It’s fair to say many people get caught up in the latest dieting trends and fast weight loss strategies. It’s easy to feel tempted by the promises of dramatic weight loss, or the promises of weight loss without exercise or effort. Getting beach body ready after one month of following a new and exciting weight loss plan! Or eating all you want while still achieving your ideal physique transformation. That’s why I’ve created this How To Lose Weight Through Diet Only guide.
Most people would like to lose weight with no effort, but all too often we’ve tried and failed.
Sometimes we will lose weight. But it’s not sustainable. Take liquid meals. A food lover is not going to last on this plan for very long. Given there’s usually no maintenance or follow-up plan, are you expected to do this forever?
Trying to lose weight is frustrating and it’s made much worse by false claims offered in many fad or myth diets. As women, these fad diets are everywhere we look. It seems impossible to keep track of new diet pills, creams, and patches. Hearing the words “miracle” and “diet” in the one sentence makes me want run a mile.
We’re not saying they don’t work in the short-term or give you the results you want. In our experience, very few provide real long-term permanent changes. As a rule, avoid any diet plan that makes scientific claims, but fails to back them up with reputable sources. Also, be wary of plans that need you to buy their food, pills or supplements. You don’t need these substitutes to succeed. All you need is a greater understanding of nutrition and to know what common pitfalls to avoid.
Nutrition With Exercise
To live a healthy lifestyle and lower the risk of health problems, we must become more active. Following a diet plan without being active may provide some weight loss. Yet, it’s unlikely that these results will last. This often results in people returning to square one within a few months.
We don’t recommend cutting a food group out of your diet to lose weight (grains e.g.) if there is no medical necessity to do so. Nor following a diet plan that doesn’t address the issues of why many gain weight in the first place. Without making lifestyle changes you’re likely to stumble on your weight loss journey.
Low levels of physical activity and high consumption of junk food has led to a rise in obesity levels. Food additives are everywhere but often offer little to no nutritional value. Higher levels of stress and lack of sleep have implications for our health. This, in turn, contributes to weight gain. In other words, life as we know it is not benefiting our health.
Balance is Key
Due to the fast-paced nature of our day-to-day, diets that offer rapid results are popular. Rather than educating about nutrition, certain food groups are completely cut. While this may offer results, it often starves the body of what it needs to work.
Take very low-fat diets, for example. They can lead to a deficiency of essential fats such as omega 3 and 6, and fat-soluble vitamins. Low body fat can have severe medical implications. Hormonal imbalances, amenorrhea, infertility, and reduced bone density to name a few. The latter is important to note as it increases the risk of osteoporosis in women. When pursuing a weight loss plan, make sure you’re getting your required essential fats. The health complications of low body fat are not worth it.
There is no perfect diet. Everyone’s nutritional requirements will differ. The best weight loss strategies combine a healthy, balanced diet with regular exercise. Not only will you meet your weight loss goal (and maintain it), your quality of life will benefit too.
The following is a list of weight-loss strategies that the UFP team have used with clients. The aim here is for clients to lose and stick to their ideal weight, long-term. This doesn’t involve a client to starve themselves or to cut out essential food groups. Which means you won’t have to either.
“THE BEST WEIGHT LOSS STRATEGIES COMBINE A HEALTHY, BALANCED DIET WITH REGULAR EXERCISE”
How To Lose Weight Through Diet Only
1) Eat More Often
One of the best things you can do when trying to lose weight is to eat more often. Having three big meals over the course of the day isn’t in the best interest of your metabolism. In fact, some studies suggest having regular meals keeps your metabolism working at a higher rate.
It’s important to mention there are conflicting studies that suggest this is not the case. However, these studies have also shown limiting food intake is likely to result in overeating and/or binging.
Therefore, eating more often allows greater control over portions and quantity as you have better control over hunger levels.
So remember to eat more lower-calorie meals throughout your day. This will help to keep your daily caloric intake lower. Aim to have five or six meals spaced out, every 3 to 4 hours, to see how you feel.
2) Chew your Food
A bit obvious you might think, but many of us don’t take enough time to chew our food as we eat. This is more common now as we’re so busy rushing around, we eat our meals at a pace that matches.
Taking the time to chew food not only means the food will taste better, but you’ll get to enjoy food for longer. This will lead to you eating less and consuming lower calories, which is great for those who want to lose weight.
Slowing down how fast you eat allows time for your brain to get the signal that you are no longer hungry. If you eat fast you’re likely to have eaten too much before your brain gets the signal you’re full.
Chewing food is also known to aid your digestive system as your stomach will have less work to do.
