How I Lost Weight Without Dieting

If you’ve wandered over to my about me page, you may know that one of the reasons I started this little blog of mine was to hold myself accountable. I was an overweight, unhealthy 49 year old, and I wanted to morph into a fit and fab 50 year old. I’m still on my journey, but I’m getting there and feel so much better about the way I look and feel.

Now I do wonder how many of you have looked through the posts on this blog and are saying to yourselves, “Well, she looks OK to me. She must have only been a few pound overweight.” Yeah, that’s not really the case as the before and after photographs show. You totally scrolled down to see the pics didn’t you? Or you’re dying to do so. Go on, have a peek, I’ll wait  …………………………

Scary huh? I look as if I’ve eaten myself in the before pic.

I’ve had a few emails asking me how I shed the weight. I’ve already shared with you my 10 tips to give up junk food, and what I eat in an average week (when I’m working from home). I think some of you may be under the impression that I’ve found the holy grail of fad diets. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. I have never tried a fad diet – because fad diets do not work!

Will you lose weight? If you stick to whichever dodgy diet plan you’ve come across, probably. But as soon as you start eating your ‘normal’ food again you’ll put it back on – I know, I’ve seen many, many friends and relatives try and fail to lose weight this way.

So if you’re looking for a new, quick-fix diet plan, this is not the post for you. If you’re looking for a way to make life changes that will have a positive impact on not only how you look, but how you feel – then read on!

Above: Just call me Jabba

This Is How I Lost Weight Without Dieting

Getting healthy does not necessarily mean weighing, measuring and calorie counting your way through the day. Let’s face it, who’s got the time and the patience to do that?! Let’s simplify things and get right down to the fundamentals; because living a healthy life shouldn’t be complicated. In fact, it all comes down to these three strategies:

1. Eat a whole heap of vegetables
2. Do something active every day
3. Do the above at least 80% of the time

I believe that if you follow these three golden rules, you can’t help but get healthier. I call it Not That Weigh, This Way. It’s not a miracle weight loss plan, but if you follow it you will definitely become a fitter, healthier, slimmer version of yourself.

Here are a few questions I’ve been asked about this healthy eating attitude:

Can I only eat vegetables?
A: Nope, but you should make vegetables the foundation of your daily food consumption. And eat them first.

Am I allowed to eat meat?
A: Yep, just eat a whole heap of vegetables first. I tend to lean more towards fish and chicken, but I do enjoy red meat on occasion.

What about sweets? Chocolate? Cake?
A: Yep, just eat a whole heap of vegetables first.

Is fruit OK?
A: Yep, just eat a whole heap of vegetables first.

Can I have takeaways? Fast food? Burgers?
A: Yep, (although the chemicals in fast food are very addictive, so I personally avoid it) just eat a whole heap of vegetables first.

Am I allowed starchy veg, like potatoes?
A: Yep, just eat a whole heap of vegetables first. (Are you beginning to see a common thread to this post?)

So I seriously don’t need to count calories?
A: You can if you want to – I’m not the calorie police. But no, you don’t have to, not if you’re eating a whole heap of veggies first.

What vegetables should I eat? Should they all be superfoods?
A: Every vegetable that you consume is a superfood! Dark green leafy veg gets a gold star, but fill yourself up with a rainbow.

Should I juice my veggies?
A: Nope, eat them: raw, steamed, baked, stir fried, sautéed, add them to casseroles or throw them into smoothies

I hate vegetables, what should I do?
A: Most of our dislike of vegetables can be linked to our childhood. Being forced to eat the over-cooked, smelly cabbage in the school canteen, or encouraged to ‘eat your greens’ by parents can have a detrimental affect to your attitude to veg. I know people who never, ever eat veg – and that’s a really sad and unhealthy way to get your daily intake of fuel.

