A question we often hear is “How can I lose weight without starving myself?” The truth is, going hungry is not a safe, healthy, or effective means to shed extra pounds. In fact, 90% of our patients lose weight by eating MORE.
Your body is an incredibly smart, sophisticated organism that constantly adapts to ensure survival. Too few calories can put your body in starvation mode, prompting your metabolic system to use less energy, and store more fat. This is the exact opposite of what most people hope to accomplish.
If losing weight is your goal but eating air is not, your best chance for success is meeting with one of Main Line Nutrition’s Registered Dietitians, who can create a customized plan that works with your lifestyle, food preferences, and body chemistry. Our dietitians use a variety of strategies to help our clients meet their goals. Think it’s not possible?
Check out these five ways for how to lose weight without starving!
1. Rethink the timing of meals
There is no ideal formula that works for every single body. And what might be sustainable for one person simply won’t work over the long-term for someone else. Whether it’s intermittent fasting or eating on a schedule of three small meals a day plus one snack, the trick is to see what works for YOU. And once you find the magic formula, consistency is key.
2. Consider the benefits of Intuitive Eating
Our culture trains our brains to think of some foods as “bad” and other foods as “good,” resulting in a cycle of guilt that is unhealthy and stressful. Tuning in to your body and learning to listen to your internal cues can help break the cycle. Engaging in mindful eating, when you are aware of the reasons you eat beyond physical hunger, can be a helpful technique to heal your relationship with food. Keep in mind that Intuitive Eating is not a weight loss diet, but this strategy can help you make better choices. For example: “I want to eat right now because I’m stressed. Maybe I should take a 10-minute break and walk outside instead.”
3. Consume the right amount of calories for your activity level and age
Fueling your body appropriately ensures that you have the energy to power through your busy days. Too few calories can put your body in starvation mode. However, too many calories can lead to weight gain. It’s also easy to overestimate how many calories we truly need and to underestimate how many calories are in our favorite foods. That’s why a solid, professionally-designed plan helps, while allowing room for flexibility.
4. Watch your macros
Ensure that meals are balanced, with the right ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Going low carb is a trendy option, but if you deprive your body of carbs, you can feel hungry. Going very low carb can decrease your appetite in the short term, but can also slow down your metabolism for the long term. Science tells us that for long-term, sustainable weight loss, it’s best to have carbs, protein, and fat at each meal and snack. Working with a dietitian can help you figure out the right ratio, and give you tools and tips to ensure you stay on track.
5. Give yourself permission to indulge now and then
Life is about balance, and that likewise goes for the foods we eat. Allowing yourself to indulge now and then is a healthy strategy for long-term success. Be mindful of when you are indulging, and enjoy it. Save your moments of indulgence for things you really enjoy, like a glass of wine or a warm cookie. Keep mindless snacking at bay by putting quick grab snacks (think an open bag of chips) somewhere less convenient, like on a high shelf that requires a step stool to reach it. And find other ways to reward yourself, other than food.
Tired of asking, “Why am I so hungry?” as you pursue weight loss? Work with our registered dietitians to achieve your goals in healthy, effective ways that help you learn how to lose weight without starving. Click here to learn more.
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