Life Style

Losing weight without a (strict) diet: ‘We are being fooled’

Every year on May 6 is International Anti-Diet Day: don’t think about losing weight or dieting. A relief for many, but what if you never dieted again at all? Claudia Vesters and Daniëlle van Engelen swear by this.

‘Taught from an early age that dieting was normal’

It wasn’t until Danielle stopped dieting that she lost weight and maintained her weight.

Danielle learned from an early age that dieting was normal. “When I was fourteen, my mother took me to the diet club for the first time. I weighed 64 kilos at the time and thought I could lose 6 kilos. After registration, we received a booklet and were given tips and new recipes every week. regularly together. Then we weighed ourselves and discussed the ups and downs. “

Because she was always so concerned with dieting, Daniëlle developed an unhealthy relationship with nutrition. “I am heavier than average and wanted to do everything I could to get thinner. Whenever I ate, I felt guilty because I had that from home – and thought I should. Realizing that strict diets are not for me. worked and was even harmful, came late. “

Even in the hospital still on the shakes

Many different diet options have been tried without any success. “Sonja Bakker, Weight Watchers, you name it: I couldn’t sustain anything for a longer period of time and I always gained weight afterwards, often even more kilos than I had lost. The well-known yo-yo effect.”

By following the Cambridge method (a diet where you do not count calories, but where you replace solid food with low-calorie drinks and soups. Ed.) Daniëlle lost 15 kilos in 6 weeks, after which she ended up in the hospital. “I was too weak due to the lack of calories and nutrients. During the gap week I started eating solid food again, but my body could not handle this: it had not eaten ‘normally’ for so long. Inflammation started in my gallbladder, so it had to be removed. And even when I was in the hospital I still thought, ‘I have to drink my shakes or I’ll gain weight again’. “

For years, Daniëlle felt bad and continued dieting to lose weight until she became pregnant with her daughter in 2017. “The first 25 weeks of my pregnancy I felt so good! I barely gained weight without making an effort and for the first time ever my body seemed in balance. Unfortunately that happiness didn’t last long. Soon I felt so bad again. as before and I gained 10 kilos in 2 years. I didn’t understand: why did I feel so good during pregnancy and not anymore? I did some research and discovered that it could be related to my hormones. “

Had to stop dieting

In October 2020, Daniëlle registered with a coach and hormone therapist. From that moment on her life changed. “At the first meeting my coach told me to stop dieting. That surprised me, but I decided to go blank and obeyed everything I was told. I threw away my diet books and started an emotional, but enlightening rollercoaster. . “

“I discovered that I was a ‘diet thinker’. My way of dealing with food had to be completely reprogrammed. That went with ups and downs, but in the end it brought me an awful lot. I had to learn to rethink, because I was too strict for that. I’ve been myself. Always brought myself down, while it should be the other way around. It’s important to keep emphasizing what went well, even on a bad day. “

Lost 10 pounds in 7 months, without a strict diet

Thanks to her new mindset and without dieting, Daniëlle lost 10 kilos in 7 months. “Nowadays I ask myself every time I want to eat: why? Is it sad, am I tired, or is it a habit? I am an emotion eater and often eat out of boredom. I did not have that insight before. I now have control and insight into why I eat, I will never again have outbursts or binge eating. I also prefer to be on my own, which means that I no longer have stress, hold less weight and make healthier choices more easily. “

According to Daniëlle, it is important to seek help if you notice that it is not possible on your own. “Losing weight is not only a physical, but also often a mental battle. It helps if someone coaches you. To gain certain insights, but also to maintain motivation and to be able to discuss problems. My new mindset is a method that I will use for the rest of can sustain my life. A normal way of life, without drinking juices or forgetting to do things. My goal is therefore to be able to make unconscious, conscious choices later on. “

Daniëlle wants to protect others – especially young people – from all the misery that strict dieting can bring. “I try to give my child what I have now learned myself. Not to the detriment of my mother, but because it can cause so much unnecessary damage. Fortunately I was conscious enough not to get anorexia or bulimia. But I can. understand so well that some girls have to go through this. I hope that by sharing my story I can save others. “

‘Healthy weight loss is a course of logical thinking’

Claudia lost 39 pounds without following a strict diet.

Claudia had been overweight all her life, but found it difficult to do anything about it. Until she lost her sister and parents in a short time. “My sons were still young at the time and I suddenly realized: life should not end like this for me. The doctor also said that I had to lose weight, because my overweight was dangerous for my blood pressure.”

