How to Lose Weight Without “Dieting”

Ugh, I hate that word… “dieting.” It literally has the word “die” in it! By no means do you need to “die-t” to lose weight. And, sorry to spill the beans, most of those d-word strategies end in the exact opposite – either stalling progress all together or setting you up for weight gain rebound.

How to lose weight without dieting

There are a couple other (more helpful) reasons I don’t like the idea of a “diet.”

  1. It assumes that the changes you’re making will be temporary.
  2. It usually sets you up on a meal plan that SHOULD only be temporary.
  3. It asks you to includes absurd amounts of cardio or exercise in general.
  4. It sometimes includes some sort of “meal replacement,” supplement, or magic pill.
  5. Too much exercise, not enough food (or the right kind of food) = starving, hangry girl who is most likely going to feel bad about herself because she doesn’t have the “will power” to not eat more than recommended on the so-called “diet.”
  6. It usually leaves you more confused and frustrated than before you started, leading to low self-esteem and poor body image. And, isn’t the reason we want to change our habits to feel more confident??

So how do we fight back with vengeance on this “d-word?” We find healthy, sustainable ways to find our healthy, happy weights that actually make us feel better, not worse! So where do you even start? I’m laying out 5 mistakes that will lead you down an unsuccessful path to your fitness goals.

1. Not eating enough.

If you didn’t already hear the news, eating too little will put you into a nasty thing called starvation mode. This tricky place happens when your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs. When in starvation mode, your body will hold onto every morsel of food you eat and stores it as fat. Eating too little looks different on everyone depending on your genetics, hormones, and activity level. Signs of starvation mode include irritability, inflammation (can also be caused by overtraining), fatigue, depression/anxiety, weight-loss plateau or even weight gain, lack of period,ย diarrhea or constipation, and anemia.

2. Eating too much.

“There’s never too much of a good thing” is not true in the case of your food intake. Unfortunately, eating healthy, whole foods isn’t going to help you lose weight if you’re eating too much of them. Perfectly healthy foods like avocados, nuts, nut butters, seeds, fruits, potatoes, whole grains, and eggs are still calorically dense. It’s important to consume the correct portions of these foods to put your body in enough of a caloric deficit for weight loss (without going into starvation mode – see #1). There’s one food group that this rule does not apply – veggies (especially the green ones)! Any Life in Spandex Lady knows the more greens the better. This is one of the basic principles in the Life in Spandex Eat Guide.

3. Sitting on your bum.

To be your healthiest, most confident self, you must move. In fact, leading a sedentary live can actually be just as harmful for your body as smoking cigarettes! If you aren’t exercising, you’re also missing out on a ton of #bossbabe benefits like increased metabolism, toned muscles, strong bones, balanced hormones, better self-esteem, and stress-relief.ย It’s important to get all of these in check to effortlessly maintain a healthy weight for the long haul.

4. Too much cardio.

I see so many women start out on a workout plan with vigor and within weeks they’re off the wagon. Most of the time it’s because they believed that spending hours on the elliptical was going to be the secret path to weight loss success. (BIG RED ERROR BUTTON). Even I’ve been there! Steady state cardio has its time and place, but it’s much less time than you think. Our bodies are smart. When we start on a new 30-minute per day cardio regimen, we may initially burn 300 calories if we work really hard. But our bodies want to be efficient (it’s how we survived during famine). So those 300 calories will quickly turn into 250 which will dwindle down to 200 and so on. This means you’ll continually have to increase the amount of cardio you’re doing to even maintain the weight you’ve lost. Sounds like a nightmare, right?! That’s why it’s so important to have a balanced cardio plan with both interval and steady state cardio balanced with strength training.

5. Nutritional imbalances.

Whoever said “a calorie is a calorie” was very misguided. Sure, there’s a possibility you could lose weight on a 1,500 calorie candy diet, but it’ll be at at the expense of your health and sanity. And isn’t the reason you want to change your habits is to be healthier and happier? The secret to sticking with a healthy eating plan and actually enjoying it is eating the right kind of foods at the right times during the day in the right proportions. This is why I never ask any of the Life in Spandex Ladies to count calories. Rather it is about filling up your plate with the right macronutrient rations of micronutrient-dense foods that will please your tastebuds ย and keep you feeling satisfied.

