8 Tips to Lose Weight Without Dieting
I Hate Diets!
If you are looking for a diet, look elsewhere. I hate diets. You go on them and lose weight, then you go off and gain all that weight back. It's a constant yo-yo life. And, this yo-yo of weight loss and weight gain is very bad for your body.
I'm going to give you tips that you can incorporate into your daily lifestyle. Tips you can personalize to fit your needs. This is not a cookie-cutter diet, no one-size-fits-all here. This is all about you and your needs. You do not have to use every tip I list. Even incorporating 2 or 3 of these tips will guarantee you results.
These are little changes that will bring great benefits. Weight loss will not be the only benefit won from these small alterations to your daily grind. You will find you are more energetic. You will think clearer. You will just plain feel better.
Dieting Does Not Work
Eat Until You Are Hungry
#1-Eat Until You Are Hungry
Sounds odd, but this is my number one tip to help lose weight. I know some of you may be wondering why one would even bother eating if not to become full. Why would you want to live your life hungry. I bet some of you may even be feeling betrayed.
You may be thinking, "Hey, she said EASY to incorporate, small changes, not starvation!"
Rest assured, this tip is not as hard as it first seems. I am not asking you to starve yourself. I would not follow any advice that encouraged starving. What I do is I give myself a small serving. When I am done, I wait an hour to see if I am still hungry. No matter how good the food tastes, I have to use hunger as the reason to eat.
I savor each bite, chew each bit well, and enjoy each meal more. The key to losing weight is to recognize when you are full. The problem to this is that your body takes 20 to 30 minutes to get the full signal from your stomach to your brain. Somehow you need to give yourself time to recognize you are full.
This is what I mean by eating until I'm still hungry. I find that 99% of the time I discover I am full after about 30 minutes, even though I was hungry when I finished eating. On those few occasions when I am still hungry I will take another small portion and then I am done.
Make Each Bite Count
#2-Slow and Steady
Eat your food slowly. Some will recommend putting your fork down between each bite. While this does work, I think it is more enjoyable to talk. When you take a bite notice the flavors and the texture. Notice how the different flavors combine. Chew slowly and pay attention to your food.
I, personally, do not like the put the fork down method. I will sit down and if there is no-one to talk to I may read or play an app game on my phone. These things will keep me distracted so that I am not just waiting for the next bite. When I take that bite, I pay attention to it and take a break from my book of game.
The great thing about eating slowly is it allows more time for the message to pass from the stomach to the brain. You may find that you are full before finishing your serving. Stop if you feel full. Save the rest for lunch the next day. Throw it away if you do not eat leftovers. It is healthier for you than finishing it.
I read an interesting article on Discovery Health that referenced a 2006 study about eating. In the study women were given pasta for two of their daily meals. The women were encouraged to eat as much as they liked until they were full. However, in one meal they were told to eat quickly and in the other meal they were to eat slowly.
During the fast meal the women averaged 646 calories in just 9 minutes. During the slow meal the same women averaged 579 calories in 29 minutes. I also learned the fullness signal comes from the intestines, not the stomach.
Never stand by the sink to eat. Always sit down. Plan for 20-30 minutes to eat your meal. Eating slow will also help your digestion. If your stomach gets too full you may get heartburn, eating slow will prevent this.
Know Your Food
#3-Know Your Food
Some may say, "know thy enemy". I couldn't because I do not consider food the enemy. I think of food as a pleasurable experience. Food is my friend (however at times it is too good of a friend). I love to combine flavors and textures and colors and consistencies. Food allows an unbridled creativity.
However, you should also know your friends. Food is a friend that needs constant attention. We are bombarded by restaurant commercials, grocery ads, and beer billboards every day of our lives. Each lie tells us of food's importance. But what exactly is food and why is it important?
Food breaks down into teeny-weeny particles called nutrients. These nutrients ride the great arteries to their destinations, hungry cells. When we eat too many nutrients, we store them for later use. This is called adipose tissue, more commonly known as fat. The number of nutrients we need every day depends on our level of activity, age and sex.
Each gram of these dietary components have a standard caloric content:
* Carbohydrate = 4 calories
* Protein = 4 calories
* Fat = 9 calories
I'm not advising counting calories, but it is good to get a rudimentary knowledge of what you are eating daily. I check when I eat something new. I also check playing, "Should I Have This or That". (ie: Should I have a candy bar, bowl of cereal, or power bar.) You should also check to see how many of the carbohydrate grams are added sugar (added sugar is very bad). Try to keep fat grams down to your daily requirements.
Take time to gain a working knowledge of nutrition. Counting calories is a start, but some calories are "empty", or without nutrients, while other calories are packed with nutrients. Calories are only a calculation of energy, not a calculation of what your body needs to be healthy.
If you know nothing about nutrition and would like to find a diet plan I will recommend the American Diabetes Diet Plans. These will help you learn portion sizes and how to provide variety in your diet.
Find out your daily caloric requirements before going to search for sample menus. Most will be labeled by calories, usually 1200, 1500, 1800 and 2000. Sample menus and free recipes abound on-line. They are fairly flexible and have many resources available free on the internet. I'll supply some links below.
Useful Links Regarding Nutrition
- Calorie Calculator - Daily Caloric Needs
Calorie Calculator: Calculates your daily caloric needs using body weight, height, age, gender, and exercise level.
