How to ditch diets and lose weight by changing your habits – Part 1

**Part 1 of a 5 part series.

how to lose weight without dieting part 1

Part 1 is a lesson on how all weight loss works…

But first a story.

A 56yr old teacher from America went on a 6 month diet eating nothing but items from McDonalds.

He lost over 25kgs in the process AND his health markers all improved.

  • Improved cholesterol
  • Improved Triglycerides
  • Improved LDL

It’s an extreme example to prove a point that creating a calorie deficit is how all weight loss works.  I wrote about it in full in this article here – Junk food diet

  • Burn 2500 calories per day (example)
  • Consume 2000 calories per day
  • Weight loss happens

Do I tell you this so you can rush out and eat a Big Mac?


I don’t recommend it. Neither does the teacher in the experiment by the way. I tell you this to prove a point that calories IN vs calories OUT and creating a calorie deficit is how all weight loss works.

I know, I know…   You were hoping that weight loss was more detailed and mysterious than that. You were hoping that weight loss needed the combining of some perfect superfoods, nutrients and precise exercise routine. You were hoping for a magical diet, plan or formula.

I hoped for the same thing during the early stages of my 20+ fitness and fat loss career. I tried and tried and searched and searched to find another answer.

Creating a calorie deficit is the ONLY WAY THAT WEIGHT LOSS WORKS.

(Even if you go Paleo, or eat clean, or vegetarian, or low fat, or low carb, or use meal replacement shakes, or train for a marathon, or any other method you can think of)


7000 calorie deficit = (approx.) 1kg of weight loss.  Yes really.

I tell you this with love and caring, honestly I do.

I tell you this so that you can stop wasting your time searching for another answer.

You might be thinking…

“But Chriss, I don’t eat enough calories to result in me weighing XYZ kgs”

I get it, I do. Trust me when I tell you that us humans are pretty hopeless at determining how many calories we consume and how many we burn each day or each week. Myself included.

**See also –  surprising facts about calories that you need to know

If weight loss is your goal, you now you have 2 choices (well 3 actually).

  1. Eat less calories. Weirdly enough this doesn’t have to mean less food. Being smarter with your choices means you get to eat a lot.   **If you are already consuming low calories, please skip this step and focus on choice 2.
  2. Burn more calories via exercise, daily movement, and / or increasing your muscle mass.  **If you are already burning a lot of calories, please skip this step and focus on choice 1
  3. A combination of choices 1 and 2
  4. BONUS TIP – It helps to focus on a weekly average, not micro manage every meal or every day.

I know this can seem like a cold hard truth to take..

“CRAP. This means that I actually need to eat less calories or burn more calories (move more)”

You may want to slap me know..

I believe this knowledge is SO EMPOWERING and freeing.

  • You do NOT have to find a magic formula
  • NO foods are off limits, “bad” or will automatically result in weight gain
  • You do NOT have to follow someone else’s rules, diet, or eating and exercise plan
  • You do NOT have to eat or exercise at specific times of the day
  • All you need to do is eat less calories than you burn each day or each week in order to lose weight
  • You can set that up in SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS that suit your lifestyle, taste preferences, hunger patterns and routines


Diet books and programs are lying to you when they tell you they have the perfect formula for health and weight loss.

How else would they make money from you?

There are many, many different (free) ways that you can achieve a calorie deficit.

Don’t fall for their lies any longer.


What’s the catch?

There are a few actually.

1 ) You need to also include adequate protein in your calorie “budget”, so that your lost “weight” (as measured on the scales) comes from excess body fat (YAY) and not lean muscle mass (BOO)


  • Peggy burns 2200 calories per day
  • Peggy consumes 1600 calories per day (to create a calorie deficit)
  • Peggy ensures that a “good chunk” of her new 1600 calorie budget comes from foods containing protein (we discuss how much you need in my coaching program)
  • This naturally (somewhat) limits the amount of foods containing carbohydrates and fat that Peggy eats. Not because they are evil or cause weight gain, simply so she can fit all 3 macronutrients in.

I just have to add, that as a coach I would also love it if you included lots of vegetables and some fruit in your plan too.

2) You shouldn’t go too low in calories, otherwise your body won’t receive its minimum adequate nutrients each week and may slow down the metabolism (more on this in the coaching program)

3) You can increase the amount of calories your body burns by increasing the amount of lean muscle mass you have on your body

4) The above info and equation assumes that you don’t have any rare medical conditions or are on any medications that prevent weight loss.

See also –

But Chriss, this sounds an awful lot like “dieting” to me

Yes I can see your point, but I feel its my job to point out this very basic first lesson. Even if its not exactly what you want to hear.

I have good news though.

If all of the above sounds like you need to strictly count every calorie IN vs calorie OUT, then you need to check out Part 2 in this series..

Further reading

ditch the diets change habits instead

Chriss TinslayChriss Tinslay has been a fitness and weight loss coach for 20+ years.

She coaches regular people how to reach and maintain their healthy, happy weight and shape by making one small habit change at a time.

Chriss doesn’t believe in strict diets, excessive exercise or ALL or NOTHING approaches. She believes in making slow and sustainable progress for long term success.

She runs Healthy, Happy Habits – a revolutionary new coaching program that teaches you how to listen and trust in your own body and internal voice again.

When Chriss is not teaching fitness and weight loss, you can find her hanging out with her family and little dog Timmy, listening to 80’s music or maybe laughing out loud to Kath n Kim re-runs.