Want to know how to lose weight without exercise? It’s totally possible with other healthy habits! Try these tips to lose fat without exercise!
Hi there. I’m Chantal. Welcome to Ironwild Fitness!
I know you’re eager to learn how to lose weight without exercise.
But before I begin, I have to say this: I am a personal trainer and a nutrition coach – and I would never advise a continuously sedentary lifestyle.
Even though this post is about how to lose weight without exercising, the tips I’m going to give you are dependent on context.
That means that they depend on what is happening in your life at this time.
Now – I totally do believe that you can have successful weight loss with healthier choices that don’t involve working out.
But that doesn’t mean you should intentionally avoid exercise forever!
This post is mostly for people who are currently unable to exercise or aren’t ready for it yet. I’m talking about people who are severely overweight, injured, need clearance from a doctor, etc.
For example, I was unable to exercise for much of both of my pregnancies. Then after having my two c-sections, I wasn’t going to work out for at least 8 weeks post-op.
I waited until I was cleared by my doctor. However, I knew I could lose weight without exercise! Nutrition and other little things can have a huge impact!
So all of this being said, I do believe that there are times when not exercising is necessary. That’s where these ideas will come in handy!
You Can Lose Weight Without Exercise
You may have heard that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise.
While I don’t know that I believe in those exact percentages, I agree with the overall sentiment of the power of a balanced diet.
The idea is that nutrition is an important part of being healthy.
I mean duh, right?
I think that most of us know this. (Maybe not the exact details, but we know the basics, right?)
But there are also other things that influence weight retention. By this, I mean that diet and exercise are NOT the only two things that influence your health.
I think that this is one concept that much of the fitness industry misses on. They focus on workouts and dietary supplements rather than total health.
Good health is much more than a singular number.
The problem is that if all areas of health aren’t addressed, we risk continuing a cycle of poor diet, lack of exercise, etc.
The good news is that there are many small lifestyle changes that you can make if you want to lose weight. There are so many different ways to get healthier long term.
Now, onto losing weight without exercise.
How To Lose Weight Without Exercise
1. Start Counting Calories
Are you serious about learning how to lose weight without working out?
In order to lose weight (whether you’re exercising or not), you must be in a calorie deficit. For most people, eating fewer calories is the most important thing they can do to lose weight.
That means that you must burn more calories than you consume. In order to do this, you will have to know exactly how many calories you are burning, as well as how many you’re consuming.
Most people are overeating, so putting yourself in a calorie deficit is simple and you don’t always need to know exactly how much you’re burning.
The easiest way to find out how much you’re eating daily is to track each meal. I use MyFitnessPal to track my calories.
Simply type in your food and MFP knows how much the caloric value is. (I personally aim for 1500-1600 cals per day depending on my workouts.)
Once you have tracked your food on a regular day (not dieting or exercising), you can simply set a goal that is less than that to lose weight.
Since regular activities (breathing, walking, sitting, etc.) burn calories, you should not typically go below 1400 calories on any given day.
Important note: If you want to retain muscle mass while losing weight, be sure to get plenty of protein. You can do this by increasing your intake of lean meats, eggs, fat-free Greek yogurt, protein shakes, etc. Prioritize protein-rich foods!
2. Set a Step Goal
When you’re trying to figure out how to lose weight without exercising, moving more is still important.
Setting a step goal using a pedometer or activity tracker (I have a Garmin Vivofit that I love) will help you move more throughout the day.
Physical activity is a key component when learning how to lose weight without exercise!
Instead of setting aside designated exercise, simply aim to spend more time on your feet.
For me, this means that I’m not getting a “workout” even though I’m still getting some exercise. Basically, if I set a step goal, I stay busy cleaning house, pulling weeds, etc.
This makes it so that I get a lot done but I’m not really ever raising my heart rate.
However, each extra movement burns calories that add up throughout the day. This helps with that calorie deficit that is critical in weight loss.
3. Limit Sitting Time
This is one of the simplest things you can do when you’re trying to learn how to lose weight without exercise.
If you really can’t engage in regular exercise, you can focus on spending a little less time sitting each day.
Setting a goal to get up often is going to help with overall movement. Limiting the time you sit will also help with circulation, which will fend off cellulite and varicose veins, help prevent back pain, etc.
Plus, standing versus sitting burns more calories. If you want to lose weight without exercising, this can really help.