Try different ones and start off with the milder flavours. Try cooking them in different ways. Season them with different herbs. Take a wander around the fruit and veg aisle of your local supermarket and see what calls to you. Fill your basket with a rainbow and give them a try. If all else fails, hide them. Boil them then blitz them in a blender before adding to soups, chilis and casseroles.

What other foods should I eat?
A: Beans, fruits, lean protein, seeds, wholewheat grain, wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta and a small amount of dairy – if you are trying to lose weight then add nuts and healthy oils in moderation.

How much is a ‘whole heap’?
A: It’s a scientific measurement 🙂  It actually means a helluva lot. When plating food at least a third of it should be filled with veggies. If you can manage two thirds then that’s better, three fourths means your a superstar!

Why do you recommend eating a whole heap off veggies?
A: Time after time vegetables come out on top during scientific research. They are the healthiest food type you can put in your body and have pretty much all the nutrients you need. Even weightloss diets (at least the more healthy ones) put vegetables at the forefront.

By filling your plate with veg and eating it first, you’ll be consuming far less of the ‘bad’ stuff, so you can’t help but get healthier. And if you also add activity to your daily life you can’t help but lose weight.

OK, I’ve got the whole heap of veg angle. But when you say ‘active’ what do you mean. Can you give me an example?
A: Simple – move! Go for a walk, play a sport, clean the house, climb the stairs, sort out a cupboard. Anything that gets you off the sofa and moving.

How long should I be active every day?
A: If you’re not used to exercise then not long – even 5 minutes a day is a good start. If you’re already pretty active, then you can up your game. If you usually do 30 minutes a day, go for 45. And do some intensive exercise at least once a week – anything that increases your heart rate. If you’re pretty active but not doing strength training, add some in.

What if I miss a day?
A: Just start again the next day.

Can I do the latest workout DVD?
A: Of course! Do whichever activity calls you. Just take it slowly at first.

And that’s it, that’s the basis for the Not That Way, This Weigh eating plan. But there are other actions you can take that will help you on your weight loss journey:

THE HUNGER SCALES

The key to eating a healthier diet, losing those unwanted pounds and keeping your body in tip top condition is to actually listen to it.

We all have an internal scale which governs our hunger – commonly known as the hunger scale.

Your aim should be to eat around the 3 or 4 mark. Eat sooner and you are eating for eating’s sake, leave it until 2 or 1 and you will trigger your body’s starvation mode. Alarm bells will start to ring within your system, which now believes that food is scarce.

This means that every, single, last scrap of fat that you consume will be held on to by your body ‘just in case’.

There are times when circumstances get in the way and you will not be able to avoid missing a meal. If this happens don’t sit down to a feast – take it slowly and eat something light.

If you are aiming to lose weight you should stop eating at around 5 to 6, for weight maintenance stop at 6 to 7. The aim is not to eat until you are full, rather to eat until you are not hungry. It’s a subtle difference, but it does get easier – when you start listening to your body.

Talking of listening to your body, ask yourself if you truly are hungry. It’s all too common to mistake dehydration for hunger, so try having a glass of water before you open the fridge door. Wait for around ten minutes then reassess your hunger.

While we’re on the subject of water – try to drink more of it. And for goodness sake stay away from fizzy drinks – they truly are the Devil’s brew! Yes, even diet soda!

There are masses of articles on the evil that is sugary drinks, but this one explains it far better than I ever could. And if you’re looking to give up soda this one gives offers some great tips.

You Are Not On A Diet

The most important thing to bear in mind is that the Not That Weigh, This Way healthy eating plan isn’t really a diet – it’s a sustainable, nutritious, delicious way of eating what you need to eat 80% of the time and what you want to eat 20% of the time. Food is to be enjoyed, savoured and shared with friends and family. Food is not the enemy – your attitude to food is. Enjoy the good things in life, just not every day and not all the time.

