How to lose weight without dieting.
I want you to imagine this scenario…….
You set yourself a target to lose a certain amount of weight this month. You try really hard all month, eating all the right things, going to the gym, counting calories, saying no to going out for drinks after work. It’s tough, but you persevered, staying motivated by the thought of that event/holiday/goal.
Then you get on the scales and …..you haven’t lost any weight! How do you feel? Does this make you want to stick with what you’re doing? Or throw in the towel? You ask yourself – where did I go wrong? Maybe I need to do more exercise? Maybe my portions weren’t small enough? You berate yourself – if only I had more self-control, more willpower! Is this sounding familiar?
At any one time, 1 in 4 of us is on a diet and 1 in 3 is thinking about losing some weight. We are all looking for the quick fix, the miracle pill, the silver bullet for weight loss success. Let me tell you now chasing these dreams is only going to result in your failure long term.
Quick fixes simply don’t work! Diets by nature are impossible to sustain for prolonged periods of time, thus promoting a yo-yo cycle of unsuccessful weight loss.
One of my main issues with the weight loss industry is how they promote overnight transformations i.e. “before and after” pictures of dramatic changes in body shape and size. Yes, we all want to believe that this can happen to us. But at what cost? The diets associated with these transformations tend to be short, with methods so gruelling that no sane person can stick to them for anything more than a couple of weeks. They tend to come with tag lines such as ‘I lost 17lbs in a month and you can too!’. Yet failure to achieve their outrageous targets can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and destroy your confidence to continue with your weight loss goals. (Cooper & Fairburn, 2001).
What is really frightening is that dramatic, short-term losses tend to lead to larger long-term weight gains. Just Google ‘The Biggest Loser – where are they now?’ to see the devastatingly detrimental effects of short-term, unsustainable weight loss diets..
Further, these ‘transformation plans’ are generally not evidence-based and are often focused on taking supplements or food replacements to achieve results. This is not real world, you need to ask yourself: Do I see myself drinking these shakes/taking these supplements in five years time? Is this a long term option for me?
These practices aren’t healthy or kind to your body and importantly your mind. So it’s time to let go of the dream of a quick fix weight loss plan and start focusing on what daily healthy lifestyle changes work for YOU, that you enjoy and can see yourself doing years from now.
SO how do we lose weight without dieting?
This question has dominated my career for years. It is what I dedicate my research in behaviour change and weight loss psychology to. I want to know what makes some people stick to their weight loss goals for life whilst so many others fail. Through my research, literature review of the field and working individually with my own clients, I have uncovered a number of valuable insights that help answer this burning question.
Over the next few weeks I plan on sharing some of my key, evidence-based insights on how YOU can get the mindset for weight loss success and lose weight without dieting.
Starting this week with the one simple object that may be holding you back from long term success…….
Key action 1: Throw out the scales!!
We are led to believe that focusing on numbers on the scale is the key to success. Firstly, in terms of body fat loss, scales are largely inaccurate. Secondly, focusing on numbers on the scale fosters an ‘all or nothing’ mindset. This mindset has an extremely negative impact on your weight loss success, leading to obsessive thoughts about food and weight cycling between weight loss and regain (see the opening paragraph of this article – how would you normally respond to such a scenario?). It encourages you to negatively focus on your appearance, rather than focusing on what makes you happiest. These two goals (appearance vs. happiness) then get mixed up to the point that you feel you can only be truly happy with yourself when you achieve a certain weight. This is dangerous.
It is time to get rid of the self-esteem crushing monsters lurking in your bathroom and start focusing on developing healthier habits that are both good for your body and mind.
Next week I will be sharing one simple action you can take immediately that will help you build more consistent, sustainable and healthy habits.
Want to know more about how you can lose weight without dieting? Go to the pop up on the right of the home page now to be linked directly to your weight loss IQ habits survey (approx 5 minutes) and get your free personalised habit report results send direct to you.