In the last several years, through the ups and downs of dieting, I have learned more than ever that diets do not work.
It pains me to say that it took this long to figure it out especially when I consider myself a person with some intelligence – at least I’d like to think so. Instead of subjecting myself to a constant string of diets that result in failure, disappointment, and more weight gain, I learned how to lose weight without dieting by changing the way I think about my body and food.
As I started to make these simple small changes in my life, the weight has naturally started to disappear.
Want Happiness – Then Stop the Insanity of Dieting
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile than you know about the various diets I’ve subjected myself to throughout the years. I’ve been on countless diets over the last 20ish years:
- The Scarsdale Diet (I think I’m showing my age if you know this diet)
- Weight Watchers
- Calories in calories out method
- Eating only fruit before noon
- Tracking calories consumed and burned with a Body Buddy armband or other electronic devices
- Raw food diet (I completed a 90 day challenge)
- Ideal Protein (my most recent one)
These are just the most memorable diets and then there were the times I worked out like crazy and ate lean to lose weight. My thinking was always about what new diet or program can I start to finally lose this weight once and for all. Starting a new program was a huge motivation for me and many times I would lose a lot of weight and really stick with the diet.
It’s like I needed this very rigid plan to keep me on track. Each diet had rules to follow like, what time of day you could eat, how often you should eat, how many calories you should consume, lists of good foods to eat and lists of bad foods to stay away from, and then how you should exercise. Why do we do this to ourselves?
The rules are what kept me in line. I knew that if I followed those rules exactly as the diet detailed than I would lose weight – and I did.
Then of course the diet would end and I would go back to my old habits of consuming junk food, making bad food choices, and overall just not taking care of myself. The vicious roller coaster ride had come full circle and was taking me through the dips and valleys it had to offer.
Then as I was just about disgusted with myself, the next new, shiny infomercial for another diet and weight loss program would flash across my TV screen and I would get sucked in. Of course I was thinking this was it. This was the last diet. This one would work. Why wouldn’t it? I mean look at these people who have lost weight and how amazing and happy they look. Their skin is glowing for goodness sakes. I want skin like that! I want a body like that!
…and I would reach into my wallet, pull out my overused credit card from diets and weight loss gadgets, and gleefully pay for the next weight loss program that would finally bring me happiness.
That’s what I was looking for – happiness. Yes, I wanted to lose weight and I thought that would bring me happiness, but boy was I wrong.
As I discovered last year on the tail-end of the Ideal Protein diet, it’s not diets and losing weight that have brought me happiness, it’s when I was taking care of myself – giving my body love – that brought me fulfillment and joy.
Gotta Change Your Thinking
Are you also tired of the diets? The constant ebb and flow of happiness depending on how much you weigh or what size pants you can stuff yourself into?
I am tired. Plain and simple. I’m tired of this battle.
I’m waving my white flag and giving up on dieting. It’s pure insanity. Diets don’t work!
In the past I never knew how to lose weight without dieting, but this last year I knew that I needed balance in my life.
Recently I started reading a book called A Return to Love – Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles by Marianne Williamson – one of my favorite authors and persons to quote. She wrote this simple statement that really resonated with me:
Thought is Cause; experience is Effect. If you don’t like the effects in your life, you have to change the nature of your thinking.
If you don’t like the constant diet yo-yos (effect) then change your thinking (cause) around losing weight.
It’s such a simple statement yet it’s so powerful. It really struck me because over the last several months I’ve been working with a holistic health coach and she has taught me the value of changing my thinking around food and weight loss so that I can change my experience.
I’ve learned to take care of myself, love myself, be kind and gentle to my body, and love it for all of its battle scars. I am perfect just as I am.
I am perfect just as I am. – Click to Tweet!
5 Simple Changes on How to Lose Weight Without Dieting
If you’re looking for a quick method to lose weight, even without dieting, this isn’t it.
I’m talking about real change.
What all of those diets in the past didn’t do for me is teach me how to make good choices around food when life punched me in the stomach. My past emotional eating triggers would come out and I would consume all kinds of food – the sweeter and the more loaded with carbs – the better.
