Unusual Ways to Lose Weight

Adjust your mindset.

Weight loss is a highly individual journey, and some people have found a few unusual ways to lose weight. For some, these methods are a means of tricking their brain into complying with the diet. For others, their approach is about setting boundaries on what they will and won’t do. This all underscores that “many cognitive factors influence our eating behaviors,” says Gaby Vaca-Flores, a registered dietitian and founder of Glow+Greens, a nutrition and skin care consultancy based in Santa Monica, California.

Sometimes, the best way forward is to outsmart yourself by adopting some unorthodox weight loss tricks that have worked for other people. “Reframing your mindset can help make your weight loss journey easier,” Vaca-Flores says.

These 11 unconventional weight loss tips and tricks might help you in your efforts to shed excess pounds.

Skip the calorie counting.

“For some people, not counting calories can be helpful to avoid a diet mentality,” says Brenda Bennett, a Rhode Island-based nutritional therapy practitioner, sugar detox coach, keto coach and writer behind SugarFreeMom.com, an allergy-friendly low-carb food blog. She is also the author of the books “The 30-Day Sugar Elimination Diet” and “Naturally Keto.” “When someone is on a ‘diet’ and then loses the weight they want to lose, they may regain weight once they hit that goal and stop ‘dieting,'” she explains.

Enjoy carbs.

Recently, carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap as a dietary pitfall that adds pounds or prevents you from shedding them. However, not all carbs are created equal, and your body needs carbs to fuel daily activity and to ignite fat and weight loss.

Mia Syn, a registered dietitian based in Charleston, South Carolina, and author of “Mostly Plant-Based,” says, “Allowing no foods to be 100% off-limits while keeping portion control in mind can also help with weight loss and weight management. You can still enjoy your ‘fun foods’ as long as you focus on making healthy choices the majority of the time. In fact, labeling certain foods as off-limits can create an unhealthy relationship with food and feelings of food guilt that can sabotage weight loss efforts and mental health.”

Nix the moderation message.

On the other hand, Bennett says the common advice about eating anything and everything in moderation might be working against some dieters who struggle with food addiction. “The belief that you should be able to eat anything in moderation can be a big downfall for those who struggle with sugar cravings. People are either moderators or abstainers when it comes to sugar. Some can enjoy a little and still be successful in weight loss, while others have a little and are unable to get back on track with their weight loss efforts.”

To address this potential issue, she says that “abstaining from sugar temporarily might be easier than trying to moderate sugar consumption to lose weight for those who find that just one bite has a snowball effect.”

Tune into your body.

While many diet plans tell you to plan every single calorie you eat each day, many nutritionists recommend a more body-based way of eating called intuitive eating. This newly popular approach “rejects diet mentality and focuses instead on honoring your hunger,” Syn says. This can help you make peace with food and better understand your body’s innate signals around food and satiety. “It does away with structured meal plans and focuses on eating mindfully without distraction when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full,” she explains.

Pause before seconds.

Vaca-Flores says waiting 10 to 15 minutes before reaching for seconds can help you consume less because this pause gives your brain time to catch up to your stomach. “You have a better opportunity of allowing your sense of fullness to settle in. Once time has passed, you might feel too full to continue eating.”

That said, if you truly are still hungry, go for it. “You should still respect your body’s hunger cues and eat if you are still feeling hungry,” she says.

Eat healthy fats.

For decades, diets of all stripes urged those seeking to lose weight to strip out all fats, because wouldn’t it be logical that eating fat can make you fat? The truth is that your body needs fat, and incorporating some healthy fats into your diet is a key component of smart weight loss.

Healthy fats like those found in salmon and other cold-water fish, avocados and olive oil offer heart-protective benefits and can help you feel full for longer, which can decrease the number of calories you consume over the course of the day. The Mediterranean diet contains many sources of these healthy fats and can be a good option for those looking to drop some weight the healthy way.

Limit food imagery.

Vaca-Flores recommends limiting how many images of foods, such as food commercials, you see throughout the day. “Seeing images of food can actually increase ghrelin, your hunger hormone. Research has also shown that viewing food advertisements is linked to increased snacking.”

In other words: Out of sight, out of mind.

Choose the exercise that’s best for you.

Exercise can help you reach and maintain your weight goal, but you don’t need to go to the gym every day. Instead, consider options better suited to your personal likes and dislikes.

Take Tim Chambers, a digital technologist from Bethesda, Maryland, who lost 110 pounds in two years and has maintained his weight loss. He explored new neighborhoods, hiked park trails and adopted a dog to help incentivize his walks. He also engaged in weightlifting sessions with his son.

Ditch the scale.

While many dieters want to track how much weight they’ve lost, Bennett cautions against using this standard means of assessing how you’re doing with weight loss. “Many women tend to obsess about the number on the scale, which really can’t tell you how you’re feeling in your clothes. Focusing on non-scale victories is best when it comes to sustainable weight loss.”

These victories can be simple and measurable tasks, such as:

Eating more whole foods. Reaching for single-ingredient foods like fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed or premade foods can help keep your weight loss and health goals on track.

Ditching processed and packaged foods. Bennett recommends limiting or avoiding highly processed foods as these are “full of unhealthy ingredients like inflammatory seed oil,” such as corn and safflower oils, which tend to be high in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are fine to consume in moderation but when eaten in excess might elevate the risk of several conditions, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Quitting snacking. “Oftentimes, snacking happens out of habit rather than true hunger. We might be bored or need a momentary break from work-related deadlines,” Bennett says. Instead, “finding alternatives that are not food related and developing a self-care routine can be more enjoyable and rewarding than that vending machine snack.”

Don’t sweat day-to-day weight fluctuations. Chambers, for instance, learned to trust that by staying consistent with his healthy choices, he would see his weight balance out as he worked toward his goals.

Go slowly.

While many dieters are eager to make big changes to shed as much weight as they can as quickly as possible, this approach can be counterproductive. Your body strives to maintain a set weight point as part of its innate survival instincts. Over time, those big alterations can become difficult to maintain, and inevitably, the weight creeps back on.

Instead of getting into this yo-yo dieting cycle, Syn says you should aim to go slowly and make small changes. “Slow and steady wins the weight loss race. The most successful weight loss plans combine diet and exercise,” and “successful habits that support weight loss include portion control, using healthy cooking methods and getting enough sleep.”

Stay the course.

Lastly, Vaca-Flores adds that there’s no one single solution for losing weight. “A successful weight loss journey will prioritize sustainable behavioral changes in how you eat, move and relate to food.” Keep trying until you find what works for you, and then stick with it. Losing weight should be about a long-term lifestyle change, not a quick fix.

When asked about a secret to productivity, Jerry Seinfeld once said he marks an X on a calendar every day he makes progress toward a goal. “Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day,” he told the reporter. “Your only job next is to not break the chain.” Chambers used this call to action to fuel his own weight-maintenance mindset.

11 unconventional strategies for shedding pounds:

— Skip the calorie counting.

— Enjoy carbs.

— Nix the moderation message.

— Tune into your body.

— Pause before seconds.

— Eat healthy fats.

— Limit food imagery.

— Choose the exercise that’s best for you.

— Ditch the scale.

— Go slowly.

— Stay the course.

More from U.S. News

9 Keto-Friendly Holiday Desserts

Recipes for a Mediterranean Thanksgiving

5 Ways to Avoid Triggers That Cause Food Cravings to Spike

Unusual Ways to Lose Weight originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 11/07/22: This story was previously published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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