Some women never diet, and you know what? Most of them don’t need to and frankly speaking, many diets don’t work. In fact, diet is the reason why many women fail to lose weight.
So, if you’re ready to put off trying a new diet, here are 9 rules from diet-shunning women, that can help you slim down significantly, and the best part is, you can follow easily along without having to think much about them.
1. Every day is not a special day
Pastries from your boss, a decadent restaurant meal, cake at a friend’s birthday party. These “special” events happen so regularly that it’s easy to justify them as splurge-worthy. While occasional treats are must-haves, your diet as a whole is what keeps your weight steady. So choose your treats wisely and cut out the rest. Maybe split a crème brûlée with your husband on date night, but pass on the cookies at the meeting during the day. And just celebrate your birthday (and your children’s and maybe your husband) with cake, but not everyone else.
2. Take your time during meals
A favorite tricks of many women is to talk non-stop at the dinner table—this helps slow down food intake, which makes them eat less naturally. In a recent study, researchers asked people to consume a bowl of ice cream in five or 30 minutes. Those who enjoyed it over 30 minutes reported feeling fuller than those who gobbled it up quickly. So relish the lasagne, but love the company more.
3. Forget about eating ‘diet’ foods
Foods with low-fat or low-calorie labels sound good in theory. The problem is that these are often heavily processed and high in carbs. These will convert to sugar in your body, contributing to weight gain. What’s more, companies enhance these products after removing fat by pumping them with sugar, salt and other additives. Be like the women who don’t diet—they read ingredient labels to cut through the tricky health claims splashed across the front of the package to find out what’s really in the food.
4. There’s no such thing as bad foods
It doesn’t pay to refer to brownies as “bad” and kale as “good.” In a University of Toronto study, women who were deprived of chocolate for a week experienced more cravings and were more likely to eat more chocolate. If you tell yourself you can’t have chocolate and try not to think about chocolate, you obsess over…chocolate. And find yourself scarfing KitKat bars. This in turn will lead you to thinking you’re a dieting failure, which makes you feel guilty and overeat as a result. For a happier relationship with food, ditch “bad” from your vocabulary. And remember, many women who don’t diet really aren’t too picky with what they eat—what they do practice is moderation.
5. Sleep is more important than working out
When you’re busy, the first thing that takes a hit is sleep. But if you want to maintain a healthy BMI, research shows that sleep takes top priority. In fact, on days when you’re sleep deprived and you have to choose between an extra hour of shuteye or waking up early to work out, you should pick sleep. Lack of sleep has hormonal effects that create weight gain and alter your appetite to prefer high-calorie foods. Besides, you won’t have the energy to exercise effectively, right?
6. Don’t beat yourself up if you have an ‘off’ day
You’ve just eaten a cheeseburger, some fries and downed it with a root beer float. Even if it wasn’t reflective of your healthy eating goals, don’t beat yourself down. Truth be told, restricting yourself can do more harm that not. So, move on and promise yourself to eat better at the next meal. Self-compassion can lead to a better relationship with food and a healthier BMI. Lower self-esteem may lead to disordered eating (like binge eating) and that causes weight gain. Treat your relationship with food like you treat a loved one – with encouragement and affirmation.
7. Avoid diet drinks
While some studies show that artificial sweeteners don’t affect weight, other research suggests that calorie-free drinks may cause weight gain because they stimulate hunger and slows your metabolism. Be on the safe side and avoid them completely.
8. There is no need to count calories
There’s a huge difference between how your body uses 1,000 calories of junk food and 1,000 calories of whole foods. So, getting wrapped up in calorie counts could make you deny yourself calorie-dense, yet nutritious, foods like fatty fish, avocado, oils like olive and coconut, nuts, and dark chocolate. Focus on filling your plate with real foods with an emphasis on protein (fish, chicken, tofu), vegetables, and a source of healthy fat. Well-rounded meals coupled with heeding your hunger cues will keep you at a healthy weight.
9. Cut down sugar intake
Your body can only process so much sugar at one time. If you over-consume it, it gets stored as fat in your body. But that doesn’t mean you should cut it out completely. Figure out what your body can handle. Ask yourself if you feel tired and bloated after a few cookies? Based on your reaction, you’ll know if you should cut back. After all, food is supposed to make you feel great—and any woman who doesn’t diet knows that.