How to lose weight without dieting!
Diet’s don’t work! Why? Because for most of us, eating is not just about consuming food to fuel our bodies. Instead, eating is something we do multiple times a day, every day. It is a pervasive part of our daily lifel And for most of us, eating is complicated!
- Behavioral, mental, emotional and psychological in nature
- Social, from family meals with our loved ones, to lunch with co-workers to dining out with friends.
- Solitary, something we do by ourselves, at home, at work and in our cars.
- Ritual; the cake at birthdays and the “must have” holiday treats
- Part of the “fun” of vacations or roadtrips
- Habitual and often automatic, based on triggers or cues of which we may be completely unaware
- A reward, comfort or solace, as in “emotional eating”
- A literal “hit of dopamine” to your struggling brain or your anxious or depressed mind
- A pick-me-up to re-engergize your body that really just needs more sleep
Whew! With all the roles food plays in our lives, it should be clear why any effective approach to losing weight and keeping it off requires a comprehensive approach. If you address only the kind or amount of food you put into your mouth, you are just addressing the surface issues related to weight loss. You may lose weight temporarily, but as soon as you grow tired of counting calories or points, as soon as your portion control fails, as soon as your life gets stressful, you jump right back into a lifestyle that uses food for everything BUT nutrition. And back come the pounds.
So how do you lose weight without dieting? How do you even begin to “make a lifestyle change” toward healthy and sustainable weight loss?
Here’s a brief list of what you need to do:
- Explore and alter your daily habits, behaviors
- Assess for and address any food or other addictions getting in the way of weight loss
- Examine and process your emotions without the use of food
- Learn about healthy food and how to prepare it
- Set your environment up for success
- Plan ahead for continued healthy eating while traveling, vacationing and on holidays
- Decrease stress/anxiety to lower cortisol levels
- Learn about your thought patterns and how they impact eating
- Explore past trauma or adverse events that may be linked to your unhealthy eating patterns today
That’s a lot of exploring, assessing, learning and changing!
As a mental health counselorfor 22 years, I can say with certainty that change is possible, with proper motivation and consistent effort. But change first requires insight into your thoughts, your behaviors, your emotions and everything else related to food. Awareness is the necessary first step to any change!
Long term, healthy weight loss requires insight, change and growth. Professional counseling can be a big help with this.
So yes, you really can, and should lose weight without deprivation or dieting. But you can’t lose weight and keep it off long term without a comittment to change. Make that comittment to yourself today. I’m here to help whenever you’re ready!