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

by Sylvia

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!

Part of losing weight is to realise what are your natural advantages and disadvantages when it comes to weight management. These are mine:

Advantages

  • I like exercise
  • I do not have big craving for sugar or alcohol
  • I like water and I sleep well

Disadvantages

  • I love cookies, and find it hard to stop eating them once I start
  • I get strong cravings for snack in late evening
  • I can put on weight very quickly (1 kg per week is easy)

Before you set goals for yourself, it is worth to stop and think what natural advantages you have to work with, and what are your weaknesses. You cannot eliminate your weaknesses, but it is certainly worth reflecting on how to manage them. (For example – to manage my snack cravings in late evenings, I simply started going to bed earlier….)

Finally, I strongly prefer simple tips, so that is what I have included below. All of them are easy to implement.

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

1. Weigh yourself every day

I keep an eye on my weight every day, by having the scales next to my shower. It may seem obsessive, but it helps me not to lose focus.

2. Set a maximum weight limit

My target weight is 78kg. But I only make small adjustments until I get over 80kg.
If I get over 80kg, I am very hard on myself until I get back under 78kg. The good news is that it usually only requires a 3-4 weeks of strong discipline to get my weight back below 78kg, because I am quick to recognize my weight has gone too high. These days it rarely happens….

3. Focus

In my mind, losing weight is 60% about food, 25% about exercise and moving, and 15% about giving your body & mind what it needs to function (rest, water, less stress, fun, etc).

4. Avoid carbohydrates, starch and sugar

This is the golden rule and we all know it these days. Carbohydrates are the killer. Carbohydrates are making you fat.
It is amazing how quickly you get used to living without sugar once you starting cutting back. So be more conscious of what you are eating, and eat less of the bad stuff… those muffins and doughnuts especially, although we love them…

5. Appetite is not your friend

Someone explained to me that “appetite is not your friend”. It took me a while to get it, but they were right. My body signals that I need to eat, when often I don’t need to. Strangely enough, the more I eat, the more I want to eat. I get addicted to eating. These days it is rare to feel hungry, but it is a nice feeling… I recommend it…..

6. 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 their profit and NOT your health.

7. Salad is important

I am not really fond of the taste of salad. But my body seems to like it. I am convinced that it is plays a part in 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. I am told there is more nutrition and less calories.

9. 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.

10. Avoid diets

I will never diet again. I have tried dieting, but I just got obsessed by food all day long and eventually I gave in. In my mind, it is better to eat healthy, than not to eat at all.

11. Try to avoid 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 easier it is to avoid these foods.
On the flip side, it helps to have some raw carrots, apples or other healthy snacks ready to munch when you feel the need.

12. Enjoy 1 alcoholic beverage per night, at most…

This is a hard one. I switched from beer to wine, and gradually cut back to 1 glass per night, even in a social setting. Like reducing sugar intake, you quickly get used to new limits. Of course I reduced it slowly, and I was stuck on 2 glasses for a long time….

13. Make many small adjustments

When I started my weight loss program, I took many small steps over many years.
I used to drink coffee with full cream milk, and then I switched to skimmed milk. I cut cheese out of breakfast and so on….
Making small changes that reduce my calorie intake, but that do not sacrifice life pleasure, are a no-brainer. You can probably reduce calorie intake 10% without any sacrifice or effort.

14. Take time for dinner

Part of getting healthy is to change your relationship to eating. Take the time to talk to the family and ask about their day. Each meal is a precious moment…..

15. Water is important

I don’t know why, but drinking water really helps me. The more water I drink, the better my body functions.

16. Get at least 7 hours of quality sleep, every night

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 quality bed, to make sure I get quality sleep.)
And if you work too hard, or stress too much, try to find a better balance….

17. Exercise regularly

I am lucky; I love exercise. I prefer social sports, tennis, soccer, etc but I also don’t mind jogging. This part of managing my weight comes naturally to me. But for those who don’t, even getting out on a walk in the mornings or evenings is good exercise and part of any weight management program. You could look into social sports, yoga, climbing, golf, dancing etc?
Although I am not a huge fan of the gym, I still go on regular basis, and try to give each set of muscles a short work out. This keeps them all stretched and active.
I tend to follow a rule that I have to exercise my age in minutes. So now that I am 47, I try to exercise 47 minutes at least 5 days per week.

18. Move more

I try to do some exercise almost every day, but sometimes it is just about moving more each day. Just walking to and from a lunch café a bit further from the office is a good example. 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 colleague got himself an office desk where he works standing up. I want one of those….

19. Don’t do guilt

No matter what I eat, I don’t feel guilty. 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…..
These simple rules work for me. But everyone is different. I would love to hear yours!!

20. 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.

Related posts:

Heather

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.

Sylvia

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

Nanne

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.

Sylvia

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.

Sylvia

Good luck Angel. Hope it works for you!

Shybiker

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.

Sylvia

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!

Sylvia

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!

GreetjeKamminga

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.

Sylvia

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 :)

Nanne

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

Sylvia

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.

Sylvia

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!

WendyB

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.

Sylvia

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…)

Pearl

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!

Sylvia

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!

Michelle

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.

Sylvia

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

Nancy

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.

Charlene

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!

Sylvia

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/

Pauline

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.

Sylvia

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

Jose Avalos

Excellent tips. Thanks a lot.

tony

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

skinnymini

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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