How soon you lose weight all depends on the consistency and duration of the lifestyle changes you’re making. That goes for diet and exercise (also, genetics come into play). And, just so you know, you don’t have to work out for weight loss, though you’ll want to hear what two experts, who are both registered dietitians and trainers, have to say about why you should.


How You Can Lose Weight Without Exercise

Stay in a Caloric Deficit

Registered dietitian Alix Turoff, MS, CDN, who’s also an NASM-certified personal trainer, said that a caloric deficit is key for weight loss. Registered dietitian and NASM-certified personal trainer Gabbi Berkow, MA, CDN, agreed, explaining to POPSUGAR, “The calories you burn in a day is the sum of your basal metabolic rate , calories burned in digesting food, and any physical activity you do.” Calories burned in digestion is called the thermic effect of food, she said, noting that your basal metabolic rate (BMR) makes up about 70 percent of your daily calorie burn, the thermic effect of food makes up about five to 10 percent, and exercise makes up the remaining 20 to 25 percent.

“It takes burning 3,500 more calories than you eat to lose one pound of fat,” Gabbi said, so to lose one pound per week, you have to burn about 500 more calories than you eat per day. (This is consistent with what Jim White, RD and ACSM-certified personal trainer, said in a previous interview.) If you’re not engaging in regular structured exercise, you need to reduce food intake enough so you’re burning more calories than you eat in a day, she said.


Alix recommended starting with a deficit of about 15 to 20 percent below your maintenance, or the calories you would need to maintain your current weight. “This means that if your maintenance calories are 2,000 calories per day, your deficit would be 300 to 400 calories,” she said. An aggressive deficit might make you lose weight faster, but it’s not easy to maintain and won’t benefit long-term weight loss. “If you start with the 15 to 20 percent deficit and you’re not seeing results after four weeks, you can decrease your calories by 100 calories per day,” Alix said.

Nutrition Is Key For Weight Loss

There are many diets out there to choose from, but Alix said she tells her clients that the goal is to “lose weight while eating as much as they can.” All foods can fit in a healthy diet, she said. “We talk about how to balance their day in a way that will allow them to feel full, have energy, and support their workouts. If someone has a condition that requires a specific diet, such as diabetes, hormonal imbalances, and inflammatory bowel disease, then they would require a more specific diet.” Alix also encourages intuitive eating, which focuses on honoring hunger and fullness cues and not limiting yourself.

For weight loss, Gabbi suggested measuring out portions and sticking to serving sizes because if you don’t exercise, there’s “not a lot of wiggle room” and your calories have to be lower. “Fill up on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods like lean protein and veggies. Avoid alcohol as much as possible since it’s empty calories. Avoid sugars, white starches, fried foods, and processed foods,” she advised. Why? Because, she said, they are high in calories, don’t keep you full, and increase your cravings.

Macros For Weight Loss

Gabbi went on to say that the main focus should be having a well-balanced plate by macros: protein, fat, and carbs. Keep protein high, she instructed, at least one gram per pound of bodyweight, or about 40 percent of your calories, “to retain your muscle mass, stay full, and keep your metabolism up. The remainder of your calories will come from carbs and fats. Choose the split of carbs and fats that works best for you and that you can stick to. If you’re more active, you’ll need relatively more carbs than fat.”

Every time you eat, Gabbi said, make sure you have at least 20 grams of protein; a healthy carb full of fiber like fruit, veggies, or whole grains; and a healthy fat. Though meals would depend on your individual calorie needs, she said breakfast could look like oatmeal made with 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 cup blueberries, one plain nonfat Greek yogurt, and one tablespoon chia seeds. Dinner could be something along the lines of four to five ounces grilled chicken or fish, a side salad with one tablespoon olive oil, and at least one cup steamed veggies.

Is Just Diet or Diet and Exercise Better For Weight Loss?

If you diet and even incorporate more NEAT (nonexercise activity thermogenesis) such as walking your dog, mowing the lawn, and gardening into your daily life, both experts agreed that working out is still a piece of the weight-loss puzzle that you’re missing. They said a combination of diet and exercise is most effective.

Exercise increases your calorie burn, meaning you can eat more total calories while still being in a deficit, so you don’t have to restrict food as much, Gabbi explained. Exercise is also key for preserving muscle mass, she said, which “is essential because muscle is what keeps your metabolism up and therefore reduces the likelihood of regaining weight.”

Strength training, according to Gabbi, is the most important type of exercise you can do while trying to lose weight because it “preserves your muscle mass, keeps your metabolism going 24 to 48 hours post-workout as your muscles recover, and gives you the ‘toned’ look that most people want.” She said sprinkling in cardio is important, too, to help with burning calories, fat loss, and cardiovascular health. To start, here’s a four-week workout plan that incorporates strength training and cardio.

Alix agreed that it’s easier to create a calorie deficit through diet and it gives you more flexibility in the foods you eat, but she pointed out that exercise is important in the weight-loss process for another reason: mental health. “Exercise is a ‘keystone habit,'” she said, which means it leads to other good habits. “It makes someone feel empowered, strong, and capable. Once you get a good workout in, it’s so much easier to focus on eating well. The combination of diet and exercise is extremely powerful.”

It’s up to you what you decide to do. Everyone’s weight-loss journey is different, and other factors such as getting enough sleep and reducing stress also play a role. As always, if you’re unsure what the best method is for you, consult with your doctor or, more specifically, a registered dietitian as well as a certified personal trainer.

Image Source: Getty / mihailomilovanovic

50 Ways to Lose Weight Without Exercise

Everyone knows the popular weight-loss mantra: Move more and eat less. And although they’re listed together, these two pieces of advice don’t need to be treated equally. Let us explain.

Yes, we know that moderate intensity exercise is good for maintaining and improving your health, but more than fifty studies have uncovered evidence that exercise alone may not be the best way to lose weight.

Besides the fact that research shows exercise can undermine weight loss by making you hungrier, it can also mislead you to believe you can continue to indulge in junk foods either as a reward for exercising or because you’ve created a calorie deficit, i.e. a “buffer.” That’s not even the worst of it. A study published in the journal Obesity Reviews found that people also tend to overestimate how many calories they burn when they workout. As a result, participants typically overcompensated for their workouts by eating more calories than they burned.

Although exercise can certainly help build fat-burning muscle and maintain a svelte physique, it won’t shrink your waistline as much as changing your diet will. So now that we know “eating less” should take priority in your weight-loss journey, where to start? Because it’s easier said than done, we’ve uncovered thirty slimming secrets that can help you tackle your muffin top through diet swaps as well as lifestyle and eating habit changes. (And yes, de-stressing with a bubble bath is one of them.) Find out how you can avoid becoming a gym rat below.


Call it a Night Earlier

Want to eat less? Your first line of defense is getting a good night’s rest. When you don’t get enough quality shut-eye, your body increases levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases the satiety hormone leptin—resulting in unignorable hunger pangs. Plus, studies show that your sleep-deprived self craves more unhealthy, high-calorie and high-fat foods, which means you’ll not only eat more food, but you’ll be eating more junk. For more ways to lose weight at night, read up—then ditch—these nighttime habits that cause weight gain.