Here’s a good idea: to help yourself limit sitting time, set a timer for 30-60 minutes every time you sit down to work on your computer or watch TV.
When the timer beeps, get up, do a few things (a chore, some squats, whatever) before you sit back down.
4. Get Better Sleep
Want to get serious about learning how to lose weight without exercise?
We often forget about sleep when it comes to weight loss and overall health. But when it comes to figuring out how to lose weight without exercising, sleep is a huge factor. Lack of sleep is not good!
Sleep not only helps us regulate hormones, it is the time during which muscles do the most repairing. If you’re too sore to work out or are low on energy, it is likely because you didn’t have proper sleep.
Better sleep = better workouts.
But right now we’re talking about losing weight without working out. If you’re not getting the proper rest your body needs, it’s going to start producing more cortisol, a stress hormone.
This hormone is notorious for causing all sorts of problems and making other hormones wacky.
But mostly, excessive cortisol can tell your body to hold onto weight it doesn’t need. Your body then enters a survival mode in which it holds onto fat.
So more sleep = less stress = your body no longer in survival mode.
My top recommendation for sleep products is this amazing sublingual spray that has melatonin and valerian.
Related Reading: 5 Easy Yoga Poses For Better Sleep
5. Drink More Water
A healthy diet isn’t the only thing you need to lose weight.
Water is necessary for basic human functions. But when it comes to weight loss, it is important for digestion, sodium retention, and to help you feel full.
I drink water all day long by using my beloved Nathan Big Shot water bottles that need to be refilled less often than most other bottles.
If you need help increasing your water intake, read my post about ways to drink more water every day.
6. Get More Protein & Veggies
Are you super serious about figuring out how to lose weight without exercise? This is important!
Getting the wrong macro and micronutrients can leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
You can eat the right amount of food (calories) without eating what your body needs. Most people do not eat enough protein and vegetables.
Increasing your intake of protein and vegetables will help your body get the right macronutrients (protein vs. fats & carbs) and the right micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc).
The result is feeling full and satisfied! This will protect you from overeating.
Use this calculator to determine your recommended daily intake for calories, protein, and more.
If you are looking for a way to dramatically increase your protein intake, consider a meal replacement or protein powder. They even have plant-based protein!
Related Reading: 25 Meal Prep Snack Ideas (Quick & Easy)
7. Balance Your Hormones
Hormones can influence more than just your skin and sleep. They can also influence your weight! I wrote a lengthy post about hormone disruptors in our daily lives, but the gist is this: the products we use daily could be causing weight retention.
Most of us are exposing ourselves to harmful chemicals in the form of household cleaners, personal care products, and more.
These things can influence stress hormones, reproductive hormones, and everything in between.
Consider making an effort to balance your hormones and you’ll also be investing in overall health, including weight.
8. Eliminate Extra Sugar
This seems straightforward, but do you know why sugar should be minimized?
Eliminating extra sugar should be at the top of your list if you’re trying to figure out how to lose weight without exercising. (I’m looking at you, sugary drinks!)
That’s because sugar, when not used as energy, is stored as fat. Cutting back on sugar is one of the most effective ways to get to your ideal body weight.
Not only this, but it is highly addictive and also influences hormones. Your body just doesn’t need it!
The problem is that there are “hidden” sugars in many foods. Lucky for you, I wrote a post about easy ways to ditch sugar and expose some of those foods that have more sugar than expected.
9. Learn To Control Cravings
Changing your eating habits is easier said than done, right?
The key here, I believe, is to make small changes over time. This would be instead of making huge, drastic changes that end up backfiring.
So my suggestion would be to start cutting back on things that you crave little by little rather than quitting cold turkey.
For me, cutting back on coffee is a huge struggle. Instead of self-inducing major headaches by quitting cold turkey, I have successfully cut way back by making my servings smaller.
After just a few days, I’m able to cut down to one cup of coffee in the morning – and that’s it!
Otherwise, I’d also suggest limiting your access to various temptations. If something is tempting to you, don’t keep it in the house!
I have successfully made grocery shopping temptation-free by using grocery pickup/delivery instead of making impulse buys at the store. (I use Walmart grocery.)
Related Reading: 10 Ways to Eliminate Hidden Sugars from Your Diet
10. Focus On Mental Changes
In personal training school, we learned all about the cycles that people go through when trying to get healthy.
People are typically “all-in” for a while, then eventually return to the other end of the spectrum where they are living an unhealthy lifestyle again.