“I had to get healthier. And I wanted to live a healthy life myself, to be a good example for my children. Life is only so short. It wasn’t easy. I was a real emotion eater, moved little and was ashamed of it. who I was. Only now do I realize that I was addicted to food. I needed food to feel good. It had to stop. “

‘Following a diet did not feel right’

In 2013 Claudia hit rock bottom. “I am 1.60 tall and weighed 96 kilos at the time. I wanted to lose weight, but following a strict diet didn’t feel right for me. Just thinking about it I noticed a kind of natural resistance from my body. I saw what it did to my friends. They would lose a few pounds in a short time, but then gain weight again. “

To find out what did work for Claudia, she typed in on Google: ‘What is healthy living?’. A world opened up for her. “Only then did I discover that it really does matter how many calories you eat and how often you eat. I didn’t know anything about that. To see what I actually ate and whether it was healthy, I started to supplement my diet. in an app. Constantly I repeated in my head that I wanted to become healthy, energetic and fit again. “

In addition to watching her diet, Claudia started exercising. “We had a dog, so I started to walk longer laps with it. When that worked, I bought a bike and started cycling longer and longer distances. By maintaining this pattern, I lost 39 kilos in recent years. without a strict diet. “

Head and body switched

For years, Claudia herself did not even understand why she succeeded, and others did not. “It took me six years of study to understand why it seemed so easy to me. Or well, actually it is. From the moment that switch went on I knew: I am going to be healthy. I had so clear for myself what I wanted and what I was going to do, that my head and with that my body a certain switch made. “

“I constantly went against that negative voice: ‘the saboteur’ I call him. By eating differently, something changed in my hormones. Then the ball started rolling. Your own strength is so much greater than you think. It’s really as simple as it seems: it’s not as complex as all those ads lead you to believe. “

Stop insanity

Claudia is a strong supporter of Anti Diet Day. “Let’s just act normal and stop the madness of liquid food to lose weight. That makes me so sad. Last Sunday I saw a billboard with a bottle on it and the text: this is food. My brain had to process that. I used to think, this is the truth. Now I think, this has to stop. People are being fooled on all sides, you are just scared of food. Terrible. “

According to Claudia, healthy weight loss is nothing more, nothing less than a course of logical thinking. “Look around you and you will see that strict dieting doesn’t work. We have to eat as nature intended for us. That includes meat, vegetables and carbohydrates. I cook a lot of vegetables every day and something like meat, fish or chicken. I also make some carbohydrate-rich products such as potato, rice or pasta. At the weekend we eat fries for one day. That is fine, as long as the rest of your diet is in balance. “

Tips: lose weight without a strict diet

Losing or maintaining weight is therefore possible without following a strict diet. Dietician Eveline van de Waterlaat has a number of tips to help you with this:

  • Do plan unhealthy things
    “Anything that is not allowed becomes interesting. Especially if you regularly overeat, it can help to plan a number of tasty and unhealthy foods. A pastry for that one birthday, or allow yourself to have a cup of chips on Saturday evening. You really enjoy it – and this helps you to resist other temptations later. Precisely because you plan it, you enjoy it more and then you are not left with a feeling of guilt, which makes it much easier to continue your healthy diet afterwards And more importantly: better persist. “

  • Reward your behavior, not the number on the scale
    “A major pitfall in losing weight is that you want to reward yourself for a certain number on the scale. Be careful with this: the result on the scale is influenced by all kinds of factors. Think of hormones, temperature or stress. So don’t reward yourself for this. the number on the scales, but for your behavior. That way you keep it fun for yourself, even if the number on the scales is disappointing. This way you can keep losing weight better and you will eventually see more results on the scales. “

  • What works for one person doesn’t work for another
    “You have already tried a few diets, but nothing has worked efficiently. During those diets, write down which things did work for you, and thus create an overview for yourself with success tips. No diet is suitable for everyone. Weekly menus are for example. nice to find inspiration, but these are often not feasible to follow for months.Adjust them to your wishes and needs, then the chance is greater that you will maintain your healthy diet. “Not working for you and vice versa. The grass always seems greener on the other side – and always someone else seems to lose weight faster than you. Well so? Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s nothing but a bad mood.”

  • Give yourself time
    “Losing weight or adopting a new diet takes time. Surely you can’t run a marathon without training for a long time? Of course you can set goals for yourself, but also take the time to achieve those goals. to do groceries and to have healthy meals at home. That way you are less prone to unhealthy snacks and you get used to a healthier diet faster. “


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