Take Your Coffee Black

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Over 50 percent of Americans drink coffee on a regular basis, and many of them use calorie-laden additives like sugar, flavored syrups, or cream in their beverage. As a result, rather than being a zero or five calorie drink, the average calorie count of a cuppa joe skyrockets 1,280 percent, to 69 calories, according to a recent study published in the journal Public Health. Not only will taking your coffee black save you nearly 500 calories a week, but, since more than 60 percent of those calories come from sugar, you’ll also be lowering your risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. Leaving the sugar packets on the shelf is one of our easy ways to cut calories.


Carry a Water Bottle Everywhere

Did you know that 60 percent of the time we inappropriately respond to thirst by eating instead of drinking? So says a study in the journal Physiology & Behavior. Experts believe the mistake stems from the fact that the same part of our brain controls hunger and thirst, and sometimes it mixes up the signals. Not only will keeping a water bottle around help you respond to thirst correctly, but chugging water can help you feel full, keep your metabolism humming, and even help you debloat!


Switch From Canola Oil to Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

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Vegetable oils like canola and soybean oil are high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, which can throw your body into a state of chronic inflammation, causing weight gain and skin issues. Instead, grab a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, whose polyphenols have been known to help lower blood pressure and whose oleic acid has been found to help reduce appetite and promote weight loss.


Opt for 2%

Dairy fat, that is. You may be surprised to hear it, but fat-free food doesn’t necessarily translate to a fat-free body; According to a European Journal of Nutrition study, participants who ate full-fat dairy tended to weigh less and gained less weight over time than those who opted for non-fat products. Experts explain that non-fat foods can be less satisfying overall thanks to the low fat content (since fats are digested slowly and can keep you fuller longer), and because many fat-free food items are made with waist-widening artificial ingredients.


Stash a Snack in Your Bag

Don’t push through that mid-afternoon grumble. Trust us. Studies have found that those who eat late lunches, and those who go the most time in between meals end up consuming more calories during those meals compared to those who eat more often. The reasoning is simple: when you’re hungry—and running on empty—your body switches to starvation mode and increases production of your hunger hormones, which then causes you to overcompensate at your next meal. To keep yourself from overeating, always carry a snack with you.


Give Healthy Foods Prime Shelf Space

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The junk food struggle is real—we know. And willpower isn’t to blame. A University of Sydney study found that eating junk food can become a habit and one that’s perpetuated simply by stepping into a room (like your kitchen) or experiencing a food cue (like a fast food commercial). Breaking these bad eating habits will take time and patience, but there’s a simple fix: Prioritize healthy foods in front of junk food in your pantry. That way, when you’re craving a cookie you have to push aside the almonds and quinoa to get to it. It’ll serve as a little reminder to keep up your better-body goals.


Keep Chopped Veggies On Hand

Fill up on veggies and you’ll be less likely to fill out your jeans. Research published in the journal PLOS Medicine linked greater consumption of high-fiber vegetables to greater weight-loss results when compared with diets low in high-fiber foods. Not only are these veggies super-satiating, they’re also full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants and will displace snacks like nutrient-deficient potato chips and pretzels.


Make At Least One of Your Meals Meatless

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You don’t have to go all-out vegan to reap the benefits of a meat-free diet. Just try for one lunch or dinner a week. In doing so, you’ll be consuming more plant-based protein, of which a University of Copenhagen study found to be even more satisfying than pork and veal-based meals, and make people feel more full. It gets better: The researchers also found that participants who ate a vegetarian high-protein meal consumed 12 percent fewer calories in their next meal compared to those who ate meat!


Keep a Stocked Freezer

You have two options when you get home late from work starving and see an empty fridge—one, order belly-bloating, high-calorie, greasy takeout, or two, whip up a quick veggie-packed stir fry with the frozen veggies you always keep in your freezer. If you keep healthy ingredients on hand (like frozen fruits, veggies, and pre-portioned protein), you won’t have to resort to unhealthy delivery meals. For tips on what you should stock in your pantry, don’t miss these weight loss ingredients to always have on hand.


Kick the Can

One of the simplest ways to cut calories is to limit products that have added sugar. These simple carbs are essentially void of nutrients and can cause you to be perpetually hungry (which means you’re likely to overeat). The most effective tactic is targeting beverages: sugary coffees, iced teas and soda. These liquid calories are in a class of their own: An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that energy obtained from drinking fluids has been shown to be less satisfying than calories from solid foods, which causes us to drink more (and a greater number of calories) before we feel satisfied. Just to see how poorly your favorite stacks up among the pack, check out our exclusive report: popular sodas ranked by nutrition.


Brown Bag It

Preparing your own lunch means you put the calorie-cutting power in your own hands—not in the hands of the restaurateurs who have no stake in your weight-loss journey. Prepare any of these healthy lunches under 400 calories, and you’ll save 600 calories a meal compared to if you ate at a standard sit-down restaurant, whose midday meal can average more than 1,100 calories.


Free Yourself From Your Desk

A lunch break should be just that—a break! Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that children who eat while distracted (like while watching T.V.) can consume 218 calories more in one sitting than they would otherwise. Experts explain that keeping your mind busy while eating can prevent certain satiety cues from instructing your brain that you’ve had your fill.


Make Your Meals ‘Gram-Worthy

You won’t just get more likes on your Instagram photo. Making your food look picture-perfect can encourage you to load your plate up with more colorful, fresh veggies. What’s more, it may even make your food taste better! A study published in the journal Health Psychology found that when participants spent time preparing the food they make, they found it to be significantly more satisfying than those who had the food prepared for them, even if the food was considered “healthy.”


Destress With Bubbles: A Bath, Not Soda

Eating well is essential to weight loss, but a good diet alone may not be enough to counteract all the harmful effects stress has on our bodies. A new study published in Molecular Psychiatry suggested that being stressed could even override the benefits of making better food choices! When you’re constantly pulling your hair out, the stress hormone cortisol builds up in your body. And that’s bad news for your belly. Cortisol forces your body to store fat and revs your hunger for high-calorie foods, meaning that you may start craving a donut even if your stomach is actually full. While improving your diet is important, you’ll be more successful if you take a second to relax (and yes, taking a bubble bath counts!).


Clear Food from Your Workspace

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Ever heard of the seafood diet? You see food and immediately eat it! To curb your junk food consumption, start by ridding your workspace and kitchen counters of your dietary kryptonite. Keeping these vices visible will set yourself up for failure by triggering a trait dubbed by Oxford researchers as “visual hunger:” an evolutionary trait that increases levels of hunger hormones when we see food. Instead, hide your stash in opaque containers or in the back of your cabinet.


Be Happy Without Happy Hours Every Day

Look, we’ll be the first to tell you we love wine—especially red wine, which actually offers antioxidants and is considered relatively healthy when consumed in moderation (no more than two glasses a day). But if you’re looking to lose weight, one of our best tips is to put down the glass. Because alcohol is fairly caloric and provides relatively few nutritional benefits, drinking shouldn’t be an everyday event. For example, two pints of beer a day can add nearly 2,000 calories to your weekly intake—so cutting it out can help you lose over two pounds a month. For those few times that you do choose to indulge, though, do so wisely with the help of these tips for choosing healthy alcoholic drinks.


