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How to lose weight without dieting

The Australian weight loss industry is worth an estimated $477 million and increasing annually. Almost every adult in Australia will, at some stage in their life, comment on their weight, specifically, that it’s higher than they would like. Women, in particular, are susceptible to weight shame and can be highly critical of their weight, comparing themselves to the slim models and influencers constantly appearing throughout their daily life. The lucrative weight loss industry relies on these insecurities. With diets marketed like the next Hollywood blockbuster, it’s easy to see why people can jump from diet to diet; that coupled with the often quick results. However, evidence shows time and time again that these results are NOT sustainable, with the majority of people regaining weight within 2-5 years. So if diet’s don’t work, the question is, how do we lose weight without dieting? 

In case you didn’t know, diets don’t work! Here’s why …

While diets can help you shed anywhere from 5kg to 100kg plus, weight loss is a result of restrictive eating and increased physical activity. Once these behaviours stop, old unhealthy habits can creep back in, leading to weight regain. As soon as the behaviour that leads to weight loss stops, the weight will creep back on. That’s why diets are a poor tool for physical and mental health, leading people to feel like a failure when they regain the weight. The good news is, though, if you’re keen to lose weight and wondering how to do so while sticking far away from diets, then follow our five tips. 

5 ways to lose weight without dieting 

Traditionally when it comes to losing weight, our strategies are weight centric, for example, “I’ll only eat 1,000 calories each day for four weeks”. As discussed above, while these work in the short term to reduce your weight, they aren’t sustainable. The following strategies are weight inclusive and focus on gradually improving a person’s health behaviours over an extended period to create slow, sustained weight loss. Here are our top 5 strategies to lose weight without dieting: 

1. Create non-weight centred goals 

E.g. Instead of “I want to lose 5kg in 4 weeks.” 

Change it to “I want to fill half my plate with colourful vegetables four nights per week.”

Focusing on improving eating more vegetables will help reduce energy intake, and weight loss will be a byproduct of this healthier behaviour, not the focus. 

2. Become an intuitive eater

  • Intuitive eating turns traditional dieting on its head, encouraging individuals to eat whatever they feel like and as much as they like. It’s about tuning into your internal hunger and fullness signals and trusting your body to choose the best foods to nourish you. This method is not recommended when looking for rapid weight loss however can lead to weight loss eventually as you learn to listen to internal cues. 

3. Introduce mindfulness into your everyday 

  • You may have to try a few different mindfulness techniques to see what works for you. Whether it’s yoga, meditation or journaling, finding time to sit and reflect on your habits or behaviours can help change them. Often we’re so busy we don’t even know that our behaviours are unhealthy or stopping us from reaching our goal weight.  

4. Get professional help to manage emotions and stress

  • Emotional eating is one of the most common reasons for overeating. Whether it’s anger, sadness or stress, food can be an easy and comforting friend to help you through a difficult situation. When food becomes a constant companion associated with these emotions, you may struggle to remove food from the scenario. That’s when identifying when to seek professional help, whether that be via a counsellor, GP or psychologist, to free yourself of this unhealthy behaviour. 

5. See a Dietitian who specialises in the non-diet approach

  • The above strategies are part of a more comprehensive non-diet approach to weight loss and living a healthier life. Coming from decades of diet culture and a diet mentality can be hard to navigate on your own. Working with a non-diet dietitian, an expert in the area of weight loss, can help you set realistic goals and actually achieve them.

Further Reading 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5764193/

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