driven and I don’t have a hormonal issue, but I believe these two issues often co-exist).
I really enjoyed reading his book and learning a number of things: how stress contributes to weight gain, why fat doesn’t make you fat, what drives yo-yo dieting, the reason behind obesity and weight loss, and much more. I highly recommend The Obesity Code.
The bottom line is, we can’t force our bodies to diet and be a specific weight and size that we have in mind. The body will always seek to balance itself.
2. Diet advice is too confusing (there is no consensus)
Since I started dieting ten years ago I have come across many diets.
I first started to diet following a low fat diet, which has now been rightly trashed as not being healthy.
Then I learned of some odd diets that encouraged me to consume only soup, or juice, or take shakes, or pills for long periods of time; even to inject hormones. Luckily, I didn’t do many of these.
Then I followed a variety of other diets, a mix of “don’t eat carbs,” and “avoid all sugar, gluten, dairy” – until in the end I felt there wasn’t much left to eat.
Regardless of the type of diet I was on, I always felt deprived and miserable.
I also tried eating everything I wanted but restricted to counting calories and points. Nothing lasted long term for me.
Some diets also had strong views about how often we should eat each day and the portion size. “Never eat snacks,” or “Snack once or twice a day to raise your metabolism”; “Have a treat each week,” or “Never ever have treats.” Most diet books provide all sorts of studies to back up their claims, and “before” and “after” pictures.
So, who is right?
They are all right and wrong. We are not all the same, and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another one.
In some cases, even what might work for somebody in the short term is not sustainable or healthy in the longer term, so we need to be careful with some diets.
I struggled with the low carb diet the most.
Not only did I want to eat the usually forbidden foods (like a piece of chocolate cake), I also wanted fruit, rice, pasta, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal – all normal foods that I was restricting because I wanted to lose weight.
I dislike all the rules because I feel we are over complicating life.
I understand there is an obesity epidemic, but some of the dietary restrictions are way too extreme; advice such as: “Don’t eat too many carrots or fruit because they are high in carbs” (or because of their sugar content), or “Count your portions even when eating vegetables.”
People are not obese because they overeat fruit and vegetables.
I know some people say that too much fruit can worsen a condition called candida. But if you have a medical condition you should be following your doctor’s advice anyway, so if your doctor restricts or completely forbids fruit, I’m not going to dispute that. But I would not restrict fruits and vegetables in a healthy individual.
Fruits have many great nutritional qualities like being high in fiber and rich in water, minerals, and B-vitamins; they are also full of antioxidants and many substances that have been shown to fight cancer, improve mood and energy, and generally support overall health and wellness.
You will not be doing your body any favors by avoiding fruit.
The Blue Zones Solution: What the longest-lived people have eaten over the past 100 years
Dan Buettner, bestselling author and National Geographic fellow, reveals, in The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People, what the longest lived people have eaten over the past 100 years.
Buettner wanted to locate places that had not only a high concentration of 100 year olds, but also clusters of people who had grown old without diseases such as heart problems, obesity, cancer, or diabetes.
He discovered five blue zones around the world, one of which was in Ikaria (Greece), where they followed a Mediterranean diet.
Since I love coffee, I read with interest that one of the key staples in their diet was coffee, two or three cups a day of Turkish style Ikarian coffee.
Note: the lattes and processed coffees currently served in coffee chains with all types of sweeteners and additives are not what the Ikarians consumed nor what I would call a traditional cup of coffee.
I have read mixed reports as to whether coffee is good for you or not.
Most of the books I have read cite other studies to support or discourage the consumption of coffee, and I haven’t found any consensus on the topic.
The fact that a region in the world drinks coffee with no ill effects doesn’t make it right for you either, but I have quoted this example to highlight my point that there is no universal right or wrong when it comes to the right diet.
Interestingly, Buettner also said that none of the 253 lively centenarians he met ever went on a diet, joined a gym, or took supplements.
To various degrees and amounts, they also ate carbs (including rice, breads, fruits, and sweet potatoes), and meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.
His book reminded me of the Asian paradox. The no-carb diet is very popular at the moment, but if you think about obesity, do Asians come to mind? White rice is their main food staple.
