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Diet & Nutrition

Can you lose weight without following a diet?

If you’ve struggled with diets in the past then you might be wondering if it’s possible to lose weight without following a diet…

Can You Lose Weight Without Dieting?

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that you’re wondering how to lose weight without following a diet. You’ve probably someone who’s tried a multitude of methods over the years. Most of which have likely failed but perhaps some worked, but just for the short term.

Here’s where I can help you with some straight forward, honest advice. Let’s get into it!

Following a 'fad' diet vs. understanding your own diet

The word ‘diet’ has become a dirty word when in reality a diet is simply the foods you eat. It has become associated with heavy restriction and weight loss supplements when it really doesn’t have to be that way.

Your diet can be thought of as more of a healthy eating plan in accordance with your weightloss goals. It doesn’t have to omit certain foods or entire food groups. It can include the foods that you enjoy eating to create a healthy and sustainable diet that you can work with for the long term.

When we hear the word ‘diet’ we normally thing of excessive restriction, cutting out food groups and maybe even omitting certain foods that we enjoy. But being on a diet doesn’t have to be like that, and it doesn’t have to be something you do consistently, day in day out for the rest of your life.

Your own diet can be relaxed or more strict depending on the phase of weight loss, maintenance or muscle gain you’re working towards whereas a fad diet is normally consistently strict and unstustainable for the long term.

How to lose weight without following a diet

In this instance, I’m referring to one of those ‘quick fix’ diets. Ones that become immensly popular and then fizzle out because another popular fad has come along.

To lose weight, you have to focus on your energy balance. This means you have to use more energy than you consume (calories are fuel for the body and therefore supply you with energy to get you through the day).

You do need to remember that your body will use energy for basic everyday things so you don’t have to burn off every single thing you consume with exercise.

For these reasons, every fad, quick fix or trendy diet only enables you to lose weight because you’re tweaking that energy balance. Meaning you can do it yourself, without buying into a brand or diet company.

Why your diet hasn't worked in the past

A lot of people have tried numerous ways of losing weight and some people even say ‘nothing works for me, I’ve tried everything!’ Sound familiar?

Here are some reasons that a diet you’ve tried hasn’t worked for you…

The diet didn’t focus on regulating an appropriate energy balance – remember what I mentioned earlier? A lot of diets ignore calories. Calories are king when it comes to weight loss. If anyone tells you that they’ve lost weight without being a calorie deficit, they’re lying or they’ve not realised that they’ve cut calories.

Not enjoying it and therefore not adhering to the diet – diets that are very restrictive or cut out the foods you enjoy, end up being a chore. Because of this, you’re likely to ‘fall off the wagon’ and go back to your old eating habits. If a diet you’re trying to follow is so different from what you’d prefer to it you’re not likely to stick to it.

You’re not considering this to be a lifestyle change – weight loss has many essential factors. If you’re aiming to lose weight, creating a lifestyle around this new goal is ideal to keep you on track. Trying to be more active, looking after your stress levels and sleeping patterns encompasses your health as a whole. 

What you can do instead of struggling with your diet

First and foremost, it’s important to recognise the downfalls in your own eating habits. If you’re someone who restricts themselves all day and eats a lot at night, you might find that you’re overeating based on that evening meal(s) alone. Same goes for people who a very conscious of what they eat during the week, and go nuts on the weekends.

Some other things you can do is focus on home cooking and whole foods. Why? This way, you can control what goes into your meals and you’ll be fuller for longer with single-ingredient foods and get more nutrients from them too. There doesn’t need to be ‘diet foods’ vs. ‘normal foods’, this is where a lot of people go wrong and struggle with the concept of eating healthily.

Of course, some foods are much higher in calories than others but this is where gaining an understanding of your eating habits comes into play. If you have no idea what your portion sizes actually are or how much you’re eating in a regular day, how are you meant to suddenly be able to manipulate that into a structure that will allow you to lose weight? 

If you’re one of those people who will overreat and keep saying ‘I’ll cut down from next week’ or something along those lines, you’re probably thinking of your diet as a negative experience whether that’s from personal history of dieting or your perception of it. Lowering your calorie intake doesn’t have to be a stressful experience or an over-complicated one. If you need help, I’d suggest enlisting the help of a professional. 

So, can you lose weight without following a diet?

The answer is, yes. If you’re more mindful of what you’re eating and consume high calorie foods in moderation and avoid overreating in general, then you can lose weight without worrying so much about your diet. However, this is still being in a calorie deficit.

A problem with this is an indivudual’s eating habits is what got them to be overweight in the first place. So being intuitive can be very difficult for someone in this situation. For this reason, I would recommend structuring your diet in a way that you know you can stick to because it will be relatively enjoyable whilst still being lower in calories.

Your challenge to discover more about your diet

To help you on your weight loss journey, I have some options for you…

Track your normal diet for 1-2 weeks – by doing this you can see where you might be accidentally overreating or consuming foods that are much higher in calories than you thought.

Try out my calculator – I have a calorie and macronutrient calculator that you can try out here. It will give you an estimate of your daily calorie allowance to fit in with your goals. This will give you a basic amount to work from but if it’s not working for you, my ebook might be more beneficial.

Take a look at my 90 Day Nutrition Club – This is my signature course that covers all aspects of healthy eating and implementing positive lifestyle habits.

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By Kim

Hi, I'm Kim! I'm a Fitness & Nutrition Coach from the UK and owner of Barefaced Fitness.

I help women achieve their goals through effective training methods and creating healthy balanced diets. I offer a strong focus on strength, movement and simplified nutrition for a healthier lifestyle.