Who else wants to lose weight without dieting?
I think that’s pretty much everyone, right?
Well, here at Live the Whole, I totally believe that what we eat has a huge effect on our bodies, minds, and lives – and is a big part of having a healthy bod weight. But, not only do you not have to ‘diet’ to achieve your health and weight goals, there are lots of non-food tricks and changes you can make to help things along.
If you are looking to use food to achieve your goals (and I totally think you should), then a traditional ‘diet’ isn’t actually that great. They tend to be restrictive, unbalanced, and lead to only short-term success. Instead, take a look at my post on how to design your own eating plan, and work towards long-term success rather than quick fixes.
But! This post is about how to lose weight without dieting. You can click here to grab the quick ‘cheat sheet’ PDF. It’s got some neat suggestions!
Ok, before I give you the tips, let me start by explaining how weight loss and the body’s relaxation response are connected. Because they are so connected it blows my mind. Basically, if you are stressed your body is reacting in a certain way to the world. When it reacts in a stressed way, it doesn’t digest food well, doesn’t get the optimum nutrition from the foods that are digested, and through cortisol and insulin pathways, signals cells to store fat rather than burn it. The exact opposite is true if you’re relaxed.
Jon Gabriel explains it wonderfully (quote from MindBodyGreen)
…losing weight sustainably isn’t about counting calories, but about creating the proper hormonal environment in your body that’s conducive to weight loss. Since stress and emotional issues can cause an unfavorable hormonal environment, the issue needs to be addressed from a mind-body perspective. We need to take a holistic approach that looks at our psychological and emotional life, as much as what and when we eat.
Which leads to the first tip:
This is especially important at meal times, but the more you can relax throughout your whole day, the better your results will be. Sit down to eat – and not at your desk! Take some deep breaths and enjoy your food. This will go a long way to helping relax while eating, which will not only help you regulate your appetite, but your digestion will be better too. This all contributes to healthy weight loss.
This is linked to relaxation, but is also a tip all of its own. Deep belly breathing is a great way to get into a relaxed state. It’s perfect to use before, during, and after meals, and also before bed to help get a god night’s sleep. This study (looking specifically at ‘Senobi’ breathing, if you want to look it up for more info) found that breathing exercises really helped the obese women participants lose weight by making them relax. Deep breathing works so well to relax us because when we’re stressed, our natural breathing patterns are short and fast. By forcing ourselves to slow down, we send strong signals to the body that we can relax. Your breath is also a really important way for your body to get rid of waste – so if you’re trying to lose weight without dieting, deep breathing is one of your best friends!
This is, again, about stress. Your body and brain feel a lack of sleep as stress – which leads to weight gain and/or trouble losing weight. If you want to lose weight without dieting (or even WITH dieting), make sure you are getting enough sleep and aren’t sabotaging your efforts.
4. Get emotional
Sometimes when we hold on to emotions, we hold on to other things as well. Like weight. By letting go of old emotions, you can often let go of old weight too. This could mean journalling, therapy, health coaching, or even just screaming into your pillow. Whatever it is for you, do it and do it often to let those emotions run. You see the ‘motions’ part of ’emotions’? They’re meant to move, and when they don’t your weight might not either.
5. Develop a strong core
My teacher, Marc David, says that part of having a healthy digestive system is having stable core muscles. Those are the muscles in your tummy and lower back that help support your squishy middle bits. It doesn’t mean you need a six-pack, but by doing some movements to strengthen your core muscles, you’ll help your digestive system function better, which helps you process food properly, which helps you regulate your body weight. It’s just an all-round win!
Now, of course diet, exercise, and lifestyle are a huge deal in the weight loss world, and mostly for good reason. I’m not saying you can deep-breathe your way to massive weight loss. But, it will definitely help.
And again, if you missed it, click here to grab the ‘lose weight without dieting cheat sheet’. I totally made it myself.
Tell me: what do you do to lose weight without dieting?