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-Mind Your Damn Fitness-
Good nutrition and exercise go hand-in-hand when it comes to losing weight. Well, that’s the official line.
In reality, life’s distractions are virtually endless – going to work, making dinner, taking the kids to practice, paying bills – the list goes on and on. Fortunately, there are many ways to lose weight without exercise.
So let’s dive right in to my top 10 list!
10. Fill up on zero-calorie foods
Whenever we eat food, our bodies burn calories to digest, absorb, and process the various nutrients in these foods. This requirement for energy is known as the thermic effect of food.
There are certain foods that are called “zero-calorie foods” because the few calories that they have are burned as energy needed to eat and digest them. Filling up on zero-calorie foods is a great way of reducing overall caloric intake without necessarily limiting the amount of food that you eat.
Zero-calorie foods like watermelon and carrots make great snacks, so don’t hold back on eating them throughout the day to manage hunger.
9. Have more protein
Eating a diet of 25-30% protein can aid in weight loss in two ways: 1) boosting your metabolism and 2) suppressing your appetite.
When it comes to your metabolism, thermic effect (as discussed above) is at play here. Of the three types of macronutrients contained in food (carbs, protein, and fat), protein produces the greatest thermic effect during digestion. In fact, protein boosts your metabolism by a whopping 15–30%! For the other macronutrients, the thermic effect is considerably lower: 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fat.
Eating protein can also aid in appetite control by making you feel fuller for longer. One study found that when protein comprised 30% of one’s diet, people naturally ate nearly 450 fewer calories per day.
When increasing protein in your diet, go for variety. In addition to meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, don’t forget high-protein plant foods like nuts, lentils, protein-rich vegetables, and quinoa.
And for more ideas on how to boost your metabolism, check out this post.
8. Eat at a snail’s pace
A stomach that is full of food is only part of what ends your desire to continue eating. Your brain also has to receive a signal that you’re full. What makes appetite a bit tricky is that there is generally a delay between when your stomach starts to get full and when your brain realizes that you’re satisfied
Eating at a slow pace gives your brain a chance to receive the signals that you’re filling up, which reduces the risk of eating excess calories when you’re no longer hungry.
Thus, it is important to slow down at meal time. Some strategies that may help include cutting up food to eat (instead of consuming whole), chewing food slowly, and avoiding distractions during meals (like watching TV) so that you don’t engage in “mindless eating”.
7. Fill up on water before meals
Drinking 16 oz (2 cups) of water 30 minutes before each meal can help you feel fuller faster, which results in fewer calories eaten per meal. This can reduce weight over time.
Keeping a water bottle at arms reach throughout the day makes integrating this change into your routine more seamless. Just make sure you don’t overdo it with the pre-meal water, for consuming too much too close to meal time can interfere with digestion.
6. Stop eating late
Cut out late-night snacking and save night time for sleep! As your body prepares for rest and repair, your metabolism slows and food is processed differently. Because of this, calories eaten late in the evening and overnight are more likely to be stored as fat.
Thus, it’s best to end eating for the day with a well-balanced dinner at a reasonable time. Late-night eating is a tricky habit to break, but with the right tools, this challenging habit can also be curbed.
5. Nibble your dessert
Giving in to a sweet teeth is a common cause for weight gain. But when it comes to cravings, research has shown that indulging in a small bite of a sweet treat can satisfy a sweet tooth just as well as eating the full portion.
In one study, people who ate a few bites (5-10 times smaller portion than the full amount) of chocolate, apple pie, or potato chips had the same reduction in cravings 15 minutes after eating as people who ate the full portion. Interestingly, both groups were equally satisfied.
So when your sweet tooth strikes, take a few bites and then wait for 15 minutes… it may be just enough to calm that craving and save you from additional calories.
4. Stop drinking your calories
Drinking sugary beverages in excess is a common way for extra calories to sneak into our daily diets. This can lead to weight gain!
Many of your favorite drinks – soda, energy drinks, mocha cappuccinos – have anywhere from 250-400 calories (or more)! Depending on your age, weight, and activity level, this could be 20% of the calories your body needs in a day.
But there’s positive news. Research has shown that eliminating even one serving per day can reduce body weight and improve overall health.
So start by cutting out just one sugary drink (and ideally replace it with a glass of water). You can cut out more as your cravings continue to decrease.
3. Sip some apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contributes to weight loss in a number of ways. Not only does it suppress appetite, aid in digestion, and control blood sugar and insulin levels, but it also boosts your metabolism.
Not many studies in humans have been done, but studies in animals suggest that apple cider vinegar increases an enzyme called AMPK. This, in turn, decrease fat and sugar production in the liver and enhances the body’s fat burning power.
Start with adding 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water to see how you respond. If tolerated ok, gradually increase to adding 1 tablespoon to water and drink 2-3 times throughout the day.
2. Get enough sleep
People are often surprised to learn that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. But evidence suggests that sleep deprivation can be a major culprit in putting on extra pounds.
In a small study of 30 people, participants ate roughly 300 more calories per day when they were sleep-deprived (~4 hours of sleep) versus being rested (~9 hours of sleep). In addition to this increase in caloric intake, the body tends to go into “survival mode” when sleep-deprived, which slows the metabolism.
So make sure you prioritize your sleep and aim for 7-9 hours every night.
1. Give intermittent fasting a try
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that focuses on when you eat instead of what you eat.
One of the biggest reasons you lose weight with intermittent fasting is that it causes an increase in the fat burning hormone norepinephrine. Norephinephrine not only increases metabolic rate to shed pounds, but it also helps get rid of stubborn belly fat. Other positive metabolic changes associated with weight loss include reduction in triglycerides, low density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol, insulin, and blood sugar.
In addition, when you eat less frequently (as with intermittent fasting), you naturally experience a reduction in overall calorie consumption. Bonus!
There are many ways to structure the fasting intervals (periods of no eating) and feeding intervals of an intermittent fasting program. Some methods consist of fasting for a portion of each day (also called time-restricted eating), with feeding intervals lasting 6-12 hours. Other approaches include fasting a full 24 hours one or more days per week.
Learn more about how to lose weight with intermittent fasting here.
Well there you have it! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my top 10 list of tips and tricks to lose weight without exercise. For best results, start with the ones that are the easiest to incorporate into your current lifestyle, and build from there.