Those diets didn’t teach me how to stop judging myself and being so critical of my body. Our society has taught us as women that we have to be thin to be happy
…that we are so imperfect that we need to airbrush away our flaws,
…that no man will love us unless we are a size 0,
…that we need to camouflage our face with layers of makeup,
…that we need to suck out the fat from our cellulite thighs and inject it into our thin lips. (I've personally never tried this and it sounds a little crazy!)
I’m just tired of it!
It’s time to stand up and just say no to this insanity!
It’s time to change your thinking so you can have a different experience – one that is happy and fulfilling and not filled with deprivation or hatred for your body.
Begin by making the next 5 simple changes that will start you on a better path to happiness and weight loss.
1. Change your relationship with food
It’s time to begin looking at food as nourishment to your body rather than good or bad. As I mentioned earlier, diets have a set of rules and lists of foods that are good and bad – eat and don’t eat.
Listen to your body when you’re making food choices. What does it want? Is it really telling you to eat half of that cake or would it rather have a small bite and then some nourishing foods like fruits, vegetables, and protein?
When I first started down this road of readjusting my way of viewing food, I gave myself the license to eat what I wanted as long as I consciously ate rather than numbed myself. Not gonna lie to you here. I made some unhealthy choices and shrugged it off as part of the learning curve with this “new” way of thinking. Eventually though, you start seeing a shift.
So, for instance, if I were eating out and the burger looked mighty tasty, I would say, “Okay, I realize the burger may not be the best nourishment for me, but if I’m going to eat that burger than I’m going to be okay with it. I’m not going to beat myself up afterwords for eating something that probably isn’t that healthy.”
In the beginning I said this statement a lot. Now, I’ve gradually moved away from having to talk to myself – yes, sometimes out loud – because nourishing foods are more appealing to me now. This by no means happened over night. Remember, changing your thinking can take time – I mean my way of thinking about diets and foods have been ingrained in my mind for more than 25 years so retraining your mind and how you think of food takes time – but it will happen.
2. Change the way you look and think about your body
This one can be tough especially if you’ve punished yourself so much over the years.
In the past I would constantly comment about how big my thighs were, my ass was too big, my breasts weren’t symmetrical, my hair was too thin, I was too short, I’ll never get rid of the stretch marks, and how I was too curvy. My favorite saying, to my tall sister and cousin who were blessed with the boobs and the thick hair in the family, is, “Somehow I got screwed when it comes to the goodies in the family!”
Yes, they did get the goodies, but I’m embracing MY goodies now!
I’ve implemented a policy with my friends and family – thanks to my holistic health coach – that when we are together I do not want to hear anybody say statements like:
“I shouldn’t eat that”.
“I’m trying to be good, but maybe just this time I’ll that cookie (bad)”.
“My stomach is so big today”.
“I really need to lose 10 lbs so I can fit into those jeans before the holiday”.
“I’m too fat”.
Fill in your own words you’ve used in the past, but it’s time to stop. Why do we berate ourselves like this? Honestly?
I mean, would you let anybody else talk to you how you talk to yourself?
Think about it for a moment. If your husband, boyfriend, significant other came up to you and said, “Dang woman, your stomach is so big today” or “You should lose at least 10 lbs before our next vacation so you can fit into that swim suit”.
OMG! Can you imagine how angry you would be?
You’d probably slap them for being so disrespectful. Okay, you might not but I would!
Own your beauty. Own every limb, hair follicle, battle scar of time, and love it.
In the words of Meghan Trainor’s song “All About That Bass” (I know I'm quoting a 20-something year old here, but she's a smart girl with these fightin' words):
I see the magazine workin' that Photoshop
We know that shit ain't real
C'mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty, beauty, just raise 'em up
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top
3. Implement small daily changes
Small daily changes are the keys to long term success. That’s pretty easy to say, right, but in actuality it really is pretty simple. Go at your own pace.
Over time I looked at the things in life that made me happy. The things that brought joy to my mind, spirit, and body. The things that made me feel alive and beautiful.
I started out slowly changing my daily routine to implement these small daily changes and reflected at how it brought joy to my day and made me feel at peace.
One of my first changes was to implement daily meditation – for only 10-15 minutes – in a quiet space where I could really feel at peace.
Then I added in some “body love” actions. Each day I get to pick from a list of “body love” actions that I really enjoy like a DIY spa day or something quick and simple like a face mask, hair mask, rubbing a minty lotion on my feet before bedtime, or a mani/pedi at a spa.
