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Effective Ways to Lose Weight Without Exercise – WTOP

Apr 18th, 2023

The most effective approach to losing weight is to include dietary changes and regular physical activity. But is it possible

The most effective approach to losing weight is to include dietary changes and regular physical activity. But is it possible to lose weight without exercising?

For some people, physical activity just isnt an option when trying to lose weight. There may be several reasons why you have to try losing weight without exercising:

You have an injury that limits or prohibits exercise.

Youre getting ready for certain types of surgery, such as knee replacement, and the doctor wants you to lose weight fast. However, you cant exercise much or at all due to pain.

You have painful conditions, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

You struggle with motivation or desire to exercise. This may not be a solid reason to avoid physical activity, but it could be why you try to find ways to lose weight without exercise, says Amy Kimberlain, a Miami-based registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

You dont have time in your schedule to work in an exercise routine.

[See: The Best Diets for Fast Weight Loss.]

Exercise and Weight Loss

Exercise helps the body burn calories more efficiently, says Dr. Scott A. Cunneen, director of metabolic and bariatric surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and author of Weighty Issues: Getting the Skinny on Weight Loss Surgery.

This is because your metabolism elevates during physical activity. Over time, if exercise results in increased levels of lean body mass and less fat mass, your baseline metabolic rate (the amount of calorie your body burns when sitting still) should increase, as well, says Tamara Duker Freuman, a registered dietitian with New York Gastroenterology Associates. Without exercise, your metabolism will likely remain the same.

A speedier metabolism is one reason exercise is a natural companion to eating differently for weight loss. Depending on how much you exercise, it can help you lose weight more quickly. By watching what you eat, taking in fewer calories and burning off calories with exercise, you can create a greater energy deficit, helping to expedite weight loss, Duker Freuman explains.

[READ: How to Safely Lose Weight Fast.]

Weight Loss Without Exercise

If you cant exercise, it may take you longer to lose weight. This isnt necessarily a bad thing because losing weight slowly can help you keep it off more easily than quick weight loss, says registered dietitian Jill Weisenberger, a registered dietitian, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide and Diabetes Weight Loss Week by Week and owner of Food & Nutrition Solutions by Jill, based in Yorktown, Virginia.

[READ: The 2023 Best Diet Rankings]

Think Long-Term for Weight Loss

Weisenberger encourages those interested in losing weight without exercise to think about their long-term goals. One approach is to focus on weekly weight goals versus daily check-ins. A healthy weight loss is half a pound to 2 pounds a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For instance, you can set a goal of losing 10% of your body weight in three to six months. If you weigh 200 pounds, thats 20 pounds to lose.

Exercise is important for overall health, but its not the only thing that helps tip the scale in the right direction, so to speak.

Oftentimes we overestimate the impact exercise has on calorie expenditure, but the most impactful thing you can do for weight loss is focus on creating health dietary patterns, drinking your water, managing your stress and sleeping well, says Ashley Bannister, a registered dietitian and coach with the weight loss app Noom in New York City.

Losing weight without exercise is attainable, but it means you must focus more on cutting the calories you consume, while still making sure you eat nourishing food. Research indicates changes in diet as the primary method of successful and sustainable weight loss.

The best strategy to do this is to increase your intake of fiber-rich foods that make you feel satisfied for longer even with modest amounts of calories; doing so helps crowd out portions of more energy dense foods, especially lower fiber or higher sugar ones that dont keep you feeling full for very long, Duker Freuman says.

Examples of foods that promote satiety and are foundational to a diet that promotes a healthy weight include:

Fruits and vegetables.

Whole grains, such as whole-wheat spaghetti or whole-wheat bread.

Protein, such as beans, fish, poultry and low fat dairy like Greek yogurt.

A small amount of heart healthy fats, such as nuts, canola or olive oil.

Foods and drinks to cut out or consume less of if youre looking to lose weight include:

Alcohol-based and sweetened drinks, including juices and some coffees.

Baked goods, such as cookies and cake.


Snacks, such as chips, pretzels and crackers.

Fried foods, such as french fries and onion rings.

Low-fiber or refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, tortillas, white rice and grits.

Tips to Lose Weight Without Exercise

Losing weight without exercise is possible, it just takes extra planning and dedication. Here are 17 tips to lose weight without exercise:

Be patient with the process.

Play around with plates.

Fill up on soups and salads.

Watch your portions.

Choose healthy snacks.

Eat without distractions.

Chew your food thoroughly.

Get more fiber.

Drink more water.

Avoid sugary drinks.

