Are you wanting to lose weight but not quite ready to add exercise to your routine? Here’s how to lose weight without exercising. Note: This post contains affiliate links.

I know you’re eager to learn how to lose weight without exercising.

But before I begin, I have to say this: I am a personal trainer 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. 

How to lose weight without exercising

That means that they depend on what is happening in your life at this time.

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 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!

So all of this being said, I do believe that there are times where not exercising is necessary. That’s where these ideas will come in handy!

You Can Lose Weight Without Exercising 

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. The idea is that nutrition is an important part of being healthy. I mean duh, 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. 

how to lose weight without exercise

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. 

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

Now, onto losing weight without exercise.

How To Lose Weight Without Exercising

1. Start Counting Calories

In order to lose weight (whether you’re exercising or not), you must be in a calorie deficit. 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 1400-1600 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.

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. 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

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, vericose 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.

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

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.

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. 

5. Drink More Water

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.

6. Get More Protein & Veggies

Getting the wrong macro and micro nutrients 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 from my favorite supplement line, Supplement RX. They even have plant-based protein!

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. Here’s a post I wrote about easily making the switch to chemical-free living.

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. That’s because sugar, when not used as energy, is stored as fat. 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

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.)

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 awhile, 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. 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. Why? 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 take out. 

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 the lifelong changes for the better!

So, do you feel like you know how to lose weight without exercising 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!