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Outsmarting The Weight Loss Industry – How To Burn Fat Without Dieting

Morgana Lakatos-Hayward is a health coach and business owner of This Isn't a Diet where the primary focus is to help women lose weight without dieting and balance their hormones, blood sugar and gut health. She is the host of Listen to This When You're Done Dieting on Spotify, with her new book, Read This When You're Done Dieting on the way.

 
Executive Contributor Morgana Lakatos-Hayward

Weight loss for women is an entirely different game than for men. Stress, caused by many fad diets, unravels the delicate balance held within a woman’s body between her hormones, fat storage and gut health. Not to mention that dieting in itself is a short, difficult lap, when we instead want to run the whole marathon (the marathon being going through many years of your life at your desired weight without fluctuations. That would be nice, no?). Throughout this article, you will learn about the effects of dieting, as well as nine hacks you can begin to implement to lose weight in a sustainable way and finally ditch diet culture once and for all. Hold onto your seats ladies, your world is about to be turned right side up.


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Dieting explained

A diet is a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves for the goal of losing weight or for medical reasons. Let’s focus on one important word here: restriction. Now, while restriction in the case of a medical diagnosis should be respected and upheld (such as if your doctor tells you to stop eating red meat to lower your cholesterol, don’t start now just because of this article). However, restriction as a tool for weight loss just doesn’t work. Plain and simple.


Diets are short-term solutions

Think back to the last time you tried to diet. How did that go? Were you happy? Did it work? Are you still on that diet? The odds are a big fat no. A Harvard Medical study conducted on the American population noted that diets such as keto resulted in 50% of participants not being able to follow it for longer than 6 months. Furthermore, weight loss experienced while on the diet was a result of diminished water weight as opposed to actual fat loss (Ya’el, 2023). Another point is that fad diets often promote foods that are highly restrictive and promote energy dense foods low in nutrients.


Let’s take keto again for example. Another Harvard Medical study showed how a ketogenic diet led to many heart issues and nutrient deficiencies due to the lack of emphasis on fruits and vegetables (Lewine, 2024). How about juice diets? Why not restrict food altogether? The number of times I have seen people break this so called “diet” is nearly 100%. This is not something that’s meant to last and it usually results in bingeing sprees as the body’s primal hunger urge takes over. Shall I even talk about the shake diet? Or, how about the detox diet? (That lovely diet where with the use of laxative laced teas or gummies, people can partake in the risk of becoming dependent on them for bowel movements). Sounds great… I think not.


How dieting can cause long-term problems and weight gain

Returning to restriction, this method of weight loss is a formula for disaster. Restriction has been shown to cause food obsession, addiction and eating disorders. Many clients I have worked with have been through many diets in their lifetimes. And nearly all of them not only used restrictive diets, but they developed an intense fixation on the foods they were avoiding and began to binge them shortly after starting their dieting programs. This usually led to guilt, then starvation, and ending full circle with bingeing.


It’s important to know ladies, that starvation causes our bodies to enter safety mode and hold onto fat. Afterall, your body wants to protect you. It doesn’t know when your next meal will be served, and it tucks away fat to use later for energy. This also slows down your metabolism (hence why calorie counting is also a plan doomed for catastrophe). When you intake less food, and therefore less calories, your body, the beautiful machine that it is, becomes more “efficient” at its job and slows down your digestion to adapt to the lessened resources on hand. To continue to lose weight, you would have to eat less, and less, and less. This further proves why dieting is merely a short-term solution to weight loss, not a long-term plan.


Dieting also leaves a lasting imprint on your relationship with your body and food. Body dysmorphia coupled with guilt surrounding “bad-foods” are common realities I deal with in my work. Many women today suffer from a shattered lens when they look in the mirror and see an altered reality of their body. This spirals into more dieting plans and intense exercise regimes. The work to overcome these mindset problems takes years, patience, and forgiveness, and the sad reality is that many children nowadays can start dieting from the age of 8 and succumb to the unrealistic images of beauty portrayed in the media. This leads to decades of diets, hate, shame, and imbalances in the body.


Dieting disrupts how your body operates

Years and years of restriction and starvation causes imbalances in the body. The main ones I focus on in my work are hormonal imbalances, as well as gut and blood sugar balancing. Not only will exaggerated symptoms start to occur (such as irregular periods, acne, chronic bloating, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation, etc.), but these can lead to full blown disorders and diseases if left unchecked. My own decade of fad dieting led me to develop adenomyosis, a growth of my uterus into the abdominal muscles surrounding it which can develop into endometriosis. (I am happy to report that with many of the hacks I will share with you below I have reversed that growth and lost weight, win-win)! For example, keto is a prime example of a diet that disrupts a woman’s hormonal balance and places her body under intense stress. (I know I have been hating on keto a lot throughout this article. My apologies, however, I have some strong beliefs about this diet, and I feel the need to stand up for carbohydrates and their importance)!


How to burn fat without the dieting

So let me stop all of the nay-saying, and let’s get down to the real reason you are here with me today: you want my secrets about how to lose weight without the struggle, pain and danger of a diet. And me, being the lovely person I am, have agreed to share them with you.


