If you want to lose weight, don’t diet…. here are some simple rules that work!

by SylviaVDL

Weight loss without diet

My husband is actually a fan of my blog even though he does not care so much about fashion. And every now and then he gives me me some ideas on what to write about. He likes the usefulness of my page that lets you calculate if you have a healthy weight and  thought my article on Madonna and keeping in shape was very interesting and as my husband is always ‘working’ to keep his weight in check, he thought he could contribute his 2 cents to the conversation. And I agree! So here it is, a 40+ male’s take on keeping the weight off after 40!

How to lose weight without dieting

A guest article by my husband Mike

Here are my simple tips for losing weight and keeping it off. They are all very simple tips. They all work for me, but everyone is different. I would honestly love to know what works for you!

I strongly prefer simple actionable tips, that work with what you enjoy. Nothing else will work long term.

Disclaimer: I have never read a weight loss book. I have absolutely no scientific knowledge.

1. Weigh yourself every day

I keep an eye on my weight, by having the scales next to my shower. It may seem obsessive, but it helps me not to lose focus. My weight seems to fluctuate within a 2 kg range randomly. I don’t panic if it gets to the top of the range.

2. Water is the key

I don’t know why, but drinking water really helps me. The more water I drink, the better my body functions. (If you don’t like water, put a few drops of apple juice in the glass to give it some flavor.) And I don’t stop drinking before I weigh myself, because I would be kidding myself. Weight loss starts with honesty to yourself.

3. Avoid processed foods

The basic rule – all packaged, processed food is unhealthy. I avoid it, where possible. Not easy, but worth the effort. The interest of food companies is certainly NOT your health.

4. Avoid sugary drinks and fast food

You know it. Don’t be fooled by low calorie or diet claims. These foods and drinks are only making you fat and miserable.

5. Get 7 hours of quality sleep

Staying healthy is about basics. Water and sleep are my basics. I make sure I get enough sleep. I aim for 7 hours minimum and 8 hours at the weekend. I also have a really good quality bed, to make sure I get quality sleep. I know a good bed is not cheap, but it is one of life’s bargains because quality of life is much higher if you get good sleep. And it helps my body function better. Strange but true.

6. Get off that couch

In my mind, losing weight is 33% about food, 33% about giving your body what it needs to function (rest, water, etc) and 33% about moving. TV is simply a waste of my time, especially if I am sitting on a couch and have chips to go with it. If I need the TV, I can go to a health club with exercise machines with a TV attached. But better still – avoid the TV and do some social sports. And I try to avoid late-night TV. It is wrong in so many ways.

7. Salad is important

I am not really fond of the taste of salad. But my body seems to like it. And the strange thing is, once I take a bite or 2 of salad, I find it difficult to stop eating it. I am convinced that it is a large part of losing weight, but I can’t explain why. It is a large part of every meal I eat.

8. Eat fish, vegetables and fruit where possible

You hear this regularly. And I believe it is true. Fish, vegetables and fruit make me feel healthier and more energetic, and I am told there is more nutrition and less calories.

9. Ignore scientific evidence

First red wine was the answer to a long life. Then red wine was not healthy and the guy who claimed it was discredited. Then … Frankly, I don’t care. I love a glass of red wine, yoghurt, honey, a cup of coffee, sultana’s, the occasional burger and chips, etc. Let them prove what they want, as long as they let me make up my own mind.

10. Enjoy one glass of alcoholic beverage

This is a hard one. I switched from beer to wine, and gradually cut back to 1.5 glasses on a night maximum, even in a social setting. Seems easy to do, but it wasn’t. But, like stop taking sugar coffee or tea, once you do it, it becomes completely natural. Cut back, and savor your glass of wine.

11. I don’t do guilt

No matter what I eat, I don’t do guilt. My life is too short for guilt. That doesn’t mean I don’t try to do better, and I try to avoid the same situation. But I don’t do guilt. Ever.

12. Set a maximum weight limit

My target weight is 78kg. I don’t panic until I get over 80kg. But if I get over 80kg, I am very hard on myself until I get under 80kg. The good news is that it usually only requires a week of control to get there, because I quickly recognize my weight has gone too high.

13. Don’t shop when you are hungry

This is a very old rule, but it works. I only buy what I need, rather than what I crave.

14. Don’t have unhealthy food in the house

I am not a person with great discipline, so I protect myself against myself. The less chips and biscuits I have in the house, the bigger the barrier to pigging out….

