The key to 33kg of fat loss with a pandemic, travel and lots of uncertainty in the middle?
How can you lose fat without dieting?
Studies continue to prove that dieting works to lose fat, but it doesn’t work to keep it off. In some studies, up to 80% of all dieters will gain back the weight they lost through dieting. However, if you work on long term, sustainable habits and lifestyle change, fat loss becomes a process, not just a result. The process of repeating ‘healthier’ habits becomes easier over time, and the weight is easier to lose and keep off.
Let me tell you about Georgina’s journey, and how she managed to see such amazing results without going on a diet.
There is almost a year between these two photos.
This isn’t the result of a crash diet, or a crazy strict workout program. This process took time.
Georgina had already ‘tried everything’, and like many extreme diet and workout plans.. THEY ONLY WORKED FOR HER UNTIL THEY DIDN’T.
Like you, she would start out super motivated and drop a few kg quickly… but then LIFE would happen, progress would slow or stop, and eventually the diet or workout plan would be pushed to the back burner.
You can see the physical changes in this photo- Georgina is stronger and leaner.
But what you don’t see is the mindset change, the improve self confidence, or the freedom to go out to dinner with friends and not feel out of control or anxious around her food choices, or the freedom to travel without freaking out about her diet or exercise.
How can habit change help me lose weight?
When you work on changing habits instead of following a diet plan, the focus shifts from the results to the process. It becomes much simpler to focus on how you eat or exercise each day- and takes away the pressure of having to ‘be perfect’ in order to see results. By changing habits, fat loss becomes easier and more sustainable in the long term.
The main principles for weight loss goals
No food restrictions
–No foods were off limits. Restriction was one of the reasons why the diets she had done in the past had failed. Instead of creating rules around what foods she was allowed to eat, we worked on including more foods that were both nutritious and enjoyable for her, and focused on colorful, nutrient filled meals!
Portion size control
-She learned and practiced portion size control. Making sure she knew how to measure out portions of protein, carbs, fat and veggies was one of the key factors that allowed her to travel and enjoy a fun social life without feeling like she had to ‘miss out’ by being on a diet. Instead of having to weigh and measure out everything she ate, Georgina used her hands to eyeball out portions, which made it so much easier for her to stay consistent, even when eating out.
Distinguish hunger from emotion
-She learned how to distinguish hunger from emotion. From dieting, Georgina struggled to actually know what hunger felt like, and wasn’t sure when she was snacking or eating out of boredom or anxiety. Since most diets are based around ignoring hunger signals, and promote the idea of being hungry or feeling deprived, we took some time at the beginning to recognize hunger signals and what they felt like, and how to relax before eating a meal.
Pay attention during meals
-She paid attention during her meals. Savoring her food, and making sure she was including foods that were enjoyable for her, as well as incorporating more cooking into her weekly routine. Eating slowly and chewing her food well helped her digest better and control portions- if she was satisfied before the plate was empty, it was her decision to continue eating or not.
-She started thinking ahead! Even when travelling, she became thoughtful about what foods she needed to not get too hungry, and to make sure she was covering her nutritional bases. On trips, she made an extra effort to go to a grocery store for extra snacks if needed, and was able to work on meal planning when at home or with family. During quarantine, she meal planned for her WHOLE family- and they all were healthier for it!
Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t
Some weeks were harder to stay on track- she was travelling, or stressed about work (like all of us this year, no?), or she was in a situation in which the food decisions were not 100% up to her. It could have been an opportunity for her to make excuses… it’s easy to go ‘off’ the diet when your food choices are not in your hands. In the past, it may have been. This time though, it wasn’t. By focusing on what she COULD control instead of what she COULDN’T, she was able to stay consistent in any situation- even travelling on a boat for a whole week!
What should I eat to lose fat?
A fat loss ‘diet’ includes ALL foods. No ingredients are off limits, and the focus is on portion control, identifying and respecting hunger and fullness cues, and making sure to include daily movement, quality sleep and stress management. The focus is on foods that are nutritious, filling and satisfying, and yes, even some dessert or pizza! In the long term, it becomes much easier to maintain fat loss when the diet includes ‘fun’ foods AND healthier, more nutritious foods as well.
Georgina eats a variety of veggies, fruit, protein, healthy fats and carbs. She enjoys a glass of wine with friends when she really wants one. She is active, and committed to making exercise and nutritious eating a priority. She is aware of her portion sizes, and understands the foods that contribute to good digestion, high energy levels and satisfaction with her meals. She prioritizes sleep, and actively is working to reduce her stress levels. If she skips a day of exercise, or has pizza for dinner one night… ITS NOT A BIG DEAL. She knows that the next day is a new day!
Why did THIS ‘diet’ work for her when others didn’t?
- Flexibility. She was never ‘on’ or ‘off’ a diet, and there were no foods that were blacklisted or prohibited. This gave her the opportunity to truly discover what her tastes were, and what foods were ‘worth it’ to her. It also took away the anxiety around travel or eating in situations in which she didn’t have full control over what was served.
- Mindset change. Instead of thinking of this as a temporary change, she completely changed her mindset around food. Before, she would start a diet with the idea that it would end at some point- which is what MANY of us do! However, in changing the way she thought about her nutrition and incorporating nutritious foods in her diet as well as some fun foods, this change became permanent instead of temporary.
- Improved nutrition knowledge. There is NO end to the amount of nutrition information that is available to us, but how much of that information is directly applicable to YOU and your needs? By learning what foods and what portion sizes contributed to her satiety, tastes and goals, Georgina was able to unlearn the damaging information about nutrition that had led her to the yoyo diets she had done in the past.
Here is a text exchange we had recently:
This process isn’t over- Georgina is still learning, growing and finding out more about herself and her relationship to food and her body every day. But one thing is for sure, and she assures me of this almost every time we talk…. there is NO going back to her old ways.
Do you need to change your mindset around diet and exercise?
Maybe you’ve been dieting on and off for a while, or you feel a bit stuck. Maybe you see so much information on social media or on TV that you feel a bit overwhelmed. Or maybe you KNOW what you need to do, but still feel like for some reason its not clicking.
Don’t worry. You’ll get there. And I’ll help you.
Join my FREE Facebook group, where we talk about how to stay consistent, body image, and how to get ‘unstuck’ in your mindset towards food or your body.
Download my FREE Guide to Consistency, where you’ll also find the #1 reason you feel like you keep having to start over.
And whenever you’re ready, let’s talk about how you can start to change your mindset and eating habits for good? Send me a message, and let’s hop on a call to discuss your goals, your history and what changes you would like to make in your life. Let me know you’ve read this blog, and I’ll send you over the Ultimate Guide to Staying Consistent- a complete mindset shift to help you stay on track, and stop the on again/off again cycle of eating and exercise.