Losing weight or losing fat without exercise is a dream for many.
While you will always need to master exercise to really maximize results or add lean muscle, there are some small diet changes you can apply to favorably change your body immediately.
While I will always encourage you to focus on all aspects of diet and exercise in the long term, the following strategies are far simpler to implement and can be applied today to get you started on losing weight without exercise.
If you are already mastering the exercise side of things, these little tricks will simply further enhance your results.
Here are 6 unique tips to drop fat or lose weight without exercise…
1. Increase Protein Intake To Start Losing Weight Without Exercise
Ask any expert, more protein is one of the easiest changes you can make to immediately begin losing weight without exercise.
Protein is one of the 3 macronutrients (fat and carbohydrate being the other two) and is responsible for adding new lean muscle mass and also helping you recover from exercise.
Protein has many other benefits too that will help you directly if you are hoping to lose weight without significantly changing your lifestyle or nutrition.
The complex nature of how proteins are structured makes it quite difficult to digest. For this reason, simply increasing protein intake directly increases your metabolic rate and helps you burn body fat (8).
Protein also requires around 20% more energy just to digest it (6). Over days, weeks and months, this adds up to thousands of calories saved in the process of digestion alone, and so ultimately pounds of body fat lost.
When it comes to direct weight loss, over 100 studies have shown that just replacing some carbs or fat with protein will help you burn more body fat while also adding or maintaining lean muscle mass. In some cases, simply eating more protein can double or triple your weight loss efforts, even if you aren’t tracking calories or food… talk about simple.
Finally, studies have revealed that increasing protein has a direct effect on satiety or the feeling of being full (7). Having increased satiety will allow you to eat less throughout the day without noticing, potentially leading to weight loss.
Simply focus on consuming a large lean protein source at every meal, around 6-8oz or 120-200g. This can be any lean meat (chicken, turkey, lean mince, etc.), fish or high protein low sugar yogurt, high protein milk, whey protein, eggs, etc. Ideally, you want 30-50g of protein per meal.
2. Structure Your Meals To Reduce Calorie Intake
Another way to lose weight without exercise is to just control each meal. Many people have an issue with binge eating and sporadic eating patterns, which quickly takes them over their daily calorie intake.
This becomes an even bigger issue if you are not exercising and then eating foods with a high number of calories, such as at a restaurant or binge eating at night after a busy day.
For each individual meal, I suggest structuring your meals by eating the foods you need, such as protein and vegetables, first and then move on to eating the more ‘tasty’, but unhealthy, foods after 20 minutes if you still really need them.
As mentioned earlier, protein is satiating and increases metabolism (6, 7). By ensuring that you eat protein first, you increase the chance that you’ll be too full to consume foods such as extra carbohydrate or dessert.
For your daily meal structure, focus on eating around every 4 hours, unless you are using intermittent fasting which is another great approach. If you aren’t accustomed to fasting, it normally ends up with you starving and reaching for a 1000 calorie + meal.
For that reason, unless you are a regular faster, eating every few hours ensures you aren’t ever super hungry and reduces cravings for binge eating or cheat meals/bad food.
3. Stop Drinking Your Calories To Lose Weight Without Exercise
Another easy way to lose weight without exercise is to stop consuming a ton of calories and sugar in liquid form.
Many people already know that beverages such as a regular soda can have upwards of 75 grams of sugar in a 20oz. bottle.
What some people may not know is that beverages such as fruit juice (both fresh and concentrated) or smoothies are just as bad.
Yep, that’s correct. Unfortunately, consuming fruit juice is one of the first things that many people do when attempting to lose weight, but it may actually be making their situation worse.
By consuming beverages such as fruit juice, you’re consuming multiple servings of fructose with almost none of the beneficial fiber that would normally be included when eating whole fruit.
Because of fructose’s biological structure, it can be converted to fat more easily than other straight forms of carbs, such as glucose. It can also cause insulin resistance and metabolic issues when consumed in excess (like drinking a glass a day – yes, in this context that’s classified as excess!).
Remember, even one glass of freshly squeezed juice is the same as 5-10 pieces of whole fruit! While fruit is healthy, our body was never designed to consume ALL that sugar and fruit in one go, especially in one single sitting!
Fiber is also one of the most essential nutrients when it comes to losing weight since it has such a satiating effect, so ditch ALL liquid calories (except milk or a protein shake) and consume whole food. It has a much lower calorie density and also provides the fiber (1, 2, 4).
4. Increase Vegetable Consumption To Lose Weight Without Exercise
Much like fruit, vegetables have a very high amount of fiber and a low energy density which makes them a perfect fat loss food.
Additionally, vegetables are packed full of water and often have a very large volume-to-calorie ratio, which means you can eat a lot of them without actually consuming many calories.
