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How To Lose Weight Without Dieting

Updated on April 8, 2011

When it comes to eating, sometimes just mentioning the "D" word, otherwise known as "diet" causes an immediate desire to eat an order of french fries or whole box of lemon cooler cookies. Focusing on a diet can bring immediate feelings of deprivation and failure to many people who have tried over and over to find a permanent solution for weight loss and maintenance. For some people, the use of the word diet is counterproductive and makes it even more difficult to stick to a healthy way of eating. Avoiding the dieting term and instead adopting a new lifestyle change or adjustment may be the new outlook that makes all the difference and allows one to reach his fitness and health objectives.

Unfortunately for some, eating has become an addiction. In addition, obviously eating is not something that can be given up, like a smoker giving up cigarettes. Everyone must eat to survive, and if food has created a problem in a person's life, they must find a new, healthier way of relating to food and eating habits.

This is usually where people start thinking about the next new quick-diet fad. This is not where diets help out, it is usually where they fail. Diets do not address the way people view food. They merely point out, from a health and calories perspective, which foods are good, bad and totally off-limits. And of course, most of the off-limits foods are the ones we love the most! Right out of the gate, a diet forces people to feel resentful, punished or deprived, and no one who feels that way can adhere easily to a diet.

The worst part is that people tend to get abusive with themselves when they do not stick to their diet. After defining a very narrow and restrictive list of permitted foods, people berate themselves and wallow in deep guilt for each failure to stick to the regimen. Very quickly, the negative feelings take over and cause people to call off the diet altogether to get rid of the bad feelings.

Rather than thinking in terms of a diet, think in terms of making a lifestyle change. Everyone has made lifestyle changes at some point in their life, whether it involved moving from one neighborhood to another, going from single to being married, changing jobs or having children. A change in eating is no different, and this viewpoint is the only way to have real success in shedding unwanted pounds without the horrible negativity and guilt that can plague dieters relentlessly. Take an attitude of positive awareness, and just pay more attention to eating goals, weight and overall fitness. Whatever a person focuses on repeatedly will change. Just by focusing on themselves and tracking information, a person can gain very revealing insights about what types of food are eaten, in what portion size, and at what time of the day. Let's face it-most people who have spent any time dieting know exactly which foods are healthy and which ones are not. They' are probably also familiar with how much exercise they need to keep their weight down. It all comes down to the application.

After tracking daily meals, weight and exercise for a few days without making any changes, start integrating small goals. Sometimes the goal might be as simple as eating one or two servings of fresh vegetables each day. It could be as easy as setting a timer and walking for 5 minutes, and increasing the time by one minute on each additional walk. Baby steps are what it is all about, and a few small successes are all it takes to create a positive attitude and are motivated to continue on.

The most important thing is consistency. Weight loss goals are easiest to achieve when the same little steps are made everyday, day after day. The best part is, even if something happens and a person falls off the wagon one day, they can step right back in the next day and keep going. The overall goal is to keep making baby steps more days on rather than off and learning to have balance, moderation and self-compassion when it comes to straying from the path.

A million ways exist to fail at dieting. Everyone knows someone, probably including him or herself, who has failed at dieting at least once. It is impossible to fail, however, when a person takes small, baby steps consistently to make positive changes in their life. Even walking for one minute or eating one carrot is a success and a step in the right direction. Link a bunch of small steps like this together and over time, it will result in much larger successes. It may not be overnight like we all want, however, it will be real and lasting, which is what really matters anyway.


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