3) Avoid stress eating
This one is tricky at times, especially with the hectic fast-past world we live in. Stress and emotional eating can play a big role in our eating habits.
Stress eating leads to overeating, usually with the wrong foods. It’s easy to give in to the temptation of fast food when you’re feeling stressed and unhappy. This is even truer when we need to move on to the next task at speed.
Being more mindful to what you’re doing and what’s going on around you will stop bad eating habits. Stand back and look at WHY you are feeling stressed. This will give you time to adjust, clear your mind and find a way back to making better choices in that moment.
When you’re feeling stressed and crave fast-food (or sympathy food), try to eat what you’re craving in the healthiest way. This means you get a nutrient-dense meal and consume fewer calories than the processed food you craved.
Unfortunately, many fast-food outlets tend to use over-processed foods and not “real” foods. Foods that are close to being as natural as possible are better for you than over-processed. Where you can, try to do this and avoid those guilty feelings later on.
4) Come to the Table Relaxed
Eating in rushed circumstances activates the fight-or-flight mode in your nervous system. Being calm, relaxed and mindful allows you to pick up on internal cues that let you know you’ve eaten enough.
Meal planning is a great way to allow yourself enough time to relax when sitting down to eat your meal. In fact, the art of meal prepping itself is quite therapeutic.
“PREPARING YOUR MEALS IN BULK IS A REAL BLESSING. PARTICULARLY WHEN YOU’RE JUST HOME AND EXHAUSTED FROM A HECTIC DAY!”
5) Strategic Shopping
Plan in advance. When going to your local grocery store you need to have a shopping list prepared. If you don’t have time, make a list of the meals you’d like to have for the week and bring it with you. This will help to make sure you only buy the ingredients you need.
Only get food items that are part of your new healthy eating plan. If you haven’t time to plan, foods high in protein, healthy fats and veggies are always good to throw in a meal. Nuts, seeds and natural dairy products are always good to snack on. Avoid picking up processed foods as much as possible.
Try to drop junk food such as sweets, crisps and salty snacks foods. Purchasing healthier alternatives will help you with the cravings. This is a great way to prevent overeating or bingeing.
6) Learn to cook
Learning to cook will be one of the best things you will ever do. You don’t need to know much to cook some very tasty and healthy meals.
Foods offer a variety of tastes and textures, and the best part is there are so many different types out there. It’s important to buy them in their natural form. Overcooked or over-processed foods lose these beautiful tastes and textures. Added sugar and fats are then required to make these over-processed foods taste better. The majority of foods in the commercial world tend to fall into this category.
There is a rising amount of healthy, organic foods available in stores. But, your best bet is to make your own meals where you can. There are some food outlets that offer healthy meals to buy and heat up later. Keep in mind doing this long-term will be quite expensive.
Preparing and cooking your own food will allow you to have greater control over what you are eating. You can make sure your food is clean and keep track of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. Everyone’s nutritional requirements differ. What suits you may not suit the next person. Preparing your own meals allows you to stick to your desired macro’s.
7) Meal Prep
When you have time, preparing meals in bulk is a real blessing. This is brilliant when you’re in the door from work—tired and starving. Having it ready to go means you can heat it and a few minutes later it’s ready. Also, try to do the same for lunches and daytime snacks so it’s easy to grab every morning as you run out the door.
Making cooking as easy as possible will help when it comes to eating a healthy, balanced diet. Cook a large meal and divide it into several portions. Place in individual, freezer-safe containers and store them in the fridge or freezer. This will allow you to avoid any excuse to not eat healthy, particularly when you don’t feel like cooking.
When you are feeling like this, it’s easy to make unhealthy food choices that you’ll regret later. To prevent this, I found it’s always a good idea to have a few meals in the freezer. Also, keep basic ingredients that will allow you to knock together a healthy meal in minutes.
Another thing that can be useful is to use uneaten dinners to make something for your lunch the next day. If you’re practising good portion control, this shouldn’t happen too often.
“PREPARING AND COOKING YOUR OWN FOOD WILL GIVE YOU BETTER CONTROL OVER WHAT YOU’RE EATING AND EASIER CONTROL OF MACROS”
8) Eat Before you’re Famished
Don’t wait until you’re starving to eat as this is likely to lead to overeating. If you know that you’re usually hungry at a certain point of the day, bring a healthy snack to keep you satisfied. This will help you avoid sweets or other candies during the day. But if you must pick up something before your meal, try a nice healthy piece of fruit.