And remember this: we all look in the mirror and feel unhappy with what we see from time-to-time. But no matter what you may think the mirror says; you are a unique, remarkable human being and that makes you beautiful! Now let’s make you a more healthy, unique and remarkable human being!

Please note: I am not a qualified nutritionist, dietician or brain surgeon. The above is how I lost weight without dieting. I feel it’s all sensible stuff, but you should seek medical advice before embarking on any weight loss plan.

36 Comments

  1. April 8, 2016 / 5:09 pm

    Michelle, this is my favourite post of all I have read for a long time! Thank you for sharing your journey on a topic we all can relate to so well… diets, not eating at all, eating the wrong things… I am sure we have all done it. You are such an inspiration and since we have met in person, I know how beautiful you are!!

    Much love,
    Annette | Lady of Style

    • April 9, 2016 / 8:49 pm

      Ah thank you Annette. As you know I got a bit wobbly before publishing it, but I’m so glad I did! Coming from such a wonderful, inspirational person – your words mean so much.
      Michelle xx

  2. April 8, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    Michelle- what a brilliant post. You look amazing and having met you, I know are as beautiful on the inside too. What you say makes so much sense and I think your advice to listen to the body is something we should all take on board. Thank you for sharing your “journey”. I was going to pour a glass of red and trough a creme egg I joyously discovered but I feel obliged to go eat a pile of veggies now! Have a lovely weekend lovely lady xxxxxxx

    • April 9, 2016 / 8:59 pm

      Hey Liz, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself – just not all the time:)
      It makes me so happy to know that you enjoyed this post. As you know, it is a subject very close to my heart.
      Michelle xx

  3. April 8, 2016 / 5:29 pm

    You did it again, you managed to make an unfunny topic funny! Your post is something nearly every woman who owns a pair of jeans can relate to. You’ve really made a big change, and I applaud you for sharing it with us. Well done, Michelle. (goes off to eat some vegetables…) xx

    • April 9, 2016 / 8:59 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it Lisa! And I hope you enjoyed your veggies 🙂
      Michelle xx

  4. April 8, 2016 / 5:30 pm

    Well Michelle you pretty much described my normal food consumption & you are absolutely right on the money. There’s no way on earth you’ll ever put that weight back on because you continue to live a healthy life.
    It amazes me that some people don’t enjoy vegetables on a daily basis. I absolutely love them! & the closer to natural the better, a squeeze of lemon, drizzle of olive oil & a pinch of salt on any steamed veg is heaven to me.
    Fizzy drinks are evil that’s for sure, juice is pretty bad too. There’s just way too much hidden sugar in packaged food & drink, it’s best to save them only for special occasions. My kids aren’t too impressed by this philosophy but at least they don’t expect that stuff to be in the cupboards.
    You my darling new friend are an inspiration to all – particularly women in mid life. If anyone is considering changing to a healthy lifestyle you’ve just shouted YOU CAN DO IT, I DID!
    Bravo brave & gorgeous girl xxx

    • April 9, 2016 / 9:02 pm

      Well this brought a tear to my eye Michelle – in a good way! Thank you for your lovely words, it is a joy to know that I now have you in my life. And I’m really pleased that you not only get my philosophy on health eating, you actually do it!
      Michelle xx

  5. April 8, 2016 / 10:12 pm

    Thank you for your honesty and humor about such a sensitive subject for a lot of people. I was just talking to my husband about this very subject. He turned 40 on Wednesday and I’m up next. The first of the year we were like we want to be fit at 40. Well it didn’t quite happen for his but we’re going to make a go at it for mine in September. This definitely gave me an extra boost!