3. Diets don’t work because of our thoughts (they influence our weight much more than we think)
We could be following the best diet in the world and still not produce the weight loss we want. Let’s see how our thoughts make all the difference.
In the following study Dr. Alia Crum proved how our bodies will metabolize the same meal quite differently in response to our unique thoughts.
Dr. Crum, who has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Yale University, conducted a study called Mind over milkshakes: Mindsets, not just nutrients, determine ghrelin response, to try to determine how mindset can affect an individual’s appetite, and how it could affect the production of a gut peptide called ghrelin (which is involved in the feeling of satisfaction after eating).
Ghrelin levels are supposed to rise when the body needs food and fall proportionally as the body consumes calories, telling the brain the body is no longer hungry and doesn’t need more food.
On two separate occasions, 46 participants consumed a 380-calorie milkshake under the pretense that it was either a 620-calorie “indulgent” shake or a 140-calorie “sensible” shake. Ghrelin was measured via intravenous blood samples at three time points: baseline (20 min), anticipatory (60 min), and post-consumption (90 min).
The data showed that ghrelin levels changed depending on how many calories participants were told they were consuming, not how many they actually consumed.
Those who were given the “Indulgence” labelled shakes reported greater satiety and a dramatic drop in ghrelin – about three times the drop as those who thought they were drinking a low-calorie shake.
Basically, the results prove that the mindset of indulgence produced a dramatically steeper decline in ghrelin after consuming the shake, whereas the mindset of sensibility produced a relatively flat ghrelin response.
Participants’ satiety was consistent with what they believed they were consuming, rather than the actual nutritional value of what they consumed.
In other words, participants felt fuller when they thought they were drinking a high calorie drink, and didn’t feel as full when they thought they were consuming a light drink. However, both drinks had the same amount of calories.
Implications of the mind over milkshakes study
How many times have you said, “I should be eating salad instead of this?” I used to think that diet food (and dieting in general) was never filling enough, so it didn’t matter if the food I was eating had enough calories to sustain me; I thought I was not eating enough and my body was reacting accordingly.
I was hungry all the time.
This study is fascinating and frustrating since I didn’t know this at that time when I was dieting to no end.
This study simplifies why diets don’t work.
Our mindset about dieting is one of the keys to success, but it is often overlooked.
Our emotional health is also another key to success.
On a spiritual note, our soul wants to experience growth and freedom, not obsess over anything in life, including our weight and food. Diets have the opposite effect. They restrict what we can eat, how, and when.
Our excessive preoccupation with the size of our body might be one of our life lessons to overcome.
The obsession with food, calories, and dieting triggers too many food thoughts, and what consumes our mind controls our life.
It is uncommon to hear a naturally thin person constantly talk or think about food, or feel guilty about their choices. They eat whenever they are hungry and whatever they want.
It might be the case that our life lesson is to let it go and realize that obsessing about the shape of our body is not healthy.
Our soul might be longing for us to acknowledge the fact that our real self is much more than our body, particularly if we feel we always had weight problems. It is good to seek advice and talk to a dietician if that is what you wish to do, but in the end it is best to decide for yourselves what will or will not work for your body.
Nobody else will ever be able to pick up the messages your body and intuition are sending you.
4. We are not all the same
We are not the same, and we all view food with different eyes.
We can’t standardize all diet rules out there as if we are identical beings. We are not.
A person might thrive on a raw or vegan diet, while another one might get sick following it.
Years ago I tried to become vegetarian because I sincerely thought it was the healthy, ethical, and environmentally responsible way to live.
But my body didn’t agree. I felt sick, weak, and tired. To this day I need meat to function properly although the quantities I need vary from week to week.
Some specific diets might work for the person who came up with them because the type of foods, frequency, and quantities of what they ate might have been perfect for their body requirements and their consciousness at the time, and therefore they lost weight (and probably kept it off too).
We need to leave general rules and everybody else out of the equation. It doesn’t matter how much they eat, what they weigh, exercise, or not. They are not you.
The reason for being overweight might be different in each person.
