We all wish we could just take a pill or press a button and watch as our bellies become flat and toned, our legs slim down and our glutes become sculpted. Unfortunately, that’s still not possible, and it’s highly unlikely to take place in the following century. So what are the options when you barely have time to come home and cook yourself dinner, let alone hit the gym three to four times a week? Don’t despair yet, you don’t have to stop eating for an entire week. In fact, that is strictly against the rule if you want to shed a few pounds the smart way. We’ve compiled a list of tips on how to lose weight without exercising that relies on a wholesome diet and a structured lifestyle. Nothing helps those extra pounds stick to you like pulling all-nighters, abusing alcohol and finding comfort in food.
Common Causes of Weight Gain
- Eating way too fast can actually contribute to weight gain. This is due to the way your mind and stomach cooperate. Apparently, your brain can lag behind a bit on knowing the status of your stomach. Although you may already be full, if you're going too fast, your stomach probably hasn't let your brain know yet.
- Sleeping too little can also make you gain weight faster. A full night's rest ensures you have enough energy each day to be more active. Some research also suggest more sleep contributes to a healthier hormonal balance.
- Multitasking while eating can trick your body into taking in more food than you would otherwise. Distracting yourself from your meal with movies, the Internet or any other activity can keep you from noticing how much you are consuming.
If you’ve been looking for pointers that actually work on losing weight without going to the gym, you won’t have to look any further. Try incorporating as many as the below-listed suggestions and you’ll be seeing results while your body will become leaner and healthier.
1. Cut out sodas
In a weight loss fight, sodas are your worst enemies. You don’t want to reduce your daily intake of sugary drinks, but cut them out completely, with no regrets. Sodas are packed with sugar and unnecessary calories. They don’t offer your body any nutrients, so why would you want to consume them? Sugary drinks can actually cause teeth problem and affect the digestive system. This includes diet sodas that claim don’t have any sugar. As long as it’s fizzy, it should stay on the shelf, and not end up in your shopping cart
2. Small plates
This is an incredibly simple trick that will take you a long way. Instead of piling up a lot of food on a big plate, use small serving plates, which will fit less food. This will trick your brain into thinking you are eating a lot of food, signaling your stomach that it’s receiving plenty. If you stick to this habit, you will be able to start eating smaller food portions, which, in its turn, will lead to you losing weight.
3. Avoid white carbs
You should say goodbye to rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, cereal, and fried food combined with bread. They don’t play nice with losing weight and, along with sodas, you should cut them out of your diet for good. But don’t worry, there are plenty of alternatives out there that will take care of your waistline. Feel free to replace white rice with brown rice. This will taste amazing in stir-fries with vegetables and as a side dish. Likewise, steer away from regular pasta and find a whole grain type. This is easy to recognize due to its brownish color. Pasta salads with spinach and avocado will keep you full for longer. Combining fried foods with bread is another big no-no. If you are craving bread, try to eat at most two slices of brown bread in the morning, but never have them for dinner.
There are some stories floating online about people claiming they have shed a few pounds just by drinking more water. While these are not entirely true, there is some truth to them. When you deprive your body of water, it thinks it’s not going to get enough liquids in the following days. As a consequence, it holds on to whatever liquids you give it, storing it for the hard days ahead. This is called water retention and it can make you look puffy, even giving you baggy eyes. In order to avoid this, make sure you’re constantly sipping on water, green teas and natural juices throughout the day. Use a graduated water bottle in order to keep track of how much water you actually drink. You might be tempted to say you drink 8 glasses of water per day when, in fact, you’re barely downing 4 glasses.
5. No skipping meals
Just like your body thinks it’s not going to receive any more water when you don’t drink enough liquids, it will think it’s not going to receive enough food when you deprive it of nutrients, so it will start storing fat. Skipping meals won’t make you thinner faster, it will just confuse your body. It’s true that you should eat enough to feed your body (the world famous two thousand calories rule), but that doesn’t mean starving yourself. You should eat several small meals throughout the day and snack smartly so that your body has the necessary fuel to work properly and shed fat on its own accord. Once you accustom your body to a fixed eating schedule, it will work even better. Your stomach will be ready to digest the food at specific hours and it will do a better job at breaking down all the nutrients you are feeding it, transforming them into fuel.
