One Way to Lose Weight Without Dieting | TMOHP Episode 137

The concept of losing weight without dieting mystifies a lot of women. It sounds good, but how do you make it happen? Diet culture has kept us focused on eliminating foods, cutting back, and going hungry. If you’ve been on the weight loss hamster wheel for a while, it can be confusing to think about how you might approach your eating in a way that’s not either a diet or a free-for-all.

While there’s no magic “how to lose weight without dieting” formula, there are some easy steps that can help you move away from diet mentality and diet behavior. In this episode of the Too Much on Her Plate podcast, I’m sharing a conversation with a client that helped her make a massive shift that makes overeating less powerful and less of a focus in her life.

In this episode:

  • Understanding your weight loss goal from a non-diet perspective
  • Why food was my client’s main source of pleasure
  • How diet mentality and putting “rewards” after the goal can keep you stuck
  • How to be at your goal now

Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • The Freedom from Overeating Roadmap for Smart, Busy Women is your guide to ending overeating and emotional eating habits. Designed for multitaskers and busy women, you’ll take your power back from overeating with this free guide which includes resources for addressing the reasons you overeat and a user guide for Dr. Melissa’s most popular podcast episodes. Download your roadmap here:
  • Take the free Hidden Hungers Quiz. The free Hidden Hungers Quiz was designed to help you target the reason you're overeating so you can create changes that last. Take a few minutes to find out what you're really craving (that isn't food) and get your Hidden Hunger profile and customized action guide. Join over 34,000 women who have used the free quiz to get to the root of their overeating and emotional eating.
  • Your Missing Peace is my signature 6-month program for women ready to stop overeating and emotional eating for good. Enrollment is open and NOW is the perfect time to join us! Go here to learn more
  • Private Coaching for Emotional Eating and Overeating: I have openings in my schedule to work with about twelve women a year and openings are filled as space becomes available. Private coaching meetings are scheduled via Zoom or phone and we can connect from anywhere in the world. Private coaching is customized to you and your goals and we'll work together for a minimum of six months. Learn more and apply here.
  • Visit for more tips and resources to create peace with food and overcome overeating and emotional eating

Episode Transcript

Hey everybody. The title of this podcast episode is one way to lose weight without dieting. And that's a pretty cool title, isn't it? It's kind of sexy. It's the dream that so many women have. How can I lose weight without dieting? And it's also this dream that they tell themselves is just a dream and it isn't possible.

Well, it is possible. Losing weight without dieting can definitely be a part of freeing yourself from overeating or from patterns with food, but that aren't working for you. But how you do that is not always easy to explain. And it's a part of a bigger process. It is not like a magic spell that you can say and then you click your heels together and it works. And now you've lost weight without dieting.

It's not something that translates easily into a four-paragraph article in a magazine. Losing weight without dieting is something that I help clients with. We work on this inside Your Missing Peace of course. Figuring out how to eat without dieting period it is a real issue for so many women who have grown up exposed to diet culture. Or who have been on the weight loss hamster wheel. Or who have been indoctrinated into deprivation thinking and diet mentality. Or all of the above, which is so many of us.

Figuring out how to eat without diet dieting and then adding in, okay, so how can I lose weight too? Can I do that without depriving myself, without going hungry, without being super strict, without falling back into all that other stuff? Figuring this out takes time. And sometimes, often it takes working with somebody, getting support, having coaching, new tools, new approaches, looking in a different direction than you have been taught to look in the past.

I don't have a magic spell for you. And, I do have something. Sometimes there are some easy steps that you can take. And I was thinking about this earlier in the week. I had a conversation with a new client about her goals and about what she wanted to work on in our work together. And about how she wanted to reach these goals doing it differently than all the things she had tried and done in her past that left her on that Hamster wheel. Right? That hadn't brought her the results in a lasting way.

So, we had this conversation and I think it would be really helpful to share some of it. Not the conversation. Of course, the conversation itself and her identity, these are private things. However, I really do want to walk you through the bones, the structure of what we talked about. Because it's not the first time and it won't be the last time that I have a conversation like this with someone. And what we covered may very well apply to you.

So, here's what happened in this part of our session. We were talking about her goals and the things that she wants to accomplish in working together and also where she wants that to lead in her life, what some of her bigger picture goals are.

