Lose Weight Without Strict Dieting

Many people embark on strict, low-calorie diets because they feel it’s the only way they can take control of their eating and lose weight, yet so many also give up diets after just a few days or weeks. It’s not simply because we lack willpower that we give up diets. The problem is that if we considerably reduce our food intake, the brain will think we’re in a state of starvation and when this happens, hunger-inducing hormones are released, causing us to eat more. This is why after a few days of strict dieting, food becomes much more appealing- your body is determined to make you eat to avoid starvation. The body is clever at going into ‘survival mode’ when it perceives a state of starvation, and therefore if you’re unable to stick to a diet, it’s not simply due to lack of willpower, it’s also because your body is fighting against you for survival- it’s therefore essential that we don’t put our body into survival mode by embarking on crash diets.  It’s much better to avoid rapid weight loss diets and instead modify your eating habits in a way that helps you to lose weight gradually, in a way that’s enjoyable and manageable.

Lose Weight Without Strict DietingWillpower Is Limited

We rely on willpower to stick to a diet but unfortunately willpower is like a battery- it gets used up!  For this reason, it can be hard for many of us to stick to a strict diet for more than a few days.  Going on a strict diet can make us feel quite anxious, and miserable, so food deprivation can actually cause us to end up eating more, not less- this is why we ditch the diet. We are therefore battling against both physiological and psychological forces that make following strict diets almost impossible for most of us.

The Problem With Focusing On Weight loss Only And Not Long-Term Maintenance

Although we can succeed at keeping off the weight we’ve lost by not going back to our old eating habits, making healthier food choices and adopting a physically active lifestyle, many people tend to focus purely on their weight loss goal and aren’t thinking about how they will maintain their new weight. A typical example is wanting to drop a couple of dress sizes for your wedding day. If you feel highly motivated to lose weight for such an event, it can be easy to embark on a quick-fix crash diet, without gaining the tools necessary to keep the weight off afterwards. As a result, you might re-gain most of the weight you lost, and you might even gain it all back, plus a bit more. This is why long-term, many dieters actually end up fatter. After completing a crash diet, it’s possible to experience an increase in appetite months after it’s ended, giving you a strong urge to eat because the body has perceived starvation and it wants to avoid it from happening again.

The Importance Of Patience, Perseverance And Dedication In Changing Your Eating Habits

If you can be patient enough to lose weight gradually, whilst addressing your ingrained, underlying eating habits and establishing new ones that are manageable, enjoyable and sustainable, you’re less likely to regain the weight you’ve lost. Many people are impatient to lose weight, and as a result fall into the trap of embarking on crash diets that provide a quick-fix, without considering how they will keep off the weight long-term.  Changing life-long eating habits doesn’t happen overnight- it requires patience, perseverance, adopting new skills and staying focused on your goal. As well as adopting new eating habits, becoming more physically active can be very beneficial in helping you to maintain your new weight.

Establishing Rock-Solid Eating Habits

If you can establish and sustain new eating habits that help you to lose weight, you’re more likely to beLose Weight Without Strict Dieting equipped to maintain your new weight too. It’s important to recognise that weight loss and long-term weight control is not an easy task and requires dedication, skills and knowledge. It’s a bit like learning to drive a car- at first it feels like a challenge, but at some point, with adequate practice, those new eating habits will click into place and become automatic and rock-solid. Rapid weight loss diets are simply not the answer; if we just mindlessly follow a diet based on someone else’s rules and then our willpower runs out, it’s very easy to go back to our old eating habits because the diet might have done nothing to address our usual eating patterns.

How I Help Clients:  Avoiding ‘Black And White’ Mode

When I work with clients, I do a lot of information gathering to find out what, how and why they eat. I help them to identify key issues and the things they need to focus on most at that particular time, and together we come up with an action plan that is manageable, enjoyable, realistic and sustainable. Examples of common issues include portion sizes, comfort eating, eating on ‘autopilot’ and poor meal planning and structure. Another common problem is having a ‘black and white’ mindset- that is, being either on or off a diet. Many people feel anxious around food- if they go on a diet they expect to do it perfectly, but as soon as they deviate from the diet rules just once, they see it as a catastrophe and give up completely. I therefore help clients to embrace the ‘middle way’ of eating, which is a form of more flexible eating that gets them out of the black and white mindset.

Getting More Enjoyment From Less Food

Overeating isn’t necessarily enjoyable. Mindless eating is often accompanied by overeating, and so to avoid overeating, becoming a more mindful eater can help you to actually get more enjoyment from, and feel more satisfied with, less food. By teaching clients to become more mindful eaters, I empower and inspire them to become more aware of what, how and why they’re eating, and help them to get more pleasure from less food. I also invite them to look at their current food choices, as foods vary considerably in terms of how much they satisfy us in terms of appetite.

Lose Weight Without Strict DietingImportance of Having A Sense Of Clarity

It’s vital to have a sense of clarity about how you will embark on establishing new eating habits. If you’re not clear about what you need to do, it’s easy to deviate and cross boundaries. I help clients to become more vigilant eaters, whilst enjoying and feeling relaxed around food. Being clear in your mind about how and what to eat in advance can help you to deal with food situations as they arise. A key objective of mine is to ensure that ultimately, clients abandon strict diets forever and realise that even if they work short-term, they don’t work long-term.

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