Physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you have to love working out. Some people can’t wait to get back to the gym or their next exercise class, but you may not be as comfortable hitting the weights in front of others. Not to mention, if you’re recovering from an injury or just starting your weight loss journey, finding the right exercise for you might be challenging.
Fortunately, you can start to burn fat and slim down – no workout needed. The best weight loss solution (without exercise)is to reimagine what a healthy lifestyle looks like for you. From wholesome meals to reducing your stress, these are the ten best weight loss tips without exercise. But first a disclaimer.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
It’s no secret you should keep your body hydrated, but did you know drinking water can assist with your weight loss efforts? A study by the Department of Human Nutrition revealed drinking half a liter of water 30-minutes before you eat reduces your hunger and lessens your overall calorie intake. Participants who drank water before a meal lost a whopping 44 percent more weight over 12 weeks than those who did not.
When staying hydrated, be sure to avoid sugary beverages like soda, or fruit juice, including diet sodas and natural fruit juices. Artificially sweetened drinks are chock-full of empty calories and have been linked to higher body fat storage. Even diet and “natural” beverages can be counterproductive in your weight loss efforts, as they lack the healthy fiber to slow your body’s absorption of all their sugar.
Instead, feel free to infuse fresh fruits and herbs into your water for a refreshing twist. Cucumber, mint, or strawberries add a hint of flavor without added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Thirst is often confused for hunger, so keep a bottle of your favorite flavored water on hand to help kick unnecessary binge eating to the curb.
2. Keep a Food Journal
Sometimes, the idea of keeping a food journal can seem like a grueling task and somewhat unappealing. However, a food journal doesn’t have to equate to counting calories or tracking the macros in your food. Instead, it’s a chance to take a hard look at the types of food you put into your body. Is your eating pattern full of fruits and vegetables, or refined carbohydrates, like sugars, starches, and processed foods?
And who said a food journal needs to be a physical book you lug with you between meals? The easiest way to get a handle on what you eat is by keeping a brief record with an app, like the Simple Meal Tracker. Just log into your account, press the purple plus sign on the bottom center of the application, and select Log a Meal. From here, you can input as many or as little details as you like about full meals, snacks, and beverages, and even upload a photo for reference.
3. Opt for Homemade Meals with Protein and Fiber
When you prepare homemade meals to enjoy solo or with friends or loved ones, you can encourage healthy eating habits that ultimately influence your overall nutritional wellness. Plus, home-cooked food assures your meals are full of healthy ingredients. When you shop, aim to stock up on ingredients with plenty of protein and fiber.
Protein is a crucial nutrient for a balanced eating plan and essential for a healthy metabolism. An article in Nutrition Journal even points out that eating high-protein yogurt in the afternoon can reduce your hunger and calorie intake at dinner. You can also increase the protein in your meals by loading up on lentils, quinoa, or chia or hemp seeds.
Fruit, vegetables, leafy greens, and whole grains offer plenty of fiber. Viscous fiber, which you can get from beans, asparagus, and oat cereals, forms a gel-like substance when it comes in contact with water. This gel helps slow how fast your stomach empties, so you feel full longer.
4. Eat Smaller Portions
Portion sizes began to increase in the 1970s and have not slowed down since. The reality is, as portion sizes have grown, so have the average body weight in the U.S. You rarely need the amount of food they serve at restaurants – but you’ll eat more because there’s still food on your plate.
When you serve yourself large portions, it can cause you to overeat and gain weight. Smaller portion sizes don’t mean you have to starve yourself at dinner. However, try to be mindful of how much food you need and aim to serve yourself a bit less than you would normally.
5. Try Intermittent Fasting
Fad diets come and go, and they rarely provide the results you expect. But intermittent fasting isn’t a diet, it’s a healthy lifestyle change that has a plethora of proven benefits: belly fat reduction, weight loss, increased longevity, and decreased cholesterol levels. When you practice intermittent fasting, you choose to eat your daily calories within one set window and refrain from eating additional food for the remainder of the day. As you fast, your body exhausts the carbohydrates it would typically use for energy and burns through water weight and fat instead.
If you’re new to intermittent fasting, Simple has a few different intermittent fasting guides to help you get started. Most beginners opt for a 16:8 protocol, which means you fast for 16 hours, most of that time being overnight, and have an eight-hour eating window for your meals.
6. Reduce Your Stress Levels
Your body produces hormones called glucocorticoids when you’re stressed. When your glucocorticoid levels spike, they also increase your appetite – this is what you know as stress eating. Too much stress can also trigger emotional binge-eating, causing you to consume unhealthy foods in an attempt to improve your mood. Neither of these outcomes will reduce your stress or assist in your weight loss.
So, do your best to bring those stress levels down. Consider reducing your daily caffeine intake and practice mindfulness or meditation. If you can spare ten minutes a day to reflect on your journey and hark on the positives, you’ll notice an increase in overall mood. Additionally, time spent outside or speaking with friends can help reduce your stress levels.
7. Don’t Eat and Multitask
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of staring at the TV or your smartphone while you eat.
When you watch your favorite show during dinner, it isn’t a crime, but it certainly doesn’t benefit your weight loss efforts. Distractions like your television, laptop, or phone cause you to barely notice your food or how much you’ve eaten. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered people who distract themselves while they eat ultimately consume about 10 percent more food.
So, be sure to get rid of distractions while eating. No TV and no smartphone for 15 minutes – you can do it!
8. Chew Your Food Until it’s Textureless
It takes your brain approximately 20 minutes to recognize when you’re full. When you eat too quickly, you often don’t realize you’re full until you’ve eaten entirely too much. Then, you’re left feeling stuffed, lethargic, and probably ready for a nap. Instead, take the time to eat mindfully and chew slowly. If you slow down and chew your food thoroughly, your mind can get the message before you’re too full.
Also, the bacteria in your gut can’t properly digest your food if you haven’t chewed it well enough. Experts say to chew until your food is almost a liquid. A healthy digestive process is crucial to your ability to lose weight and your overall well being.
9. Get Enough Sleep
Did you ever believe you could lose weight by sleeping more? Well, sleep plays a more significant role in weight loss than you think. A lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your hormones, including the essential messengers that determine how hungry you feel.
Sleep deprivation disrupts your ghrelin and leptin hormones, both of which control your appetite. Lack of sleep also raises your stress hormone levels like glucocorticoid, which can encourage you to stress eat. In other words, a good night’s sleep can help curb your appetite and improve stress.
10. Take a Stroll
Lastly, just because you don’t enjoy exercising doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy a leisurely stroll. A simple 10-minute walk through your neighborhood, a nearby park, or the beach can get your blood pumping and your muscles moving.
Of course, you don’t have to dive into daily sport activities. However, the best weight loss solution without exercise will still involve some sort of movement, so whether you walk with a friend or a pet, do your best to get moving a few days a week.
A Weight Loss Program Without Exercise: Too Good to Be True?
In reality, breaking a sweat a few times a week is essential for your overall health and wellness. However, you don’t necessarily need exercise to shed body fat. When you begin to make simple, manageable changes to your lifestyle habits, like cooking healthy food at home and reducing your stress, you can indeed lose weight without exercise.