“Diet” has had (and continues to have) a horrible connotation, one associated with feelings of sacrifice, deprivation, and hunger.
While diet and dieting may conjure up unfavorable feelings, the truth is that the word “diet” really means “the kind of food a person habitually eats.”
Furthermore, losing weight doesn’t have to be a painstaking process. Sure, there’s going to be some calorie cutting here and some increased exercise there, but dieting doesn’t have to be as miserable as the magazines and social media ads make it out to be.
Today, we’re going to give you 11 tips to help you lose weight during your transformation challenge that have nothing to do with dieting.
Let’s get started!
11 Tricks For Weight Loss That Have Nothing to Do With Dieting
#1 Establish Your Morning Ritual
Schedules, routines, and regimens are something on which humans thrive.
You might disagree if you’re the “free-spirited” type, but the reality is that we all need some semblance of structure and order in order to accomplish our goals and succeed. This not only holds true for business and financial access, but also success in fitness.
The best way to set yourself up for success is by getting a jump-start on your day bright and early. Plus, having a set routine in the morning removes a lot of mental stress and fatigue, since you don’t have to think about what to do.
When your alarm goes off, you know that “x, y, and z” need to be accomplished. Get those taken care of and you’re already off to a better start than most other people who say they want to lose weight but don’t take any demonstrable steps towards that goal.
As for what to include in your morning ritual, that’s entirely up to you. It could include meal prep, cardio, or simply packing your gym bag for when you hit your training session after work.
#2 Plan Your Meals
Building off of the first point, meal planning (creating a menu of your food for the week) is another way to alleviate the mental strain of dieting while also improving your results.
By creating a meal plan, you know exactly what foods you’re going to eat and when (most likely) you’re going to eat them. This helps you know exactly how many calories you’re consuming each day, which helps you stick to your calorie and macronutrient targets, ultimately enhancing weight loss.
#3 Buy Healthy Foods
This may seem fairly obvious to some of you reading this, and it is.
Filling your grocery cart with minimally-processed, whole foods (i.e. healthy foods) is an easy way to trim calories without feeling like your dieting.
Minimally-processed foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins) are packed with nutrition and come with a fraction of the calories of an equal size of processed foods.
Plus, whole foods, like fruits and veggies, also contain high amounts of water and fiber, which help fill you up and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
#4 Clean & Organize Your Kitchen
The kitchen is the place where many individuals' diets are made or broken.
If you have chips, cookies, candy, soda, etc. readily accessible, then the chances of you reaching for that instead of a healthier (lower calorie) option are slim to none.
As such, phase one of your kitchen cleaning and reorganization involves removing any trigger foods from sight -- no more candy bowls on the kitchen table, no more bags of chips in the pantry, etc.
In their place, put out bowls of fresh fruit, store cooked/prepped veggies in containers in the refrigerator.
By making sure you have ample healthy snacks on hand, you’re less inclined to go dumpster-diving for those high-calorie (micronutrient-poor) foods that add a ton of empty calories to your daily intake.
#5 Increase NEAT
NEAT stands for “non-exercise activity thermogenesis,” and it is the component of your metabolism that accounts for all of the non-structured movement you do during the day (walking the dog, taking the stairs, fidgeting, tapping your finger, etc.).
While we tend to focus on the number of calories burned during a given workout, the truth is that NEAT makes up a considerably larger chunk of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) than EAT (exercise activity thermogenesis).
So, if you want to increase your total daily energy output without feeling like you’re significantly increasing the amount or number of exercise sessions you’re doing each day/week, find ways to increase your NEAT.
Park at the back of the parking lot. Take the stairs instead of the escalator. Play with your kids versus watching TV with them. Clean the house.
#6 Write Down Your Why (or Whys)
Motivation is high at the beginning of a diet, but as the weeks drag on, it can be hard to keep your eye on the prize and stick to your nutrition and exercise plan.
And, if you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, it can be extremely taxing on your mental and physical reserves to keep pushing hard.
This is when having a list of your “whys” is vital.
Whenever you feel the temptation to blow off your diet, cardio, or resistance training, pull up your list of reasons why you entered this transformation challenge and read it out loud (more than once if you have to).
It also helps to include reasons on your list that aren’t solely based on aesthetics (e.g. I want to weigh “x” lbs, or I want to have “x” size biceps). Performance-based goals are another great motivator that can help you to keep pushing as the weeks go by.
#7 Get Support
Having a support system of family, friends, and loved ones, or someone working towards a similar goal as you can be a huge help during your transformation challenge.
In fact, research shows that individuals who have support fare better when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.[1,2]
If you don’t have many close friends that are aligned with your goals towards health and fitness, there are a never-ending number of online support groups that you can join.
Having someone (or someones) you can reach out to when you’re struggling can make all the difference in the world between sticking to your diet and training program, or going off the rails and abandoning all of your hard work.
#8 Drink Before You Eat
An easy way to help reduce hunger, as well as how many calories you eat during a given meal, is to have a water “preload” where you drink 16-32 ounces of water before eating.
This additional fluid helps take up space in your stomach and stretch it out, which acts as a signal to your brain telling you you’ve had enough to eat.
Plus, the added fluids also help ensure you’re sufficiently hydrated which is essential to optimal mental and physical performance as well as weight loss!
#9 Brush Your Teeth After Eating
Most individuals brush their teeth in the morning and at night before going to bed. While this is certainly a great way to go about supporting oral health, it can be tweaked slightly to optimize weight loss.
By brushing your teeth immediately after mealtime, you’ll reduce the likelihood of having an after-meal snack, which could push you over your calorie goals for the day.
As an added bonus, you’ll also have fresh-smelling breath, in case you have any conversations in close quarters.
#10 Set a Specific Bedtime
Sleep affects so many facets of life, it’s simply astounding.
Sleep is known to impact:
- Cognitive Function
- Physical performance
- Muscle growth
- Muscle recovery
- Insulin sensitivity
- Hormone production
And, most poignantly for this post, it also affects weight loss.
Specifically, sleep deprivation is known to increase cravings for high-calorie foods while also lowering satiety cues. Basically, you’re hungrier throughout the day and less fulfilled by the meals you do eat.
Sleep deprivation also impairs energy metabolism, reduces protein synthesis, and increases protein breakdown.
All of this is to say that if you’re serious about losing weight, you must make sleep a priority -- just as you do your nutrition and training.
One of the easiest ways to prioritize sleep is to set a specific time to go to sleep each night. Use an alarm if you have to.
With better/more sleep, you’ll be able to push harder in your workouts, recover better, and keep your hunger/satiety cues in check -- all of which support weight loss!
#11 Read Health/Fitness News
There are certain foundation principles for fat loss, such as calories in vs calories out.
Still, there are copious amounts of scientific research papers published every month unveiling new ways to improve performance and/or enhance fat loss. Now, you don’t have to comb through each of these studies on your own (most people don’t frankly have the time to do so).
But, you can keep up-to-date with various health and fitness websites (such as the 1UP Blog!), which frequently posts information on the latest happening in training, nutrition, and supplementation.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Subcommittee on Military Weight Management. Weight Management: State of the Science and Opportunities for Military Programs. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2004. 4, Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221839/
- Lemstra M, Bird Y, Nwankwo C, Rogers M, Moraros J. Weight loss intervention adherence and factors promoting adherence: a meta-analysis. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2016;10:1547-1559. Published 2016 Aug 12. doi:10.2147/PPA.S103649