15. Make many small adjustments

When I started my weight loss program, I took many small steps. I used to drink coffee with full cream milk, and then I switched to skimmed milk. I cut cheese out of breakfast. Making small changes that reduce my calorie intake, but that do not sacrifice life pleasure, are a no-brainer. Be aware of where the calories are in your food and explore your options! You can probably reduce calorie intake 10% without any sacrifice or effort.

16. Don’t kid yourself

I always tricked myself into thinking that I could stop with just 1 biscuit. It is not true for me. (though it is for my partner.) Once I take 1 biscuit, I usually end up taking 5. Best not to take the first…. Or simply accept to have 5. There are many situations where one part of my brain tries to convince of me of something that another part of the brain simply knows is not true. It is especially true of food….

17. Take time for dinner

Part of getting healthy is to change your relationship to eating. Switch of the TV when you eat. Get yourself a half a glass of wine with the meal. Take the time to talk to the family and ask about their day. Savor the food. Each meal is a precious moment in your life…..

18. Walk regularly

I read about 10 years ago that walking was good exercise. I laughed out loud and mocked the writer. But the joke was on me. It IS good exercise, and doing it with company is even better. You get to talk and to exercise. I also often walk or gently jog late at night alone, and then it is a time for simple reflection. It helps me keep my balance.

19. Switch off the email

I work very hard, but I also make a conscious effort to switch off the work brain. After 6 pm, I don’t look at my email unless I have a critical deadline. I don’t look at email from Friday night to Sunday night. My family deserves my undivided attention. You might ask how this helps me lose weight, and I think it has to do with reducing stress and loosening up the body. I don’t know exactly why, but I know it is important in a big way.

20. Avoid snacks

Well, nothing to say. Most of the danger calories are consumed between meals, and late night. Control it and you have solved a large part of the problem. I used to say “I am on a diet, but not during meals” and that still largely holds true today. I used to get a snack as soon as I got hungry, now I just recognize the feeling of hunger and enjoy it.

21. Learn to cook

My parents taught me to cook. I am no master chef, but I can prepare a healthy (if somewhat boring) meal. It is quick and simple, and fun to explore. If you don’t know, take lessons.

22. Avoid diets

I will never diet. I can make many small adjustments that are natural, and are based on what my body likes and needs. It never feels like I am trying. Of course it also helps to eat healthy food during meals, but don’t get obsessed by it.

23. Do regular exercise

Well, it is obviously important right? I like sports, but there is nearly always something people like to do. Dancing, tennis, yoga, Pilates, walking, wall climbing, badminton, volleyball, golf, soccer, jogging (with some music or an eBook on an iPod touch), etc. Discover what you love, and the rest happens by itself.

24. Move more

I try to do some exercise every day, but sometimes it is just about walking to and from a lunch café a bit further from the office. Once I started thinking about it, I found many small opportunities to get my body moving more. Don’t take that escalator but walk the stairs. My boss got himself an office desk where he works standing up. I want me one of those!

25. Exercise your age in minutes

I read somewhere that you should do enough exercise each day, equal to your age in minutes. I think it is rather a silly rule, but it is easy to remember and as good as any other rule. (But I also read somewhere else that 3 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week is enough). The bottom line is that all exercise is good, and even better when it is in a social setting.

26. Get your clothes refitted

As you lose weight, your clothes need to be adjusted. Get it done! Not only will it look much better, but there is another good reason. Just as the marketing teams at P&G talk about “moments of truth” (the smell and feel of shampoo when you apply it defines the shampoo, the smell of the freshly washed shirt when you put it on defines the fabric conditioner), the moment of truth of being overweight is when you have to close the top button of your trousers. It is not a nice feeling if they barely fit. If you get your trousers adjusted when you lose weight, you reset the warning signal that you are putting on weight again because the trousers are tighter fitting sooner.

These simple rules work for me. But everyone is different. I would love to hear yours!!

Note from Sylvia: are you wondering if you need to lose weight at all, check out your BMI and find out an answer to the question how much should I weigh for my height and age

I now believe that sugars and carbohydrates are the worst culprit in gaining weight. For more info read my article on how to lose weight and stay healthy

If you can’t do it alone and you want help, you may also be interested in a program by Jon Gabriel who teaches how you can lose weight without dieting holistically.

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Your husband hits a lot of good points! I found weight watchers really helped me, but a lot of what we do in the program sounds a lot like what your husband talks about here, only we weight ourselves once a week not every day.


