You may be familiar with the saying, “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet,” meaning that weight loss relies heavily on making healthy food choices. However, exercise still plays a crucial role in overall health and weight management. If you’re unable to regularly attend a gym, there are still ways to achieve weight loss success.
In addition to regular exercise, this article highlights ten evidence-based strategies for losing weight without relying solely on physical activity. Get ready to learn about science-backed tips for quick and effective weight loss without breaking a sweat.
1. Don’t Drink Your Calories
The calories in sugary beverages such as soda, iced tea, lemonade, and sports drinks add up quickly. A typical 12-ounce can of cola contains 140 empty calories and 39 grams of sugar! Try swapping out sugary beverages for alternatives such as water, seltzers, diet beverages, and other calorie-free options.
In addition, drinking water before a meal has been shown to result in a reduction in energy intake and improved fullness, meaning you are likely to eat fewer calories if you drink fluids before a meal.
2. Control Your Portion Sizes
When looking to lose weight with diet alone, portion control is key. Try measuring out your portions with a measuring cup or weighing them with a food scale to get an idea of how big your desired portion should be.
While this varies between individuals, on average when looking to lose weight fast, aim for around a half cup of carbs, a palm-sized portion (about three to four ounces) of protein, plenty of veggies, and a thumb-sized serving of healthy fats such as olive oil.
Controlling your portion sizes allows you to still enjoy tasty foods without overloading on calories for that meal. Use meal prep containers to help you stick to portion sizes and save time.
3. Increase Your Fiber Intake
Fiber is found in nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. This non-digestible portion of certain carbs adds bulk to your diet and can help keep you fuller for longer in turn reducing feelings of hunger. In fact, research shows that by simply adding additional fiber to your diet you may lose more weight and have more success keeping it off.
Adding fiber to your diet is as easy as swapping out refined carbs, such as white flour, for fiber-rich options such as whole grains and vegetables.
4. Get More Sleep
While it may seem unrelated, the quality of your sleep can actually have a significant impact on your ability to lose weight. Research shows that poor sleep can negate weight loss efforts by increasing hunger-stimulating hormones making it much harder to lose weight, especially from diet alone. Therefore, one of the most impactful things you can do when looking to lose weight fast without exercise is to improve your sleep.
5. Don’t Keep High-Calorie Snack Foods Around
If you know that you’re the type of person that can’t just have one cookie or one scoop of ice cream, it’s best not to keep these items in the house. Alternatively, you may want to find some healthier options that still satisfy that sweet tooth without derailing your weight loss plan. For example, choose a lower-calorie frozen yogurt over ice cream, or grab a chocolate-covered strawberry instead of a cookie.
That said, it’s important not to overly deprive yourself. In the long run, this can backfire leading to weight regain and binge eating. Allow yourself a sweet treat on occasion, but aim to return to your weight loss plan when you’re done.
6. Double Down on Lean Protein
Lean protein is your friend when looking to lose weight from diet alone. Low-fat proteins are low in calories and can keep you full to prevent you from getting hungry too quickly. These include foods like chicken breast, lean ground turkey, lean cuts of pork or beef, fish, tofu, and other high-protein meat substitutes, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, and egg whites.
As an added bonus, eating a high-protein diet when losing weight will help prevent you from losing muscle, as muscle is metabolically active and can actually help you burn more calories.
7. Don’t Forget Healthy Fats
Oftentimes when dieting people tend to shy away from all fats in general though incorporating healthy fats in your weight loss diet can actually help keep you fuller for longer and provide a number of other health benefits throughout the body.
Some examples of healthy fat sources include avocado, olive oil, nuts, nut butters, seeds (sunflower, chia, hemp, flax), and fatty fish. Try adding avocado to your salads, or having some nut butter with apple slices for a snack.
8. Eat Slower
When eating a meal there is a slight delay between when you start eating and when your stomach registers the food intake. By scarfing down a meal quickly, you don’t give your stomach time to register the volume of food that is coming in, which can result in excess calories being consumed. By eating a bit slower, your stomach has more time to register your food intake which can result in a feeling of fullness, allowing you to eat fewer calories.
9. Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is an approach that focuses on an individual’s awareness of hunger and total experience surrounding food. The whole purpose of this practice is to be more in tune with your body’s hunger cues and to allow yourself to stop eating when you are full. You can eat more mindfully by trying to minimize distractions during meals which allows you to focus on the taste of the food and how hungry you are.
Here’s one way to put this into practice: Instead of aimlessly snacking while watching TV, portion out a serving or two of a snack, and sit down at the dining room table to eat it. This allows you to pay attention to the taste and your own personal hunger cues.
10. Eat At Home More Often
When eating out you are much more likely to overconsume calories than when preparing food at home. This is often due to large portion sizes and additional ingredients (i.e. butter, oils, cheese) added to foods at restaurants.
In fact the research shows that those who prepare food at home more frequently have a better quality diet and are less likely to be overweight. One impactful change you can make when trying to lose weight is to cook more meals at home. You can also eat healthy on the road while traveling with some planning and intentionality.