What comes to mind when you think about losing weight? Probably sweating it out on a treadmill or doing some crazy aerobics class, right?
In reality, your diet plays a much greater role in weight loss than physical activity. That’s right, you can lose a ton of weight by NOT exercising.
In one 12-week study, women who followed a diet-only program were able to lose an average of 10.8 more pounds than women who did an exercise-only program. (1)
But hold on, we’re not saying don’t exercise. The truth is, following a well-rounded holistic lifestyle is still the best way to get in shape.
However, if for some reason exercise isn’t an option, you still have plenty of ways to slim down.
Let’s take a closer look at how to lose weight without exercising.
1. Cut Out Sugary Drinks
The key to losing weight is actually pretty simple: reduce your calorie intake to the point where it is lower than your energy expenditure. You can use a Calorie Calculator as a simple guideline. (2)
One of the easiest ways to cut down on calories is to stop drinking sugary drinks, and that doesn’t just mean soda. It also means most juices and sports drinks too.
Those things are basically sugar in a bottle.
In fact, just one can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar, which is more than what the American Heart Association recommends for your daily intake!
2. Drink More Water
H2O does a whole lot more than just keep you away from those sugary drinks…
Research shows that you can boost your body’s metabolism by drinking more water.
Surprisingly, your body’s metabolic rate can increase by 30% after drinking just 500ml of water. (3)
If you’re looking for a little extra flavor, try throwing in some lemon or lime slices.
Another great strategy is to drink water before each meal to curb your appetite.
So how much should you actually drink?
The general recommendation is 8 glasses of water, or 2.5 liters each day.
However, this really depends on your body composition and activity levels.
Generally, you should be okay if you drink whenever you feel thirsty.
Simple enough, right?
3. Try Intermittent Fasting
You may have already heard of the intermittent fasting health trend…
It’s the practice of cycling between fasting and eating.
In other words, you wait to eat until later in the day.
The most common way is to fast for 16 hours every day by skipping breakfast.
Other options are to not eat for 24 hours, twice a week, or to alternate fasting days.
You won’t believe the amazing benefits it can bring to your body!
Cells and Hormones
Your body undergoes changes on the cellular level when you fast.
For starters, hormone levels adjust and you start burning more fat as energy.
During the fasting stage, your body will enter the repair mode. This is called autophagy: a process where dysfunctional proteins are digested to make way for new ones.
Research shows that human growth hormone levels increase as much as 5x when fasting. (4)
This all does wonder for both muscle growth and fat loss!
An Easy Way to Shed Pounds
The 16:8 fasting schedule is something anyone can follow.
That’s why this health trend has become so popular for those who want to lose weight.
Rather than focusing on which foods to eat, you just have to follow an eating schedule.
Having a smaller eating window will ultimately help you eat fewer calories!
Compared to regular calorie restriction, you should also retain more muscle.
Just remember not to overeat. If you’re taking in more calories than your daily expenditure you won’t lose weight.
Other Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
There are a ton of other advantages to intermittent fasting too, including:
Better insulin resistance
Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
Supports brain health
Improves heart health
You’ll definitely benefit from more than just weight loss!
4. Adopt an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Intermittent fasting should be combined with an anti-inflammatory diet for the best results.
An anti-inflammatory diet means eating foods that kill inflammation and avoiding the ones that increase it.
What Is Inflammation Exactly?
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to getting hurt, sick, or infected.
Short-term inflammation is characterized by swelling, redness, heat, and pain, and it’s healthy in small doses.
However, long term inflammation can silently undermine your health.
Before long, it can lead to conditions like diabetes, fatty liver disease, and obesity. (5)
What Do I Stay Away From?
Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and refined carbs are all linked to inflammation and obesity.
Similarly, processed foods and trans fats can trigger inflammation and mess up your arteries.
Alcohol is yet another culprit that’s proven to cause serious inflammation.
Cutting out all this bad stuff is what the anti-inflammatory diet is all about.
Here is a quick guideline on what to avoid:
Sugary drinks: fruit juice, soda, etc.
Desserts: pies, candy, cookies, cake, and ice cream
Processed snacks: chips, biscuits, and crackers
Alcohol: wine, beer, and liquor
Trans fats: most fast food establishments
What Should I Eat More of?
The anti-inflammatory diet is all about achieving the perfect balance of carbs, fats, and protein.
Keep your carb intake low to curb inflammation, especially if you’re overweight.
You should also work on getting in fiber and essential micronutrients, especially antioxidants.
Antioxidants are great at combating free radicals, which is one of the main culprits of inflammation. (6)
Make sure to make room for the following anti-inflammatory foods in your diet:
Veggies: cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, broccoli, and spinach
Fatty fish: anchovies, mackerel, and salmon
Spices: cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric
Green tea: matcha, jasmine, and oolong
Nuts: macadamia, Brazil, and almonds
Dark chocolate: make sure it’s 80%+ cacao!
It is helpful to plan out your meals for the week to reduce stress.
Here’s an example of a daily meal plan to give you a better idea:
Two poached eggs
1 cup of spinach
1 cup of strawberries
Pan-fried mackerel with lemon zest
1 cup of mushrooms
Cinnamon tea with raw honey
2 ounces of dark chocolate
1 handful of almonds
Beef stew with sweet potatoes and broccoli
Is your mouth watering yet?
Sticking to a healthy diet like this is sure to help you lose weight, even if you don’t exercise!
5. Follow Good Nighttime Habits
Poor sleep is strongly linked to obesity.
After a sleepless night, you’re a lot more likely to reach for a pizza rather than an apple.
Not only that, but poor sleep increases inflammation and promotes metabolic changes that lead to weight gain. (7)
If you want to lose weight, you better get proper hours in dreamland! The National Sleep Foundation recommends between 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
Here are a few tips to help you snooze:
Set a consistent schedule to let your circadian rhythms adjust
Don’t eat within 3 hours of bedtime. We know late-night snacks can be tempting!
Stay away from caffeine and alcohol before bed
Keep your screen time minimal, if you must then use a night-mode yellow filter or wear blue-light glasses
Try using supplements like GABA or melatonin
If you have any more questions about how to lose weight without exercising, feel free to contact us at Complete Care Health Centers. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.