One of her goals is to lose weight. And I asked her to tell me more about that goal, to paint more of a picture for me about what that meant to her. And she said, well, I do want to lose some weight. I think I would be happier; I think it'd be easier to move inside my body if I lost some weight. But it is not a specific number I'm looking for. I don't have a specific number goal, as in a number on the scale. She said it's more of a feeling.

And I said, Oh, okay, that's really interesting. So, what will it feel like when you're at your goal? If you're looking for a feeling, if that's what you're aiming for, help me understand the feeling so we'll know when you're there.

And one of the things I want to tell you about this conversation, one of the reasons that I want to share it with you is that there wasn't any hesitation in this conversation. Sometimes you know how you'll be having a conversation with somebody and you ask a question and they have to really stop and think before they answer. Or maybe they're a little unsure about the answer, but they say, well, I don't know, but I, I kind of think this, this was not what this conversation was like.

This was a conversation that did not have pauses. This was a conversation where I would ask a question and she would answer it. She had the answer to the question right on the tip of her tongue. And she gave that answer with, or she gave those answers with such confidence. It was so clear that the things she was telling me were not things that she had any doubt about. She was completely confident in the answers that she was giving and they felt very right to her.

So, I asked her, okay, what will it feel like when you reach this weight loss goal? You said you want a feeling. You said you'll know when you feel it. What does it feel like? And she says, I'll feel confident. I will feel confident. I will feel sexy. I will do the things that I want to do. I'll be hiking. I will travel. I will be more social. I'll do more things with friends. I won't hold back in the way that I am now. I will put myself out there in more social situations.

And she said, I will wear things that make me feel pretty. And she is, these things are just rolling off her tongue. I am writing them down and I'm like hurrying to try to catch up because I want to capture all these words because they're so powerful. And she is so clear about what it is that she really wants.

Then I asked her, okay, so when you're at your goal and you have this feeling, what do you know about what's going to be different with your eating? The person who's at your goal who has that feeling, what's different about how she eats? And again, no hesitation. The answers are just very clear and very straightforward and said with such confidence. And she says, well, I wouldn't think about food all the time. I won't be judging myself about whether it's a good day or a bad day based on how I ate the day before. right? When I wake up first thing in the morning and I won't be judging myself based on a number I see on the scale. Okay.

So, we've got, I won't think about food all the time and I won't be judging myself and thinking it's a good day or a bad day based on how I have eaten or what the number is on the scale. And then she says, when I am there, when I am at my goal, food won't be my source of pleasure. Food will not be my source of pleasure.

That one landed and I said, okay, so what will be your source of pleasure when you're at your goal? Again, no hesitation the answers just rolled right off her tongue. She said I my sources of pleasure will be time with my friends. Time with the people that I care about. Dancing, exercise, hiking outdoors, taking trips to places. I want to go to having adventures with my children. Sex.

I've had a lot of conversations like this over the years and I have to say I don't know that I've ever had one that flowed so quickly and so easily. This woman has a very clear picture of what her goal feels like and what she does when she's at her goal. And what her sources of pleasure are when she is not using food.

After we had this very short conversation, I felt like I could paint a picture of what this is going to feel like and look like for her. Here is something so important. When I asked her, if food isn't your source of pleasure, what will your source of pleasure be? Every single one of those things that she mentioned, and I double checked because I wrote those down. Every single one of those things are things that she can work on or work towards now.

Just to repeat. She said that, you know what, when I'm at my goal, my source of pleasure is going to be time with my friends, time with the people I care about, exercise, dancing, hiking outdoors, taking trips, traveling to places I want to go, doing things with my kids, sex with my husband. Every single one of these things she can work toward now.

So, of course, I asked her the question, how come these sources of pleasure aren't present for you now? How come these aren't your sources of pleasure right now? And all of a sudden, the conversation changed. The confidence, the clarity, the certainty in her answers, all of that disappeared.

And she didn't answer at first. I had to wait. Why weren't these sources of pleasure a part of her life right now? And what showed up was what shows up for so many of us, some all or nothing thinking. Well, like I said, hiking, but I can't hike right now. I'm too out of shape to do the kind of hikes I want to do.

