“Is it possible to lose weight without dieting?”

I think at some point we have all asked this question and searched and hoped for the magical answer.

First, let me say that the answer isn’t magical.

And second, allow me to share my definitions of “diet” and “dieting”.

I think when we ask “is it possible to lose weight without dieting?”, what we are  really asking is “how can I lose weight without following a specific program and restricting what I eat?”

In this sense, “diet” refers to a specific regime and food restrictions. With the Atkins Diet, the number of carbohydrates you eat are restricted. With Weight Watchers, the number of calories in a day are restricted. With the “Cabbage Soup Diet”, calories and general nutrition are restricted!

So that is one definition of “diet”. But the other way the term “diet”is used is to generally describe how we eat. On “Superbowl weekend, I follow a strict pizza, chicken wings and beer diet”! Another example, in my personal case, would be “I follow a well balanced, high nutrition diet.” No food is restricted on Superbowl Weekend (okay, maybe no tofu or brussel sprouts…) and similarly no food is absolutely taboo the way I eat either.

In my case, I have learned how to eat in a manner that allows me to replace the meals I care little about (most breakfasts and lunches) with an easy-to-prepare, inexpensive, high nutrition alternative. This leaves me free to enjoy snacks and those rich and tasty dinners I love so much! By doing this, I have a “diet” that allows me to lose weight without dieting.

I know we have all partially fallen for, or at least wanted to believe, that there is some “Secret Trick” to weight loss:
“Drink this solution once a day and lose a pound a day for 10 days straight!”
“This one simple exercise will give you 6 pack abs, with just 2 minutes per day!”
“The herbal weight loss secret your doctor won’t tell you about!”
“Eat this one simple food and never diet again!”

The truth of the matter is, your body is a complicated machine and no mechanism within it works in a vacuum. With the human body, it’s more like: “most of the time” if you do THIS, then THAT will happen. But THAT can’t happen if you also did “that other thing” as well.

Most diets today work on the premise that if you simply burn more calories than you consume then you will lose weight. On the surface, that makes perfect sense, and that is why most of us buy into that logic. But if that were true, and calories in, calories out were the only factors in weight loss, then why is it that 80-95% of diets fail within a year?

Here’s an interesting story from my own experience. When I was in my early 20’s, I volunteered for 3 months in a developing country. During 5 of those weeks we were in the rainforest and the only food we had was: a big bag of rice, a big bag of flour, and a big bag of chick peas. We also had some yeast, salt, and a couple of other small items. But the bottom line was, we basically only had carbohydrates with no protein, fat, vitamins or minerals. At the end of those 5 weeks, all the men in our group had turned to emaciated stick figures while all the women had gained weight and plumped right up!

We all ate the same thing. We all did the same work. We all got the same amount of sleep. The only difference was our sex. Because we have different hormones working within us, each of the sexes responded to this form of nutritional (not caloric) starvation differently.

So let me explain what I have learned about nutrition and our body’s responses and how I now use that information to lose weight without dieting.

First off, calories in and calories out can’t be discounted. It is an integral part of the formula. Calories play a direct role in providing us with energy. But indirectly, calories are also usually accompanied by nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. So generally speaking, when you decrease your calories, you decrease the nutrition that accompanies them as well. We have to be super careful about that.

Equally important to the volume of calories is the ratio of calories in protein, fat and carbohydrates. I’m sure you can imagine that a 2000 calorie per day person will have a different physique consuming 15% of their calories in the form of protein as opposed to somebody who only consumes 5% protein.

One super important factor that is usually overlooked is your hormone production. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) will burn fat, build muscles and strengthen bones. Insulin will block HGH. And Cortisol is HGH’s arch nemesis and builds fat, burns muscle and depletes bones of nutrients.

What you eat. The times you eat it. The amount of fat you’re already carrying. Your sleep patterns. Your daily stressors. And the toxic load on your body are all factors in how your body produces these hormones. What are you doing to maximize your HGH potential and minimize your cortisol production?

Then of course there is the level and type of exercise you undertake and your body’s base metabolic rate. ALL of these things play a role in your weight loss or weight gain.

Think about this one “weight loss fact”: There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat. So, if you’ve been maintaining your weight and then decrease your daily calorie consumption by 500 calories, then in 1 week (7 days x 500 calories = 3500 calories) you’ll have burned off a stored pound of fat.
That make perfect sense and seems easy enough.

But what if you replace a 600 calorie, high protein, nutrient rich breakfast with a 100 calorie can of pop? What would happen to your insulin level? your HGH production? your base metabolic rate for the day???

Do you still think you’ll lose 5 pounds on the week??? I would wager that you may actually gain weight!

Stay tuned. In upcoming articles I’ll go over each of these weight loss/gain factors one by one. By the end you should have the knowledge necessary to know how to lose weight without dieting!


Author's Bio: 

Mike Caldwell is a retired firefighter and advanced care flight paramedic with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology and a Master's Degree in Management. Mike is the author of V.E.A.R. Toward Success, a motivational/inspirational book that using real life examples explains how to apply your Vision, Energy, Attitude and Resolve to achieve any of your goals. In 2012, Mike decided to get serious about his Ironman triathlon racing, but given his resistance to long hours of physical training, Mike turned to nutrition to facilitate his race improvement. Within 2 months both Mike and his wife Monique lost over 30 pounds of fat each. Mike has gone on to improve all his race time personal bests by an average of 20%! http://www.how-to-eat-healthy.com/