Can I lose weight without going on a diet?
You not only can but should.
90% of people who lose weight on a diet watch it creep back on within a year. Slowly at first and then all of a sudden. Sometimes, more than before.
If one of them is you, here's some information to relieve you of the guilt and shame.
No diet was going to keep the weight off. To think one could work against all the obstacles to a healthy weight is a fundamental misunderstanding of the factors that cause obesity.
A diet is a test of will with a temporary result.
Ninety percent is overwhelming evidence that these approaches at best cause a short-term loss. My guess is that the ten percent who made it work figured out on their own the truths I share below.
1. You didn’t learn how to eat for a healthy weight.
The common thinking when embarking on a diet is that what you’re doing to lose weight will also teach you how to live at a lower weight. That’s not the case and never has been.
Forcing weight loss doesn’t teach you how to live at a healthy weight.
That’s because living at a healthy weight requires all sorts of skills dieting doesn’t teach. You can jam yourself into almost anything for a while, but that doesn’t mean you’re learning anything of long-term value.
Bringing permanence into the equation substantially changes the way people view losing weight. If you’re considering caloric restriction, cutting carbs, or not eating before noon, ask yourself first, can you live this way for the rest of your life? That question will keep you from self-harming.
2. You misunderstand your limitations.
People who live at a healthy weight are no better than you at resisting temptation. They set up their lives to make access much more difficult. That can be as simple as not bringing home treats to changing the entire way they socialize.
You are designed through evolution to choose caloric and addictive food. You also live in a world where that food is everywhere. If suggestion and access didn’t work companies wouldn’t be trying so hard to make sure you have both.
It’s absolutely possible to push back on the tide of processed food but doing so requires clarity, communication, and a simple approach to eating.
3. You didn’t set and keep good boundaries.
Weight is a product of environment. I break that down into three components:
- Relational — the people you live, socialize, and work with.
- Physical — the access that your structured life gives you to easy movement.
- Emotional — how much distress you experience and the ways in which you soothe yourself to cope.
I could give a thousand examples of how these factors affect your weight but here’s one: If your partner brings food into the home that you have a difficult time eating moderately and you aren’t able to ask that to stop without upending the relationship, that’s a problem no diet can fix.
Consider this: have you ever broken up with someone and either you or they lost weight soon thereafter? That’s because one of you was causing an obesogenic relational environment.
Dieting puts pressure on your body to conform. Weight mastery encourages you to deepen the practices that lead to stable weight loss.
Weight mastery is the only worthwhile goal in weight loss.
This is an enormously important distinction.
One focuses on life practices that lead to general good health, honest relationships, and affirming dialogs with yourself. The result is not only a stable, healthy weight but greater life satisfaction.
This is why I reject the notion that weight loss is always a punishing affair. Dieting is harmful. Learning to live at a healthy weight has benefits far beyond your size, and it’s a nice bonus to fit into your clothes as well.
Diets are by definition temporary and that's the result they provide.
There's a better way. Our core program offers 9-weeks of life-changing lessons that result in enduring outcomes. In short, you leave with clarity about who you are and what you need to live at a healthy weight.
We built a free course to help you understand why you haven't been able to lose weight for good.
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