Take Half to Go

We have no issue with eating out once in awhile, but heed this advice: ask your waiter to box up half the meal before it reaches the table. A Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study discovered that the average meal at your local American, Chinese, or Italian restaurant contains a whopping 1,500 calories, so following this tip can save you a cool 750 calories. Plus, you’ll get a free lunch for tomorrow!


Always Sub Fries for A Side Salad

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We’re singing, “bye, bye, miss American fries!” You can even stick with your weekly burger order from your favorite pub, just sub out the spuds for a salad. Doing so can save over 150 calories while filling you up with fiber-rich veggies that are great for improving digestive health.


Serve Yourself

Here’s a simple tip to avoid eating unhealthy foods: serve yourself. According to USC researchers, the simple act of having to plate your own grub, instead of having a server or friend dish out a helping for you, can curb an unhealthy indulgence. So next time you’re celebrating a coworker’s birthday, serve (and cut!) your own slice of cake.


Have An Intimate Dinner

Here’s a great excuse for date night!: A new Cornell study found that men are at unique risk of overeating in social situations—even if there isn’t an incentive to do so. “Even if men aren’t thinking about it, eating more than a friend tends to be understood as a demonstration of virility and strength,” explained co-author of the study, Kevin Kniffin, PhD. So instead of meeting up with a whole crew for a night out, opt for a romantic dinner for two or see your guy friends one at a time to keep yourself from overdoing it.


Try a New Recipe

Comfort foods earn a spot in our hearts because they taste good and evoke strong, pleasant memories of growing up. Although it’s OK to indulge in one of these classics once in awhile, you may want to cut down on the number of mom’s recipes in your weekly roundup. According to an analysis of 30 years of data by the London School of Economics, the traditional meals your parents and grandparents used to make are simply too caloric for our less-active generation. Instead, don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone and check out healthier recipes: start with these 20 Healthy Sandwich Recipes!


Pass on “Diet” Foods

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It can seem like a simple fix when you’re going on a diet, but don’t fall prey to these marketing ploys. “Diet” foods are usually loaded with artificial sugars like sucralose and aspartame. Although artificially sweetened beverages contain fewer calories than sugary versions, a review of more than 30 years of studies found there to be no solid evidence that sugar-free alternatives prevent weight gain. Although artificially sweetened beverages contain fewer calories than sugary versions, researchers say they still trigger sweet receptors in the brain, which may make people crave food. Coupled with the fact that most people view diet drinks as healthier, it could lead to over-consumption, the researchers argue.


Cook Your Own Food

You already know that restaurant dishes are high in calories, but we’re not just talking about takeout. A study published in the journal BMJ Open found that most food Americans eat is “ultra-processed,” which means a product is made of several processed ingredients like flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers and other additives to disguise its undesirable qualities. Examples include store-bought items like bread, frozen meals, soda, pizza, and breakfast cereals. Not only do ultra-processed foods lack nutrients that protect against health issues, they make up 90 percent of our added-sugar intake, which causes a range of health issues from obesity to type II diabetes. Sub out a Lean Cuisine for a home-cooked dinner, a bowl of cereal or a couple of eggs overeasy to spare your tummy the trouble.


Reassess Your Dietary Adversaries

How many times have you battled through a cup of ice cream while praying your stomach doesn’t start acting up? Although you might feel like it’s not a big deal to push your body to its limit, you might be missing the root of the issue: you could be suffering from a food intolerance or allergy. So, each time you eat dairy, gluten or refined grains, it can contribute to extra inflammation, a weakened immune system, and weight gain. Learn to listen to what your body tells you by keeping note of any discomfort in a food journal. Or try an elimination diet—call in the pros for help if you’re experiencing one of these signs you should see a nutritionist.


Be Boring

You don’t have to keep up with the latest food trends and cook your way through every foodie magazine on the shelves to get lean. In fact, trying to switch up your routine too often can feel tedious and time-consuming, which may cause you to abandon your dinner plans and just order high-calorie takeout. Instead, make eating choices easy by finding a few favorite healthy, go-to recipes and stick to them.


Take Time To Chat During Your Meals

Fast food isn’t just bad for you because it’s full of gross additives and chemicals; it’s also because it’s precisely engineered to be eaten as quickly as possible. And that’s bad news because you can end up eating more than your body needs to feel full. It takes roughly 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you’ve eaten your fill. Eat your meal at superspeed, and you’re more likely to overeat. Our suggestion? Take time to chat with your friends and family while you eat. Put your fork down. Chew slowly. Anything that will extend your meal until the 20-minute mark.


Size Down


It may not be groundbreaking advice, but it’s tried and true: portion control saves you hundreds of calories in the long run. Ordering your favorite latte in a tall size instead of a venti can save you at least 150 calories per Starbucks run. Want more simple ways to stick to serving sizes? Check out these easy ways to control portion sizes.


Take A Hike

Here’s another reason to skip the gym: not only do studies show your body burns more calories when you exercise outdoors compared to indoors, but an Environmental Science & Technology study recently found that you’re also more likely to report a greater sense of pleasure, enthusiasm, and self-esteem and lower sense of depression, tension, and fatigue simply by walking in nature compared to on a dreary treadmill. Of course, it’s a bonus that you’re burning more calories, but Cornell researchers have also found that improving your mental health and mood can lead to healthier food choices.


Dish Out Plates Before You Sit

We’re huge proponents of family dinners, but make sure to plate your home-cooked meals before sitting at the table. When you dine buffet-style from the counter rather than laying out each dish on the dining room table, it causes people to think twice about whether they really need another helping before getting up to serve themselves again. When the food is right in front of their plate and within reach, it’s much harder to turn it away, and family dinners could turn into one of the 50 Little Things Making You Fatter and Fatter.


Eat Eggs In the Morning

Research has shown eating eggs for breakfast can make you feel more full and help you eat fewer calories throughout the day, meaning they’re quite the secret weapon for weight loss. Nutritionally speaking, one large hard-boiled egg (about 50 grams) contains less than one gram of carbs and remains an excellent source of protein. Eggs are also loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and healthy fats.


Skip The Bread Basket

There’s no denying dinner rolls are delicious, but when dining out, instead of carb-loading so early on in the meal, steer clear of the bread basket and order a leafy green salad instead. If the bread basket is still too tempting to avoid, try munching on a high-fiber snack before leaving the house, such as a handful of nuts. The fiber found in nuts will keep you satiated, meaning you won’t be as easily induced to reach for the bread and butter, and you’ll be swapping out unhealthy fats for healthy ones. It’s a win-win!


If Drinking, Stick To Wine

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Much like drinking your coffee black, it’s important to keep your drink orders as simple as possible. A 2012 CDC study found that the average adult consumes about 100 calories worth of alcohol daily, but favoring a glass of wine instead of beer or sugary cocktails can drastically reduce that figure and make your waistline slimmer. In addition to having fewer calories than most alcoholic beverages, red wine, in particular, contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that is believed to have heart health benefits because it helps prevent blood vessel damage and reduces your ‘bad cholesterol.’ Just remember to imbibe in moderation.


