I’m not saying that exercise isn’t helpful. Building a bit of muscle helps boost your metabolism, your posture, osteoporosis, and a host of other benefits. But let’s be real. What if you can’t stand working out?
I have good news for you, you don’t need to work out to lose weight.
You’ve heard of 80/20, right? 80% diet, and 20% exercise.
That’s because of CICO. A popular phrase in the weight loss community meaning calories in, and calories out.
But, if you want to keep your beer and pizza, there are a few tips for you too.
I’m going to show how you can change body fat by changing your lifestyle, but without exercise.
There are a handful of proven healthy weight loss methods that don’t involve either exercise or dieting.
Here are 14 scientifically proven ways to drop pounds without working outs
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water can seem like a chore to many. But if you’re a lazy dieter who is trying to lose weight, this one of the most simple changes that you can make to your lifestyle today. Drinking more water is proven to help you lose weight (3).
In a study of 48 overweight to obese older adults over 12 weeks, those who drank two glasses of water before their meal experienced a 44% decline in weight (1, 2).
The research found that the participant preloading their meals with the water didn’t eat as much, therefore, reducing their calorie intake throughout the day.
The best way to lose weight without a movement routine is to make sure you eat fewer calories than you’ll burn. With water helping your satiety levels, you’ll eat less food without much effort. Drink more water by adding cucumbers and mint to your glass, or drinking more herbal tea. It’s also a plus that hydration brings many other health benefits.
2. Limit Sugar
Sugar is everywhere nowadays. If you’re wondering how to lose weight fast without exercise and you haven’t quit sugar yet, this is the single best way to shed those pounds. Sugar is almost unavoidable in our diets.
It’s something that’s been added to our snack bars, soda drinks, yogurts, and even our cooking sauces. However, many studies show our overconsumption of sugar is contributing to obesity and cardiovascular disease (4). The condition that kills one in four Americans.
You’ll effortlessly consume fewer calories if you substitute processed sugars for foods like these in moderation:
- Whole (not juiced) fruits;
- Make healthy desserts with dates; and
- Raw honey or maple.
3. Count Your Calories
Keeping count of your energy expenditure is the best way to shed those pounds because it will increase awareness of what you’re eating.
Losing or gaining weight is about how much energy you put in your body vs how much energy you release. If you exercised five times per week for an hour a day but you ate more food than you burned, you still wouldn’t lose any weight!
For those serious about their goals, there are loads of free fitness apps out there that track calories and set goals for you.
If you make sure the food you eat is less than the calories that you burn, you simply cannot fail. It’s a great weight management method once you hit your goal weight too.
4. Keep a Food Journal
When you’re budgeting, you’ll notice it’s easy to tap a debit card and wonder where your money went. The same goes for your diet. We often think we are eating much more healthy than we are.
Popular calorie counting nutrition apps do a great job of helping someone trying to lose weight become more aware of their habits. But research has shown that many people with a BMI higher than 25kg/m2 are unlikely to see any significant weight loss with an app (5).
A brilliant solution for someone who isn’t ready to count calories but wants to lose weight quickly is to keep a food journal. Make sure to write down your snack and drinks too. When you know that you’re looking at every bank transaction, you’re more careful, right? The same goes for your weight loss journey.
5. Know Your Macros
Most of us can point out healthy from unhealthy, but if you don’t have a dedicated nutritionist, you might be eating way more calories than you should. There are three primary macronutrients; carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
To optimize your nutrition, get a serving of protein in with every meal. It increases your satiety level (6). Fats are extremely calorie dense, but the good ones boost your brain function, so eat healthy fats.
Finally, carbs! Many are now restricting carbohydrates completely, but restrictive diets can be unsustainable. Do limit carbohydrates in the evenings. You’ll be sleeping anyway, so you won’t need them.
If you do eat carbs, try sticking to veggies and whole grains. They’ll aid digestion and help with fiber intake too.
- Limit carbohydrates in the evening;
- Portion fats as snacks; and
- Eat protein with every meal.
6. Eat Fat to Burn Fat
Anyone remember the 90s? The days where fat-free was all the rage because who wants to eat fat when they’re trying to shed it? Luckily those days are (mostly) behind us.
You should be eating good fats, within moderation, of course! In fact, new research has proven that fat-free diets are nowhere near as effective as limiting carbs (16). But that’s still no excuse to chow down chicken nuggets.
Limit the bad fats like processed meats, ice creams, fatty red meats, and dairy.
7. Increase Your Fiber Intake
Like protein, fiber keeps you full. A study revealed that participants who ate more fiber had a suppressed appetite.
They also experimented with many different types of fiber, and they found that viscous fiber is the most helpful for losing weight (7).
You can increase your vicious fiber by consuming more vegetables and plant foods like brussels sprouts, sprouting broccoli, asparagus, oatmeal, legumes ( lima bean, black turtle beans), and pears.
Fiber also increases the feeling of fullness and keeps your appetite in check. Eating a high-fiber diet is a great way to portion control and prevent overeating.
8. Chew Your Food
Many people’s weight gain comes down to a lack of awareness.
You might’ve heard of the expression, “make sure you spend 20 minutes eating your meal.” Many studies have proven that slowing down and chewing your food contributes to eating less food and, thus, fewer calories (8).
Fast eaters are also more likely to experience weight gain (9).
9. Use Your Entree Plates
Another way to reduce the portions is to scrap your dinner plates. Larger portion sizes have been proven to contribute to the growing obesity pandemic in America (10).
Serve your dinner on your entry plates. That way you’ll be less likely to overeat. In a restaurant, choose from the entree menu, or if you have the self-discipline, ask for your leftovers to-go.