It is very different to be gaining weight out of emotional stress, or sleep deprivation, versus gaining it simply because of excessive consumption of nutrient deprived (junk) food.
If you do an honest assessment of where your weight issues come from, you will probably come up with the answer.
Please also note that being larger than the average “Hollywood star” is normal!
We will need to handle how to lose weight in different ways (please read on). In the same way that identical medical treatment doesn’t work for two people with the same diagnosis, the same diet will not work for everybody.
How to lose weight without dieting
If we honestly ask ourselves what we need to do to lose weight, we will probably come up with a sensible answer, such as cutting down on junk food and alcohol and doing some daily exercise.
So if it is so simple, why is it so hard to lose weight?
As a society we have become accustomed to using outside resources to guide us about what to eat, how much, and when. We trust them because so far we haven’t been successful using our own strategies to lose weight.
There is always, of course, validity in consulting professionals, and many dietitians offer invaluable help and knowledge to those who need it.
However, the problem is that many dieting companies are trying to profit at the expense of what is good for us, and without treating the real issue in some cases; for example, overeating due to stress and emotional problems.
Most of us are searching for the fast, immediate answer to get us to our weight goal, but the reality is that because we haven’t put on weight overnight we can’t expect to lose it overnight either.
It is likely that one or many of the following scenarios occurred:
- Once upon a time, there was a painful life experience that triggered overeating and the stress continued for a long time. It might still be present. Towards the end of this post I provide guidance on how to overcome emotional issues.
- We were brought up in a household with poor eating habits, and we continue the same habits – most of the time because we don’t know any better.
- We had no emotional trauma, but we started developing small (bad) habits and over time they snowballed into eating more and lower quality food. One drive-thru (or similar easy to get fast food) meal a month became once a week, which became three or four times a week. Or we started a new stressful job and began to drink more alcohol after dinner “to relax.” That behavior continued over time, with or without a stressful job.
- We might just like eating good food above our constituent needs, or our body has a propensity issue to be larger (in the same manner that there are “naturally” thin people).
- Over many years of poor eating habits, our body has developed insulin resistance.
- To top it all off, at some point we decided to go on a new diet and we attempted to give up all the “bad” food and habits at once.
We said goodbye to sugar, gluten, carbs, soda, caffeine, and alcohol; and, in some cases, fruit and meat too. Nothing, it was all gone, and with the limited types and amounts of food that we were allowed to eat, we had to check and count our portions too.
Giving up all “bad” food and alcohol at once doesn’t make sense to me.
If we build a bad habit over time, then it is more sensible to lose it overtime, although I fully understand that giving it all up at once will achieve quicker results (in the short term).
Our bodies don’t understand what is happening when we suddenly and dramatically change our eating habits like that; we start obsessing about food and what to eat, meal times never come around fast enough, our body goes into starvation mode, and eventually we put all the weight (and more) back on.
We feel awful about our failure to lose weight, and the mad cycle starts again.
So, what can we do to lose weight?
If we are serious about seeing a change in ourselves then we will have to make changes. But the changes don’t have to be painful and we don’t have to go on a diet.
The best way to make long-lasting change is to change our lifestyle to the one that reflects the size we want to be. A lifestyle is something we become, a behavior that we perpetuate 10 years from today because it is the new normal.
Have you ever started a diet and stopped to go on vacation, then ate everything in sight for the duration of the vacation, and then started the diet again on your return? I have, and it is called madness.
How inconvenient is that, constantly worrying about what we eat or don’t eat, and stressing over the fact that the whole meal will most likely end up in our hips?
The right lifestyle doesn’t care where we are or what we are doing.
We might eat and drink more on vacation (or not), but we won’t worry about it because our body will easily balance itself on our return. And I’m not talking about food and drink only.
Here are the four things that I believe are key to losing weight:
1. Accept ourselves as we are (vibrationally this is key)
If we have a child with a disability or a weight problem we don’t love that child any less; yet we stopped loving ourselves a long time ago. Kris Carr, wellness activist and bestselling author, said in her blog that our weight may fluctuate, but our worth never does. I love that.
This is more important than anything else.