    • April 9, 2016 / 9:05 pm

      Ah I’m so pleased Tracy! You honestly won’t regret it. They joy of feeling and looking your best far outweighs stuffing yourself with the ‘bad’ stuff. Good luck with your journey, and do let me know how it goes!
      Michelle xx

  6. April 9, 2016 / 10:40 am

    I love this Michelle! What common sense advice. Fad diets do nothing long-term except give yourself a big stick to beat yourself with. Far better to have a healthy long-term view to nutrition and exercise. I love this as much as I love vegetables (and that’s a lot!) I understand what you mean about the horrid, overcooked, tasteless veggies of our childhood. There are so many varieties of veggies out there now, and now we’re grown-ups we can blinking well control what we do with them! Well done xxx

    • April 9, 2016 / 9:07 pm

      Yep, fad diets are a complete waste of time Leigh! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post 🙂
      Michelle xx

  7. April 10, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    That’s absolutely wonderful advice about eating without dieting. I totally agree. Get those veggies in. Don’t soak them in sauce. A little olive oil, herbs and you’re good. I always say 80% veggies and 20 % everything else that is “real” food and not processed. Love it! No food police.

    • April 11, 2016 / 9:08 am

      I’m glad you agree Rebecca. It seems like a completely sensible approach to not just weight loss, but living a healthy life. And I agree – no food police!
      Michelle xx

  8. April 14, 2016 / 10:36 am

    Well done you! A fab read, thank you for sharing!

  9. April 15, 2016 / 11:56 am

    Crikey woman you are a POWERHOUSE – you’re nothing short of incredible!!! Everyone has said all my thoughts already, so I’ll slink away knowing that you’re amazing for both what you achieved and for how you’ve written it all down and given some really sage advice here… Right, off to eat some veggies now 😉

    Catherine (She What is Very Proud of Her Friend) x

    • April 16, 2016 / 8:26 am

      Thank you so much Catherine!
      You know how much I dithered before sharing this post, but I’m glad I had the support of my friends, it gave me the confidence to hit the publish button 🙂
      Thank you for your friendship and support xxxxxx

  10. Debs
    April 16, 2016 / 3:16 pm

    What a great read for a Saturday morning! I got right up and took the dog for an extra ramble!
    My burning question is, “What about breakfast? What fills and fuels you in the morning?”
    I easily do the veg thing for lunch and supper. Also, too much of things better left for a special occasion!
    What’s your brekkie best?
    So glad to have stumbled upon you with a nudge from Not Dressed as Lamb!
    Ta!
    Debs

    • April 18, 2016 / 11:32 am

      Hi Debs
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post!
      I bought a NutriBullet quite a while ago and I do put it to good use. I add spinach to most of the smoothies I make (you can’t taste it), which bulks up the veg intake. I also enjoy kippers with wilted spinach and poached egg, fresh tomatoes on toast, mushrooms and toast, one egg frittata which I load with sweet peppers, mushroom, onion and peas. I keep a batch of cooked veggies in the fridge (mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc), which makes adding them to meals a synch 🙂
      I hope that helps, and glad to have you in my little corner of the internet.
      Michelle xx

  11. April 18, 2016 / 1:33 pm

    Love this post. So simple and you’ve made it really funny. Am always looking for easy diets to follow but with the kids I am struggling to find something that is simple to follow. This is great advice! X

    • April 18, 2016 / 5:38 pm

      Thanks Laura!
      Good luck, and let me know how it goes 🙂
      Michelle xx

      • October 23, 2016 / 7:03 am

        OK – as the girl you did go out with in 1985-1986, I want to thank Elaine Flynn for turning you down!! Happy birthday, J! You sound great (as always) and I love catching up on you through your website!P:)

  12. April 21, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    I love your approach to ‘dieting’ – hilarious…and also very sensible! 🙂

  13. April 21, 2016 / 4:20 pm

    Great advice… I love the way you suggest about eating vegetables first. If this tips made you look that stunning, I’ll better take to your advice, lol. Thanks for sharing, very informative! #brillblogposts

    • April 22, 2016 / 7:35 am

      Thanks you so much Cheryl!
      It’s pretty straight forward, but it really does work 🙂
      Michelle xx