9) Party Food
When going to a friends party it’s always nice to bring something with you. Why not take some healthy nibbles along? This way if there are no healthy options available at the party you have something healthy to snack on. It’ll help you avoid eating too much party foods when faced with a buffet.
Try having a light snack before you go to cut the chances of overeating while you are enjoying the night.
10) Portion Size
Proper portion sizes came as a shock to me. In fact, they’re a shock to most people. It’s easy to eat portions far bigger than the recommended guidelines and many of us are unaware that we are doing it. Especially when most of the stuff we buy comes in big bags and containers.
The first place to start when trying to lose weight is making sure you have the right portion size on your plate. This will lower both overeating and calorie intake.
Also, aim to serve food on individual plates. Placing food in serving dishes increases the chances of second and third servings. Avoid eating out of the food pot or serving dish, especially if you’re not focused on what you are doing. It’s better to put the amount you plan to eat in a container.
When it comes to movie nights, party size bags of chips and treats are often too good to forgo. It’s best to spill some out into smaller bowls. Eating out of the larger bag has a tendency to lead you to eat more without even realizing. This is especially the case when you’re engrossed in a good movie.
11) Dining out
A great idea for dining out is looking at a menu online (if you know where you’re going) and know what you’re going to order. When we dine out, we often make bad food choices because we panic about ordering at speed. If we don’t look beforehand, we often don’t have enough time to look through the menu.
Knowing what’s on offer in advance will let you make a choice you won’t regret later.
Order portions of steamed vegetables instead of high-calorie side orders like french fries. Also, beware of portion sizes when dining out. Many restaurants like to give large portions to impress their customers. This can lead to you consuming more calories than expected. Especially when foods are already high in calories.
To help manage this, it’s always a good idea to split your appetizer with another person. Many restaurants also like to give their customers a “to-go” box, which is great. So why not wrap some food up in there to bring home, handy for another meal. You could even put half your meal in there as soon as it comes to your table.
12) Mix your Meals
Mix your macro’s in each meal instead of focusing on one at a time. This will keep you fuller for longer and will give a nice balance of nutrients in each meal. Not only are meals more satisfying, but they also increase satiety. This leads to better absorption of nutrients and better blood sugar regulation. As a result, you’re less likely to feel like you need more food after you’ve eaten.
Choose the healthiest foods to reap the best macro results. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cottage cheese, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, heart-healthy oils, avocados and seafood, are all good options.
Be sure to get some fiber in your diet too. Fiber has zero calories and provides no energy. But, soluble fiber increases the viscosity of food in the digestive tract, slowing digestion. This will produce lower blood sugar rises and lower the GI of food. GI indicates how fast or slow food raises your blood glucose. Low GI foods give a slow and steady release. High GI provides a fast release but declines as quick. Low GI foods keep you feeling fueled for longer.
To learn more about fiber check out “why is Fiber Important?”
Beans, lentils, peas, oats, porridge, barley, and fruit contain high soluble fiber. Eating chicken with rice will lower the GI. Adding foods that contain fiber or fat can reduce the GI of your meal.
You may also enjoy “High Fiber Fruit – Why You Need More In Your Diet.”
13) Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Many of us love some form of sugary treats, candies, jellies, or chocolate. It’s tempting to give these foods their own space at home. A cupboard or a drawer we know houses a steady supply.
You don’t have to drop these foods altogether, but don’t let them take up a large space. Instead, choose healthier options, like a fruit bowl, and keep these in sight. Then keep one or two of your favorite treats and keep them hidden.
In this way, when you’re tempted or have a craving, the healthiest options will always be in your line of sight first. This is a great way to prevent binging on bad foods.
“GOOD CARBS ARE FOUND IN WHOLE, NON-PROCESSED FOODS AND ARE FULL OF NUTRIENT DENSE CALORIES. BAD CARBS HAVE MOST OF THEIR GOODNESS REMOVED DURING PROCESSING”
14) Limit Bad Foods
When devising weight-loss strategies, limit your consumption of bad foods. These contain empty calories and include cakes, sweets, sugar, desserts and pastries. These foods are so easy to pick up, especially when you’re out and about. It’s quite easy to rack up your daily calories with items like these. Most of the time we are unaware of the sheer amount of calories that can exist in such a small treat.
To help with weight loss, it’s best to limit these as much as possible. If you are like me and enjoy them too much to cut them out of your life completely, only keep a small amount in your kitchen. Try having foods that have fewer calories, or pick the healthiest version of the snack you enjoy.
It’s important to allow yourself to have a treat as a reward. Life is too short not to allow some of the foods you enjoy. A bit of added sugars here and there is unlikely to set you back too far. Especially when combined with regular exercise.
