Does Your 2024 Resolution Include Weight Loss? Don’t Diet, Do This Now

New year resolutions for 2024 might include shedding a couple of pounds but science says dieting is the last thing you want to do to improve health. Don’t diet. Instead, check out this list of fitness tips that are easy to do and lead to long-term change and improvement in health. 

someone measuring their waist, weight loss, don't diet
Diets don’t work – source

This list focuses more on lifestyle changes than crash diets and other unhealthy trends that cause you to gain weight back. The more you focus on just feeling good in your mind and body, the more likely you will be to make choices that lead to more fitness and overall wellness.

However, remember that what works for one person may not work for another. Maybe you want to rebuild a healthy relationship with food and carbs so you should eat more. Or maybe you use food as a way to cope instead of eating when you’re hungry and just need to notice and stop that cycle. People’s journeys and life experiences are different and that’s ok! 

This article, though focused on weight loss, is more so to prevent diets that cause unhealthy repercussions. 

Don’t Diet? Why?

Diets don’t work. This has been proven time and time again through vigorous observational studies. This study particularly found that ⅓ to ⅔ of people regain the weight lost after stopping a diet.

The reason is that our bodies are designed to bulk up, they are designed to be efficient and to store energy in case of famine or a harsh winter (thanks evolution).

This means that our bodies are resistant to change, therefore any crash diet, restriction of food, or intense activity will cause the body to prepare for the worst. Your body may believe there is a lack of food in the environment and respond with a decrease in metabolism. 

10 Habits for Weight Loss That Actually Work

There are a variety of reasons to want to work out and increase fitness that have nothing to do with aesthetics. Diets don’t work, so check out these habits that lead to long-term benefits today!

1. Eat intuitively

We’ve all heard about intuitive eating but what does that mean? This is a habit in which you listen to your body more, eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. This can come easier with mindful eating, a practice in which you get rid of all distractions like cell phones or tv, and just focus on eating.

For intuitive eating, eat meals with purpose, and truly listen to your body. People may often eat when bored (of which I am guilty). Eating intuitively means rejecting the diet mentality, honoring hunger, and making peace with the food you eat.

But Jess, if I intuitively want to eat a cookie, wouldn’t that be bad for weight loss? Check out tip 8 and use it with this one for the best combo on this list.

2. Increase fiber and protein

Be sure to add more fiber and protein to your overall diet. Now, when I say diet, this means the total food that you consume, not a diet you go on for two weeks. By adding more protein and fiber, you are consuming things that fill you up.

3. Practice an 80/20 mentality

An 80/20 mentality is one in which you are mindful of what you eat 80% of the time and indulgent 20% of the time. This will allow you to eat healthier overall while still enjoying the foods you like to eat with gusto. 

Yeah, eating healthier will cause your taste buds to change. You crave what you eat more of. Get rid of added sugars and fruit will start tasting sweeter. 

But anyway, eat that slice of pizza 20% of the time and enjoy it. With this flexible health plan, you don’t have to worry about cravings or overeating your cravings.

4. Cut out processed foods (as much as possible)

Processed food is meant to be addicting, with added chemicals to get you hooked, so it’s best to limit it a bit. There are actual food scientists whose job is to make food more and more addicting so people keep buying it.

Again, along with an 80/20 mentality, you can cut out as much processed food as possible, choosing healthier options and still enjoying take-out treats.

5. Drink more water

Hydration is key to a good, healthy body that has a good, healthy metabolism. Many processes in the body require water so it is very important to notice thirst, a very subtle and easily ignorable cue.

Stay hydrating, boost your drinks with lemon for vitamin C, or even make some teas instead!

6. Add a HIIT workout

HIIT workouts, and high-intensity interval training, are proven to increase calories burned in a short amount of time. HIIT increases metabolic rate for hours after you finish a workout, meaning you’ll burn calories even after you stop exercising.

Plus, HIIT workouts will improve oxygen consumption, which is just great for health overall.

7. Increase muscle mass

Ok, so you have trouble reducing calories, reducing the amount of food you eat in a day (like me). Increase muscle.

Added muscles will usually not cause weight loss, as muscle weighs more than fat. Muscle requires more calories for maintenance. Increasing muscle mass can be done without a gym by using calisthenics, which are body-weight workouts.

8. Add, don’t subtract

What does this habit mean? When looking at a meal, look at what you can add, not subtract. Take the cookie example. If you want to eat a cookie, eat it, but add nonfat Greek yogurt for protein, add berries for vitamins and fiber, and add some nuts for healthy fats. By adding to your craving you create a snack that is healthier, more filling, and satisfies your cravings.

9. Switch a takeout meal for a highly nutritious smoothie

Instead of takeout, which is probably cooked with unhealthy ingredients, bad oils, and low-quality protein, opt for a healthy smoothie. Try this green smoothie recipe for a quick fix!

This isn’t a way to reduce calories mind you, as a healthy smoothie usually includes healthy fats like avocado or nuts. It can be less calorie-dense than takeout but mostly, switching takeout for a smoothie is a way to increase the nutritional value of the food you consume.

10. Close the pantry at 8 pm, at the latest

This is a hack for our internal clock, our circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms follow a 24-hour internal system that is usually associated with sleep, but turns out, that metabolism matters too. Your body is less equipped to process a heavy, carb-dense meal.

Reduce heavy meals at night and try not to snack late as your body is more likely to store this as energy, fat in the body.

Personal Stance on Don’t Diet

As a personal opinion, I think everybody has a right to do with their body what they choose. It’s OK to want to look a certain way but basing your fitness on aesthetics is not as sustainable. It leads to body dysmorphia and other mental health issues or eating disorders.

Make lifestyle changes and the aesthetics you want should follow. Do you want to feel more energized? Supply your body with food that will contribute to that. Do you want to get a bigger butt? Exercise in a way that builds your glute

Life’s too short to restrict heavily though. Enjoy foods in moderation, work out and eat well to the best of your ability, and make fitness a personal journey for you. 

Regardless of appearance, everybody deserves respect.

The Takeaway

If you want to lose weight, don’t diet. Diets do not work in the long run and tend to slow down metabolism.

There are a variety of ways to lose weight or increase fitness that doesn’t involve starving yourself, restricting food, or intense workout. Eat well, mindfully, and with intuition, exercise with an emphasis on gaining muscle and HIIT workouts, and focus on how you feel.

Don’t restrict heavily as this could lead to overeating, practice an 80/20 mentality, and drink more water. Try to reduce added sugars, and processed foods, and switch out one takeout meal with a healthier version or even a smoothie.

Remember that health starts from within! Nourish the body with good building blocks to ensure you feel good, look good, and make good choices. Take actions to support mental health and watch how overall wellness flourishes.

Never forget about gut microbiota health. Did you know the importance of gut health for overall wellbeing? Gut microbiota affects everything from your skin health, your metabolism, your mental wellness, and even your ability to build muscle. Check out all the resources you need to take care of gut health today for free!

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