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Tips For Weight Management Without Dieting

Drink Plenty of Water

Water is crucial for life. Water consumption increases energy expenditure (increased rates of lipolysis) and reduces total energy intake, thus helping weight management and loss (1).

Epidemiologic and clinical studies show that water drinkers have a significantly lower energy intake than non-water drinkers. A recent systematic review showed that water consumption intervention over 12 weeks, including increased water intake, replacement of caloric beverages with water and pre-meal water load, resulted in a 5.15% weight reduction. Replacing calorie beverage consumption with water has been reported as the most effective way (2).

Eat High-Fibre Foods

Fibre intake leads to improved glycaemic control and decreased appetite. Therefore, foods high in fibre help you feel fuller for longer and thus help weight management (3,5).

According to government guidelines, daily fibre intake for adults should be 30g per day. Fibre consumption as part of a healthy balanced diet can help digestion and reduce the risk of bowel cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease (4).

Fibre is only found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, oats, brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta (5).

Eat Plenty of Protein

Proteins are the ‘building blocks’ of life as they help the body repair and grow.

A number of studies have investigated the effect of dietary protein consumption on appetite and hormones that regulate appetite. Since appetite is one of the determinants of energy intake, increased dietary protein intake is thought to be beneficial for body weight management. There is a growing body of evidence showing that diets higher in protein also increase energy expenditure due to the increased thermic effect of dietary protein (7).

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2021 showed that protein-rich diets, ranging from 18-59% of daily energy intake, had a beneficial effect on body weight management in overweight and obese individuals (6). Another systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2020 reported that protein consumption suppresses appetite and increases satiety. In addition, protein intake reduces ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone, and increases GLP-1 concentrations, which improves glycaemic control and stimulates satiety (7).

Reduce Alcohol Intake

Research suggests that alcohol consumption may represent a significant factor in weight management. Alcohol has been found to account for approximately 10% of the total energy intake of adult drinkers in the UK (8).

Several studies have found that the size and strength of a drink per drinking occasion are positively correlated with BMI, while the frequency of drinking is negatively correlated, suggesting that frequent light drinking might offer a protective effect. Besides, it has been reported that only excessive or heavy drinking is correlated with increased measures of adiposity (10).

According to NHS guidelines, men and women are advised to not regularly drink more than 14 units a week to avoid weight gain. Below are examples showing the amount and strength of alcohols, their units, calories and estimated food equivalents (9).

  • Standard 175ml glass of 12% wine = 2 unit = 133kcal = 3 Jaffa Cake biscuits
  • Pint of 5% strength beer = 2 unit = 239kcal = 1 standard size Mars Bar
  • Double measure (50ml) of 40% gin = 92 unit = 5kcal = 1 standard size Milky Bar

Get More Active

There is strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you live a healthier and happier life (11).

Based on health promotion and weight gain prevention goals, current recommendations for amounts of physical activity for adults are at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (brisk walking, riding a bike, dancing) per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity (running, swimming, aerobics) per week, spread evenly over 4 to 5 days per week, or every day (12,13).

People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many chronic conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers. Research also shows that physical activity reduces stress levels, depression, risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and improves self-esteem, mood, sleep quality.

Do not Ban Foods

Banning foods that are considered unhealthy and high in calories will make you crave those foods even more. There is no point in completely avoiding any food that is consumed occasionally and not excessive (5).

One study reported that a less strict diet on weekends compared to weekdays was associated with long-term weight management (14). Another study reported a strong relationship between flexible dieting and the absence of overeating, lower body mass and lower levels of depression and anxiety. Conversely, strict dieting was associated with overeating and weight gain (15).

Therefore, eating everything in moderation will help you stick to your diet in the long run and therefore better control your weight.


Only some lifestyle changes can greatly help you manage your weight. Drinking plenty of water, consuming high-fibre and high-protein foods, reducing alcohol intake, being more physically active and avoiding strict diets will help you stick to a healthy and balanced diet for life, manage your weight more comfortably and be healthier and happier.


Contribution by Associate Nutritionist, Beyda Beteri BSc ANutr