Thanks Heather, Yes, I’m not sure if I agree with that point. I only check my weight once a month (if that)!


This is good and sound advice for both men and women, and not only those over 40! My problem has always been to maintain a steady weight, I’ll usually put on 8-10 pounds over the winter and then exercise like a maniac during spring to get them off. Even with regular exercise during the winter, I’ll gain some weight! But I love good food, and even though I eat fairly healty, I think I’m probably eating too much.


Yes, it’s all about finding the right balance, isn’t it. Enjoying life while still keeping your health and weight in check. Unfortunately, we will have to eat less as we get older…

Angel Collins

Those are great tips and advise, I usually do exercise every morning by running. These tips can help me to lose my obesity.


Good luck Angel. Hope it works for you!


Good advice, good advice and good advice. I’ve tried and incorporated most of these sound tips and report they work for me, too. Great post.


Thanks! If you have anything to add just let me know!

Anne @ the Frump Factor

Some great advice here. One addition to the point about salad — I read that it’s helpful at mealtime to take 2 bites of salad (or vegetables) for every 1 bite of something else. I’ve found this VERY helpful when trying to lose a pound or two!


Thanks for your feedback Anne. We always eat some salad with our meals, but not that much, although if vegetables count too then we come pretty close!


I do exactly everything what Mike writes. With two exceptions: little or no salad and no stairs (because of my high heels). The walking I do around the office. Instead of phoning, I walk up to people. Good remedy for RSI as well. And great for getting cooperation, as everybody likes a personal approach.
My tip is: always carry some low calory food with you and eat some of it every 2 hours. This way you prevent the sugar level in your blood of diving below a certain level: the craving level. Where you eat anything, no matter what. I always compare it with a stove: in order to burn (calories), the stove needs fuel. But don’t put too much in it (something with lots of calories) because the stove has to work on that then instead of working on the fat already in your body. Lots of people trying to lose weight ignore this and eat too little. Honestly.
My obsession with clothes gives me the discipline to remain the same weight. Changing size is no option.
By the way: Mike is a HUNK, you lucky girl.


Thanks for your feedback Greetje! That’s also the philosophy I live by. Keep on eating, but not so much of the bad stuff.
I’m sure Mike will like your compliment. I did chose a nice picture of him :)


That’s your husband in the picture? I didn’t realize that but wow – he’s really handsome, you lucky girl:)


I am :)

Aleya Bamdad

These are good tips. I found that washing and cutting up veggies so that they”re ready for use in the fridge is also helpful. Not having junk in the house is hard though. I have a 4 year old and a skinny hubby who likes sweets.


That is a great tip Aleya. You are very right that healthy snacks need to be readily available as it is just too easy to grab a cookie when hungry. We too always have biscuits in the house. My son and me like them and my husband too, so we will all just have to learn to eat them in moderation. I try to avoid buying crips though. When they’re not in the house, we don’t eat them and that’s a good thing!


I so agree with weighing yourself every day (but not getting upset over it). That thing where you tell how you’re doing by the way your clothes fit? You can go up 10 pounds before you grow out of something. So if you’re not thinking about the fit all the time, you’re risking having a lot more weight to lose. Easier just to see the number and know when it’s time to cut back.


That is true. I never quite know if I gained weight or not. Clothes cannot be trusted to measure that. I guess I would weigh myself more, if only the scale in my bathroom would work. (need to buy a new one…)


People ask me all the time how I stay in shape, and I honestly don’t know how to answer them, I just do what I’ve always done–and that’s exactly what is on your list! Thank you for putting this into a list.

I, too, drink a lot of water: it tastes good, I feel better when I do, my body runs better when I do, and I feel cranky if I don’t get enough (not to mention thirsty!). I never listen to people when they talk about current diet fads, nor do I pay any attention to pseudo-news about vitamins and diets and work-outs. I don’t eat a lot of grains and fruit and milk-products (ice cream, yogurt, etc.) and processed foods and drinks, all of which make me feel bad. I love red wine, meats of all kinds, vegetables, and especially salads with a bleu cheese dressing (cheese doesn’t make me feel bad).

Since I was in junior high I’ve always loved taking about a 30-minute walk in the evening after dinner, and I really miss doing that when I’m not able because of my schedule, so maybe that accounts for something. I love to hike, play badminton, and go canoeing–and I absolutely despise repetative work-outs in gyms so I don’t do that.

