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BlogWeight LossHow to Lose Weight without Exercise: 22 Tips to Help You Get in Shape in 2022

How to Lose Weight without Exercise: 22 Tips to Help You Get in Shape in 2022

Mariia Roza
Written by Mariia Roza on November 29, 2021
Medically reviewed by Dr. Olena Avdiievska

Watching weight-loss TV shows where participants are forced to work out like crazy might make you think that getting lean is impossible without hard work at the gym. In reality, exercises are not that necessary for weight loss. Surely, cardio can help you burn more calories, and lifting weights is important for building muscles. But none of them are essential for fat loss.

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If you want to get into shape in 2022 but, for some reason, don’t want to buy a gym membership, we can help you here! Check out why losing weight without exercise is possible and find out how you can make your weight loss journey easier and more enjoyable!

Why are exercises not that essential for weight loss?

Losing weight is about making you burn more calories than you consume. But calories out are not only those you burn on a treadmill! You’re burning almost 70% of calories on things that happen inside your body. 

You need the energy to make your heart pump blood, your body keep warmth, your brain think, your stomach digest food, and your lungs process oxygen. Together, the calories you need for these activities are referred to as the BMR or the basal metabolic rate.

Another 30% of calories are spent on walking, talking, blinking, sitting, or doing some exercises. These are non-exercise and exercise activity thermogenesis. Together, your BMR, NEAT, and EAT compose your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) or the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight.

Of course, professional athletes or people busy in physical labor (like housebuilding or growing crops) require more energy to keep them going. They might spend less than 70% of calories keeping their bodies alive and more than 30% on physical activity.

Your body spends 70% of calories on functioning and 30% of energy on physical activity
Your body spends 70% of calories on functioning and 30% of energy on physical activity

Why is diet more important than working out?

The quantity and quality of food you eat affect your body and weight much faster than working out. For example, a heavy lifting session will make you burn about 300 calories in one hour. However, you can consume the same amount of calories in two minutes by grabbing a slice of pizza. This means that to create a 300-calorie deficit, you can spend one hour in the gym every day, or you can refrain from eating an extra slice of pizza. 

Eating in a calorie deficit will bring you to your weight goal much faster than trying to create this deficit by working out. Normalizing your nutrition is more important for weight loss than going to the gym.

22 tips to help you lose weight without exercise

Small changes can bring great results. Have a look at these tips and lose weight faster and with less effort.

1. Find satisfaction in other activities

Emotional eating is one of the main reasons why people tend to overeat that much. The thing is, tasty food brings you joy and makes your brain produce dopamine. It’s hard to refrain from something that makes you happy. One of the working strategies to stop overindulging yourself in high-calorie foods is to find other activities, apart from eating, that will fill you up with positive emotions. 

Prevent emotional eating by finding joyful distractions
Prevent emotional eating by finding joyful distractions

2. Try to stress out less

Too much stress can lead to multiple health problems, and excess weight is one of them. High cortisol levels can increase your appetite(1) and make you gain weight. 

There are certainly some things you cannot change about your surrounding and the world around you. But you can always change your attitude towards things that happen. Learn some stress-relieving techniques and make them a part of your daily life.

3. Clean your house

There is food on every corner and vendor machines on every step: There’s nothing you can do with that. However, you can clean your house and get rid of foods you tend to overeat. Plan your meals before you go shopping and don’t buy products that your body doesn’t need.

Clean your fridge from food that your body doesn't need
Clean your fridge from food that your body doesn't need

4. Ask your friends and family for support

If you live with someone, you will have to ask them for help. Ask your spouse to stop indulging you with your favorite candies. Explain to your parents that they shouldn’t make your favorite lasagnas or pizzas when you come to their house. Persuade your friends to stop egging you on eating what you shouldn’t. This is not an easy task. People get used to your behavior, and changes in your life will make them uncomfortable.

5. Drink less alcohol

Alcohol is not only a particular macronutrient that metabolizes differently(2) in your body. It also affects your weight(3) as it contains a lot of calories (seven calories per one gram of pure ethanol) and can influence your food choices. If you want to lose weight faster, you should refrain from alcohol for some time. 

6. Eat with others

If you tend to overeat when you’re by yourself, having meals with your friends or family may help you control your portions. Family dinners may also help you create tighter bonds with your kids or significant others. 

