You know that successful weight loss usually consists of a healthy diet and exercise.
But sometimes, things happen and you have to find a way to lose weight without exercise. Maybe you’ve experienced a trauma, maybe you’re working two shifts and there’s really no time to fit in a workout, maybe you feel depressed and simply not ready to go to that Pilates class.
It’s fine! You can lose weight without exercise – it will just take a little bit longer. Just don’t forget to exercise altogether – once you start feeling better, and get some time or motivation, start a healthy workout routine. Not just for your weight loss – for your health as well.
But for now – here’s how you can lose weight without exercise, with a few manageable adjustments to your lifestyle and routine.
20 Helpful Ways to Lose Weight Without Exercise
1. Eat smaller portions, regularly
To gently lower your calorie intake, try to eat smaller portions, and eat at regular intervals. Regular eating helps to stimulate satiety and your metabolism, and you’ll likely end up eating less. On the other hand, you will avoid overeating because you won’t stay hungry long enough to start feeling those hunger pangs.
While there used to be a myth that you should eat many small meals throughout the day (think 5-8 small meals), experts say it’s not the case anymore. Instead, focus on lowering your calorie intake, but not too much. According to Mayo Clinic, “if you cut 500 to 1,000 calories a day from your typical diet, you’ll lose about 1 pound (0.5 kilograms) a week.”
2. Increase your fiber intake
Fiber is your best friend if you’re trying to lose weight without exercise. It can improve gut motility, bulk up the intestinal contents, and promote satiety by filling you up. Just 30 grams of fiber can give you a lot of health benefits that go even beyond weight loss (think lower blood pressure, better insulin response, and reduced appetite).
3. Take an adequate amount of protein
Like fiber, it is vital to eat a diet rich in protein if you want to lose weight. (1) Protein helps to promote fullness by decreasing ghrelin, a hormone that sparks up your hunger. There are a lot of healthy protein sources that can feed your muscles, keep you satiated and boost your weight loss:
- Lean poultry and lean beef;
- Milk, cheese, curd;
4. Hydrate your body
We often mistake thirst for hunger and end up eating more than we intend to, just because we’re thirsty. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water every day, especially if you want to lose weight without exercise.
5. Say goodbye to sugary beverages
Sodas and packed juices are loaded with sugar, which causes silent weight gain and other health problems. If you want to lose weight without exercise, you need to minimize the consumption of sugary beverages and replace them with plain or mineral water whenever possible. It takes time to get used to plain water, but your body will thank you later.
6. Slow down while eating
Instead of gulping your food down, slow down, and thoroughly chew the food before swallowing. Slow eating helps you to feel full faster, which means you will end up eating less food. Slow eating is also a mindful activity that can benefit your overall relationship with food. Try to savor each bite, notice the smells, tastes, and colors. The more you help your mind to acknowledge the fact that you’re eating, the sooner you’ll feel full. This can help you to lower the overall calorie intake which should be your main goal if you want to lose weight without exercise.
7. Keep the snacks out of the view
You are more likely to feast on some chocolate or chips if they are right in front of your eyes! And yes, that includes snacking while watching TV or working on your PC – any eating that is hindered by another activity can easily become more than you actually need. If you want to lose weight without exercise, hide any tempting items in a cupboard where you are less likely to see them. When you want to snack on something while watching TV, take only a portion with you, and leave the whole bag at the cupboard. Or even better – go the extra mile and stop buying unhealthy snacks altogether! Instead, replace them with healthy snacks that won’t affect your waistline in a negative way.
Our favorite, healthy weight loss snacks include:
- Cucumbers with hummus;
- Baby carrots;
- Apple slices with peanut butter;
- Fresh grapes;
- Tomatoes with Mozarella cheese;
- Dried seaweed.
8. Get proper sleep
It is essential to get at least 7 hours of shut-eye every night if you want to successfully lose weight without exercise. Not getting enough sleep messes up the hormone levels that regulate appetite, and you will end up craving foods that are not as healthy (2).
9. Add a probiotic to your diet
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that improve digestion and keep your gut functioning well. Better digestion means your body is able to take all the nutritional value from the foods you eat, which can result in more satisfaction and fullness, even from the so-called “unsatisfying diet foods” like vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.
Add probiotic-rich food like yogurt and kefir to your diet to fast track your weight loss journey (and to have a healthier gut).
10. Control your stress levels
When your stress levels are raised, the body reacts by producing stress hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol is well-known to increase blood pressure, appetite, and especially – emotional eatinh which causes weight gain. The calmer you are, the more stable these hormones are in your body, and it allows you to control your weight easier.