15) Limit Refined Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have a bad reputation when it comes to the world of weight loss and dieting. It’s very important to remember that not all carbohydrates are the same. Some are good and give your body with an excellent source of nutrition. But there are some that are bad carbs.
Whole grains, buckwheat, quinoa, and sweet potatoes, are excellent sources of healthy nutrients. These are what’s known as good carbs. Carbohydrates found in whole non-processed foods are full of nutrient-dense calories.
Bad carbs, or refined carbs, have much of their goodness removed during processing. They are also linked to increased risks of diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Wheat has 25 nutrients removed in the refining process that turns it into white flour. Replaced are only 4 of these nutrients (iron and vitamins B1, B2 and B3). On average you lose 87% of the essential minerals zinc, chromium and manganese.
Sugar and refined grains are the main types of foods that make up bad carbs. Table sugars, sodas, sweets, white bread, biscuits, high fructose corn syrup, cakes and white flour are classic examples.
Fiber, minerals and vitamins get removed during processing. This leaves you with nutrient empty calories. They also have a high GI content which will spike your blood sugar levels. As it’s a spike and not a steady increase, you’re going to experience a slump not long after. This is a major cause of overeating.
Aim to cut the number of refined carbohydrates in your diet. Replace them with healthy carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, whole-grain oats and barley. Clean non-processed, whole-food carbs are an excellent source of nutrients. They also have many benefits to your health and well-being.
16) Limit Sugary Drinks
Drinks such as fizzy sodas are high in added sugars. They’re quick, available everywhere, and easy to consume. It’s incredible to note how many calories and added sugars you can consume by drinking soda. When drank in large quantities, these added sugars get stored as body fat.
If you wish to live a healthier lifestyle, you need to cut these types of drinks. One of the main drivers of obesity in recent years is the overconsumption of sugary drinks. You might think of drinks such as cola and lemonade, but concentrated fruit juices are as bad.
Healthy eating: How To Lose Weight Through Diet Only – The Bottom Line
Maintaining a healthy diet requires forward thinking to avoid lapsing into bad habits. We all have areas we’ll struggle with the most. The trick is being able to find these and make it as hard as possible to fall into bad behaviors.
As with anything, healthy eating comes down to adopting good habits while losing the bad. A big reason people fail in their weight loss strategies is by taking on too much at once. A drastic change to your diet is a big shock to the system, as well as time-consuming as you try to get used to everything. It’s easier to take on one or two healthy habits a week while dropping a couple of bad behaviors.
Let’s say you decide to prep all your dinners the first week. You can decide to take a couple of hours on a Sunday to do this. The week after, you can do the same with your lunches. Add more time on the Sunday and get yourself set up for at least two healthy meals a day. The week after, you decide to drop your intake of soda and commit to drinking the more water. By giving yourself a week to adjust, you’re not focusing on missing out on loads of foods. You’re only missing one after all. The next week you’ll drop another, another the week after that, and so on.
It’s All About Long-Term Success!
Using these weight loss strategies will give you the best chance of long-term success. You might think giving everything up at once makes more sense, but risks of failure will be much higher. Taking a slower approach is easier to stick to and how fast your diet changes will take you by surprise.
Remember, in the food world, convenience often amounts to bad or empty calories. It’s worth taking the time to plan meals and shopping lists. It’s also important to understand the nutritional benefits of food. In this way, you can concentrate on adopting the foods your body needs. Skipping out on quick meals doesn’t mean you’ll spend hours slaving over a stove every evening. Careful planning and meal preparation will still lead to speed and convenience. The difference is these weight-loss strategies will give your body all the goodness it needs.
There you go. My top weight-loss strategies for success.
If you found this post useful let know in the comments.
Other Articles That You May Enjoy:
- Centers for Disease Control, (2014). Obesity and Overweight
- Harvard Health. (2015). Making sense of vitamins and minerals: Choosing the foods and nutrients your need to stay healthy.
- Hewlings, S.H., & Medeiros, D.M. (2011). Nutrition: Real people real choices. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.
- HEALTH.GOV – The Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- Phillips, K.A (2015). Dietary Substitutions for Refined Carbohydrate That Show Promise for Reducing Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Men and Women. Journal of Nutrition, 145: 159S–163S
- NASM.ORG – A NEAT Approach to Weight Loss
- Volek, J.S., VanHeest, J.L. & Forsythe, C.E. (2005). Diet and Exercise for Weight Loss. Sports Medicine. 35: 1. doi:10.2165/00007256-200535010-00001