Ironically, sometimes when we accept ourselves we are not so hung up about losing weight and being a specific size. We might still want to lose weight, but we realize our size doesn’t determine who we are or what we can accomplish.
The best gift we can give ourselves is to make peace with ourselves and just accept where we are.
Once we do that, we won’t care that much about how we look, or at least not with the guilt and shame that co-exists with not being at our ideal size. Also, we might realize that being super thin is a completely unrealistic goal. Somebody who eats healthy might still be a lot bigger than “Hollywood stars.”
Once we release the resistance and negative approach to losing weight, we will see bodily changes more quickly and the weight will drop off much more easily. The more we keep looking at what we don’t want, the more we are vibrationally stuck at that point, and the Law of Attraction will ensure that we attract more of the same “I don’t like this,” “I am fat, I hate my body.”
I know I said it earlier, but we are all different, and some of us will put on weight a lot easier and others will remain thin naturally. Let’s not beat ourselves for who we are.
Instead of focusing on those negatives, it is all about finding our energetic vibrational balance.
Physically, it is a normal neurological response. When we diet, we become more likely to notice food. Our brains not only notice it, but food begins to look more appetizing and tempting. So the more we try to resist food the harder it gets.
I have a blog post called 11 Powerful Self-Healing Practices for Your Mind, Body, and Soul tools where I show you the importance of doing your inner work and loving ourselves. Stopping the diet cycle doesn’t mean we don’t want to change; it means that we can change from a place of feeling powerful and whole as we are.
I always felt that putting on weight was a big failure on my part, but being thin or losing weight doesn’t equate to being successful, so why did I feel that being fatter was a failure? Lose weight because you want to feel better and be healthier or more agile, but not because you are not good enough as you are.
If you are loving yourself and accepting where you are, and if your weight still bothers you, the next step is to take an honest look at why you think you put on excess weight.
2. Understand where the stress is coming from
If you overeat due to stress, whatever is causing stress is what you need to try to eliminate from your life.
There are many types of stress and many ways to deal with them: Is it a relationship issue? Are you overworked? Are you grieving or recently divorced? Did you have a traumatic experience? Are your children having problems? All of the above?
It is vital that you understand where your stress (or over-eating) is coming from, and particularly work through your emotional issues if you think that is the bigger stressor in your life.
Be sure to follow up with your doctor and/or practice some of the tools provided in this blog.
You can try the following things to alleviate the stress in your life:
2.1 Try alternative therapies and self-care
You might try alternative therapies or some of the tools provided in this blog.
I also love and recommend meditation.
2.2 Sleep more
Your body might also feel stressed if you are not getting enough sleep. Studies show that sleep deprivation causes weight gain.
You might want to determine what is causing your inability to sleep if it is other than just needing to go to bed earlier.
As a side note, I have recently found a great YouTube channel: Jason Stephenson – Sleep Meditation Music.
I have found the music really soothing and the surrender meditation was great. It might help you sleep if you have that problem. It will also help you to meditate, even if sleep is not an issue.
2.3 Do you have a hormonal issue?
If you think you have a hormonal problem like insulin resistance you will have to deal with that too. As discussed earlier in this post Dr. Fung explains that the issue with obesity is that obese people have developed insulin resistance.
Hormonal imbalance can also lead to constant cravings.
2.4. Don’t overthink
Kathryn Hansen, in her book Brain Over Binge: Why I Was Bulimic, Why Conventional Therapy Didn’t Work, and How I Recovered for Good, explains how she was told by her therapists that her binge eating was only a symptom of a deeper issue, such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and family and social issues. But she didn’t think that she had any of those problems.
She says that regardless of what she uncovered from her past, what she resolved in the present, or how she envisioned her future, her urges to binge eat still consumed her. She didn’t want to go to more therapy, attend support groups, or follow meal plans. Regardless of the amount of traditional therapy that she received, she continued binging.
Her book is an amazing tale of how she recovered from bulimia on her own, without having to find, or actually have, any psychological or emotional reason behind her disorder.
3. Adopt better lifestyle habits
Did you change your eating habits overtime? I was stressed in my pregnancy and I ate a lot.
