non-diet approach for weight loss
Diets,  Weight Loss

Non-Diet Approach To Lose Weight: How Does It Work?

No tricks and no meds. It’s simply eating what you love and losing weight without dieting.

Our human body weight is a result of how much energy we take in as food and how much energy we use in our daily activities. While energy is measured in calories, metabolism is the sum of all chemical processes within our body that nourish life.

Basal metabolic rate is how many calories (or the amount of energy) that you require for your body to perform essential functions of the day. If your weight stays constant, this means that you are receiving the same amount of calories that you are burning each day. But if you are gradually gaining weight over time, this may mean that your intake of calories is more than the number of calories that you burn through your everyday activities.

Each adult is responsible for controlling the amount of food that we consume each day, hence, our caloric intake is something that can really control. We can also control how much we spend our energy, or the amount of calories we burn everyday. The number of calories that we burn every day is based on the following factors:

  • Basal metabolic rate (BMR) or the amount of calories that we burn each hour just being alive and keeping the body functions;
  • The level of physical activity

Why do we gain more weight?

Genetic or inherited factors or some health conditions. For these individuals, the resting metabolic rate or RMR can be a little higher or lower than the average. Our weight plays a part in determining the amount of calories that we burn at rest. This means that the more calories are needed to keep your body in its existing condition, the greater your body weight. For instance, if you are a 100-pound individual, you will need less energy (food) to keep your body weight compared to an individual who weighs 250 pounds.

Work habits and lifestyle can partially determine the amount of calories that one needs to consume everyday. For some whose jobs need heavy physical labor will naturally burn more calories every day compared to someone who sits at a desk for almost the whole day (defined as sedentary job). For those who do not have jobs that require intense physical activity, increased physical activity, or exercise, can boost the amount of calories burned.

For instance, if an average woman, between 31 and 50 years old, leads a sedentary lifestyle requires for up to 1,800 calories every day to keep a normal, healthy weight. With a man of the same age range will need about 2,200 calories. Joining in a moderate level of physical activity like exercising 3 to 5 days every week, will need about another 200 calories every day. With more intense exercise programs like cardio focus will burn more.

What is A Non-Diet Approach?

As the term suggests, non-dieting approach is “not dieting.” It supports the “Health at every size” concept, mindful, and intuitive eating. The approach is built on 3 essential things: intuitive eating, no limitations, and just allowing you to re-establish a loving and accepting relationship with both your body and food.

The non-diet approach believes and supports that your body knows best when it comes to consuming food, movement, self-care, weight and rest. Healthcare professionals who support this weight loss method are working with individuals, helping them reconnect with their inner wisdom and accepting the link between their body and food. By doing so, they can identify which health-related behaviors that will best aid them to maximize their health and well being.

With intuitive eating, it helps you attain a healthy relationship, both mentally and physically, with food. It is simply the opposite of dieting where you reject rules for what you have to eat and what not to eat. Instead, you have to listen to and trust the natural cues of your body for hunger and fullness. This means that you eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. In following dieting rules and feel unsatisfied, huge possibilities are you will always think about food. But with intuitive eating, you focus on whether the meal is pleasing and if it sustained you for the next several hours.

Let us accept reality.

We are on a losing ground  on our battle with obesity and overweight. Combatting fat is not working and being thin may not necessarily make us happier and healthier. It has resulted to body and food preoccupation, eating disorders, poor health, discrimination, self-hatred among many others.

And only a few of us are at peace with ourselves and our bodies, whether we are fat or because we are scared of becoming fat.

Diet industry in America has grown big!

Americans are dieting at the highest peak in American history where 20-24% of American men and 33-40% of American women are dieting to lose weight. This profile helps diet industry to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry. For more than 20 years, the business has tripled its annual and gross income to about $60 billion.

But what has become of American dieters? Girls who diet always are about 12 times as likely to overindulge compared to girls who do not diet. While there are more than one-half of teen girls and closely one-third of teen boys utilize unhealthy weight control behaviors, including fasting, skipping meals, taking laxatives, and smoking cigarettes.

And we believe in diet myths.

  • All huge people have poor health.
  • All huge individuals must lose weight to improve their health and fitness conditions.
  • It is not possible to be fit and fat at the same time.
  • The primary reason individuals regain lost weight is their failure to follow the prescribed diet plans or make long term commitment to weight loss.
  • All can lose weight only if they comply with the proper diet plan and regular exercise programs.

Let us make peace with our body and food.

Let’s forget about the concept of thinking about the number of pounds we have to lose. Let us shift to thinking more about how we can learn to love the body that we have.

The non-diet method believes in:

  • Total health enhancement and well being, instead of attaining a particular ideal weight.
  • Self-acceptance and respect for the diversity of healthy, beautiful body, instead of seeking for an ideal weight loss program at all cost.
  • The pleasure of eating well depending on inner cues of hunger and satiety, instead of external food or diet plans.
  • The joy of movement, promoting physical activities, instead of prescribing a particular exercise routine.

