If you want to lose weight and keep it off, but don’t want to be a prisoner of diets, you’ve come to the right place. It’s a very common dilemma. On one hand, you know that diets aren’t a long-term solution to losing and maintaining your weight. However, because you’ve only dieted to lose weight and have gained some (short-term) results through dieting, you don’t know if there’s another option that can deliver far better results.
This article was created to help you resolve the two most common barriers people face on their weight loss journey. It is also intended to help you implement the tried and true formula that will get you off the diet train once and for all. Here’s how to lose weight without dieting.
The Two Main Barriers to Losing Weight Without Dieting
- The idea of ditching diets sounds beautiful in theory. However, in the back of your mind, are you saying to yourself, “If I can’t even lose weight while being on a strict diet, how can I lose weight when I’m not dieting at all?” Sometimes it just sounds too good to be true. This poses a psychological barrier.
- There’s a knowledge gap (and perhaps a cultural gap, too). It can be incredibly hard to find valid, systematic information on how to avoid dieting culture and still successfully lose weight. The most common reason for this is that we live in a country where 45 million people diet every year, and over 80% of people have dieted at least once in their life. Because of this, weight loss is almost synonymous with dieting, when it needn’t be.
A Little Bit About Me (And Why You Should Listen To Me)
I grew up in a country where most people are skinny, regardless of their eating habits. It’s just the way it is. In fact, I remember feasting on fried rice, dumplings, and fish pancakes with sweet pepper sauce almost every day. Consuming lots of starch and carbs was a big part of our daily life. In retrospect, I would say that I likely consumed greater than 2000 calories on a typical day, and yet I still kept a lean 5’8” 120 lb figure quite effortlessly.
I then moved to the U.S., and without exaggeration, I gained 30 pounds in the first 3 months. I tried one diet after another to try and shed the pounds. However, I managed to gain another 20. So, there I was 50 pounds heavier, with a food obsession and little to no effective tools to help me lose the weight. But everything changed when I took a one-month trip back to China. Re-immersing myself in the culture I grew up in, immediately unplugged me from the problematic patterns I had so quickly acquired in the U.S.
Long story short, I lost 50 pounds in 12 months (full story here) — without dieting. Having come from such a radically different culture where being lean was the norm, I had the unique ability to see what my American peers couldn’t see. In American culture, you are taught to believe in diets. Moreover, you are led to believe that your weight (and subsequent weight loss) solely depends on counting calories, carbs, and all of the other distorted science and fad based explanations used to legitimize the next new diet craze. (Suggested reading: CICO Diet: Why It Isn’t Scientific At All).
Inspired by my personal experience and the knowledge I’ve acquired since, I founded Rise Lean and created the Lean Instinct Formula™. This unique program has helped people from all over the world experience effortless, natural weight loss without dieting. My clients who have struggled with food obsession and yo-yo dieting for years commonly see 20, 30, 40 pounds, or more come off. Do you need to change your relationship with food?
Weight loss is a serious concern for so many people. I’m honestly sick and tired of seeing all of the fluff-filled, hollow, machine-written weight loss advice all over the internet. Motivational and habit-creating tips are great, but TIPS AREN’T SOLUTIONS! And to be honest, losing weight without dieting is much less of a habit-related issue than it is the physical, hormonal, and psychological patterns that DOMINATE new or existing habits. Moreover, it’s not about willpower and discipline when someone is biologically, chemically, and emotionally primed to make the wrong choices.
The Domino Belief
I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you this ONE BIG DISTINCTION first, because without it, everything else will feel 100x harder. What I am referring to is called ‘the Domino Belief.’ And it’s the first thing I help my coaching clients embrace and internalize before teaching them the full Lean Instinct Formula™.
The Domino Belief is:
The ability to lose weight without dieting is an INSTINCT.
It’s not an ability that’s outside of you. And all you need to do is to re-activate the instinct.
In other words:
You don’t need to count calories or other “scientific” metrics to avoid overeating — just like you don’t need to count how many breaths you take to avoid over-breathing.
Your body has everything under control, and all you need is to ALLOW it. If you simply internalize this important belief, the results you experience can be truly monumental.
How To Lose Weight Without Dieting: The 3 Elements
To lose weight without dieting, you first need to make sure that you understand and implement these three key elements:
Element #1- Be sure your body isn’t resisting weight loss
There are numerous ways that your body can resist weight loss. If you find it increasingly difficult to lose weight, it may be a sign that your body is in resistance. Here are two examples of how this can happen:
If you’ve been on a restrictive diet for a prolonged period of time, such as one that allows you only 1200 calories per day, this may have affected your metabolism. If your metabolism is out of whack, you might frequently experience a weight loss plateau followed by a weight gain rebound. This why metabolic weight loss coaching is so important.
