Five Ways to Reduce Your Body Weight Without Dieting
Is it possible to lose weight without going on a diet? Technically, the only way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than you burn. Your body then burns stored fat for energy. Do that for enough days in a row consistently and your body weight will reduce.
For many people, myself included, the best way to manage this consistent calorie deficit leading to weight loss, is to log everything we eat into a food tracking app, such as MyFitnessPal, assuring that we stay under the number of calories we need to maintain our weight. However, for lots of people, tracking every morsel that crosses their lips is a definite no go. For some, tracking intake is too boring or time-consuming, while others feel that it triggers an unhealthy relationship with food and hunger.
There ARE more intuitive ways to maintain a caloric deficit and lose weight. Following are five of my favorites:
1. Eat one giant salad every day
What I mean here is a literal trough of vegetables, mostly raw. Bonus points to those who top their salad with protein such as tofu, seitan, beans, or mock meats (animal meats, fish, chicken, or eggs for the non-vegans). Yes, you can enjoy salad dressing but use a light hand. Be careful not to add too many high fat additions such as salad dressing, avocado, nuts, seeds, cheese, tahini, etc. Pick one or two small servings. The focus here is on the volume of the veggies and the protein. This salad should keep you full for hours.
2. Allow yourself to experience actual hunger
So many of us are so afraid of feeling hunger! It's OK to feel some hunger and not eat right away. In fact, it is necessary to feel some hunger when losing weight. Hunger means that your body has run out of fuel and before it starts burning stored body fat, it is reminding you to eat. But you WANT it to burn that stored fat! So when you first notice your feelings of hunger, note the time and push yourself to go 15 more minutes before you eat. When that becomes easy, try extending the time to 30 or even 60 minutes. You won't starve to death.
NOTE: If you are a person who has binge eating triggered by getting over-hungry, be very careful and intentional here. Try waiting 15 minutes and seeing how it goes. If it doesn't work for you then this tip might not be the best one for you. Know yourself.
3. Practice Plate Dynamics
Eat your meals on a plate. Draw an imaginary line down the center of that plate. Fill one half of the plate with non-starchy vegetables - cooked or raw. Divide the other half of the plate into two. Fill 1/4 with protein and the second 1/4 with starchy carbs such as bread, potatoes, rice, sweet potato, couscous, beans, quinoa, etc. If you need second helpings, have more veggies and possibly more protein. Try not to have more than the one serving of healthy, but calorie dense, starchy carbs.
4. Box in Binge Foods
There are some people who are triggered into over-eating certain foods. If you are one of those people, you know exactly which foods and which circumstances trigger you. Getting a handle on these foods and the circumstances you overeat them can be a life-changer. For instance, if you typically lose control of your eating when watching TV, set a hard and fast rule "NO eating while watching TV". Or if you are automatically drawn to finishing an open bag of pretzels, chips or cookies, then make sure you only purchase single serving sizes of your trigger foods. Better yet, don't bring your trigger foods into the house at all! Tell yourself you can go to the ice cream store for ice cream, but don't keep it in your freezer. Put boundaries around the food you struggle with to keep yourself safe.
5. Take a Walk Instead of Watching TV or Scrolling Online
OK, obviously not every single time! You are allowed to have some down time in front of the tube. But most of us could stand to reduce our screen time and increase our active time. Take a walk alone and enjoy some time to think, or listen to a podcast, audiobook, or music. Take a walk with a loved one and reconnect - talk, maybe even hold hands, hubba hubba. You will feel so much better after a walk than you do after a shloof on the sofa.
I hope some of these will work for you. If you have questions or need some extra help, drop me a line. And let me know if you have other favorite intuitive ways of watching your weight.