Being in a calorie deficit and eating a healthy diet is key if you’re looking for how to lose weight without exercise. Not only may this ring joy to those who suffer from gym anxiety, but it'll be music to the ears of those who struggle to stick to a strict workout routine.
While you may have heard of the phrase that ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ and that it’s ‘80 per cent diet and 20 per cent exercise,' it doesn’t mean you now have to go and deprive yourself of your favourite foods and start being super strict. There are additional things you can do to help you lose weight and curb your cravings without needing to exercise.
While we still recommend doing a little light exercise, even if it’s something gentle like an evening walk or pilates, here are 13 easy, low-maintenance and effective ways to lose weight without exercise.
1. Turn down the thermostat to lose weight
Simply turning down your thermostat can help you to lose weight as your body is forced to work harder to stay warm.
A study from Japan in 2013 found that when participants were exposed to 63 degrees two hours a day for six weeks, their average body fat mass decreased by about five per cent.
2. Drink black coffee or skip sugar to help lose weight
Coffee and tea are consumed by most people regularly. Instead of adding calorific additives like sugar, cream, or sweeteners, maybe consider using non-dairy milk or semi-skimmed milk and cut out the sugars.
According to a study in the journal, Public Health, taking your coffee black can save you nearly 500 calories a week, as 60 per cent of calories comes from sugar. Leaving out the sugar is an easy way to save on your daily calorie intake.
3. Drink lots of water to encourage weight loss
Sometimes when you feel your tummy grumble it is not because you are hungry, but thirsty instead. The same part of our brain controls our thirst and hunger and can sometimes mix up the signals.
If you keep a water bottle on hand and sip all day you will be less inclined to snack or feel pangs of hunger.
4. Store healthy snacks at home to help you lose weight
If you are hungry, don’t wait until your next meal when you are starving. Eat a healthy snack and this will help you to eat smaller portions at dinner or lunchtime. Studies show that those that end up going a long time without eating anything are more likely to consume more calories during their next meal.
The reason behind this is that when you’re hungry, your body automatically switches to starving mode and stores the fat. It will increase your hunger hormones and leave you starving for your next meal.
Snacks like low sugar granola bars, fruit, raw veggies and spiced roasted chickpeas are great at keeping your hunger at bay on the go. This will help you resist the urge to grab any naughty meals, like fast food, if you are starving and looking for a quick fix.
5. Keep chopped fresh fruit and veg in the fridge for easier snacking access
Arrange your healthy snacks such as sliced fruit and vegetables, hummus, olives and protein-rich foods to the front of your fridge and on the middle shelf. If these snacks are pre-prepared and on your eye-line, you will be more likely to grab them.
6. Have at least one meatless meal a day to help lose weight without exercise
To lose weight without exercise, you will need to be on a calorie deficit and cutting out meat from one meal a day will help you to keep under the calorie threshold. Researchers have found that those who eat a vegetarian high protein meal consume 12 per cent fewer calories than those who consume meat. High-protein plant-based are foods such as chickpeas, lentils, beans, tofu and tempeh.
7. Cut out sugary foods to help you lose weight without exercise
Drinking fizzy drinks and eating sugary foods leave you feeling hungrier. Making an effort to cut out sugary beverages, processed baked goods and biscuits will help you stay under a calorie deficit.
Cutting out sugar can be hard as it is so addictive. If you have a sugar craving, reach out for high percentage dark chocolate or fruit. A great healthy sweet treat is something like banana ice-cream. Just freeze some peeled bananas and put them in a blender with a dash of milk and some chocolate powder, and you have yourself a healthy creamy treat. Or check out our list of low calorie snacks.
8. Eat more protein-rich foods can help you lose weight without exercise
Eating protein-rich foods will help keep you fuller for longer. Some research found that eating a protein-packed breakfast will help manage your appetite throughout the day. Foods like eggs, chickpeas or a protein shake will keep you full until lunchtime. Juice Plus+ is great for helping you maintain a healthy weight while still helping you get those nutrients.
9. Reduce the size of your plate or bowl to encourage weight loss without exercise
It’s natural to fill up your plate! Instead of using a plate that is 12 inches wide, try to stick to smaller plates that are around 9 or 10 inches. That way it will give you the appearance that you have a full plate but with less piled on. Cornell University researcher Brain Wansink, PhD, says that you can cut about 23 per cent off of the amount you serve yourself. 'It’s a mindlessly easy way to cut things down,' said Wansink. This is an easy way to control your portion sizes.
10. Your TV habits can influence your weight loss or weight gain
Studies have shown that watching television makes you more likely to overeat and grab unhealthy foods. Researchers have found that people snacking whilst watching a 20-minute show consumed 156 calories.
The average British person watches three hours, 12 minutes of TV a day. Try to get up and move during the ad breaks or have a big glass of water and some healthy snacks such as veg, low-sugar cereal or frozen grapes to pick on when you sit down to watch the telly.
11. Eating slowly can help encourage weight loss
It has been found that chewing your food more thoroughly and therefore eating more slowly is linked to smaller portion sizes and less food intake. You can also feel fuller sooner with less calories.
In a 2013 study, researchers asked 45 people to eat pizza until full while chewing at different speeds. It was found that those who chewed for longer became fuller more quickly. By chewing your food for longer before swallowing it can therefore help reduce your food intake.
12. Improve on the quality of your sleep to help you lose weight
When you’re short on sleep, it's easy to reach for calorie-laden food rather than making healthier choices.
A lack of sleep can also disrupt the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin, increasing your hunger and cravings for unhealthy food.
If you're struggling to get some shut-eye, follow our expert tips on how to improve your sleep or why not try one of the best sleep sprays and mists to help you drift off.
13. Don't skip breakfast
If you've been skipping breakfast to 'save on calories', many studies have found this is actually bad for your diet.
This is because you're more likely to eat more calories later in the day whereas eating a healthy breakfast will help you to feel full throughout the day.