You may have heard the saying, work smarter not harder; well the same goes for losing weight.
You may be over thinking your diet and exercise plan and seeing only minimal results, when you could be doing some really simple “no-brainer” things that work wonders to speed up your weight loss.
These no-brainer tips are really just clever habits, based on science, which once implemented into your daily life, help you automatically reduce the number of calories you eat.
Here are 14 proven ways to lose weight without dieting or exercise that you can implement today to help you lose weight the easy way.
Ways To Lose Weight Without Diet Or Exercise
1. “Unplug” While Eating
Eating or snacking while watching tv, checking email, or surfing the web leads to “autopilot” eating. Meaning you unconsciously eat more because you aren’t paying attention.
Studies have shown that when you eat “attentively,” you automatically eat fewer calories because you are more aware of being full and later remember how much you ate, thus reducing calories for the rest of the day. (1)
Sitting down with a plate of food and eliminating distractions also helps you focus on portion control, so “unplug” while you eat.
2. Start meals with smaller portions
Speaking of portion control, the natural tendency when starting a meal is to order a starter then a main dish, or fill your entire plate to capacity regardless of how hungry you might actually be. Then there is also a market trend in restaurants encouraging people to super size their meals.
To avoid overeating, start your meal with smaller portions and wait several minutes before eating more.
If you feel extremely hungry and need to eat a larger portion, fill up on low calorie foods first.
3. Eat Low Calorie Foods First
You may have noticed that when you order a starter such as a house salad or soup, you find yourself full before the main dish arrives.
Generally the main dish consists of high calorie dense foods made with oils or butter. Studies have shown that eating low calorie salads or soups before a meal leads to less consumption of high calorie foods. (4 , 5 )
A good rule of thumb is finish your salad or soup before ordering a main dish, or you can also box up your main dish and break it into smaller meals over the course of one or two days.
4. Stop and Chew when Eating
How we eat is just as important as what we eat. When you are eating remember to take your time.
After having a bite, savor it by chewing longer and then put your spoon or fork down and stop eating for a moment.
5. Hydrate with Water
Sensations of hunger and thirst are surprisingly difficult to differentiate especially now that people tend to drink more high calorie beverages.
In fact, hunger may subside when you are fully hydrated with water. Studies have shown that drinking a couple of 8 oz glasses of water one half hour before a meal cuts down on the number of calories people eat. (8, 9, 10)
Hydrating with sugar sweetened beverages or other high calorie beverages does not show the same weight loss benefits and instead is linked to increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. (11)
6. Don’t drink sugary soda or juices
The worst things you can drink in place of water are beverages full of added sugars. Drinking beverages loaded with sugar means you are taking in an excess of calories.
These sweetened beverages may quench your thirst but the calories don’t help you feel full.
Studies have shown that calories from solid food help you feel full whereas liquid calories produce less satiety. (12)
Sugary beverages not only make you gain weight, they lead to increased risk of coronary heart disease. (13)
Excessive consumption of fruit juices isn’t good for you either, especially if they are loaded with added sugars. (14)
Beverages that would be better than sweetened drinks include tea, coffee, milk, water, or water with fresh fruit added for flavor.
7. Hide the Junk Food
Keeping junk food in plain sight may increase your cravings causing you to eat more. Studies show that your at home food environment can influence eating behaviors that lead to obesity. (15)
Rather than keeping junk food on the countertop, store it away in the back of the cabinet or the back of the refrigerator.
Displaying healthy foods in bowls on the counter or in Tupperware in the front of the refrigerator may also help prevent weight gain. (16)
8. Use Portion Control Plates
A portion control plate is basically a plate that is divided up into sections that approximates the amount of food you should be eating from the different food groups to make a balanced meal.
If you can imagine back to your tray in the school cafeteria, it’s similar to that. A study conducted using these portion control plates showed that they were an effective tool for inducing weight loss. (17)
Portion control plates take the guess work out of portion control and meal preparation. They are also easy to purchase on-line.
9. Use Smaller Plates
If there isn’t a portion control plate around, try using smaller plates for less healthy food such as desserts or other high calorie food.
10. Use a Red Plate for Snacks
When eating less healthy snack foods, try servings them on a red plate. The color red may be associated with thoughts of avoidance or stopping because of the way we use red as a cautionary or warning color.
A couple of studies were conducted that showed that participants drank less soft drink and less snack from red colored cups and plates than white or blue plates and cups. (22)
11. Up Your Protein Intake
Instead of dieting, try eating more protein in place of other high carbohydrate foods. Protein keeps you full longer, thus reducing hunger and caloric intake for the day.
For example, eating eggs instead of a bagel in the morning was shown to keep participants full longer and as a result,they ate fewer calories for the day. (23)
Another study found that participants who increased their protein intake from 15 % to 30 % ate 441 fewer calories per day and lost 11 pounds in 12 weeks while keeping carbohydrate intake constant, suggesting that protein has a direct effect on weight loss. (24)
But before you stock up on red meat, studies have found “caveats” to an increased protein diet. Their findings recommend that protein intake should still stay within your caloric budget for the day and that protein sources should include a healthy mix of proteins from both animal and plants such as beans, tofu, nuts, lentils, and quinoa. (25)
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, plant-based proteins will still have the same weight loss effects.
12. Increase your Fiber Intake
In addition to increasing your protein intake, epidemiologic studies show that increasing your fiber intake also helps you lose weight. (26)
In the United States fiber intake is low at only 15 grams per day which is half the amount the American Heart Association recommends, which is 25-30 grams per day.
Increasing your fiber will keep you full longer using fewer calories, plus help you maintain better bowel health. Fiber may also help lower your cholesterol and help control blood sugar levels.
A particular type of fiber known as soluble fiber is particularly helpful for weight loss and it is found in plant foods such as flax seeds, legumes, oats,mangoes, and Brussels sprouts.
13. Get some Quality Sleep
Simply getting enough quality sleep can help you lose weight. Quality sleep ensures that the hormones that regulate your appetite stay balanced and on track.
Hormones linked to appetite include leptin and ghrelin. When levels of these hormones are disrupted, your appetite may increase causing you to crave unhealthy high calorie foods.
For example, one study showed that a short duration of sleep (5 hours) causes leptin to be reduced while ghrelin is elevated. (27) This creates the perfect condition for weight gain.
14. Manage Stress
Lastly, managing stress can help you lose weight because overeating is sometimes stress-induced.
When you get worked up over daily hassles, a hormone called cortisol gets released.
Studies have shown that high cortisol reactivity to stress promotes excess food intake. (28)
All of these no-brainer lifestyle habits are easy to put into action. Maybe not all at once, but just picking up 2 or 3 of these habits can profoundly speed up your weight loss. The best part is these habits help put losing weight on autopilot without thinking about dieting or exercising.
Of course diet and exercise are important, but simple habits like these help you manage your weight effortlessly.
Start by simply eating slower, drinking more water, and unplugging while eating and see how well it works. Once you form those 3 habits, try forming more.
All in all, you will pay more attention when eating and end up eating less without stressing too much.
The Best Ways To Lose Weight Without Diet Or Exercise
- “Unplug” While Eating
- Start meals with smaller portions
- Eat low calorie foods first
- Stop and chew when eating
- Hydrate with Water
- Don’t drink sugary soda or juices
- Hide the junk food
- Use portion control plates
- Use smaller plates
- Use a red plate for snacks
- Up your protein intake
- Increase your fiber intake
- Get some quality sleep
- Manage stress