Having a weight loss goal in a society heavily influenced by diet culture can be exhausting. There’s always been pressure to look a certain way in a world that equates worth with a number on a scale. However, losing weight for health purposes— whether mental or physical— also poses challenges during the self-love revolution.
If you decide to try losing weight, it’s a personal choice for your body. Yet, it’s still worth trying to deprogram the messages sent by diet culture to pursue weight loss in a sustainable, healthy way.
Here are five tips for losing weight without being restrictive and setting yourself up for failure.
Seek Nutritional Counselling
One of the challenges with losing weight in a world where diets are continuously being marketed to you is knowing what will work for you. Every year, there’s an amazing new diet that will solve all of your problems— except they don’t.
Popular diet trends exist to make someone money. Additionally, they make sweeping generalizations about everyone’s body and needs. You and your best friend could follow the same diet to the letter and have entirely different results because you’re two unique humans.
Rather than going through another round of fad diet drama, seek nutritional counseling from an educated professional at a weight loss clinic. This session will help you outline your individual struggles and find solutions catered to your experience. Your dietician can help you create a custom menu based on your goals and help you address broader issues, like sleep challenges, digestive troubles, and skin problems.
Focus on Adding More Over Eating Less
Most diet plans focus on drastically reducing your calorie intake and producing quick (yet unsustainable) results. You’re made to feel like the program helped you achieve your goal, and falling off the plan led to failure. This formula makes you the person to blame, rather than a diet structure that’s impossible to stick to.
Flip that old formula on its head by focusing on adding foods rather than restricting. For example, rather than telling yourself you can’t have chocolate, focus on adding a serving of vegetables to each meal. Instead of villainizing food into good and bad, try to introduce nutrients first before moving onto your indulgences.
Creating a restrictive mindset leads to overeating and extra stress. You’ll find that as you add more nutritious food to your diet, you’ll have less room for the other options.
Set Exercise Goals
Instead of focusing on the numbers on the scale, shift your focus to exercise goals. Start by creating a sustainable exercise routine. Once regular exercise becomes a habit, set goals for your performance, such as going a little farther, lifting more, or moving faster.
By incorporating these simple goals and shifting the focus from your weight, weight loss will become a side effect rather than a primary goal. With this mindset shift, you can focus on overall health and wellness while losing weight.
Prioritize Sleep and Stress Management
Nutrition and movement play a significant role in weight loss, but they’re just a part of it. Sleep deprivation and stress also negatively impact weight loss goals by creating hormonal disruptions that impede progress. Not only does stress and sleep deprivation release hormones that lead to weight gain, but they also cause digestive issues and emotion-induced hunger cues.
Create a sleep routine and incorporate stress management into your everyday life. These two foundational weight loss habits work well together. Try to unplug from the world well before bedtime and do a calming activity that helps you relax and unwind. This aspect of weight loss is often the missing piece for many individuals.
Be Kind to Yourself
Finally, remember to be kind to yourself, especially on tough days. When you notice yourself engaging in negative self-talk, stop the chatter and practice positive affirmations.
With these five tips, you can pursue weight loss in a healthy, non-restrictive manner that promotes long-term success.