I also love chocolate, but it makes me feel physically bad the next day, so I stopped eating chocolate. Then a friend told me that the same was true of her except for Dr. Atkins brownies; she said they are the most delicious chocolate she’s ever eaten and she doesn’t feel any different the next day. So I tried one and it is absolutely delicious, and it didn’t make me feel bad the next day, so I now have Dr. Atkins chocolate bars or brownies on the weekends if I want some–I usually don’t have any during the week.

Thanks again for putting together this list. I should print it out and make copies, then the next time someone asks me how I stay in shape I should just hand them your list!


Hi Pearl. Thanks for your extensive reply and glad you liked the article! It’s great to read how others stay in shape in a healthy, natural way. Perhaps an easier way to share is just to copy the url and share with all your friends!


Love this common sense approach! Last year I re-evaluated my physical self for the first time in years, and found myself 20kg over weight and not having exercised in years, didn’t know where to start. I’d been in such a state of denial I’d even thrown out my scales! I enlisted a personal trainer & though expensive it forced me into a routine & I found out I could push myself more than I thought. Three months down the track I’ve finished with trainer, am exercising by myself & have lost 7kgs. I would recommend getting a personal trainer if you need help to learn how to exercise again.


Hi Michelle. Wonderful to read that you took action and succeeded. I agree that a personal trainer is great to get you started on working out in the gym. I wouldn’t know where to start with all that machinery…. Thanks so much for your feedback!

Richard Anthony

Good advice, I always go to gym every other day I consume about 3 hrs on working out and every time I fell hungry I always eat but just a little where i can control it.

kevin redman

Good article although the only one I would have a issue with is number one only because I find people come to me depressed if they weigh themselves and they have put on a pound from day to day. I advice people to weigh themselves weekly but other then that very informative


I was a weight loss counselor at a now defunct weight loss center. It drove me crazy when someone cheated on her diet by 5 croutons and thought she “blew” her diet (and we all know what you do then). This place had people on a very low calorie diet supplemented by their (very expensive) snack bars. I believe that when you restrict yourself of anything, it leads to binging on it later. I think you can eat a healthy, tasty diet without denying yourself anything. It’s all about how much you eat. Overeating anything, even vegetables is not healthy. I think if you use strategies to stop eating when you are full, you can live a fulfilling, natural life.


I need to lose weight and have been looking for a diet that I could follow for a long time. I have been dreading having to count calories/points which makes me think about food all the time. I can follow the above steps. This is so freeing! Thankyou!


Have a read through this article as well Charlene. I now believe that sugars and refined carbs are one of the worst culprits in gaining weight. You may try to limit those. http://40plusstyle.com/how-to-lose-weight-over-40/


These are all great points, but I definitely don’t agree with the “weigh yourself every day” one. If you drink a glass of water your weight can fluctuate by more than half a kilo, so the scales can be very fickle. I think that weighing yourself once a week, naked, after a wee first thing in the morning will give you the most accurate results.


I’m with you Pauline. I agree that weighing yourself once a week is more than enough.

Jose Avalos

Excellent tips. Thanks a lot.


Hey Guys

Loved the article and the tips especially “I don’t do guilt” and “Avoid Diets” but I didn’t like #1 Weigh yourself daily.

My wife wrote this book “It’s Not About The Scale” available on Amazon http://goo.gl/ydPsSf where we literally did have a scale breaking ceremony and maybe your readers would like to do a cyber scale breaking ceremony as well. Just wanted to say your article was great and introduce you to our book. Have a great day


WRONG. If you want to lose weight you have to diet. The problem is people who say you don’t need to diet fail to make a distinction between a crash diet and a calorie-reducing diet. It’s simply untrue that you don’t need to diet to lose weight. When overweight people hear this, they assume that they may continue eating as much as they want. If you wish to be slim, you must to reduce your portions. You also have to do cardio and lift some weights. But overall I have found personally that reducing your calorie intake overall is what causes the weight to come off. Also, I completely disagree with not taking any snacks whatsoever. I avoid processed snacks, but I am loathe to give up my small handful of healthy nuts, tbsp. of peanut butter, half ounce slice of cheese with a piece of fruit or square of dark chocolate. My late afternoon snack tides me over until dinner and means I won’t overeat the next time food is placed in front of me.

Juliana Ritz

You can try all the diet programs you can think of, or even implement two, three and even four, five at the same time but if you’re not smart, if you don’t put your heart into what you do and you have no dedication then all of that hardwork will just go to waste.

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