What “body love” actions would you implement daily that make you feel pampered?
Next I added spending quality time taking my dog, Lily, for at least a 20 minute walk each day. In the past I would talk on the phone while walking Lily or just not take her at all because it was so hot outside. Now I get up early in the morning, leave the cell phone at home (like anybody is awake at 6 am to have a conversation anyways), and enjoy a walk with Lily as she sniffs the grass and other “treats” (ewhh..) left behind by other dogs and I gaze at the birds flying through the air or the trees swaying in the breeze. I’ve learned to find beauty in things I didn’t even find so beautiful before.
Over time I also added journaling about my gratitude for the things that happened throughout the day, reflected on the impending day and again in the evening. I don’t spend more than 10 minutes a day journaling.
What I knew about myself is that unless it was something that didn't take up a small amount of space on my calendar, I wouldn’t do it. So with everything I’ve implemented it only takes approximately one and half hours a day at most.
One and half hours of “body love” actions that make me feel beautiful and empowered.
4. Implement meditation
As I mentioned before, I implemented daily meditation as one of my small daily changes.
Deepak Chopra has a really great collection of daily guided meditations that I’ve been using. I started with the Abundance meditations and am now on the Perfect Health meditations. I find starting my day with meditation sets up my whole day for success. I just feel more calm and centered even when the day throws its best punch at me.
I think you’ll find that meditation is a practice that you just cannot go without doing once you’ve started. It’s like going to get a massage and realizing afterwards how amazing you feel and that your body can’t do without more massages to keep your muscles relaxed and the stress knots rubbed out.
5. Write yourself love notes
Who doesn’t love a good love note? Why not start to write yourself your own love notes? All you need is some colorful sticky notes and a black Sharpy marker to get started.
I have love notes all around my house on my bathroom mirror, in the kitchen on cabinets, next to my bed, and on my desk. These notes are little reminders of love that have helped me to create that shift in my mind from the negative self talk to the positive affirmations.
One of my favorites is “I love myself enough to do the work”.
It’s on my bathroom mirror for me to see each morning as I get ready for my day.
My other favorite note is “I am perfect just the way I am”.
These small love notes remind me each day that I am worthy of loving, that I am worthy of taking time out of my day to inject happiness into my life through the “daily love” actions, through conscious eating, through meditation, journaling, and having a relationship with food that is positive.
This is such a simple process and one that has an amazing impact.
What if your significant other left you little love notes each morning and evening, telling you about the love he/she has for you – that you are beautiful, that you are perfect just as you are?
How would that make you feel?
My heart would soar with love for that person who had taken the time to express their feelings for me and to show how deeply they care about me.
Isn’t that what we are trying to do here?
As you begin to think differently about your body and food, you will automatically start making better food choices for yourself. You will automatically feel like going for a walk outside and enjoying life and you’ll begin to see the long term effects of changing your thinking and how it effects your body.
Though I am not yet at my ideal weight – I no longer feel hatred for myself. I no longer punish myself for eating something that isn’t healthy. My mind has turned a corner throughout this process and now I see myself with love and no longer judge myself for who I am and what choices I’ve made in the past. Throughout this process of working with my coach, I've discovered how to lose weight without dieting that makes all the sense in the world to me now. It makes me a little sad that I'm just learning this after so many years, but it's better than late than never. I'm not dwelling on it.
All I know is that I feel so strong and empowered by this change in thinking that the weight is starting to come off because I’m making better decisions for myself.
I want to eat healthier now, I want to move my body, I want to do what’s the absolute best for my health. I still eat some foods that aren’t so healthy for me at times, but now I balance it out with eating healthier throughout the day and most importantly, I don’t beat myself up.
Will you join me in this revolution of saying no to diets? Let’s change our thinking and set ourselves up for a new experience – one that is lasting and consists of eating what we want consciously.
What changes have you already made in your life or what changes do you want to make that will help you to figure out how to lose weight without dieting? Leave me a comment below and share your story.
P.S. – I will be starting school again in October to become a holistic health coach at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Stay tuned, because next week I will announce how to apply to receive FREE coaching from me as I take on 4 practice clients starting in November!
If you’re interested in receiving free coaching, let me know below in the comments section.
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