Watch Your Screen Time

Research first linked TV watching to obesity more than 25 years ago, and since then additional research has been done to indicate how screen time in general (time spent in front of computers, iPads, etc.) can contribute to weight gain. Since watching TV or surfing the Internet during a meal can be distracting, a Harvard study found it tends to lead people to eat more and thus consume more calories. Instead, experts advise unplugging during mealtime so you can focus on what you are eating, that way you won’t overeat and you’ll know when you’re full.


Wear Jeans To Work

If your dress code allows, wear jeans to work. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that casual clothing, as opposed to traditional business attire, can increase physical activity levels in one’s daily routine. Participants in the study took an additional 491 steps and burned 25 more calories, on days they wore denim than when wearing traditional work attire. In fact, even just donning denim on Casual Friday can make an impact. Researchers say keeping it casual just once a week could slash 6,250 calories over the course of the year—enough to offset the average annual weight gain (0.4 to 1.8 pounds) experienced by most Americans.


Try A Standing Desk

Speaking of work, it’s no secret that being chained to a desk all day is bad for your overall health. However, simply standing at a desk as opposed to sitting has been shown to contribute to weight loss. Researchers found standing burns about 54 calories over a six-hour day, and although that might not sound like much, those calories accumulate quickly. At that rate, you can burn over 1,000 calories a month just by staying on your feet.


Turn Down The Thermostat

Believe it or not, a myriad of studies have shown that simply turning down the thermostat by a few degrees can help you lose weight because cooler temperatures force the body to work harder to stay warm. For a 2013 Japanese study, participants were exposed to 63 degrees two hours a day for six weeks. At the study’s end, their average body fat mass decreased by about five percent.


Get Your Heart Pumping Each Day

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Even if you don’t have time to hit the gym, getting your heart pumping each day can contribute to weight loss. Whether it’s taking the dog for a morning walk or using the stairs instead of the elevator, increasing your heart rate even briefly each day will keep your body healthy and in shape, thus reducing unwanted weight gain.


Color Matters

Though it may sound silly, the color of your dishware and the color of your food can determine whether you eat more or less. Per a recent study from Cornell University, diners actually serve themselves more food if the color of their food matches the color of their plate. In other words, if you’re eating from a white plate, you’re more likely to help yourself to more rice or pasta. Conversely, if your goal is to eat less, select plates that have high contrast with what you plan to serve for dinner.


Purchase Smaller Dishes

Speaking of dishes, purchasing smaller ones can also help you keep your weight in check because smaller dishes mean smaller portion size. By filling up a smaller plate, you can actually trick your brain into thinking it’s consuming more calories than it would if the same amount of food was placed on a larger dish.


Eat A Larger Breakfast, And Smaller Dinner

Eat This, Not That!

Common sense states if you want to lose weight you shouldn’t have a large meal not long before going to bed, and now we have additional research to back up that hypothesis. A study published in The Obesity Society followed two groups of overweight women with metabolic syndrome on identical 1,400-calorie weight loss diets for 12 weeks. While both groups consumed 500 calories at lunch, one group consumed 700 calories for breakfast and a 200-calorie dinner (the “big breakfast” group), while the other group ate 200 calories at breakfast and 700 calories at dinner (the “big dinner” group). Even though the nutrient content of the meals was exactly the same for both groups, after three months the big breakfast group lost about two and a half times more weight than big dinner group.


Don’t Skip Breakfast

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Though you may think skipping a meal such as breakfast will help you lose weight because you would be consuming fewer calories, numerous studies have actually shown that bailing on breakfast is bad for your waistline. “Why,” you ask? It turns out that skipping breakfast not only means you’ll likely consume more calories later in the day, but eating more calories in the later part of the day is a nightmare for metabolic circadian rhythms, which help keep your weight in check.


Channel Your Inner Squirrel

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If you feel yourself getting those midday hunger pangs, put down the soda and candy bar and opt for some nuts instead. Walnuts, almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts are all low in carbs while also being excellent sources of good fats and fiber, meaning they keep you fuller longer. According to a study in The Journal of Nutrition, eating almonds with main meals reduces some markers of oxidative damage, which improves your overall health.


Switch From White Potatoes To Sweet Potatoes

Although white potatoes offer some potassium and fiber, sweet potatoes reign supreme in the nutrition department, so always reach for sweet potatoes instead of their white counterparts. A large sweet potato contains around 4 grams of satiety-boosting protein, 25 percent of the day’s belly-filling fiber, and 11 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. What’s more? It’s less than 200 calories. By contrast, a white potato has upwards of 250 calories.


Plate Properly

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It should come as no surprise that what you put on your plate matters, especially if you’re trying to shed some pounds. For a balanced and healthy diet, two-thirds of your dinner plate, for example, should consist of lean meats and vegetables—think salmon and broccoli or turkey and spinach. The remaining third can consist of starch, but even then aim for healthier choices such as whole grains, lentils, or sweet potatoes.


Know When To Snack

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It’s not just important to snack healthily throughout the day, but it’s also crucial to know when you should snack. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found mid-morning snackers typically eat more over the course of a day than afternoon snackers. Furthermore, researchers found that dieters with the mid-morning munchies lost an average of 7 percent of their total body weight while those who did not snack before lunch lost more than 11 percent of their body weight. That’s a difference of nearly 6.5 pounds for a 160-pound woman with a weight-loss goal.


Learn To Love Lemons

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Not only is drinking lemon water a healthy, low-calorie alternative to soda or juice, but lemons themselves have also been shown to contribute to weight loss. Just one lemon contains an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, a nutrient that has the power to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers hunger and fat storage. Additionally, lemons also contain polyphenols, which researchers say may ward off fat accumulation and weight gain. Believe it or not, even the peel is beneficial because it is a potent source of pectin—a soluble fiber that’s been proven to help people feel fuller, longer. According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, participants who ate just 5 grams of pectin experienced more satiety.


Embrace Beans

Beans can help boost feelings of fullness and manage blood sugar levels, making them an excellent ally in your weight loss battle. In fact, a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating one serving a day of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils could contribute to modest weight loss. Kidney beans, in particular, are an excellent source of fiber while also being low in carbs, making them an ideal pantry staple for those looking to shed a few pounds.


Drink Cinnamon or Mint Tea

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Not only is tea a low-calorie alternative to coffee-based drinks that tend to be packed with milk and sugar, but certain varieties of the soothing beverage can actually help contribute to weight loss. For example, Nicole Anziani, MS, RD, CDE, suggests drinking cinnamon tea because the cozy beverage may even help decrease blood sugar due to cinnamon’s effect on blood glucose. Similarly, mint tea can help with weight loss because mint is an appetite suppressant. An animal study published in the Journal of Digestive Diseases found that peppermint oil can relax stomach muscles, which can increase bile flow and improving the digestion of fats.


Eat Zucchini Noodles Instead Of Pasta

Zucchini noodles look like spaghetti, but the similarities pretty much end there. Eating zoodles over pasta cuts out empty carbs but adds ever-important vitamins and fiber. While two cups of pasta contain 480 calories, 90 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber, two cups of zucchini zoodles boast 66 calories, 12 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fiber. If prepared well, zoodles can be just as flavorful as a bowl of spaghetti, and they can easily help you achieve your weight loss goals. If you need more inspiration, take a peek at these food swaps that cut calories!

