The best way to lose weight is to make changes to your diet and do more daily activities. If you don’t work out, can you still lose weight?
Not everyone who works out can lose weight because of it. There may be times when you have to try to lose weight without doing any exercise.
Because of your injury, you can’t do any active things.
When getting ready for certain surgeries, like a knee replacement, it’s best to lose weight quickly. But because of the pain, you can’t do any kind of exercise.
You have very bad illnesses like arthritis or fibromyalgia.
You find it hard to move around and get in shape. Amy Kimberlain, a certified dietitian in Miami and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that this is not a good enough reason to avoid physical activity, but it may be why you’re looking for ways to lose weight without exercise.
Your busy schedule makes it hard for you to find time to work out.
Exercise and Weight Loss
Exercise helps the body burn calories more efficiently, says Dr. Scott A. Cunneen.
This is because your metabolism elevates during physical activity. Over time, if exercise results in increased levels of lean body mass and less fat mass, your baseline metabolic rate (the amount of calorie your body burns when sitting still) should increase, as well, says Tamara Duker Freuman, a registered dietitian with New York Gastroenterology Associates. Without exercise, your metabolism will likely remain the same.
Think Long-Term for Weight Loss
Weisenberger encourages those interested in losing weight without exercise to think about their long-term goals. One approach is to focus on weekly weight goals versus daily check-ins. A healthy weight loss is half a pound to 2 pounds a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For instance, you can set a goal of losing 10% of your body weight in three to six months. If you weigh 200 pounds, that’s 20 pounds to lose.
Play around with plates
One common strategy used for weight loss is to play around with plate size and the portions on your plate. At dinner, use a smaller salad plate for grains and protein and a larger dinner plate for non-starchy vegetables , Kimberlain says. This helps you to fill up more on those low-calorie veggies.
Another plate idea: If you’re at a holiday or special event with some of your favorite desserts, don’t deprive yourself, advises registered dietitian Heidi Katte, an instructor with Milwaukee Area Technical College in Milwaukee. Instead, serve yourself a portion using a small plate instead of a large plate.
Fill up on soups and salads
At many restaurants, you have the option of a salad or soup before your main entrée, says Leslie Bonci, sports dietitian for the Kansas City Chiefs and owner of the nutrition business Active Eating Advice. If you choose a healthier soup or salad, you can fill up on fiber before moving on to your entrée. If you’re already somewhat full, you’ll eat less of the main meal and perhaps even skip dessert.
Choose healthy snacks
We’ve all been there: You’re ready for a snack and open up the pantry. You see chips, cookies and other less nutritious options. It’s only natural to want to reach out and make those unhealthy choices. To help avoid this trap, stock your pantry with healthier snack options that will keep you feeling full longer, helping support your weight loss efforts.
Snacks that combine protein, healthy fat and/or complex carbs can achieve these goals. Some healthy snack options include foods such as:
- Greek yogurt with fruit.
- An apple or banana with a nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter.
- Cottage cheese with fruit on a piece of whole-grain bread.
- Hummus with whole-grain crackers and sliced veggies.
- A handful of nuts and a piece of fruit.
Eat without distractions
Think about the last few meals and snacks you ate. Were you reading or watching something on a screen? Maybe driving and eating? It’s easy to eat too much if you’re not focused on what you’re eating. Put away the phone, turn off the TV or remove whatever else distracts you to enjoy each bite.
Eating Mindfully by chewing slowly is another way to focus on what you’re eating, so you’re truly aware of when you’re full, Katte says. Eating without distractions also can make you aware of whether you’re eating because you’re truly hungry or if you’re just bored.
Chew your food thoroughly
Chewing your food helps with weight loss goals for several reasons, Bannister says:
- You slow down your meal and may be more mindful of your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
- You may burn slightly more calories through digestion when you chew thoroughly.
- Taking your time to chew thoroughly can positively affect the hormones related to hunger and feeling full so you ultimately consume fewer calories.
Get more fiber
Fiber helps to fill you up so you stay full longer, meaning you’re eating less overall. The recommended serving for fiber is 25 grams a day for women and up to 38 grams a day for men, but most Americans struggle to get even 10 grams daily, Katte says.
Foods that are rich in fiber include:
- Beans. For example, 1 cup of black beans has 15 grams of fiber.
- Broccoli. 1 cup contains 5 grams of fiber.
- Pears. A medium pear has 5½ grams of fiber.
- Raspberries. 1 cup has 8 grams.
- Whole-wheat spaghetti or bread. 1 cup of whole-wheat spaghetti gives you 6 grams of fiber.
- Nuts, which are high in protein.