- Diet & Weight Loss
How to Maintain Your Weight Without Diet or Exercise
I'm sure you already tried diet and exercise. The challenge is staying consistent, and that can be extremely difficult. Sometimes all we can think of is ice-cream, and we can't be bothered to workout. But that should not necessarily translate to weight gain. It is possible to maintain a healthy weight by making simple, smart choices in your everyday lifestyle.
Keep yourself busy
Have you ever noticed that when you are trying to stick to a diet your mind keeps wandering back onto food? It makes the challenge of adhering to healthy eating that much harder. Restricting your food consumption while dieting may leave you preoccupied with eating all the time. It's best to find something to take your mind off food.
I have found out that I have an easier time losing weight by simply keeping myself busy. When you have something engaging to occupy yourself with, you are less likely to be tempted by idle snacking. Ask yourself, how many times in the last week you ate simply because you were bored?
It helps to fill your days with activities that have nothing to do with your diet, nutrition and healthy eating. Don't spend your time researching diet recipes and looking at pictures of foods on Pinterest, because this may actually trigger cravings. Instead, focus on your hobbies or get out and do something fun. I find that getting absorbed by writing about an interesting subject does the trick for me.
Does keeping busy help you stick to your diet?
Prepare your own meals
Meal preparation is a useful way to be active: you will need to get to the store, walk around the isles, push a heavy cart, stand on your feet while chopping vegetables, wash dishes etc. All of these activities add up to a lot more calories than ordering a take away.
By doing your own cooking you can also ensure that you are getting healthier versions of your favorite foods. Cooking from raw ingredients is very different from eating fast or processed food, even if you are making the same recipe.
A study from Johns Hopkins University reports that people who cook their own dinners consume significantly less sugar, fat, and over all calories, when compared with people who rarely cook. The researchers found that the individuals who cooked ingested about a 140 less calories per day.
Get enough sleep
Proper sleep can help you avoid gaining extra weight and, over time, even assist in weight loss. Poor sleep or lack of sleep may cause hormonal imbalance and trigger feelings of hunger.
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people who don't get enough sleep are more likely to feel hungry, probably due to the body's need to eat in order to stay awake.
People who feel sluggish are also less likely to be active. If your body is worn by fatigue, you're not going to be springing up the stairs to get to your office. Obviously, less physical activity over the course of a day may translate to weight gain over the years.
Improve your posture
Have you ever came across an add promising to “Lose 7 Pounds Immediately!”? It is probably talking about giving you tips to stand up straight. Indeed, when we are slumped and let our stomach hang out we tend to look flabbier than we really are. When we pull ourselves together and stand up straight, using proper alignment, we look thinner.
In order to stand tall you will be engaging and activating a lot of muscles. In particular, you will be strengthening the core muscles in your back and abdomen. If you do this regularly you will build stronger muscles, and therefore burn more calories by simply standing correctly.
Proper posture has another interesting side effect: It allows our bodies to breathe better. By breathing deeper you are flooding your body with oxygen and simulating your metabolism. A more active metabolism translates to more calories burned throughout the day.
By improving your breathing you are likely to feel better, both physically and emotionally. A person that feels good is likely to be more active. You can see where I'm going with this train of thought…
Avoid excessive sitting
We all heard that prolonged sitting is bad for our health. Well, it is probably also adding to our weight. By simply standing up every once in a while you'll be burning a lot more calories throughout your day:
- Just put a reminder to help you take regular breaks. When I'm working at home I get up every 30 minutes, put on a song, and dance. Chances are a dancing break will improve your mood and get you energized to continue working.
- Instead of sitting to watch TV, try standing. Or multitask, by tidying around the room while watching your program.
- If you must seat try to at least improve your posture by pulling your stomach in and pushing your shoulders back. When you sit straight your core muscles are engaged and you're burning more calories. As an added benefit, a good sitting posture can help prevent back and neck pains. When you are pain-free you are more likely to be active, thus contributing to further weight loss.
You can continue eating your regular diet, and only change your attitude towards eating: practice mindfulness, while you're eating focus on your food. One thing that made a huge difference for me was to stop eating in front of the TV. I realized that by consuming food while being distracted and entertained I was actually shoving the food into my mouth without even noticing what I was eating. I wasn't stopping to ask myself if I had enough, and wasn't paying attention to when I was already full.
Moreover, by always eating in front of the TV I was reinforcing the association between TV and food. So that whenever I would seat in front of the TV I would immediately think of eating and look for a snack.
What is your preferred way to lose weight?
Drink more water
On top of being good for your health, drinking more water can help you lose weight in several ways:
- If you make sure to drink more water while you are sitting down for work, you will need to get up more to use the toilet and to refill your water bottle.
- Try drinking water before every meal. Water is actually an appetite suppressant, drinking before eating can help you feel fuller, thus reducing the amount of food you consume.
- Drinking ice cold water is believed to fire up your metabolism because your body supposedly has to work harder to warm the water up. The theory seems to make sense, plus, I find cold water to taste better and be more refreshing.
Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is not a diet; it is not about what to eat but rather about when to eat. You are not limited to certain foods or required to eat only a specified number of calories. Intermittent fasting means eating only within a specific time window, and not eating during the rest of the day.
In practice, a lot of times people who do intermittent fasting simply skip breakfast and start eating only at lunch time. This is also what works for me: I only drink black coffee in the morning. Then, at around lunch time, I start eating regularly for the rest of the day.
The main reason that intermittent fasting can help with weight loss is that it helps you eat less. If you choose to skip breakfast and don't overcompensate by over-eating later in the day, then you will be consuming fewer calories.
I find that skipping breakfast tends to curb my appetite for the rest of the day. Also, I am not strict about using intermittent fasting; on days when I wake up hungry I eat a normal breakfast without feeling guilty about it.
Add More Steps.
Getting a pedometer actually worked for me. I became obsessed with getting the numbers to go higher. I found out that I can walk in place while I'm watching YouTube. I made sure to get up and pace while I talked on the phone. It's a great motivator for taking the dog for an extra walk. It will simply remind you to move more.
Do what works for you
As in most things in life, our weight loss journey is individual and unique to us. I found out that gradually introducing healthy habits to my daily routines worked much better than extreme dieting. I would love to hear about your experience: Did you see better results with short term extreme dieting or with slow and steady, long-term addition of healthy changes to your diet?