10. Remove “Empty” Calories
In western society, we eat a bunch of empty calories. Mostly in sugary sodas and deceptively labeled health drinks. These drinks will heighten your risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (4).
Empty calories are also in our treats, such as cookies, cakes, crisps, and chocolate bars. They’re the foods and beverages that hold no nutritional value which is counterintuitive when trying to lose weight.
11. Remove Transparent Containers
Are you a savory or a sweet person? Whichever your poison hide it, or remove it. A lot of the weight loss journey is the struggle against instant gratification and delayed gratification. Supermarkets purposefully place the brands that they want you to buy at eye-level. Start by removing the chocolate bar, the cheese, or whatever you like to binge on, off the eye-level shelves in your fridge or pantry.
Studies show that regularly seeing your treat foods increases your cravings for them (11). Other research suggests that you should clear the counter of everything except a fruit bowl to reduce stubborn fat (12).
Invest in solid color containers, place them on a shelf that isn’t eye level, and if all else fails, stop buying the foods that you crave.
12. Don’t Grocery Shop When Hungry
When we have a pressing need or money in the bank, we buy more. Hunger is an emotion that becomes quite intense, and a demand that we want to fulfill instantly. Grocery shopping when we are hungry will lead to poor nutrition decisions and eyes bigger than our stomach.
As mentioned before, always have a protein or fat-based snack on hand to save yourself from making decisions that cause weight gain.
13. Practice Mindful Eating
Spiritualists throughout history got it right. They give gratitude before they eat, treating meal-time as an opportunity to connect with others, while entirely focused on the food in front of them.
Nowadays? We eat breakfast in the car on the way to work, we eat lunch at our desk and scoff dinner down in front of the TV, and it’s affecting our BMI’s (15). Apps, TV, and desktop notifications can cause you to eat 10% more.
Those who are utterly absent-minded while eating will consume 25% more food (13).
14. Get Your 7-9 Hours In
How can a lazy person lose weight? Sleep more! If you’re seriously demotivated and reading these tips is exhausting you already, this tip is for you. It seems counterintuitive because we are burning the least amount of calories during sleep.
So wouldn’t it be better to be productive and start moving? Nope.
Our hormones ghrelin, leptin, and cortisol become out of balance when we don’t get enough sleep. These hormones manage stress, influence satiety, and increase our cravings resulting in weight gain when we don’t get enough sleep (14, 15).
The Final Word
As cliche as it sounds, weight loss truly is about the journey, not the destination. A lot of evidence-based information is shared in this article. Try not to overwhelm yourself—those asking how to lose weight without exercising need to take it one step at a time.
Go for the most achievable tip first, and work yourself through them. Having lost 30lbs in 3 months myself, I know how challenging the weight loss journey can be. Start slow and pick up the pace as you gain momentum.
Focus on making lifestyle changes you can stick to in the long run.
- Dennis, Elizabeth A et al. “Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) vol. 18,2 (2010), 6 Aug. 2009 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19661958/
- Daniels, Melissa C, and Barry M Popkin. “Impact of water intake on energy intake and weight status: a systematic review.” Nutrition reviews vol. 68,9, Sep. 2010, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20796216/
- Muckelbauer, Rebecca et al. “Association between water consumption and body weight outcomes: a systematic review.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 98,2 (2013), 26 Jun. 2013, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23803882/
- Malik, Vasanti S et al. “Sugar-sweetened beverages, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease risk.” Circulation vol. 121,11 (2010), 23 Mar. 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862465/
- Laing, Brian Yoshio et al. “Effectiveness of a smartphone application for weight loss compared with usual care in overweight primary care patients: a randomized, controlled trial.” Annals of internal medicine vol. 161,10 Suppl (2014), 18 May. 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4422872/
- Lejeune, Manuela P G M et al. “Ghrelin and glucagon-like peptide 1 concentrations, 24-h satiety, and energy and substrate metabolism during a high-protein diet and measured in a respiration chamber.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 83,1 (2006), Jan. 2006, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16400055/
- Clark, Michelle J, and Joanne L Slavin. “The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition vol. 32,3 (2013), https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23885994/
- Andrade, Ana M et al. “Eating slowly led to decreases in energy intake within meals in healthy women.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association vol. 108,7 (2008), Jul. 2008, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18589027/
- Ohkuma, T et al. “Association between eating rate and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” International journal of obesity (2005) vol. 39,11 (2015), Nov. 2015, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26100137/
- Young, Lisa R, and Marion Nestle. “The contribution of expanding portion sizes to the US obesity epidemic.” American journal of public health vol. 92,2 (2002), Feb. 2002, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11818300/
- Emery, C F et al. “Home environment and psychosocial predictors of obesity status among community-residing men and women.” International journal of obesity (2005) vol. 39,9 (2015), 28 Apr. 2015, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25916909/
- Wansink, Brian et al. “Slim by Design: Kitchen Counter Correlates of Obesity.” Health education & behavior: the official publication of the Society for Public Health Education vol. 43,5 (2016), 19 Oct. 2015, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26481966/
- Robinson, Eric et al. “Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 97,4 (2013), 27 Feb. 2013, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23446890/
- Taheri, Shahrad et al. “Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index.” PLoS medicine vol. 1,3 (2004), 7 Dec. 2004, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15602591/
- Newman, Emily et al. “Daily hassles and eating behaviour: the role of cortisol reactivity status.” Psychoneuroendocrinology vol. 32,2 (2007), 2 Jan. 2007, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17198744/
- Tobias, Deirdre K et al. “Effect of low-fat diet interventions versus other diet interventions on long-term weight change in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” The lancet. Diabetes & endocrinology vol. 3,12 (2015): 30 Oct. 2015, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26527511/