Ways to Keep a Healthy Weight Without Dieting 

Shanthi Appelo
Shanthi Appelo

| 3 min read

woman dances alone in her apartment as a non-diet way to keep a healthy weight
When trying to keep weight from creeping up, many think about what they must give up – or keep off their plates – in order to maintain the numbers on the scale. What favorite foods will they eat less of? What will they deny themselves of today? But flipping that perspective helps support a healthier mindset. Instead of solely considering sacrifices, there are strategies that can help maintain a healthy weight without dieting.
Rather than fads, food denial or other approaches often linked to ineffective yo-yo dieting, there are good lifestyle habits that can be adopted in sustainable, easy steps to help people reach and maintain a healthy weight.

A growing problem

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight continues to be a struggle for many. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 40% of U.S. adults are obese. In the last two decades, obesity rates have jumped from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the number of people categorized as “severely obese” has nearly doubled from 4.7% to 9.2%. People with obesity are more likely to have medical conditions including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and many cancers.

What is a healthy weight?

What is healthy for one individual may not be healthy for another – and the internet is full of opinions and calculators that can be misleading and harmful. Talking with a health care provider is the best place to start to understand what a “healthy” weight is.

Non-diet tips

There are several ways to maintain a healthy weight without the pressure of dieting. Here are some easy ways to start:
  • Deal with emotional stress: Stress eating is no joke, according to Harvard Medical School. Those who battle chronic stress and anxiety may release more cortisol, a hormone that can increase appetite and even spark cravings for foods high in sugar and fat, leading to weight gain. Recognizing stress and finding non-food ways to deal with it – like exercise or meditation – can get to the root of the problem and take food out of the equation.
  • Get enough sleep: Research has shown that not getting enough sleep could affect metabolism and alter hunger hormones, leading to weight gain. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep but getting enough to feel well-rested is important. Most adults need about seven hours of sleep each night, according to the CDC, but only about one-third of Americans are hitting that mark.
  • Exercise: Integrate cardio and weightlifting workouts into a regular rotation. Make time to move throughout the day as well – even if it’s parking farther away or taking the stairs. Think of it as a form of self-care, and as something with more multifaceted benefits than dieting. Exercise not only helps to burn calories, but the muscles built during activity help burn even more energy when at rest, making it easier to prevent weight regain. Before starting any new exercise regimen, individuals should consult their primary care provider.
  • Keep a health journal: A diary can be helpful in keeping a healthy weight. It can be a record of healthy actions along with self-reflection about what is and isn’t working. Some things to track include:
    • Daily exercise and activities
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Water intake
    • Self-care
    • Non-scale victories
Maintaining a healthy weight is achievable. Try incorporating small, conscious actions into everyday activities to start, and see how they pay off.
Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
More from AHealthierMichigan:
Photo credit: Getty Images

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.