And there were thoughts and beliefs. She said, I can't look good. I can't wear clothes that look good. I can't be sexy. And I said, well, does your husband think you're sexy right now? And she said, well, yes, he does. Okay.

I said, can we talk about this? She said, sure. I said, you said with such confidence that you want food not to be your main source of pleasure. You said it was such confidence that I know you believe this fully, right? She said, absolutely. I said, do you see the problem? Your brain is telling you that when you arrive at your goal of losing weight after you have lost the weight. When you arrive at your goal of losing weight and not overeating, then food will not be your source of pleasure.

You are crystal clear about what some of your big sources of pleasure are. You know what they are. You know you want them. You know you enjoy them. And at the same time, your brain is telling you that you aren't allowed to. Or maybe you aren't worthy of indulging in these sources of pleasure until after you reach your goal.

And this is when the realization really dawned. Because basically, the diet mentality plan is to take away your source of pleasure. Which is food. Remember, one of the goals that she has is for food no longer to be her main source of pleasure. So, the diet mentality plan is to take away your current source of pleasure, which is food. And then deny yourself the really nourishing sources of pleasure that you can name so easily, but to deny those things to yourself until after you lose the weight.

So, we're going to take away your source of pleasure now. And we're not going to give you anything else until you quote unquote, deserve it by losing the weight. No wonder it's so hard to stop overeating. And when I said this to her, she said, you know, this is so obvious. When you say it, it is so obvious. Why did I not see this? Why did I not understand this?

And I had to tell her you are not the first person you're not the last person I'm going to be having this conversation with. This kind of stuff happens all the time.

Here's the challenge I gave to her and it is something that you can play with too because it may be an easy path for you to start losing weight without dieting. My challenge was let's take that goal of that feeling that you have that you told me you will have after you lose the weight. And let's make your goal into being the person at your goal. Let's work at you practicing being her now.

And I read back my notes to her. You told me who she is. She spends time with her friends. She spends time with the people that she cares about. She dances. She exercises. She hikes outdoors to the level of her current ability. She takes trips to places that she wants to go. She has adventures with her kids. She has sex. She wears things that make her feel pretty.

Diet mentality gives us this just weird, untenable idea that somehow, we are supposed to use will and discipline so that food is not a source of pleasure. Okay. First of all, food can be a source of pleasure. I'm working with also what she said was, I don't want food to be my main source of pleasure. But we don't make it not your main source of pleasure by just taking it away.

I said, let's flip the script. Let's start not having food be your main source of pleasure by giving you all sorts of other sources of pleasure. And she said, wow. That's what she said. Wow. She said, this makes so much sense. And this sounds so good.

I really don't think anybody ever thinks their first coaching session is going to give them the kind of lightness that she sure sounded like she was experiencing. So, we talked about it and as we talked, of course, she cannot do all of these things now. In part because she has a lot of beliefs that hold her back.

She is going to have to work at letting herself feel pretty. Right? And playing with her feelings of sexiness and what she can allow herself to receive in that area. And she can start challenging and shifting those beliefs.

I am going to teach her how to do that. She's also already getting started, giving herself real nourishing sources of pleasure and growing her belief that she's entitled to all of these things. Now. That she doesn't have to wait.

And just like that, it's not clicking your heels together. It's not saying a spell, but it's pretty quick. Just like that, she is making food less of a main source of pleasure.

This is such a great example of how you can begin to dissolve battles with overeating and with food. Dissolve them. Disappear them. Deflate them from the power that they have in your life. This is something you can do. It often requires looking in a direction that you're not used to looking in. And again, the I don't know that this conversation would have happened in her own head if she didn't have a coach. In fact, I'm pretty certain that it wouldn't have.

But the conversation did happen. And she's beginning to dissolve her battles with overeating. And she is going to have a lot of fun and a lot more pleasure while she does it.

I hope this was helpful for you, too. Think about how you might be able to apply some of this to your life.

I'll talk to you soon.

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Your Missing Peace is the psychologist-designed program that provides the tools, the support, the coaching, and the confidence to create freedom from emotional eating and overeating. Finally - emotional eating help done right! Your Missing Peace is specifically designed for smart, high-achieving women who are DONE with diets, who want a lasting solution, and who are ready to take their power back from food, from overeating, and the scale. 

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