  14. April 23, 2016 / 1:43 pm

    This is what I know I should be doing but don’t always succeed. You shall be my inspiration to get on track again. Thank you #BrilliantBlogPosts

    • April 23, 2016 / 3:36 pm

      You CAN do it Rosie! We all fail, but that does not mean we are failures, or that we will never succeed. If you fall, it’s not the end of the world. Get up, brush yourself off, and try again. I know it took me quite a while to get on the healthy eating waggon. But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I feel so much better and have heaps more energy.
      Let me know how it goes.
      Michelle xx

  15. May 11, 2016 / 9:23 pm

    Hi Michelle, I’m a bit late to this, but it is such a brilliant and entertaining post, I have to leave a comment. Absolutely spot on with all your advice and given with a good helping of humour! I’ve been vegetarian for over 20 years so don’t need any convincing about the veggies, but I am amazed how many people still ask me ‘What DO you eat?’ A lot of people seem to see vegetables as something they have to endure alongside their ‘proper’ food! Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate, cheese and a glass or three of wine but I find I am burning far fewer calories than I did even a couple of years ago, so I just have to be more careful. It is harder with two teens in the house eating for England, so it’s not like I can just not buy the biscuits – I just have to learn to resist the flipping biscuits! Like you say, it’s about habit forming and a bit of self discipline and it does get easier. Your hunger scale is excellent, I’ve never thought before about eating until you’re no longer hungry rather than full – you are so right, it is a subtle difference, but an important one.

    You’ve done so well and look amazing, what an inspiration and your fabulous blog is testimony to all that dedication. Thank you for such a interesting and enjoyable read. x

    • May 17, 2016 / 9:46 am

      Hi Astrid,
      I’ve never understood the whole ‘enduring’ veggies either. My mum was a bit of a meat and two veg kind of cook, so I think that helped. I love experimenting with new veggie dishes and my son gives me lots of recipes (he’s a vegetarian and a bit of a whizz in the kitchen).
      The hunger scale takes a bit of getting used to, it’s simply a case of listening to you body and giving it what it needs.
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Comments like yours really do make my day!
      Michelle xx

  16. Nikoleta
    May 19, 2016 / 11:33 am

    Hello! Thank you for this great and inspiring post! You cannot imagine how helpful this was! I would just like to ask for more information. How about the breakfast? Do you also eat vegetables in the morning?

    • May 19, 2016 / 4:01 pm

      Hi Nikoleta,
      I’m so glad that you found the post helpful.
      I bought a NutriBullet quite a while ago (I wrote a review on it – https://www.thebarefacedchic.co.uk/review-posts/reviews/nutribullet-review-does-it-work-and-is-it-worth-the-money/) and I do put it to good use. I add spinach to most of the smoothies I make (you can’t taste it), I also add kale and avocado (which you can taste but I don’t mind). This bulks up my veg intake. I also enjoy kippers with wilted spinach and poached egg, fresh tomatoes on toast, mushrooms and toast, avocado on toast and one egg frittatas which I load with sweet peppers, mushroom, onion and peas, etc. I keep a batch of cooked veggies in the fridge (mushrooms, peppers, onions, etc), which makes adding them to meals a synch 🙂
      Hope that helps!

      Michelle xx

  17. Jo
    March 4, 2017 / 4:09 pm

    Well done – what sensible advice to live by, that is the key. A change in the way you live leads to a change in the body you have. Fad diets are for the young and naive! I am in the process of losing weight as the menopause approaches and have given up smoking too. The results will take a while to show as I am doing it slowly but I am finally understanding that I am in it for the long run and that if I keep at the veggies and yoga, it will work eventually! We all know what we should do, its how much we want it and how hard we are prepared to work to get it. Great post – thanks.

    • March 6, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      Exactly Jo! We really DO know what we should be doing. I’m following my own advice as I’ve put on quite a bit of weight myself recently. I hope it works for us both.
      Michelle xx

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