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If only losing weight was as easy as gaining it, right? While there are plenty of advertised ways to shed some pounds, there are only a handful of methods that actually work. And one thing’s for sure: None of them are the weird tea cleanse your favorite Instagram influencer swore by. Here are some other, much more legit ways you can lose 10 pounds without hating your life.

1. Don’t Try Another Fad Diet

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Do fad diets ever get anyone long-term progress, ever? Sure, you might drop a few pounds at first (that’s a hard maybe!) — but these quick solutions aren’t long-lasting and can also be dangerous. Develop healthy habits and stick with them instead of doing something that will drive you insane.

“Weight loss never lasts — scientific research has proven this time and time again,” Christy Harrison, a Brooklyn-based dietitian, says. “It actually leads to weight cycling, or yo-yo-ing, which research suggests may be the true cause of many of the health problems we associate with being overweight, like diabetes and heart issues.”

2. Embrace The Anti-Diet

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Trendy meal plans may sound like the magical answer to get into your skinny jeans — swallow a pill, swig some juice, eat some kale. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.

“Diets just don’t work — they’re not sustainable,” Harrison says. “Not only that, but the pressure we put our bodies under — either by restricting food intake, over-exercising or a combination of both — ups your chances for so many negative health consequences.”

One of the biggest? Weight gain! Plus, all of that carb watching and calorie counting is probably stressing you out. In turn, that causes your body to start releasing cortisol, a stress hormone that’s been linked to increased weight.

3. Pack In the Protein

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If you want to stay full and satisfied, amp up your protein — and not just meat. Eat hearty plant sources, too, like tempeh, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

“Protein requires 25 percent more energy to digest than carbs, so it’s possible to cut your calorie intake without eating less food,” says California-based personal trainer Jamie Sullivan. In other words, your body has to work harder to digest a salmon filet than it does a bowl of pasta, meaning you can get away with a few extra bites of that perfectly cooked fish while the noodles could do a number on your waistline.

4. Get Smart About Nutrition

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Crying tears of sugar because you ate a donut that isn’t on your approved list of foods isn’t going to do you any good. You ate a donut. Cool. Move on. Here’s why: Remember when you were a kid and your mom banned soda from your life forever and it only led to serious root beer binges when you got to your friend’s house? Those same rules are in play here. Get label-crazed and you’ll lose your mind — not excess weight. And cutting yourself off from all of your favorite things will only lead to overdoing it on the sugary, salty foods.

Instead, Harrison says you should look at foods as a way of self-care — eat what makes you feel good and forget about it as a means of slimming down (although a solid side effect of healthy eating: weight loss). Does that mean a free-for-all on the candy bowl? No. But it’s a rule your body will naturally adapt to, not something you have to force on it. A bowl of almonds made you feel amazing in the mid-afternoon sales meeting, but those red gummies, not so much. Next time, you’ll likely reach for the almonds.

Here are a few other key food rules to follow: Fresh is best. Try to eat a lean protein at every meal and make sure half of your plate is veggies.

5. Increase Your H20 Intake

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Here’s your permission to dump that electric-green juice craze down the drain. A better plan is to sip water throughout the day. Research shows it actually helps you cut down on calories. Often, thirst is confused for hunger. And try salt water, while you’re at it. When it comes to H20, salt is not the enemy. “Water needs electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride to be best absorbed,” says Jenny Westerkamp, an R.D. in Chicago, which explains why they’re added to popular sports drinks.

She recommends adding a pinch of Celtic sea salt or real salt (unrefined and unbleached) to your water before chugging. “The electrolytes in the salt will push water into the cells where they need to be, rather than letting the water get flushed out, causing you to go to the bathroom every other minute.” You’ll notice a spike in energy after staying hydrated, too, and you’ll be less likely to give in to cravings which are even harder to avoid when you’re running on empty.

6. Rethink What “Exercise” Really Means

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We know we said these tips were about shedding pounds without working out, but being active is important, so here’s radical idea: Change the way you think about exercise by choosing to do something you enjoy. “It doesn’t have to be in a gym,” Harrison says. “It could be a dance class or going for a run around your neighborhood.” And it might even be worth it to get into tree pose when you’ve only got a few minutes. A study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that just 10 minutes of exercise has huge health benefits.

7. Eat Healthy Fats

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When you’re trying to lose weight, the last thing you want to do is eat anything fatty, right? Wrong. You just have to make sure you’re eating the right kind of fat. While eating certain types of fat are definitely no-nos when you’re trying to lose weight — looking at you, saturated fat! — adding healthy fats into your diet is a game-changer. Research has shown eating good-for-you fats like avocado on a daily basis — even if that’s just throwing some onto your salad for lunch — can leave you so full and satisfied that you’re not reaching for unhealthy, sugary snacks later on. And without all those excess calories, you’re bound to drop unwanted weight.

8. Give Meal-Prepping a Try

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Yeah, yeah — meal-prepping isn’t exciting. That’s nothing new. But by spending a few hours every weekend preparing some meals for the week ahead, you could see a lot of progress in a short amount of time. Plus, you’ll save money by cutting back on the delivery. “When you plan an entire week of dinner in advance, you’re way less likely to go off course and indulge in foods that aren’t good for you,” says Pamela Salzman, a certified holistic health expert and cooking instructor. Start with making your lunches in advance and go from there.

9. Hop on the Yoga Bandwagon

You might not see yoga as a solid weight-loss method, but think again. Aside from working out every muscle in your body and reducing your stress levels, you’re also raising your heart rate to reap some major fat-burning benefits. Try this workout that’s designed to help you drop pounds and tone up in process.

10. Dance the Weight Off

The best types of workouts are the ones you’re having so much fun during that you forget you’re even working out in the first place. If you want to lose weight, try this 35-minute by Body by Simone creator Simone de la Rue. You’ll be sweating in no time.

11. Sweat It Out with a Total Body Burn

If you love getting in a little yoga-cardio mix, you’ll love Kait Hurley’s workouts. This one will stretch out your body and leave you totally breathless as your entire body — especially your booty! — gets a serious burn.

Additional reporting by Bethany Cianciolo.

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Is It Possible to Lose Weight Without Exercising?

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Could you really lose weight just by eating healthy and not exercising?
– Karley*

Eating a healthy diet does not ensure that you will lose weight. Your weight is a balance between the calories you take in and the calories you burn. You will lose weight if you eat a low-calorie diet in which you burn off more calories than you take in, and you will gain weight if you eat more calories than you burn off. Adding physical activity allows you to burn more calories than dieting alone.

Any weight-loss plan that includes regular exercise is not only more successful — it’s also healthier. By eating a healthy diet and exercising, you’re keeping your bones, muscles, and heart strong and decreasing your risk of developing some diseases. Even if you don’t necessarily lose weight, you will be healthier and you will feel and look better too.

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD Date reviewed: July 2018

ABS might be strengthened in the gym but they’re made in the kitchen.

And what’s more, they can be made pretty quickly.

