17 Ways To Get Healthy Without Dieting
17 Ways To Get Healthy Without Dieting
By now you know that dieting isn’t my thing…nor do I think diets work for the millions of Americans who go on them every year in an attempt to “get healthy and lose weight”. In fact, 95% of all people who attempt a diet regain the weight within one year. Even scarier is the fact that both adults and children who have been on a diet are statistically more likely to be obese later in life.
“Yup, Kelly, I get it…don’t diet. But what can I do? I really want to get healthy and I really do need to lose some weight! How do I get healthy without dieting? Please help me!”
I’ve been beating on my anti-diet drum for a long time. I hope you’re not getting tired of it because I have no intention of quitting…especially after my dismal experiences with diets and body shame.
BUT, I do plainly see that we have a health and weight crisis on our hands. I really want to help people change their lives. I want to help them feel better physically and emotionally. I want them to have energy. I want them to love life. I just want them to do it without the soul-sucking roller coaster of yo-yo dieting!
17 ways to get healthy without dieting
Get started. Stand up out of your chair. Seriously. Right now. You just moved your body one more time than you might have otherwise today! I see far too many people get mired in doubt about what to do or how to get started. Just start. Do something…anything…that will make your body just a smidge healthier than yesterday.
Movement is key. It will be very difficult to control your weight if you are sedentary. You don’t have to do hour-long sweat-fest workouts, but you should shoot for 10,000 steps every day. That’s roughly 5 miles of walking. Get a step tracker like the FitBit for motivation!
Keep a food journal for one week. Honestly track everything that passes your lips. Even go so far as to weigh and measure food. You might be surprised at how much you eat without realizing it. When tracking, pay special attention to your eating patterns. For example, ravenous hunger at 10 PM that causes you to mow down an entire box of Captain Crunch might mean you didn’t eat enough during the day.
Get used to drinking more water…about half your body weight in ounces to be exact. Hydration is important for both health and appetite control. If you don’t like plain water, squeeze a lemon or an orange into it to add flavor. Try herbal teas or flavored seltzer waters.
Go for a walk after dinner. This is hands down one of the best ways to control blood glucose and insulin spikes after a meal (remember, insulin is the hormone that helps your body store fat). Even 10 minutes of moderate activity after dinner will do the trick!
“Elevate” your food. Take a quick inventory of what foods you and your family eat most often. What could you buy that’s similar, but healthier? Examples: swapping white bread and pasta for wheat; replacing corn tortilla chips with bean-based baked chips; making your own salad dressings; swapping processed peanut butter for the real stuff; cooking extra chicken or ground beef to replace processed deli meats for your lunches; Going organic/grass fed/pasture raised.
Have everyone in your house make a list of the healthy foods they like. Go buy the foods on that list and make sure they are within easy reach in your cabinets and refrigerator. If healthy foods are readily available, it’s much easier to make good choices.
Have everyone in your house make a list of one or two “junk” foods they can’t live without. Keep those foods in the house (but in a high cabinet and out of sight). Compromise is a good way to get everyone on board for a healthier lifestyle.
Get rid of the rest. I cannot stress enough that changing your environment is the fastest way to help yourself get on the right path to health. If tempting foods are easily available and in plain sight, you will eat them. It’s human nature!
Buy portion-controlled. I buy peanut butter, guacamole, hummus, nuts, and ice cream that are already packaged in single-serve portions. Why? Because I know I will overeat these foods every time if I’m eating straight from the “family size” container.
Always pair carbohydrates with protein and/or healthy fat. Carbohydrates aren’t inherently bad (no matter what your keto friend told you). But, when eaten alone, they can spike insulin and leave you vulnerable to hunger and cravings later. Pairing carbs with protein or fat will keep you full and buffer your insulin response. Examples of excellent pairings might be: avocado toast, apple slices with peanut butter, beef jerky with dried cranberries, and plain Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen berries.
Add a fibrous vegetable or fruit to every meal. The brighter the colors, the better! Fibrous veggies and fruits are nutrient-dense, high in fiber, low in calories, usually high in water content, and are filling. Examples include: broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, carrots, spinach, kale, cucumbers, summer squash, apples, pears, berries, oranges, and grapefruit.
Stop being so boring! Raw or steamed veggies get really old. Add different and interesting spices to your veggies. Marinade, skewer, and grill them. Make a ratatouille. Try oven-roasting a whole head of cauliflower with dill yogurt dressing. Eating healthy is only as boring as you make it.
Get outside for 10 minutes every morning. Getting natural light in the morning – even on a cloudy day – will help you reset your circadian clock. You’ll feel more awake during the day and you’ll sleep better at night.
Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth. Or do squats. Or do side bends. Sounds goofy, right? You just got in some extra movement and balance work today. Go you!
Commit to drinking a green smoothie every morning for 2 weeks. See what happens. If nothing else, you’ll probably visit the toilet more often (a good thing for most women). Check out my favorite green smoothie below!
Enjoy a treat…every day. Dieting dogma tells us that treats should be few and far between. But if you find yourself living for your once-weekly “treat day”, or gorging on cookies when no one is looking, it might be time to add in a little treat every day. You should enjoy your healthy lifestyle, but having a little something to look forward to every day is really helpful in staying motivated and on track.
It’s a process to get healthy without dieting!
You don’t have to do ALL the things listed above! Pick a few that you think might work in your life and give them a try. Getting healthy shouldn’t be a miserable experience…but it does take time. It took me 10 years to find a balanced lifestyle that makes me healthy and happy…and I’m still working at it! There have lots of starts, stops, and “mistakes” along the way too.
The fact that you’re here reading this is a start! You’re interested in making healthy changes! Now just get started! Do one little thing! Look for every small opportunity to better yourself! And above all…
Enjoy the journey!
I hope you enjoyed this post and thank you for reading!
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Blog Author: Kelly Bailey, IIN certified holistic nutrition coach, and NPTI certified personal trainer
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