So, you’ll feel fuller not just due to the large amount of food (vegetables) you’re actually eating for such low calorie consumption but also due to the fiber content of those foods.
Numerous studies have shown that by simply eating more vegetables and other low-calorie dense food you can lose weight. For specific calorie intake, studies have even demonstrated that participants who were given an ‘all you can eat’ low energy dense food buffet vs high energy dense food consumed 50% less total calories!
Over time, this small change can lead to the consumption of fewer calories and, eventually, considerable weight loss (and health benefits, of course).
5. Drink Water Before Meals to Lose Weight Without Exercising
Believe it or not, simply drinking water prior to eating can potentially reduce the amount of food that you eat during the following meal.
In fact, more research has shown that, just like vegetable intake, simply drinking water helps you eat less and lose weight over the long term!
In one study lasting 12 weeks, participants who consumed 500 ml of water before meals ate significantly less food during their meals and also, as a result, reported greater reductions in body weight (3).
Consider drinking 2 cups of water prior to meals to help reduce the number of calories you are consuming. For daily intake, aim for 8 large glasses or more per day (3L +).
A simple way to do this is just carrying around a large bottle of water with you at all times. I also recommend flavoring your water if that helps with drinking the total volume; you can use fruit (i.e. a slices of lemon/lime) or sugar free flavorings (which are fine in healthy moderations).
6. Increase NEAT
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is a measurement of increased energy expenditure during times that you aren’t performing any structured exercise (5).
Increasing NEAT can come in many different forms by taking measures to move more during activities where you normally wouldn’t, such as walking further when you park your car, or taking stairs rather than using an elevator.
NEAT can also come in other forms that you might not be aware of:
- Walking a pet
- Cleaning your house, apartment or vehicle
- Doing yard work
- Using a standing desk rather than sitting
- Even chewing gum!
As mentioned earlier, losing weight is largely determined by expending more energy than you consume.
By increasing NEAT throughout the day, the amount of calories you burn without thinking about it can accumulate over time, eventually leading to weight loss (5).
Try to implement NEAT in your life by adjusting your activity slightly to move more regularly than you normally would.
How to Lose Weight Without Exercise
While transforming or implementing new exercises can lead to amazing changes, doing so does take time and isn’t something many can jump straight into tomorrow.
Fortunately, there are some smaller steps, such as increasing protein intake and increasing your level of NEAT throughout the day, which will help reduce your weight without making larger life changes.
Remember, my big focus is to get you on an optimal exercise and sustainable diet routine for the long term. After all, this is where you will get the best results and optimize your health.
If you are looking to start your exercise regime, I recommend HIIT. HIIT involves short but intense workouts lasting just 15-20 minutes. This is perfect for someone trying to get started and build up their commitments. Over time, you can increase these sessions as the habit is formed.
You can download my 30 Day HIIT Kick Start that includes a full meal/diet plan AND a full 30 Day HIIT plan (all of which can be done in 20 mins per day or less) here: https://www.rudymawer.com/30-day-kick-start-new/
- 1. Bolton, R. P., Heaton, K. W., & Burroughs, L. F. (1981). The role of dietary fiber in satiety, glucose, and insulin: studies with fruit and fruit juice. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 34(2), 211-217.
- 2. Cho, S. S., Case, I. L., & Nishi, S. (2009). Fiber and Satiety. Weight Control and Slimming Ingredients in Food Technology, 227.
- 3. Dennis, E. A., Dengo, A. L., Comber, D. L., Flack, K. D., Savla, J., Davy, K. P., & Davy, B. M. (2010). Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle‐aged and older adults. Obesity, 18(2), 300-307.
- 4. Lefranc-Millot, C., Macioce, V., Guérin-Deremaux, L., Lee, A. W., & Cho, S. S. (2012). Fiber and Satiety. Dietary Fiber and Health, 83.
- 5. Levine, J. A., Vander Weg, M. W., Hill, J. O., & Klesges, R. C. (2006). Non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology, 26(4), 729-736.
- 6. Luscombe, N. D., Clifton, P. M., Noakes, M., Farnsworth, E., & Wittert, G. (2003). Effect of a high-protein, energy-restricted diet on weight loss and energy expenditure after weight stabilization in hyperinsulinemic subjects. International journal of obesity, 27(5), 582-590.
- 7. Veldhorst, M., Smeets, A. J. P. G., Soenen, S., Hochstenbach-Waelen, A., Hursel, R., Diepvens, K., … & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2008). Protein-induced satiety: effects and mechanisms of different proteins. Physiology & behavior, 94(2), 300-307.
Westerterp, K. R. (2004). Diet induced thermogenesis. Nutrition & metabolism, 1(1), 5.