1 Abs are made in the kitchen – but they take a few months to really take shapeCredit: Getty – Contributor

“I believe that you can’t out-train a bad diet because there are so many detrimental factors to poor nutrition,” Darren Sealy, PT and director of Mindset London, previously told The Sun.

So…can you lose weight without doing any exercise?

“Technically yes,” Darren explained.

“The body is a great machine but it is also a simple machine.

“Basically, to lose weight in any form the simplest thing to do is create a caloric deficit, which means burns more calories than you consume.”

Fitness experts tend to say that it takes eight weeks to feel a difference and 12 weeks to see a difference when it comes to transforming your body.

So with that in mind, one doctor has been sharing her tips for the perfect 12-week diet plan.

She told PopSugar that there were three stages to the plan.

Stage one – weeks one and two

At the start, you want to try to “reset” your metabolism by upping the amount of protein you eat.

Weight-loss expert Dr Luiza Petre tells PopSugar that protein “promotes muscle growth and repair as it is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of your muscles.

“It’s the preferred fuel to burn fat.”

The macronutrient also slows down digestion and keeps us fuller for longer – meaning that if you fill up on things like chicken and fish at meal times, you’re less likely to go reaching for the biscuits at 3pm.

Dr Petre’s rules for weeks 1-2

  • limit calories between 1,200 and 1,500
  • get enough lean proteins (800 calories a day)
  • eat healthy fats like avocado and nuts (100 calories)
  • fill up on fermented foods like sauerkraut for the remaining calories
  • get in your 10,000 steps a day
  • have a 14-hour break between dinner and breakfast
  • avoid dairy and processed foods
  • drink lots of water
  • sip ginger and turmeric tea
  • focus on whole foods

Stage two – weeks three to ten

This is where the real magic happens.

It’s all about improving your gut health. It has the same rules as before but now you’re adding fibre back into your diet.

But this fibre is coming in the form of veggies rather than whole grains so it is still a keto-like eating plan.

A lot of people get keto wrong in thinking that you’re only supposed to eat fats and proteins, but if done correctly, you should be filling up on gut-loving veg.

“A processed low-carb diet is not good, but a real food low-carb diet can be. Sugar and carbs negatively affect our gut bacteria,” nutritionist Sarah Flower previously told The Sun.

“Low carb/keto done correctly should be full of good gut boosting foods, including fibre from the vegetables.

“Most people think of Atkins or just a diet of meat and fat when they hear low-carb or keto but it is more Mediterranean style, real food, vegetables, nuts, seeds, good healthy fats, oily fish, meat, dairy — nothing more than a real food diet cutting out grains, sugars and all processed foods.”

Dr Petre’s rules for weeks 3-10

  • add up to four servings of fibrous veg to your day (up to 200 calories)

Foods include:

  • peas
  • broccoli
  • lentils
  • leeks
  • asparagus

Stage three – weeks 11 and 12

The final stage preps you for being able to maintain your fat loss.

Again, you follow everything that you’ve already been doing but this time, you’re boosting your fibre intake with whole grain carbs, fruit and more green veg.

90 per cent of us aren’t eating enough fibre as it is and it’s massively important to our health.

It’s the stuff that ensures we don’t go too long without having a poo. It wards off things like heart attacks and stroke. It can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels – crucial in preventing or managing diabetes.

Oh, and it also protects many of us from developing bowel cancer.

So it really is well worth making sure that you’re getting the recommended daily amount.

And it’s essential for gut health – which is largely what this diet is about.

Sun nutritionist Amanda Ursell told us: “Fibre is an essential nutrient and has been known for some time to be crucial for normal functioning of the gut and for good daily intakes to be related to a reduced risk of chronic problems like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer.

It’s all about eating stuff in its natural form – rather than fruit juices or refined white breads (for example).

Dr Petre’s rules for weeks 11-12

By this point, you’re adding in more carbs (around 400 calories), so that you’ve got a well-balanced diet where you’re not cutting anything out.

Avoid carbs that are packed with sugars (sorry, still no morning pastries) and go for fibrous, nutrient-dense options.

Eat more:

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • lentils, chickpeas
  • nuts
  • oats, brown rice
  • sweet potatoes

Keep moving

Although this is a no-exercise diet plan, don’t forget that the first rule involves getting in 10,000 steps a day – so you do have to be active.

We previously revealed how to get fit quick without working out.


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You don’t have to kill yourself in the gym to get healthier but you do have to make sure that you’re moving regularly.

Combine that low-key movement with eating whole, nutritious grub and you should find that the pounds start coming off.

Just be kind to yourself, and don’t stress about it.

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Is it possible to lose weight without exercise and just having a better Diet?

It is all about calories. And it is very simple:

  • If you eat more calories than your body burns/uses throughout the day you will gain weight.
  • If you eat less calories than your body burns/uses throughout the day you will lose weight.
  • If you eat the same amount of calories than your body burns/uses than your weight stays the same.

Important thing to know about calories however is that healthy foods in general contains less calories than unhealthy greecy and sweet foods. This is why a good diet or a meal plan probably contains more food than you eat now.

But when it comes to your health, where you get your calories is very important. You need to get your calories from healthy food because your body needs a lot of high quality minerals, vitamins, fats, etc. that unhealthy food just doesnt have. That is why you wont feel good when you eat fast food, just because your belly is full doesnt mean your body got what it needed.

So what is the point of exercise?

Exercise will help you burn more calories and also build and sustain muscle mass.

If you for example started just dieting without exercise you would lose a lot of weight but would lose fat and muscle mass. That however is not good because you need muscle mass to be able to feel and look good.

Now if you started dieting and exercising at the same time you would lose weight slower but would feel and look much better.

It’s a perennial question: Can you lose weight without exercise? Let’s start with this: Exercise is terrific for your body and mind, in so many ways. It cuts down on your risk for a multitude of diseases and can lower your incidence of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems, as well as boost your energy, help you sleep, and more. It can also help you get and keep a fitter, slimmer body. So exercise = health, and we should all move our bodies every day.

That said, when it comes to losing weight, what you eat is key—and studies show there are plenty of weight loss strategies that have nothing to do with exercise. Check out these 14 science-backed, slim-down tips.

1. Control your portions.

When you’re at home, eat from smaller plates and bowls. You’ll likely take in fewer calories, and it tricks your brain into thinking you’re chowing down on more than you actually are. (Do the opposite when you’re eating healthy foods, like salads or roasted veggies—then it makes sense to supersize those dishes!). Another important tip: Don’t eat from packages of anything, even those “healthier” chips or crackers. Portion some out into a dish, and put the bag or box away.

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When eating out, portion control can be a tougher challenge, given the giganto serving sizes in restaurants, so before you go, think about how you’re going to handle that. You can order an appetizer and small salad instead of an appetizer and main dish; you can split a dish with a friend; or you can ask for a to-go box right up front, and put half your meal in there before you dig in. Have a plan and intention ahead of time and you’re more likely to stick to it.

2. Eat more fiber.

“Fiber helps with weight loss in so many ways,” says Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D.N., author of Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging: Stay Younger, Live Longer. “For starters, it expands in your gut like a sponge so it’s a natural appetite suppressant. Plus, the latest research is finding it has beneficial impacts on good gut bacteria that help produce hormones in the gut that tell your brain you’ve had enough to eat. Aim for at least 25 grams a day from a variety of foods like whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.”