6. Less salt
Most canned food and anything else that comes in a bag is most likely packed with salt in order to increase its shelf life. If you take the time to read the labels of chips, canned beans, popcorn or pretzels, you’ll be amazed to see how much salt they contain. Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you’re probably eating more than you need already. Pay attention to the labels of the food you buy and choose products that have little to no salt. Salt can actually make you retain water, it can make you feel bloated, it can swell up your feet and it can increase your blood pressure.
You need a healthy organism if you want to lose weight without exercising. And four to five hours of sleep doesn’t help a body stay healthy and work efficiently. As a matter of fact, you might as well be hitting the gym five times a week, but if you’re not getting enough sleep, you won’t notice any changes in your body. Sleep is one of the most important things for weight loss because it controls your diet. Less sleep could make you hungrier, moodier and more inclined to break your diet. What is more, lack of sleep can change your fat cells, by making your body suffer from “metabolic grogginess”.
8. Food journal
This might sound trivial, but putting pen to paper might be the best thing you’ll do for your weight loss journey. It’s not easy to keep track of anything you eat in a day and it’s easy to get tempted to eat a brownie or nibble on a chocolate bar. Keeping a food journal will give you an inkling into what you are really consuming and how this is affecting your body. Meal planning is even better. If you have time, planning the meals for you whole week will help you stay on track and keep you motivated. Tell your friends about your plans, so you feel accountable and become less inclined to cheat. However, don’t forget about rewarding yourself. It’s not fun to stick to an austere schedule for whole weeks. Work hard, play hard!
9. Leave the car at home, take the stairs
Even if you don’t have enough time for going to the gym, that’s no excuse for hopping on your car instead of walking two blocks. It doesn’t matter if you have to run errands or go grocery shopping. You can look at your food bags like they are dumbbells. Transform your walk back home into a workout. Alternate between brisk walking and don’t let anyone else carry those grocery bags. Another pro-tip is forgetting all about elevators. Stairs are your best friends when it comes to losing weight. Heels or no heels, take the stairs daily and work those glutes.
10. Snack wisely
Pistachios, walnuts and almonds are amazing to snack on between lunch and dinner, but you shouldn’t lose calories count out of sight. Pistachios are caloric bombs, so you should be really careful how much you eat in a sitting. Peruse the nutritional info on any snack and make sure you don’t exceed your daily goal.
11. Realistic goals
Of course, we all want to eat healthy for a day and wake up with a completely flat belly and toned abs the second day. But you have to be realistic and acknowledge that it’s not going to happen. Losing weight takes time. If you change your lifestyle and choose healthy foods instead of junk food and sugary drinks, your body will take care of its weight by itself. However, the process can’t and shouldn’t be rushed. With these in mind, don’t set any unrealistic goals for your body, otherwise you will be disappointed when you don’t lose eight pounds in a week.
12. One day off
The last tip is to cut yourself some slack. It’s not worth putting your whole energy into refraining from eating a piece of cake or refraining from eating an entire pizza. As long as you pay attention to proportions and try to consume 90% healthy, wholesome foods, you can reserve the rest of 10% for going to town. A day per week of indulging will help you blow some steam and make the entire dieting idea more bearable. However, make sure you’re in control and the day off doesn’t end up completely sabotaging your efforts. If you’re not craving cheeseburgers or ice cream, it’s not worth risking indulging just to find yourself in the other extreme once again.
Georgia has graduated from a nutrition expert degree and her work involves some freelance blogging on the side of her main part time job in a doctor’s office. She doesn’t travel a lot due to work constraints, but she likes going out as often as she can to compensate.