Dont skip meals.

Eat a hearty breakfast.

Add protein.

Sleep seven to eight hours a night.

Do your best to manage stress.

Plan in advance how to handle emotional eating.

Track what you eat.

Be patient with the process

Even when you can exercise, losing weight in a limited time period, such as in the weeks before a surgery, can be a challenge. Since you cant move as much, its important to realize it may take longer and you may have some setbacks.

Consistency is key. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, says Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian based in Sparta, New Jersey. The best approach to sustainable weight loss is to adopt lifestyle habits that you can stick with long term.

Play around with plates

One common strategy used for weight loss is to play around with plate size and the portions on your plate. At dinner, use a smaller salad plate for grains and protein and a larger dinner plate for non-starchy vegetables, Kimberlain says. This helps you to fill up more on those low-calorie veggies.

Another plate idea: If youre at a holiday or special event with some of your favorite desserts, dont deprive yourself, advises registered dietitian Heidi Katte, an instructor with Milwaukee Area Technical College in Milwaukee. Instead, serve yourself a portion using a small plate instead of a large plate.

Fill up on soups and salads

At many restaurants, you have the option of a salad or soup before your main entre, says Leslie Bonci, sports dietitian for the Kansas City Chiefs and owner of the nutrition business Active Eating Advice. If you choose a healthier soup or salad, you can fill up on fiber before moving on to your entre. If youre already somewhat full, youll eat less of the main meal and perhaps even skip dessert.

Watch your portions

In the U.S., especially at restaurants, were accustomed to getting super-sized meals, Weisenberger says. Plan to eat only half of what youre served. And dont be afraid to take home leftovers.

Some sample portion sizes from the American Heart Association include:

One medium whole fruit.

2 cups of salad greens.

A -cup of cooked rice, pasta or cereal.

2 cups of milk.

1 ounce of cheese.

1 ounce of cooked seafood or meat.

This doesnt mean you shouldnt ever eat portion sizes bigger than these or that you have to measure everything you eat, according to the AHA. You may end up eating more than one serving at one meal and then eat less than one serving at another meal. Just aim for average portion sizes overall in any two- or three-day period.

Choose healthy snacks

Weve all been there: Youre ready for a snack and open up the pantry. You see chips, cookies and other less nutritious options. Its only natural to want to reach out and make those unhealthy choices. To help avoid this trap, stock your pantry with healthier snack options that will keep you feeling full longer, helping support your weight loss efforts.

Snacks that combine protein, healthy fat and/or complex carbs can achieve these goals. Some healthy snack options include foods such as:

Greek yogurt with fruit.

An apple or banana with a nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter.

Cottage cheese with fruit on a piece of whole-grain bread.

Hummus with whole-grain crackers and sliced veggies.

A handful of nuts and a piece of fruit.

Eat without distractions

Think about the last few meals and snacks you ate. Were you reading or watching something on a screen? Maybe driving and eating? Its easy to eat too much if youre not focused on what youre eating. Put away the phone, turn off the TV or remove whatever else distracts you to enjoy each bite.

Eating mindfully by chewing slowly is another way to focus on what youre eating, so youre truly aware of when youre full, Katte says. Eating without distractions also can make you aware of whether youre eating because youre truly hungry or if youre just bored.

Chew your food thoroughly

Chewing your food helps with weight loss goals for several reasons, Bannister says:

You slow down your meal and may be more mindful of your bodys hunger and fullness cues.

You may burn slightly more calories through digestion when you chew thoroughly.

Taking your time to chew thoroughly can positively affect the hormones related to hunger and feeling full so you ultimately consume fewer calories.

Get more fiber

Fiber helps to fill you up so you stay full longer, meaning youre eating less overall. The recommended serving for fiber is 25 grams a day for women and up to 38 grams a day for men, but most Americans struggle to get even 10 grams daily, Katte says.

Foods that are rich in fiber include:

Beans. For example, 1 cup of black beans has 15 grams of fiber.

Broccoli. 1 cup contains 5 grams of fiber.

Pears. A medium pear has 5 grams of fiber.

Raspberries. 1 cup has 8 grams.

Whole-wheat spaghetti or bread. 1 cup of whole-wheat spaghetti gives you 6 grams of fiber.

Nuts, which are high in protein.

Most fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber. Make sure to increase your water intake as you add more fiber to your diet. Otherwise, its hard for the body to absorb the extra fiber, and you may end up feeling bloated or have extra intestinal gas.

Drink more water

Continued here:
Effective Ways to Lose Weight Without Exercise - WTOP

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