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3. Load up on protein too.

“Like fiber, protein naturally helps you feel full by influencing the production of satiety hormones,” says Ansel. “It takes a long time to digest, so you’re unlikely to go scrounging for a snack after a protein-rich meal. And here’s a neat trick: Protein also takes more energy to digest than, say, fat or carbs, so you don’t store as many of its calories. For maximum impact aim for 20 grams per meal from lean proteins such as fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, and low fat dairy.”

4. Get enough sleep.

It’s well-established that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain. It comes down to hormones: Sleep deprived people produce more ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone. And they produce less leptin, the hormone that tells you when you’ve eaten enough. There’s also evidence that the overly-sleepy eat more calories, and more comfort-food-carbs. And it’s no surprise that when you’re exhausted, it’s harder to control your impulses (meaning, grabbing cookie after cookie may seem like a fine idea).

5. Weigh yourself.

“I’m a fan of getting on the scale a few times a week,” says Ansel. “For a lot of people, weighing yourself can be stressful, but it can provide some really important feedback before things start to snowball. You don’t have to weigh yourself every day, but stepping on the scale two to three times a week can help you nip weight gain in the bud, so you don’t have to take drastic action with your diet later.”

6. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty—maybe even slightly dehydrated. So in between meals, before you nosh on a snack try drinking a big glass of water. It’s also a good idea to do that before a meal: It leads to greater weight loss, one study showed. And carry a bottle with you throughout the day, to sip as you go.

7. Cut down on sugar.

“It’s unclear whether sugar in and of itself makes you gain weight,” says Ansel. “But one thing is for sure—it tends to travel in foods that have way too many calories. Whether it’s soda, sweetened lattes, or dessert, these should be the first foods to go if you’re trying to slim down.” And remember, the sweet stuff is hidden in all sorts of foods—ketchup, bread, salad dressing, and so on.

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8. Don’t drink your calories.

It’s a simple way to take in less calories overall. But there’s another important reason to follow this rule: Drinking calories, rather than eating them, is less satisfying and doesn’t lead to the same feeling of fullness, research shows. So that’s another reason why drinking your calories—especially sugary bevs—can lead to weight gain.

9. Eat more mindfully.

In other words, slow down. Your brain needs to catch up with your mouth and send the signal that you’re full, and that’s harder when you’re speeding through your meal. Also, studies have shown that when you’re distracted, you tend to eat more. So stash your phone, turn off the TV, and pay attention to what you’re eating.

10. Chew more.

A small study showed that “prolonged chewing” at lunch leads to a eating fewer snacks later in the day. It’s worth noting, though, that many of the study participants reported that they really didn’t enjoy the lunch, with all that chomping. So worth a try, but it may or may not work for you.

11. Stash food out of sight.

One study found that obese people are more likely to keep food around in “highly visible locations.” So do the opposite, especially with stuff that you don’t want to be munching all the time. Meaning, that bowl of apples? Fine to keep it in your eye line. The bags of chips? Nuh uh.

12. Cut out diet sodas.

A recent study found that kids and teens who drink diet beverages eat more calories during the day. This is just one of several studies connecting diet drinks to weight gain. So again—water is a great bet! Want to make it more interesting? Get a water bottle infuser, an easy way to add fruit.

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13. Breathe.

When you’re stressed, your levels of the hormone cortisol spike (it’s that fight-or-flight response). And some older studies have shown that people tend to eat more if they’re “high cortisol reactors” (you know, those people who particularly tend to lose their chill under stress). So to avoid that nom-nom-nom reaction (and to protect your health in so many other ways), take time each day to do something to lower the stress temperature, whether it’s meditation, exercise, or sitting quietly with a good book.

14. Write things down.

“It may not be sexy, but study after study has shown that writing down what you eat is one of the most effective weight loss tools out there,” says Ansel. “Whether it’s in a journal, using the notes app on your phone, or your favorite weight loss app, recording what you eat is the single best way to identify those sneaky little ways you might be overdoing it.”

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Lisa Bain Executive Director, Health Newsroom, Hearst Lifestyle Group Lisa heads up a team of editors who produce health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness content for Good Housekeeping, Prevention, and Woman’s Day.

In one month, I lost a little over 8 Kgs (~20 Pounds) without exercising. Three months later I was down 10 Kgs and clearing my mental barrier of the 70 Kg for the first time in a decade.

All it took was the right motivation, a small change in diet, a body weighing scale, and a productivity hack.

If you’re looking to shed a few kilos, follow these steps in the same order. Motivation is by far and large the biggest factor of it all. Find a strong enough reason to lose weight fast without exercise and everything else falls into place.

You won’t need any pills or supplements. This is a natural way to lose weight fast without exercise by understanding how the body works.

The only money you will need to spend is on a body weighing scale if you don’t have one. You will actually end up saving money in the long-run (more on that below).

Losing weight fast without exercise is an easy problem. As such, the solution is also easy. Square one is understanding this and knowing you can do it as long as you follow the process outlined in this post.

Don’t try other diets or shortcuts at the same time. Follow this plan to the T and you’ll be surprised with the results.

Let’s get started.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or health professional and this is not medical advice. If you have any health conditions, consult your physician. What worked for me might not for you. These are just ideas for debate and consideration.

Find the Strongest Motivation

The stronger your motivation to lose weight fast without exercise the easiest it is stick to your diet for the rest of your life.

A good motivation might help you lose a few kilos and then fall back into habits. A great motivation will change your perspective on food and health forever.

The common reasons are:

  • Health: live a healthier lifestyle for a longer period of time as well as minimizing the risks of developing potentially life-threatening illnesses
  • Appearance: get ready for “beach season” or fit better into society
  • Dating: your confidence is enhanced and other people might find you more attractive
  • Mood: you feel better physically and mentally, loving yourself more
  • Fitness: physical activity is easier when you are leaner and you have more energy throughout the day

Find your strongest motivation and use it to your advantage.

For example:

If it’s fitness, set a specific goal that relates to it, like running a 10k. Print the goal and hang it on the wall.

If it’s health, put a picture of your kids on the fridge. You want to be around longer to be there for them.

Use these simple clues to serve as a constant reminder to your brain of your motivation. Place them in a high-visibility area, such as your phone, fridge or bedroom wall.

Your brain will unconsciously do the rest.

External vs Internal Motivations

External motivations — looking better for the sake of other people liking you— tend to be weaker than internal ones. An exception might be doing it for your kids, but that’s about it. Everything also falls under “insecurity”.

Do it for you.

And if other people appreciate it, all the better!

Other examples of external motivations:

  • You want to fit into a group that doesn’t accept you as you are now
  • To look better in beach pictures on Instagram
  • Join a sports group with your coworkers

My motivation?

To have more energy throughout the day so I can perform at a higher level.

My premise: by eating better and taking care of my body I will increase my focus and in turn become more productive.

This motivation is still true today, a clear sign that is was/is a strong motivation.

And that’s why I still continue to live by these principles today.