It’s important to keep in mind that your body is extremely intelligent. It’s genetically designed to survive. So in respect to what role metabolism plays in weight loss, while you’re thinking “I need to lose 20 pounds,” your body is thinking “I need to keep myself alive.” Therefore, when you starve yourself of calories, your body “thinks” you are experiencing famine and by design, it preserves energy to make sure your key organs can function. That’s how it stops burning calories efficiently. At this point, your metabolic set point, which is the number of calories your body will burn a day, becomes lower.
Did you know that your eating habits and metabolism are largely influenced by our hormones? For example, if you are experiencing chronic inflammation, which is very common among overweight people, there’s a very high chance that you are programmed to retain and gain weight. This is because systemic inflammation impairs the hormones that regulate appetite, fat loss, and metabolism. It also leads to insulin resistance, which causes higher fat accumulation in the liver and even greater inflammation. It becomes a vicious cycle.
When your hormones and inner chemistry are working against you, it’s not only your body but also your brain health and emotional well-being that are at risk. When your body is wired to resist weight loss, no diet on the planet can help you lose weight and keep it off because fundamentally, we can’t fight our biology.
So what can you do? You must get your body working FOR you in order for prolonged weight loss results to stick. When your body is fully activated to do what it’s supposed to, and you are working with it properly, you will shed weight even while relaxing.
Element #2. Make sure your core senses are working effectively
Your senses determine your food experience, just like the lenses you wear determine how you see things. If you wear a pair of sunglasses with yellow-tinted lenses, everything you see will be tinted that color. So, if your senses are distorted, your entire relationship with food will be skewed.
How do you change your relationship with food so that you can lose weight? In order to lose weight without dieting, you have to make sure your lenses reflect the true nature of the foods you eat. There are two core senses that are important here:
The inability to accurately assess fullness and hunger is the base of the dieting mentality. When you can accurately feel when you are hungry, thirsty, and full, you are able to stop counting calories, and eat instinctually. Resetting how you eat is a crucial element to losing weight without dieting.
Here’s a little story about this: I’ll always remember the first ice cream cone I had in the U.S. It was so sweet that I couldn’t even swallow it, and I grew up eating ice cream in China. The level of sweetness that feels appropriate to Americans is literally unacceptable to most people from Asia. This is the common agreement amongst most, if not all of my Asian and European friends.
Here’s the bottom line:
If your taste buds are trained to favor junk food all of the time, you probably have a sugar addiction and will have 100x more cravings during the day than someone who doesn’t.
The good news is, taste buds can be retrained! One classic example: at Week 5 of the Lean Instinct Formula journey, all my clients are asked to do a ‘nightstand exercise,’ which involves going to bed with some kind of food that used to be a hard-to-resist temptation before they started the program.
Over 87% of my clients can peacefully fall asleep with little to no temptation. This means that they feel completely detached from their old addictions and cravings. That’s a huge win!
This is why I always tell people this:
You don’t fight your cravings and food obsession. Instead, you outgrow it like a 2-year-old outgrowing his thumb-sucking obsession.
Resetting your senses is crucial to changing your physical, sensory, and emotional experience with food and fluctuating weight patterns. Your senses determine whether you’ll have absolute control over both the kind and the amount of food you eat!
Element #3. Make sure your food psychology is working for you
There are various ways your food psychology can work against you rather than for you. For example, here are some psychology patterns that many people struggle with:
- You’ve been trained to associate negative emotions with food.
- You believe food is your enemy and have developed lots of guilt and shame about eating.
- You can’t gain full independence from your thoughts, and can’t differentiate thoughts from real instinctual cravings.
Food psychology is a set of beliefs that you’ve unconsciously developed over the course of your life. It impacts how you experience and how you react to food. There are many psychological barriers, and it varies from person to person.
Many times, your food psychology is a reflection of your relationship with yourself. It can be a self-identity issue for some as well. For example, one of my clients once caught her inner voice saying “my parents’ limits are my limits.” This is a limiting belief that dominated her food psychology. She saw her parents struggling with eating and so she unconsciously assumed it was her destiny as well. This kind of limiting belief and unconscious thought pattern provided a negative backdrop to her relationship with food for her entire life. She was only able to overcome it by investigating her belief system during her participation in the Lean Instinct Formula™ program.
How to Lose Weight Without Dieting: 3 Top Myths
We are pretty much done addressing the how-to aspect of losing weight without dieting. Now, let’s address any myths, doubts and hesitations you may have.
Myth #1. It will take forever to lose the weight.