An important part of ending this vicious cycle is to focus on mental changes and mindful eating.
If you aren’t mentally strong and consistent, it’s hard to be consistent with diet and exercise.
So, how do you change your mentality when it comes to health?
First, it’s important to be self-aware. (It’s so important that I wrote a post about it.)
Second, it’s important to remove harmful behavior from your life. For me, this means that I can’t weigh myself every day.
Because I know that it results in negative thoughts about myself and it essentially backfires for me. EVERY TIME.
Third, it’s important to be grateful for the body you have and what it can CAN do rather than what it can’t.
How can this help you learn how to lose weight without exercising?
Mental changes that help you reach a more positive mindset will change your body. Each positive thought you have will help you lower stress and increase your energy and willpower.
This is going to add up to subtle changes, like moving a little more each day or choosing a salad over takeout.
While it will take time to change your body, the results are more likely to be lifelong, rather than a yo-yo-style cycle of being committed. I don’t know about you, but I rather have lifelong changes for the better!
11. Switch to Whole Grains
If you really want to learn how to lose weight without exercising, you’ll heed my nutrition tips.
Switching to whole grains is a simple yet transformative choice for your health.
Unlike refined grains, whole grains retain all parts of the grain kernel, providing a wealth of nutrients and benefits.
Whole grains are packed with fiber, which aids in digestion, helps maintain a healthy weight, and reduces the risk of heart disease.
They also offer essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall well-being.
With lower glycemic index values, whole grains help stabilize blood sugar levels, making them an ideal choice for those with diabetes or those seeking sustained energy throughout the day.
Additionally, the consumption of whole grains has been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers and can contribute to better cardiovascular health.
In short, embracing whole grains is a delicious and nutritious way to enhance your diet and promote a healthier, more vibrant life. It’s also a great way to start losing weight without doing any exercise.
P.S. You don’t necessarily need to go on a super low-carb diet to start losing weight. But the fact is that if you aren’t exercising, you just don’t need to eat a lot of carbs. Just focus on whole foods and I promise you’ll start to lose weight.
12. Focus on Portion Sizes
Still need ideas on how to lose weight without exercise? Food intake matters!
Consider focusing on portion sizes, which can be achieved easily with smaller plates and other simple hacks.
Reducing portion sizes is a powerful strategy for improving both your health and managing your weight. It’s the best way to go if you’re not interested in counting calories.
By practicing portion control, you can enjoy a host of benefits. Firstly, it helps you manage calorie intake, a fundamental component of weight loss. Smaller portions naturally lead to fewer calories consumed, aiding in shedding excess pounds.
Furthermore, smaller portions promote mindful eating. When you savor smaller servings, you become more in tune with your body’s hunger and fullness cues, preventing overeating and the associated weight gain.
Reducing portion sizes also encourages you to savor and appreciate the flavors of your food, enhancing your overall dining experience.
In terms of health, smaller portions can help with portion-specific health issues such as controlling blood sugar levels for those with diabetes or reducing the risk of overeating-related conditions like heart disease and hypertension.
It’s important to recognize that portion control isn’t about deprivation but rather about finding the right balance between enjoying your favorite foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
So, when it comes to achieving your health and weight goals, shrinking your portion sizes can be a small change that makes a big difference.
13. Switch To Healthy Fats
Switching to healthy fats is a smart and delicious choice when aiming for weight loss and overall well-being.
(And it’s usually an easy swap that won’t impact your daily routine too much.)
Unlike unhealthy saturated and trans fats, healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, offer a range of benefits.
They promote satiety, helping you feel full and satisfied for longer, which can prevent overeating and support your weight loss goals.
Healthy fats are also essential for nutrient absorption, enabling your body to better utilize vitamins and minerals from your food.
They provide a steady source of energy and help stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing cravings and the temptation to snack on empty calories.
Additionally, they support heart health and can reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Incorporating healthy fats into your diet doesn’t mean you have to skimp on flavor; it means making thoughtful choices that benefit your body.
So, make the switch to healthy fats for a tasty and effective way to aid in your weight loss journey while nourishing your body from the inside out.
So, do you feel like you know how to lose weight without working out now?
I hope that I have given you some ideas that will help you begin to create real change!
Do you have any other ideas on losing weight without exercise? Leave me a comment below with your ideas!
Looking for more little ways to be healthier? Try my healthy Greek yogurt deviled eggs recipe!
Until next time,