11. Use smaller plates
For some people, it’s all about the portion size, and here’s a helpful idea that can also help you to lose weight without exercise. Whenever you eat, try to use smaller plates for your portions. Not only will they fit a bit less food, but when you use a smaller plate, your mind registers the portion as “big” and it can help you to eat less calories through the day.
12. Choose healthy snacks in between meals
Trade unhealthy snacks for healthy, nutritious snacks that will help you to lose weight without exercise. A good snack between bigger meals can help you to avoid getting too hungry and keep your metabolism running. Choose healthy snack options like yogurt, high-fiber fruits, nuts, or a few dates when you’re craving a snack.
13. Don’t use your phone while eating
When you are eating, focus solely on the process of eating a meal and keep the devices away. This allows you to savor the experience and prevent overeating (which can happen very fast when you’re scrolling through interesting stuff on your phone).
14. Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting can be surprisingly effective, and a great choice for those who want to lose weight without exercise. Not only does it help you to shed those extra pounds, but it can also improve your overall health. Keep in mind that it might not be the best weight loss choice for everyone.
15. Don’t weigh yourself every day
Finally, something that is not food-related and can help you with weight loss. Set some boundaries between you and your scale! Do not weigh yourself every day. When you weigh yourself every morning, it helps to track your progress, yes. But your body is prone to weight fluctuations – things like salt intake, your hormones, period, water intake, and even how many hours you slept last night can affect your weight. Focusing on just a number on a scale can make you easily lose your motivation.
It’s better to weigh yourself every week, at the same time. This way, you’ll stay motivated to lose weight because you will see actual, more substantial results.
16. Get enough Vitamin D
There is a scientific link between being obese and being deficient in Vitamin D. (3) When you are trying to lose weight without exercise, make sure you get enough vitamin D through sunlight and a healthy diet. This will help your whole body, not just your weight loss!
17. Use red plates
If you want that fried chicken or pizza, have some, but serve it on a red plate! Surprisingly, the red color triggers our brain’s warning signal to stop eating, and you may end up eating less. This might not be true for everyone, but trying never hurts.
18. Consume healthy fats
It seems logical to stay away from fats if you are trying to lose weight, but healthy fats are your friend on this journey. Healthy fats can help you to feel full for longer, and they’re important for a lot of your body systems. Try to eat enough unsaturated fats like fish, nuts, and olive oil to boost your weight loss and stay healthy. However, keep in mind that all fats are nutrient-dense foods, which means they contain more calories per 100 grams than other foods. Be mindful of portion size to avoid consuming too many calories, but never eliminate fats from your diet – they’re too important for your weight loss!
19. Skip the diet soda
Diet or zero-calorie soda gives you a false sense of security (“it’s zero calories, man!”), but you end up consuming a lot of synthetic sweeteners anyway. Chemicals and synthetic foods are not the best choices for your body, especially if you really want to lose weight without exercise.
20. Try to meal-prep
If you plan your meals in advance and make enough to last a few days, it will significantly help you in your weight loss journey. You are less likely to order or buy unhealthy food if you have a healthy meal waiting for you in the fridge. Also, planning your meals can help you to plan nutrition that has a lot of variety. Getting a wide variety of nutritious foods helps to keep your body in a healthy state. It means all of your body functions get enough nutrients they need, and they work well (including the weight-regulating mechanisms).
It’s Really Possible To Lose Weight Without Exercise!
And if that sounds like a lot of changes towards a fit, healthy and happy life, I promise – it gets better once you get used to your new eating habits. If you want to lose weight without exercise, you have to be strategic about it, and there are not so many ways around it! You can’t burn extra calories off, so making the smartest choices with your food, lowering your calorie consumption (not too much!) is the key to your success.
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We strive to use high-quality information and deliver content that is based on science, latest research, comprehensive studies, or expert advice. These reputable sources have influenced or inspired this article:
- Leidy HJ, Clifton PM, Astrup A, Wycherley TP, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Luscombe-Marsh ND, Woods SC, Mattes RD. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;101(6):1320S-1329S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.084038. Epub 2015 Apr 29. PMID: 25926512.
- Greer SM, Goldstein AN, Walker MP. The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nat Commun. 2013;4:2259. doi:10.1038/ncomms3259
- Yao Y, Zhu L, He L, et al. A meta-analysis of the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and obesity. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015;8(9):14977-14984. Published 2015 Sep 15.