Then I gave birth, I went back to work, and I developed bad habits becoming lazier than I had ever been; not preparing my home made packed lunches (therefore constantly eating out too much and making poor choices), and drinking many “low fat” processed coffees.
To top it all off, I was also yo-yo dieting.
If you are just a habit person, changing habits will work because you are just reversing how the issue started.
At the end of the day, “dieting” is just about changing your eating habits, but doing so suddenly and drastically.
For most people, this is another reason why dieting doesn’t work; our brain registers them as such a big task, and such a big change, that it becomes an issue from the start; but small changes won’t have so much resistance because you will still eat out and have a piece of cake when you want to.
Our subconscious mind can’t compute negatives, so each time we say, “Don’t think of an elephant,” the first image that comes to mind is, of course, an elephant. It’s the same with all the foods that we are being told not to have: our mind is always going to remind us of what we can’t have, particularly if we have eaten that food consistently for years.
When you say, “I shouldn’t have that cake,” all you think is cake. Cake. CAKE
An excellent book to help you with that is Mini Habits for Weight Loss: Stop Dieting, Form New Habits. Change Your Lifestyle Without Suffering, by Stephen Guise
If you decide to change your habits, you can start slowly by adding one new daily habit. There are a lot of little things that we can do to start the process of moving towards a lifestyle that we want to achieve.
Mini habits for weight loss will help you with that.
The new habit has to be effortless and consistent over time, or it won’t be long-lasting. That’s how our subconscious is going to pick up a new habit.
I have found that most people who lost weight and kept it off achieved that slowly, but everybody is different. Some people’s bodies are going to accept more easily giving up a lot of things at once, and for others it’s going to be a slower process.
As an example of changing a habit, if on your way to work you always grab breakfast from the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant, you would benefit from getting up a bit earlier and making yourself a homemade breakfast with whole foods, like eggs, bacon, and some fruit.
Small changes build up over time into new habits. Apart from helping you lose weight, you might enjoy how much better you feel during the morning when you have your homemade breakfast as opposed to the processed meal from the drive-thru.
Some books suggest we keep a journal of everything we eat, because studies prove that by writing it down we will be amazed at how much we eat, and we will tend to eat less. But I think that counting anything in this context is a bad idea.
It’s like counting portions and calories; I think it will trigger shame or deprivation thoughts which are useless, and put us back to thinking and rethinking about food. If we are listening to our body, we will know when we are getting full.
We don’t have to count anything, but you may practice mindfulness.
Take time to sit down to eat, taste, and enjoy your food (whatever food that it is on your plate). We consume a lot more food when we just grab a drive-thru meal and eat it on the go, or when we open a packet of cookies and eat them while watching television (instead of sitting down at the table and just eating a normal meal).
You might want to read a great book about this called Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More than We Think, by Brian Wansink.
According to Wansink, the mind makes more than 200 a day food-related decisions, and many of them without pause for actual thought.
He argues that we don’t have to change what we eat as much as how, and that by making more mindful food-related decisions we can start to eat and live better.
4. Seek help
I’m not a weight loss expert, but it is my understanding that in some cases, for alcoholics, for example, it is appropriate to give up all alcohol at once.
In the same way, an anorexic, a morbidly obese, or a bulimic person might require or desire professional support. If you think you have a serious issue or your emotional hurt is too much please seek medical advice.
Also, don’t forget to check with your intuition and ask the universe what your next steps should be.
Whatever path you take in the end, try to avoid letting diets and thinking about food take too much of your time.
I don’t have weight loss or exercise goals anymore.
Instead, I consider eating well, slowly changing my habits, and exercising, all part of my daily existence.
I try to make better choices without overly thinking about them. I don’t eat well all the time (I love eating out and nice chocolate desserts), but I feel great and I have lost weight without dieting.
The bottom line is: A lifestyle is forever.
Mike Tyson said that everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Life’s ups and downs are inevitable. Some weeks you might be super healthy and some you might not.
We came here to enjoy life the best we could, not to add misery and restrictions to an already challenging existence. Please see below for more posts that might help you.
Related holistic healing and self-care posts
Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below