A slow, steady weight loss can be achieved without dieting by following these simple and effective tips from a certified dietitian nutritionist.
Many people who are looking to lose weight choose to participate in dieting of some kind. This can look like following fad diets, restricting food groups without reason, purposefully skipping meals and then binging later, and more.
Do any of these sounds like you? If so- it’s okay. You aren’t alone. Dieting has taken over our society and is taught to be the “gold standard” for weight loss.
Not only can dieting have serious consequences, but it has also proven to be unsuccessful in taking and keeping weight off. We now have enough research to support the idea that sustainable weight loss does not include dieting!
So how can you lose weight without dieting? It all starts with a solid foundation involving a nutrient-dense, balanced diet, and exercise routine. Then you can add in extra strategies like balancing your blood sugar levels, engaging in mindful eating, and working on your sleep and stress levels.
Keep reading to learn more about a nutritionist’s best tips for losing weight without dieting!
The Dangers of Dieting
As I mentioned above, dieting can actually be doing you more harm than good. Most of the fad diets out there involve restricting calories or food groups and other unsustainable methods for trying to lose weight.
I have nutrition clients come to me who have been stuck in the dieting cycle for years. Because of it, they are left with a poor relationship with food, imbalanced hormones, unstable blood sugar levels, and more! It can take time to backtrack and try to reverse the damage that dieting brought you.
Other health risks of dieting include:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Muscle loss
- Slower metabolism
- Lower self-esteem and body confidence
- Unhealthy hormonal fluctuations
- Digestive tract issues
- Depression, anxiety, and overall low quality of life
The Importance of Blood Sugar Balance
Having too high blood sugar levels is not ideal for weight loss! Instead, learning how to balance your levels is key to losing weight and living an overall healthier life.
When your blood sugar levels rise, your body has to release more of a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps to move the sugar out of your body and lower your blood sugar levels. However, when your insulin levels are high, your body is not able to burn fat properly. More calories get stored as fat, which can then lead to weight gain.
On top of that, balanced blood sugar levels can help you feel more energized, less hungry, and less likely to crave sweets. These factors assist with maintaining a healthy body weight as well.
Tips for balancing blood sugar levels:
- Pair your carbohydrates with protein and healthy fat
- Exercise daily
- Eat at regular times and avoid skipping meals
- Start your day off with a high-protein breakfast
- Choose whole foods over processed options
- Focus on high-fiber foods
- Reduce added sugar intake (especially refined sugars)
Are you looking for extra guidance with balancing your blood sugar levels? Working with a certified dietitian like myself can be very beneficial! Together we will come up with a personalized path and accountability that will help you reach your goals. Learn more here.
How Mindful Eating Can Help
Mindful eating is an intentional eating style that focuses on your present awareness of both the eating experience and the food you eat. It can be used to help you reach your health and weight loss goals, without restricting your enjoyment of food.
Mindful eating can improve your relationship with food, lower your stress levels, increase mindfulness during meal times, and even potentially improve health markers. Altogether, these benefits can aid in weight loss and calorie consumption.
Even further, being more mindful while you eat can reduce the number of calories you eat while being distracted by electronics or because of emotional stress. We know that a calorie deficit is important for losing and maintaining weight sustainably.
However, it is important to note that weight loss isn’t the core focus or goal of mindful eating. But it can be an outcome after practicing and tuning into your body daily!
If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my full blog post on the benefits of mindful eating! It will teach you everything you need to know about practicing mindful eating and tangible ways to incorporate it into your daily routine.
Choosing Complex Carbs
Carbs are a huge topic of discussion when it comes to weight loss! Should you be eating them? Should you limit them?
The honest answer is that eating carbs is an important part of an overall healthy and balanced diet. You can absolutely eat carbs and still lose weight! The key is to fuel your body with the right carbs rather than eliminating all carbs from your diet.
There are two types of carbohydrates: complex and simple. Complex carbs contain longer molecular chains and aren’t converted into glucose (sugar) as easily as simple carbs. You can find complex carbs in fiber and starch, while simple carbs are mainly found in sugars and syrups.
It is best to focus on complex carb sources that are high in fiber and whole grains. This will support your digestive tract and metabolism for the best weight loss benefits.
Great carb sources include:
- Quinoa, wild rice, sweet potato, buckwheat, oats, squash, and legumes
How Can Sleep and Stress Impact Weight Loss?
Did you know that your sleep and stress levels could be affecting your weight loss?
If you are trying nutrition and exercise strategies to lose weight and nothing seems to be working, it could be time to check in with your sleep and stress.
Your sleep can affect your weight loss in a variety of ways. Studies show that sleeping a shorter amount of time is associated with increased calorie intake, higher consumption of saturated fats, and a lower intake of fruits and vegetables. It has also been associated with obesity and other weight-related conditions.
Stress can again impact weight loss in a multifactorial way. First off, stress can directly influence sleep levels and quality of sleep, which we now know can be not great for weight loss.
Additionally, stress also interferes with behavior and can lead to actions such as emotional eating and overeating foods that are high in sugars and fats.
Here are a few general tips below for how to improve your sleep and stress for weight loss.
Tips to improve sleep:
- Aim for 7-9 hrs/night
- Start a sleep hygiene routine
- Sleep hygiene is having a bedroom environment and routine that promotes restful sleep
- Limit blue light exposure after 8 pm (this includes tv + cell phone screens!)
- Put on white noise or nature sounds in the background
- Work on your circadian rhythm
- Go to sleep and wake up at similar times, get sunlight as soon as you wake up
- Try not to eat 2-3 hours before bed
- Avoid drinking caffeine too late in the afternoon
Tips to improve stress:
- Try deep breathing exercises
- Exercise consistently
- Go for a walk in nature or get some fresh air
- Make time for rest and self-care
Lose Weight Without Dieting: The Takeaway
Dieting is not the only answer if weight loss is your goal! There are plenty of other proven methods that can help you achieve weight loss without restriction or elimination.
My best advice is to work with a nutritionist who can help you create and implement a personalized plan. Through my practice, I use a functional nutrition approach to help my clients manage their weight and rebalance their hormones. Head over to my about page to learn more about myself and what I can do for you!