How to Lose Weight Fast Without Exercise

The easiest way is by changing your diet.

I learned about the Slow-Carb diet in Tim Ferriss book “The 4 Hour Body”. My plan was essentially what he outlined with a few modifications here and there.

Here are the rules of engagement:

  1. Skip “white” carbohydrates: bread, rice, cereal, potatoes, pasta, and grains. Avoid eating anything white and you’re safe
  2. Eat the same few meals over and over again: mix and match but use only a few items (more below)
  3. Don’t drink calories: a glass or two of dry red wine per night is fine
  4. No fruit: avocado and tomatoes are exceptions (in moderation) but stay away from everything else
  5. Take one day/three meals off per week: I choose three meals per week as it allowed me more flexibility

As for the actual foods, mix and match from the following list, constructing each meal with one pick from each of the three groups:

Proteins: egg whites with 1–2 whole eggs for flavor, chicken breast or thigh, black beans, beef (preferably grass-fed), pork, fish

Legumes: lentils, pinto, read or soy beans

Vegetables: spinach, mixed veggies (such as broccoli, cauliflower, or any other cruciferous vegetables), sauerkraut, kimchee, asparagus, peas, green beans

You can eat as much as you like from that list. But keep it simple by repeating the same meals over and over again. This will save you time — you can cook multiple meals in one go (batching) — and money — you can buy in bulk.

For two months I ate chicken breast, beef or fish, and spinach, green beans, and salad as sides. That was it. Simple to buy and prepare. I used just a small portion of the list. Less is more.

Stick With the Diet

You know the theory and you might even stick with it for a few days. But the hard part is keeping it for long-term. Sometimes your strongest motivation is not enough.

What can you do in those situations?

Here are two simple hacks:

#1 Design Your Environment

  • Remove unhealthy food by hiding them from view in the back of a high cupboard. Stock your fridge with vegetables, lean meat, and water.
  • Don’t buy soft drinks or sweets. Out of sight, out of mind. Eating healthier starts at the supermarket.
  • If you want to automate healthier eating, buy a subscription of fresh, seasonal produce delivered to your door each week
  • Waiters and what other people ordered can pressure you into eating more than you otherwise might, such as appetizers, drinks or dessert. Make your decision before the waiter comes and order before others.
  • If you can, an even better option is to look at the restaurant menu online and make your decision in advance. Since portions in restaurants tend to be larger, order one main course and split or ask for a to-go box right away and stash a portion before you start.

#2 Design Your Defaults

  • Remove from the house food that isn’t on your diet or you know is unhealthy
  • Buy items from the outer edges of the grocery store. Healthy, wholesome foods are on the perimeter. Junk and processed foods tend to live in the aisles
  • Trick your brain into eating less per meal by using smaller plates and bowls
  • Plan your meals in advance so you always know what to eat each day. Use Sundays to cook for the entire week and freeze excess food
  • Do not keep alcohol at home. If you want to drink, you’ll have to go outside and buy it
  • Have a bottle next to your bed so you get in the habit of drinking water immediately after waking up
  • Keep another bottle at your desk throughout the day and fill with it cold water to energize your brain
  • Only have water at home. Ban everything else, especially juice and soda. Drink a glass of water before meals. It will also make you less hungry
  • Always order water when eating out, instead of soda. Bonus points: it’s cheaper. At restaurants, ask for salad as a side dish instead of french fries, potatoes, or rice.

Designing your environment and defaults will be especially helpful when your cravings are high. If there’s no chocolate at home, you probably won’t go out to get.

The more friction you add to a habit, the easier it is to quit it.

Weigh Yourself Every Day

Consistency is the key to develop habits and change behavior.

This is where a simple productivity hack by Jerry Seinfeld comes in handy. Seinfeld wanted to become a better comedian. So he decided to write new jokes every day. He was consistent with it. To help him motivate, he used a simple technique.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Find Your One Thing: we want to lose weight, so that’s going to be our thing
  2. Put Up a Calendar: hang a huge annual calendar at your workspace, office or home. If you prefer digital, use a spreadsheet
  3. Mark the Days: put a big X across each day when you devote time to working on your one thing. This creates a chain of X’s showing your progress. Focus on growing your chain longer and longer
  4. Keep the Chain Going: your only job is NOT to break the chain.

After a few days, you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt.

Using this productivity hack for weight loss, all you need to is weight yourself every single day at the same time. I recommend immediately after waking up.

Set up a reminder at the same time of your alarm clock at first and place the body weighing scale next to your bed, so it’s the first thing you see in the morning.

And if you forget to do it, remember: don’t skip twice in a row.

Set Up Your Tracker

Write your weight on your physical or digital calendar and soon enough it will look something like this:

I started out by writing on the Notes app on the phone but quickly moved to a spreadsheet. If you want to copy mine, open the Weight Tracker spreadsheet and select “File -> Make a Copy” in the upper left.

The tool doesn’t really matter, as long as you do it every day. But a spreadsheet gives you an automatic third column that computes the variance in weight — how much you lose or gain each day.

I find that to be a deciding point to adopt a spreadsheet because it increases the awareness of your weight and its oscillations throughout time.

The Power of Awareness

Why go to the trouble of tracking your weight every day? Sounds like a silly idea.

The truth is, by constantly tracking your weight, two things will happen:

  • You will become more aware of the progress in your goal by celebrating small wins every day
  • Because the number is always on your mind, if your weight goes up, you will think twice before eating something out of the diet. Your brain will unconsciously do the work for you and stop you for a second right before you eat that chocolate

Let’s use my graphs as an example. This is weight over time:

See what I mean by small wins every day? Look at that nice downward line in the first few weeks.

But the second factor is even more powerful. Here’s the variance in weight gain/loss:

The red lines indicate those days were I gained a lot of weight. In the morning I would think: “Why did I gain this much weight?” Then I would think about my choices during the previous 3–4 days and what I did wrong. Perhaps I took too many “cheat meals”, or ate popcorn watching a movie, or too much beer on a night out.

Just by doing this simple exercise, I would be aware of my choices and would they were conflicting with my goal. In other words: I wanted to achieve a goal but my actions were misaligned with my words.

That would serve as a reminder for a couple of days to “stay inside the lines”. As proof, you can see that immediately after those days I always lost a few kgs, as indicated by the green lines. That’s how powerful awareness can be.

Where to Go From Here

It doesn’t matter how much you weight, you will stagnate at some point.

It will seem impossible to lose more weight without exercise and you will be in the same ballpark for a few weeks.

For me, this is around 70 kilos. I’ve been in between 69.5–71.5 kg for at least a couple of months now. My variance is high since it’s quite easy for me to gain or lose weight every day (1kg on any given day is normal).

Now that I’ve kept the same weight for a few weeks, I decided to start doing some exercises every day. I’ve been focusing on doing exercises to burn belly fat as that’s where I can see the biggest results.

I just do some planks and abs for about 10 minutes per day. I added another row to the spreadsheet and put a big X each day I exercise.

When you do stagnate, I recommend you also take it one level up: keep the diet but also integrate a physical activity or daily routine into your daily life to keep losing weight.

This is the natural next step from leanness to gaining muscle.

Losing weight without exercise

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