1. Stop the restriction

When I was a professional dancer and allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted after a competition, it turned out that I didn’t actually want those foods and I had merely built up a craving for them in my head. In the beginning stages with my clients, some of them tend to overeat as they regain their power and feed the urges they have been fighting. Then, almost like magic, they find themselves wanting whole foods and craving foods that make them feel good (and in the right amount).


2. Allow freedom over your food choices and practice intuitive eating

Intuitive eating refers to your body’s innate wisdom to drive you towards foods that hold nutrients you may be lacking. Oriental medicine practitioners hold these beliefs to their core and have an eating system and categorization of foods built around this method! Of course, when your body is out of balance and in a food addiction state (usually occurring when eating a diet high in processed foods), it cannot properly communicate what it needs to your brain as it is so confused and already dealing with multiple system imbalances. This we will deal with in a second. Hold your horses.


3. Return to whole foods

Even if you just applied this one hack, you would already see a weight reduction. When I am in Europe, I lose more weight than when I am in Canada or America as the food is left in its natural state (the majority of the time), whereas there is a large food processing movement going on in North America. Whole foods (fruits and vegetables), are tailor made medicine and hold the key to making you feel full because of their fiber content. Be sure to wash (even organic products) with water, apple cider vinegar and 1tsp of baking soda to get rid of any pesticides (which can again cause your body to hold onto fat).


4. Learn how to balance your systems

Of course, when discussing how to balance your systems we need to see which system in particular could use a little organization, however a general approach to balancing all of your systems at once (see my upcoming book “Read This When You’re Done Dieting” with balancing hacks for each system) includes: eating a diet rich in whole foods, drink a minimum of 2 liters of water per day, go to a sauna 1-2 times per week, get 2-3 colors of whole foods on every plate, add fermented foods to your diet, eat foods in the right order (fiber, proteins and fats and then carbs), train within your cycle, and many more.


5. Easy-to-implement fat-burn hacks

There are certain tricks and activities specifically targeting the fat burning process. Those are: interval training on the treadmill (switch from a high-intensity run for 20 seconds to a normal walking pace for 30-40 seconds and repeat 10 times), rub castor oil on your stomach for 5 minutes before you go to bed and get 8000-10,000 steps in per day. Intermittent fasting for 17 hours or longer also allows for a proper detox and fat burn (please work your way up to this, and only attempt once you heal your relationship with food).


6. Learn how to destress

As we discussed, stress in a woman’s body can cause it to hold onto fat for safety. Nowadays, we tend to live in a state of chronic stress from a never-ending list of emails, picking up the kids from school, grocery shopping, deadlines, and raising costs. Perhaps you have your own favorite destressing methods, but here are a few of mine: a bubble bath with tea, going for a walk in nature, cuddling, meditating, reading, journaling, etc.


7. Find out what food intolerances you might have

Food intolerances show themselves in the form of low-grade inflammation, allergies/sensitivities, and gut issues. I always suggest that my clients keep a food journal for 2-3 weeks where they track what they’re eating at every meal and that they document how they feel 1-2 hours after eating it. This can help them determine what foods work best for them and which ones don’t. (Some foods to pay close attention to are typically dairy, gluten, and meat).


8. Listen to your body

Your body will tell you when it’s hungry, thirsty, tired, full, in need of sunlight or certain nutrients, and more. It is your job to listen to it, and you can only do this once you get your systems back in balance. This goes to the heart of intuitive eating and can be a more advanced step. Work your way towards this and forgive yourself if you slip up or can’t quite understand the signals just yet. Believe me, through trial and practice, you will!


9. Continue your journey with a health coach (like me)

A health coach is your own accountability buddy who can help you overcome new obstacles, make recommendations based on diagnoses and information from sessions, as well as help you deal with health on a whole spectrum to work not only towards your physical goals, but also tackle background mental blocks (as we discussed stress is a large factor in our weight loss discussion). You can apply for a free health consultation on my website to make your goals a reality and create a sustainable weight loss plan catered to your unique needs.


Reach your dream body and keep it

I know how tempting it can be to want to start a new diet plan after jumping off the scale, but I beg of you, please don’t. You are setting yourself up for a myriad of trouble, and in the end, you will be right back where you started. The healthy, sustainable way is always best. Take these tips and run with them. Learn about your body. Get back in touch with its wisdom. And for the love of all that is good, please, don’t restrict or starve yourself.


Should you require further assistance on your weight loss journey you can find me on social media, or over at my website: thisisntadiet.com. I am always happy to meet new people I can help. See you soon!


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Morgana Lakatos-Hayward, Health Coach, Podcaster, Author

Morgana Lakatos-Hayward is a leader in women's health and breaking through the misinformation out there in regards to the weight loss industry. Her professional dancing background drove her to fad dieting from a young age, resulting in eating disorders, body dysmorphia, adenomyosis, and weight gain. She has since dedicated her research to intuitive eating through a bioindividual approach, and managing the endocrine system, blood sugar and the gut. She is the owner of This Isn't a Diet, a health coaching virtual practice with a mission to empower women to ditch diet culture and reach their goals.

 

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