I’m sure you have your own definition of what is considered fast and what is deemed as slow. So, instead of defining the speed using either of these words, I’ll just tell you the average amount of time my clients have spent implementing these changes in their lives.
On average, my clients usually see 2-5 pounds of weight loss during the first week. This is AFTER they’ve completely quit dieting.
The average amount of time it has taken for clients to lose 30 pounds without dieting has been about six and a half months.
The truth is, you don’t need to wait for 30 pounds of weight loss to see your life radically shift. My client Janina, for example, was excited and empowered to see herself losing weight each and every week. This happened naturally, without limiting what she could and couldn’t eat.
Myth #2. You have to skip the pleasure food.
It’s wild to see how many people actually think like this. Last week I was interviewed by Tyzer Evans, who runs one of the top 2% global podcasts for entrepreneurs. When I was asked about this myth, I went straight to my fridge to show Tyzer what was in there. This is what he saw and noted on camera:
- Orange juice
- All types of cheese and dairy products (no low-fat versions)
- A 0.5-gallon-bottle of REAL coke (NOT the diet version, as I insist on drinking the authentic one!)
- 2 boxes of ice cream
- Noodles, dumplings, and buns
- Lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, and meat.
The truth is, most of the “unhealthy foods” had been there for weeks and even months. I’m simply not tempted by these foods. I eat them when I want to, and yet most of the time, I don’t care to.
My clients enjoy the same relationship with food — relaxing, casual, carefree.
The bottom line is that you should be able to have the freedom to have any food you want in front of you and still lose weight. Like I said earlier, maintaining weight is an instinct. Once you have activated all of the crucial elements, your body will automatically adjust and the weight will just begin to fall off.
Myth #3. You have to exercise a lot to compensate for not dieting
I certainly don’t mind if my clients have an exercise routine, but I don’t ask them to create one. Believe it or not, you can lose weight without dieting and exercising. Again, when your body works for you and has built the patterns and momentum necessary for organic weight loss to happen naturally, you don’t need to mechanically work to burn extra calories. This doesn’t mean that I feel you should be a couch potato. However, it does mean that you don’t need to go to the gym three times per week or run a mile a day to lose weight.
Words can only convey so much. Check out this video of a client of mine doing her first weigh-in. She was nervous about not counting anything and totally abandoning dieting…until she saw she was down 10 pounds in 4 weeks.
The only exercise she engaged in was light strolling and a yoga session. This experience is shared by most of my clients.
Myth #4. Fat genes make it impossible to lose weight
One day, I’ll invite an expert in epigenetic to talk about this jointly with me. For now, I’ll just speak to it from facts I’ve pieced together from experts in the field, and from my years of coaching.
First of all, my Asian genes didn’t prevent me from gaining 50 pounds when I came to the U.S. For my clients, their American and European genes didn’t prevent them from losing 30 to 50 pounds organically either (unless they were taking some medicine that counters weight loss).
According to WHO, the obesity rate in America didn’t start skyrocketing until 1975 (see the chart below). This was less than 50 years ago, which is too short of a time span for evolutionary changes to happen on the genetic level. In fact, science has confirmed, lasting evolutionary changes take ONE MILLION YEARS.
Most Americans are descendants of people from other countries, most of which aren’t seeing obesity at this level in their population.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m no expert in epigenetics. But I have learned a valuable lesson on this topic:
Genetic disposition is one thing. But a lot of the time, it’s really the genetic expression that matters. Just like Dr. Joe Dispenza said in a dozen of his bestselling books:
Genes are like Christmas tree lights. They’re turning on and off all the time. And the form and experience of your body is a function of the lights that are on at any given time. What determines which lights are on is the internal environment (chemicals) that you’ve activated.
Here’s another fact to consider:
Over 75% of the people I’ve helped used to believe their fat genes made them fat. Had they chosen to surrender to that belief, that would have ultimately been their reality. However, by changing limiting beliefs and your food psychology, you can be healed once and for all.
I hope that you have gained greater clarity on how to lose weight without dieting.
In summary, there are 2 things that you need to do:
- Understand your instincts.
- LEVERAGE those instincts so that your body works for you, as nature intended.
Leslie Chen is rated as Top Weight Loss Coach In 2022 by Coach Foundation. For 8 years, her Lean Instinct Formula™ has helped people lose weight left and right while gaining unlimited food freedom.
If you are READY to start losing weight consistently and sustainably without dieting — while eliminating 90% useless work you are doing now, check out the idea of working with a high-performance weight loss coach and book a clarity call with us.
You May Want To Read:
7 Intuitive Eating Principles That Make Eating Easy
The Worst Time To Weigh Yourself
CICO Diet — Why It’s Not Scientific At All
How To Recover From A Cheat Day