Daily Life

5 No-Diet Lifestyle Hacks to Push Past a Weight Loss Plateau

Because weight loss may have more to do with lifestyle than we think.

By: Dominique Michelle Astorino

Living a healthy lifestyle is about SO much more than weight loss, with benefits impacting so many areas of your life, from your mood to your energy levels to how you are able to move about the world. But if weight loss is your goal, we’ve got a hot tip for you: there are tons of things you can do beyond dieting. Ahead are five no-diet weight loss hacks that support a super healthy lifestyle. 

A Healthy Diet Helps, But “Dieting” Can Backfire

Diets, in general, tend to fail — or rather, they might not get you to your goals (and have the potential to backfire), particularly thanks to their psychological consequences. They can also just be generally quite tough to stick to. So what should you do instead?

We’re not saying that you should eat everything under the sun and forego a healthy diet, but there are things you can do beyond cutting out sugar and limiting calories.

Beyond the Kitchen: No-Diet Weight Loss Hacks

Like we said: diets aren’t the end all be all of weight loss. If you’re hoping to shed some pounds to create a leaner physique (or you’re losing weight per a doctor’s recommendation for your health), here are five top tips for getting yourself in tip-top shape (fun fact: they work for anyone, regardless of weight goal!).

#1: Get More Sleep

The truth is, we all need better, higher-quality, deeper sleep for more hours. Americans are particularly sleep-deprived, which can lead to a slew of health problems and lead to weight gain

Losing sleep means losing your ability to manage stress, work out, and make healthier food choices. When you’re operating on fewer Zzzs, your body tries to make up for it with another source of energy: food. Remember the last time you had a rough night’s sleep, and the next day all you wanted to do was eat sweets and processed carbs? Now you know why.

So not only will you have a worse mood and less energy, but by skimping on sleep, you’ll have a harder time shedding excess weight. 

This is why optimizing sleep is one of our top no-diet weight loss hacks that has everything to do with lifestyle and nothing to do with restrictive dieting. 

The solution: count those sheep! Give yourself a consistent bedtime and wake up time, and stick to it! Eliminate caffeine after 12 pm, and get some sunlight first thing in the morning when you wake up to help regulate your circadian rhythm. Prioritize sleep, and watch how other areas of your life improve.

#2: Reduce Stress

Sleep can help in this area as well, but making stress-reduction another priority will fast-track you to success. As you may have guessed, stress can lead to weight gain or weight retention, and not just because of stress eating (though that certainly is a factor). Stress can lead to belly fat retention specifically, thanks to the excess release of cortisol (a stress hormone), as well as a slower metabolism.

Now that you know what stress can do to your body (well . . . this is the tip of the iceberg on that topic, but it’s a good start!), what can you do about it? Fortunately, some of the tips on this list will help you get started (looking at sleep and exercise, specifically!). 

Try meditation, journaling, unplugged activities away from your phone, boundary setting, self-development reading, and therapy to get yourself to a place of peace.

Really craving some extra time to recharge? Try a staycation! 

#3: Drink More Water

Did you know thirst can be confused for hunger? Most Americans are dehydrated at any given point (surveys suggest about 75 percent of the population) — so as with sleep, we could all stand to drink some more H2O. Not only can it quell cravings (the confusing ones) to promote weight loss, but hydration can improve energy and overall health in a variety of ways. 

Try swapping zero-calorie water into your diet in place of sugary drinks like soda and juice.

You know what to do now, right? Go fill a glass of water! Set alarms on your phone, get yourself a shiny new reusable water bottle, leave notes for yourself around your house . . . just make sure you’re staying hydrated — it’s a super simple no-diet weight loss hack that’s also essential for overall wellness. 

#4: Optimize Gut Health

As it turns out, all that talk about microbiomes, probiotics and gut health . . . it’s actually onto something. This stuff is important! In fact, your gut bacteria can even determine what kinds of food you crave — wild, right? 

So by managing your gut, you could be managing your cravings (and potentially steering yourself toward healthier food choices). Your gut bacteria can also regulate metabolism, which in turn would help you toward your weight loss goal. 

A great place to start is to consider adding more probiotic-rich foods to your diet, such as: 

  • Unsweetened yogurt (or coconut yogurt for a dairy-free option) 
  • Kefir 
  • Sauerkraut 
  • Kimchi 
  • Kombucha (makes a great healthy soda swap if you are craving something fizzy!) 

#5: Find Workouts You Love

We can’t talk about no-diet weight loss hacks without talking about fitness, and the truth is that the more you enjoy working out (and the less it feels like work), the more likely you are to stick to your routine and reach your goals — all while boosting your energy levels and mood, preventing pain and injury, and living a happier life

Mix it up, or set a consistent schedule that brings you joy. Are you obsessed with Pilates and want to do the Hundreds every time you work out? Make it happen! Are you into yoga on some days, then dance or HIIT on others? Keep that variety in your life.

Healthier Choices, Healthier Life

Each of these tips will help you to become the healthiest version of yourself. You’ll get stronger, feel better, and have the energy to do everything on your to-do list, including the fun stuff. 

On top of this, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll also get past any weight loss plateau and reach your goals. Good luck!