- Home - MyFoodAdvisor™
Explore foods-Look up foods you like and read the nutritional information. You can also ask for healthier alternatives. Recipes-There are many recipes to search through. You can browse or search by food.
#4-Stay Away From Sugar and Flour
I'm not kidding on this! If you want to see the pounds melt away, you must limit your sugar and flour intake. I know these fall under carbohydrates, but they are two very bad carbohydrates. These two are much too easy for your body to break down and result in an energy burst that is soon used up. (AKA: Sugar High)
Sugar is a drug to our bodies and like several drugs we can become addicted to it. Eating sugar stimulates the reward centers of the brain (just like heroin and opiods). And, just like other drugs, we build up a tolerance to sugar. What used to be enough no longer is. We want more and more to get that good feeling.
In you need something sweet, eat something that makes your body work a little. If you need to have a cookie have an oatmeal raisin, not the double dutch chocolate. Oatmeal is extremely good for you and raisins are full of iron. This doesn't mean you can eat the whole box, but in moderation they are better for you.
The hardest part for us busy people is keeping away from processed foods. Processed foods are full of sugar. Keeping frozen and fast foods to a minimum does result in a learning curve that can take a few tries before we hurdle it. Remember that fresh is always preferred to processed.
As you learn about foods and nutrition it becomes easier to pick healthier choices. You'll realize that a salad covered in fried chicken may not be any better for you than the sandwich. Soon it becomes a way of life. You'll realize if you have eaten too much one day, and adjust it the unconsciously the next.
Drink Lots of Water
I know you have heard it before, but this one tip cannot be stressed enough. Water is a natural appetite suppressant. It has the added benefit of making you feel full. Water also boosts your metabolism. Drinking water has many benefits including weight loss, decreased headaches and back aches, clearer and more radiant skin, and feeling more alert.
Many people prefer a drink with more taste. A good alternative is a flavored water. You can usually find an inexpensive carbonated version. Plain water is best. Juice needs to be looked at individually. I try to stay away from juice because most are mainly sugar. Milk is good in moderation, skim being best for you.
The best tips are try to stay away from carbonated, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Alcohol in excess will cause you to gain weight. It is full of empty calories. Many caffeinated and alcoholic beverages will actually dehydrate you slightly if you drink too many.
Get Enough Sleep
#6-Get Enough Sleep
I think of sleep as the healing time for our minds and bodies. It is a time to catch up on the daily processing. Denying our minds and bodies this time out dulls our creativity, focus and productivity, Sleep deprivation results in weight gain, increased error, decreased alertness and increases in illnesses.
Just as the shoemaker needed to sleep for the elves to make and repair the shoes, so we need sleep so our "elves" can make and repair our bodies. Sleep is the healing elixir of life. We rebuild, refuel and reboot our systems. It's a time for our minds to make sense of all we experienced, time to classify and sort the daily input.
Enjoy a Walk
#7-Take a Stroll
Let's look at a little something most of us would like to ignore. It's called exercise. Are you like me? Do you start feeling all sticky and smelly when you hear the word exercise? Do you run for your ibuprofen in anticipation? Well, "exercise" should have been a four-letter word, but "walk", although four lettered, does not deserve it.
Walking is the easiest exercise program in the world. Parking in the back of the parking lot and walking into the store is a start. We are raised to think we should drive everywhere. I've known people that will jump in their car on a nice day and drive three houses down to visit.
I once had the pleasure of meeting a family from Poland. They were wonderful people. We had much in common, except our concept of distance. They taught me this every time I offered them a ride during their stay.
"Oh, it's only a mile or two, we'll walk", they would say.
Walking brings great benefits. Even as little as 30 minutes a day will decrease your risks of getting heart disease, cancers and strokes. Walking will make your bones stronger, help you sleep better and give you more energy. People who exercise regularly live longer, have lower blood pressure and experience less illnesses.
It 30 minutes does not fit into your schedule try breaking it down into 10 minute units. Take the stairs, not the elevator. Park in the back of the parking-lot and walk in. Take a walk around your building at lunch.
I chose walking because it is the easiest and cheapest method of exercise. But it is not the only exercise we do on a weekly basis. Moderately heavy housework is a good alternative, I just find walking more relaxing. Washing the car is another good way to incorporate activity into a busy lifestyle.
Laughter, the Best Medicine
Laughter is good in it's own right. Laughing has several healthy bonuses that we do not think of initially while laughing. All we know is it feels good. Something that feels good and is healthy, seems like an oxymoron doesn't it?
Laughing makes you feel energized. It makes you more attractive to other people. Laughter lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system and helps us feel relaxed.
Laughing for 15 minutes burns 50 calories. It may not sound like very much, but laughing for 15 minutes every day adds up to losing 2-4 pounds over that year. Weight loss with a smile!
Sum It Up
I hope you can take some of these tips and make them a part of your life. Make eating a conscious decision. Eat because you are hungry. Laugh, sleep, eat and stroll...enjoy your life. Know your food, whether it be friend or foe. Eat more freshly prepared foods and drink water. Make your battle cry, "Raw Rawks!"
And remember, it is the journey that takes us where we are going. Sometimes we stumble, but we also get up, brush ourselves off and get going again. Just a little change in direction often leads to an easier path in the long run.
© 2017 Kari Poulsen