It’s the million dollar question: can you lose weight without counting calories, restricting certain foods, and slaving away at the gym 24/7?
Our society tells us we can’t lose weight unless we push ourselves to the max, sweat it out at the gym at least 45 minutes a day and restrict calories, cut out carbs and/or limit certain foods.
But constantly being on a rigid food plan, forcing yourself to get up at 5 am to spend an hour at the gym, and eating low-cal/low-fat/light foods sounds awful, not at all fun, and recipe for a serious binge…
So what’s the alternative?
Can you not diet and still lose weight?
BUT…it comes with a big BUT.
You can’t stop dieting and secretly still be restricting in hopes that you lose weight.
Weight loss can’t be your first priority.
Health/nourishment/satisfaction/peace around food MUST be more important than weight loss.
Otherwise, when we don’t see instant “results”, you get sucked back into the lure of dieting and are off “starting something” on Monday.
I will never tout myself as a weight loss coach. Because there are a million factors that come into play when you’re losing weight.
(Hormones, stress levels, body imbalances, food allergies, metabolism, digestive health, etc).
I know the pain of living in a body you despise and living in a 24/7 obsession with food.
So THAT is my priority. To help you get to the place where every day, you feel more ease around eating and feel more comfortable in your body.
(This isn’t to ignore those that need to lose weight for health issues–that is a whole other post and topic. Because we are still aiming for HEALTH over restrictive weight loss)
But I want to talk about weight loss because I think it’s important to address.
Society tells us we can’t lose weight without dieting.
1. When you focus more on freedom (and not dieting), weight loss becomes second (and is now more likely to happen…)
The more desperate you are to achieve something, the more you force, push and punish yourself to shed pounds, and the more you distraught you get around your weight, the more weight loss eludes you.
Have you ever had that friend that DESPERATELY wanted to settle down and have kids? Every date she goes on, she immediately thinks about whether or not he would be a good husband and dad.
She pushes the relationships to move faster and subconsciously puts so much pressure on it to work out. She lives in this state of desperation: “I’m X years old and my biological clock is ticking. I’ve got to find someone FAST.”
But she never finds someone in that state.
It’s when she lets go of it, enjoys the process, and focuses on all of the other things also going on in her life that she ends up meeting someone. It’s not forced, it’s not desperate and it’s all very natural.
Desperation pushes away what you desire.
Take a minute and let that sink into your mind, body and soul. The more DESPERATE, frantic and clingy we are in needing to control the outcome and lose weight, the more elusive it becomes.
If you can focus on being FREE around food first: learning how to listen to your body, discerning hunger and fullness signals, dealing with the emotional situations going on, taking deep care of yourself and becoming aware and curious of your patterns…then you aren’t desperately focused on weight loss.
2. Your patterns shift and change as you evolve.
I eat much differently than I did 2 years ago, 5 years ago and even 10 years ago. Not because I forced myself to eat “healthier” foods. Not because I made rules about what I should and shouldn’t eat. But because I changed.
As you grow and evolve (and become more aware), your tastes and preferences will change. I haven’t eaten fast food in probably about 5 or 6 years. Why? Because I’m so aware now of how it feels in my body.
Now, I didn’t start out that way. When I first began that journey, “don’t eat fast food” was a rule and not a deeper internal decision. But I’ve grown deeper and understand how different foods affect me and how certain foods feel better than others.
At first, I did eat a lot of desserts and sweets. Because for so many years, I had restricted that, they were a binge food, and I didn’t allow them at all. But that slowly shifted over the years.
Do I still eat brownies and ice cream? Yes, but I’m much more aware of how my emotions, my stress, my thoughts and what’s going on in my life factor into my cravings.
Your journey may be similar or look very different.
But as you continue down this path, you WILL change. You’ll grow more aware, you’ll have a better grasp of emotional vs physical cravings, and you’ll see how your stress/life impacts your food.
And it’ll slowly shift and change as you evolve. You may gravitate towards “healthier” foods because you WANT to. Not because you have it.
Remember that your body wants to be in balance.
Our natural state is BALANCE. And balance means you WILL want foods that nourish you most of the time. (And when you eat foods that nourish you most of the time, weight loss can be a natural byproduct of that)
It takes a certain resolve to stay this course (of not dieting), because everywhere we look, someone seems to be on a diet and having “success”.
To refuse to diet, to refuse to buy into the mass belief that you must be constantly on a journey to be making yourself smaller takes COURAGE. We’re conditioned to think that it’s supposed to be hard and if we’re not putting in massive effort, we won’t ever change.
I challenge you to be open to a new way. A way where weight loss isn’t a punishment, but a gentle rebalancing of your body. A way where kindness and compassion replace criticism and self-loathing. A way where finding freedom from this obsession takes precedence over weight loss.