Still feeling confused on exactly how to lose weight in a healthy and fun way? Think you don’t have the time or the money to spare? This is exactly why I created the Life in Spandex Sweat and Eat Guides. These downloadable ebooks are created for busy #bossbabes who want to be healthy but have been given the wrong information. I will show you step-by-step how you can be fit, energized, and confident with do-anywhere workouts that take 30-minutes or less and simple, quick, and affordable meal planning techniques.

Feel like you’re doing everything “right” but not seeing or feeling the results you expect? Subscribe now for your free 5-Day Metabolism Jumpstart Plan!

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Health and happiness,


Hi and welcome to Life in Spandex! I'm Emily, a personal trainer who believes there should be no secrets standing in your way to getting fit. I am sharing my knowledge here on this blog in order to help you reach your goals. Fitness should be fun, eating healthy should taste good, and feeling your absolute best is the ultimate goal. Let's get fit together!
  1. I don’t believe I’ve ever dieted. I’ve had no sugar weeks, because sometimes that sugar addiction gets way out of control, but never a diet. However, I’ve lost over 50 lbs in the last year doing almost everything you’ve mentioned here. Lifestyle changes are the only way to go! Thank you for sharing with us at Designing You!

    1. That’s amazing!!! You go girl!

  2. What fab tips – th cardio one is the most useful as I often feel the more the better but rvidenymh not true! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday and sorry for the late commenting

    1. Exactly!! Glad I could teach ya something ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Great Tips! Hope you are having a fantastic weekend and thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

    1. Thank you Helen!! You too love ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Great advice! Its definitely possible to lose weight without dieting to the point you are hungry, fatigued or hate your food. I was able to lose weight and get lean and eat enough good wholesome food that satisfied me.

  5. I couldnt agree more with you

  6. The word “diet” is truly an ugly word. Nutrition, now that’s better. It’s all about the balance. Great post!

    1. Yes nutrition is so important. Diets should, well, die

  7. I can’t remember the last time I was on a “diet.” It just doesn’t work long term. Rarely if ever.

  8. I’ve been working really hard on eating more nutritionally. Thinking about what value this will bring to me instead of just filling my stomach because I’m hungry.

    1. Yes exactly! How can this food heal me not make me sick ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Yassss! I could not agree more. Small changes that stick are what makes the biggest difference.

    1. So happy to know someone else agrees!! Thanks Julie ?

  10. You have shared some fantastic tips here. It’s so important to have balance, and to make changes for life, not just for a diet. Otherwise, when you reach your goal, you’ll just gain it all back. Thank you so much for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Pinning and sharing this post around!

    1. I’m so happy I made this clear!!! Healthy living is a lifetime habit :). Thank you so much April ?

  11. These are great tips Emily. I couldn’t agree with you more. I hate dieting too. It’s just wrong! We don’t need to eat less just right ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Thank you, Natalie!! I think it’s just important for people to realize they need to make healthy, lasting, and enjoyable changes. Not try to get a quick fix and then go back to old habits

  12. Such a great point about dieting being a temp fix. That’s the biggest problem I think; people looking at it as a short term thing. Healthy living is about changes you can sustain for life.

    1. Exactly!!! It’s not about reaching a “goal weight” and then going back to old habits to only regain all of it.

  13. I have found that watching the amount of calories I consume daily a well as walking exercise has worked for me. Originally I did not have a clue as to how many calories I was consuming.

    1. That’s great Betty!! You got to find what works for you

  14. These are such awesome tips! I love that you don’t have to be on a diet to stay healthy and trim!

    1. Thank you ladies!!! I want women everywhere to be educated on healthy habits!

  15. Definitely not a ‘dieter’. Everything in moderation…except running, maybe I do a bit too much running ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great post!

    1. Haha I miss running! Very jealous ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. yesss im so with you on dieting…it works temporarily and fails miserably.

    1. I wish I could give this message to every woman on the planet!

  17. yay! I hate dieting too!

    1. Haha woot woot! Join the train ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. I also HATE the word: dieting. Love all of these tips.

    1. Yay team no “diet!” Hehe thanks girl

  19. Love these tips to find better balance. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Mollie! I’m so happy you found them helpful

  20. Yes people often don’t realize that not eating enough can also do you a disservice. You have to find the right balance for you

    1. Yes so true! Thanks for reading Deborah ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. I don’t like “dieting” — it’s so ridiculous. And if you’re on a diet, you’re less likely to stick with it longterm.

    1. Exactly!! Happy to see someone who agrees with me ๐Ÿ™‚

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