How to Lose Weight Without Going on a Diet

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If you want to start losing weight but don't want to follow a strict eating program, there's good news. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to lose weight without going on a diet. Making a few simple changes to your daily routine can help you avoid diet fails and develop nutritious, sustainable eating habits.

Watch Out for Sugary Drinks

Sugar-sweetened beverages can thwart your healthy lifestyle goals. Fancy coffee drinks, sodas, and even "sports drinks" are usually made with added sugar.

To avoid drinking a day's worth of calories in a single beverage, choose herbal tea, unsweetened iced tea or coffee, flavored water, or ice water with a spritz of lemon or lime. If you treat yourself to one glass of the "real thing," stick to water for the rest of the day.

Remember, calories from sodas and other sweetened beverages may be costing you more than just money. Portions matter, so loading up on ice and choosing a smaller size can make a positive difference.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Taking the time to eat nutritiously in the morning can set you up to have a healthier mindset throughout the day. If you skip your morning meal, you may find yourself with a strong afternoon appetite, leading to larger portions and possible overeating.

If you don't want to eat first thing in the morning, a healthful, mid-morning snack is a good thing to keep on hand. Setting a cut-off time for snacking in the evening (such as 7 p.m.) might also help you develop more of an appetite for breakfast the next day.

Stay Hydrated

With a hectic schedule, it can be easy to forget about staying hydrated. Thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger. However, don't wait until you feel thirsty to get a drink. Instead, make a habit of sipping water throughout the day. Drinking enough water each day will also help regulate your appetite and digestion.

A diet that's full of water-rich foods like fresh fruit will also help you stay well-hydrated.

You may be surprised to discover that your skin is clearer, your eyes are less dry, and it's easier to concentrate when you are properly hydrated.

Up Your Produce Intake

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, low in calories, and high in fiber. The fiber in fruits and vegetables helps you feel full while providing additional health benefits (like heart disease prevention).

Salsa, soups, and pasta sauces are easy and tasty ways to get more servings of vegetables into your day.

Keep the skin on fresh produce, such as apples, whenever possible. The skin contains more fiber. Aim to fill half of your plate with fruits or vegetables at every meal to get a least five servings total per day.

Make Salad Your Starter

Having a colorful salad before your meal boosts your nutrient intake and gives your brain a chance to sense when you're getting full. Prepackaged, washed salads make it easy to add a salad to any meal without requiring much extra effort.

Most fast-food restaurants offer reasonably priced side salads. Some menus offer the option to substitute salad for another side item when purchasing a "combo" meal.

If you can make a salad the base of your main meal, that's even better. Never underestimate the value of a good salad.

Be a Creative Baker

If you love baking, avoid doing it on an empty stomach. Start baking after a meal so you will be less likely to try multiple samples along the way. Chewing gum can help you avoid taste-testing too much before your masterpiece is complete.

There are also plenty of healthier baking ingredient substitutions that can improve the nutritional profile of baked goods. Get creative and find ways to work beneficial ingredients into your favorite recipes.

Go for Grains

Whole grains help you feel full for longer than refined carbohydrates. In the morning, a fiber-rich cereal like oatmeal will provide more benefits than sugary, processed cereal or a muffin.

Brown rice, whole grain bread, and whole wheat crackers all provide good opportunities to include whole grains in your day. 

Swapping refined grains (like white bread and desserts) for their whole-grain counterparts is an easy way to improve your eating habits.

Keep Healthy Frozen Meals on Hand

Frozen meals can be used as a backup plan for nights when you don't have time to prepare and cook a healthy meal. Choose meals that are higher in protein to help you feel full.

Even some of the healthier frozen meal choices are skimpy on veggies and high in sodium. Add a packaged salad or a microwavable, single-serving frozen vegetable mix to your "instant meal" to better round it out nutritionally.

Choose Foods That Help You Feel Satisfied

Eggs, lean meats, and fish are ideal protein sources that can help you feel full after your meal. A snack like Greek yogurt, a boiled egg, string cheese, or sardines will give you sustained energy and quell hunger pangs.

If you don't eat meat or dairy, there are several vegetarian sources of protein, such as beans, legumes, and nuts.

Get Your Rest

Did you know your sleep habits can have a direct impact on your ability to maintain a healthy weight? Not getting enough sleep may cause you to seek sugar for a quick energy boost.

Getting enough sleep can ensure that you have enough energy to exercise and enough rest to recover after your workout.

Even if you can't add additional sleeping hours, take some time to practice deep breathing, read, or listen to some calming music every day. Making a point to relax more can reduce some of the stress associated with emotional eating.

A Word From Verywell

Weight loss for better health is about more than just the number on the scale, and making healthier lifestyle choices provides benefits beyond losing weight.

Following the suggestions in this article can have a positive impact on your mood, energy levels, and digestion.

Think of weight loss as a welcome side effect rather than your only goal. Building sustainable habits will help you find peace with your environment for longstanding success in maintaining a healthy weight.

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