Let us learn the six principles of “health At Every Size.”

  • Good health is a state of physical, mental, and social well being.
  • Weight is genetically determined.
  • Our body defends itself from weight loss, psychologically and physiologically.
  • Self-esteem and body image are strongly connected.
  • Every individual is responsible for taking care of his/her own body.
  • Appearance stereotyping is – wrong.

Redirecting our focus.

On Weight:

Diet approach achieves and maintains ideal weight as near as possible as a measure of success.

Non-diet approach believes that the human body seeks for its natural weight as individual consumes in response to physical cues of hunger and fullness, and as their sense of well being and pleasure.

On Food:

Diet approach focuses on what is good or bad, lawful or unlawful, should or should not, on and off diet. They comply on variety, quantity, calories, fat grams, which are determined by external sources like diet, healthcare provider, or a parent.

Non-diet approach believes that all food is acceptable. Quality, quantity, and frequency are determined by the person’s seeking and responding to physical cues, sense of well being, taste, and medical values (glucose). The approach is more on self-regulated, inner cues, and non-restrained.

On Exercise

Diet approach believes that attaining and maintaining weight goals is based on exercises which is often failed once the dieter falls off a diet plan. It is generally seen as “have-to” or “should,” which usually develops exercise resistance.

With Non-Diet Approach, physical activity, listening to body, wanting play, and any natural movement are pursued.

On Hunger

Diet approach suppresses or ignore hunger. Failure to do so is blamed on one’s lack of will power or “giving in.” This confuses the dieter about physical and emotional hunger.

With non-diet approach, physical cues to eat are valued and relied upon. It believes on responding to physical hunger and fullness to produce a natural weight.

On Self-Esteem & Size Acceptance

With diet approach, the person gains a false sense of power and control with weight loss, following diet rules and exercise plans. Self esteem and body appearance improve in rare cases. The weight goals are usually unattainable as the dieter can get thinner, more toned, or even both.

Non-diet approach promotes increase in self-esteem and personal power from self-determined eating habits and movement. It believes that all bodies come in all sizes and are naturally beautiful. They believe that cultural norms are hazardous and complying to these standards can interfere with quality of life.

Pros:

  • Minimizes fixation on particular foods.With non-diet approach, there are no restrictions on what you can eat. It believes on having a wonderful relationship with food. The person just have to remember to keep things under control.
  • Less guidelines and structure. When you have already achieved the basics of nutrition in place, without rules is really liberating.
  • Being healthy and just enjoy life. When you are on a diet, you do not live life to its fullest. With non-diet approach, you can enjoy great food and still lose weight. Diet approach allows you to enjoy some great food but with restrictions to lose weight. With non-diet approach, eating allows you to be more “free and easy” with your food options.

Cons:

  • Non-diet approach and intuitive eating are learned skills. It still needs a better understanding food, portion size, calories, and basic nutrition. It is sometimes difficult to understand what foods are loaded with calories and should be taken in lower quantities… and those who follow non-diet approach may get it all wrong.
  • If you are a starter, basic structure and clear guidelines to follow are very important But this does not mean that you always have to count calories. You need to know what you are doing.
  • Easy to overeat. Although avocados, nuts, and the like are rich in nutrients and are considered healthy foods. But they also have loads of calories and are not helping to feel full. So, if you are a non-diet approach beginner, you can easily fall into the trap of eating too many calories and at the same time not feeling full.

From Diet Approach to Non-Diet Approach Transition Tips

Try to have something to eat every 3 to 4 hours. Remember that your body required regular fuel to perform your daily activities. If you go for a long period of time between eating meals and snacks, you may tend to be very hungry and it will be difficult to practice eating mindfully.

Pause before eating and ask some questions: Am I hungry? If so, what food or drink that will satisfy you?

Try eating in a nice setting. Be sure you are not doing other activities during meals and snack times like watching television, walking, or driving because this negates mindful eating principles. Find a nice place to enjoy your meal instead. This can be your at your dining room, or on a park bench.

Eat slowly while focusing on the taste, smell, texture and sound of your food. Mindful  eating is about focusing on your hunger and the food, hence savor the moment and take time to notice the characteristics of your food.

Be mindful and listen to the signals of your body during meals and see how you feel about your hunger and fullness levels.

Is the Non-Diet Approach be the right method for you to lose weight?

Non-diet approach suggests that instead of fighting against our body, learn to eat mindfully and intuitively. Tune in to your body’s appetite, taste cues, and satisfaction. This method of losing weight helps you break free from dieting pattern and remove the pressures of eating for weight loss. Instead it empowers you to make eating options for self-care and respect for your body.

images: Healthline


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