7. Opt for home cooking instead of eating out

Posh restaurants often use tons of butter, sugar, and salt to make their dishes taste better. Fast-food chains frequently make high-calorie foods that you’d better avoid when you’re on your weight loss journey. When you cook at home, you know exactly what you put in your meals and can make them less or more calorie-dense.

Cook at home to know exactly what you're eating
Cook at home to know exactly what you're eating

8. Find new recipes

Some people simply don’t know what they should be eating to stay in good health and proper weight. If you’re eating the same meals year after year and continue to gain weight, maybe it’s time to revise your recipe book. Search for new tastes and make your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners more varied.

9. Replace high-calorie products with low-calorie analogs

You can still cook your favorite foods and lose weight. To do so, you should make some minor amendments to recipes. For example, opt for:

  • Low-calorie artificial sweeteners instead of sugar
  • Chicken instead of pork
  • Coconut flour instead of the all-purpose flour
  • Egg whites instead of whole eggs
  • Skim milk instead of whole milk
  • Powdered peanut butter instead of its original version
  • Canned tuna in water instead of canned goods in oil

10. Read labels

Oftentimes, food manufacturers put “calories per serving” on the front of their products, and finding their “serving size” becomes a true quest. 

If you’re buying processed foods, marked as “fitness,” “healthy,” “low-calorie,” etc., be careful, as these are just marketing words. These products still can contain lots of calories.

11. Sleep more

Good sleep is highly underrated for weight management. When you don’t sleep enough, you tend to crave food more and overeat(4). 

Don't underestimate the importance of good sleep
Don't underestimate the importance of good sleep

12. Be careful around high-palatable foods

Some of us might find it easier to refrain from favorite high-calorie snacks entirely. Others will prefer eating tasty calorie-dense foods in moderation. Choose what works for you, but in every case, pay attention to high-palatable products that make you overeat. As a rule, these are:

  • candies
  • cookies
  • ice cream 
  • pizza
  • donuts
  • crackers
  • chips
  • crisps
  • chocolate
  • cakes
  • sugary drinks
  • muffins, etc.

13. Eat less snacks

Constant snacking can make you consume more calories than you should without you even noticing it. Some health conditions might require frequent food consumption. However, for most people, eating three square meals a day is a healthy option.

14. Don’t get distracted while eating

Put your phone aside. Try to concentrate on food’s taste, texture, smell, and temperature. When you eat consciously, you tend to consume less food. Mindful(5) eating can become an excellent tool for weight management – give it a try!

15. Avoid liquid calories

All those smoothies, fruit juices, energy drinks, and sports protein shakes contain a massive amount of calories you don’t need. The problem with drinks is that they rarely fill you up and keep you satiated. There is no need to choose a high-calorie smoothie over a proper square meal. Liquid calories still count, and it’s very easy to overconsume them.

16. Drink more water

There is no scientific evidence that our body can mistakenly conceive thirst for hunger. However, we can start craving moist foods when we’re dehydrated. If you can’t stop thinking about a can of beer, a milkshake, or a pound of watermelon, start with a glass of water. Maybe, all you needed was water.

Drink more water to prevent dehydration
Drink more water to prevent dehydration

17. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Make non-starchy vegetables and fruits the basis of your meals. Fill half of your plate with:

  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Peppers
  • Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens
  • Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or pickles.

Experiment with your veggies. Try making a salad, bake them, fry them, add homemade dressings, etc. If you hate steamed vegetables, don’t force yourself! If you haven’t been eating many vegetables, start by gradually adding them to your meals.

18. Eat more protein

Protein satiates(6) you for longer, so fill a quarter to half of your plate with sources of lean protein. These are chicken breasts or drumsticks, grilled or baked fish, seafood, eggs and egg whites, cottage cheese, tofu, and lentils.

Make protein an essential part of your diet
Make protein an essential part of your diet

19. Buy a non-stick pan

Fried food tastes better. However, it often contains more calories. If you had a choice between eating steamed chicken and broccoli or making a stir-fry with less oil on a non-stick pan, what brand of the non-stick pan would you choose? Non-stick pan is very convenient if you want to minimize the amount of oil you use for frying.

20. Use kitchen scales

The most sustainable weight loss happens when you eat in a slight calorie deficit between 300 to 500 calories. You can easily create it without too many restrictions by being more careful around high-calorie foods. 

Thirty of forty grams of cheddar is 40 calories difference. Fifteen and twenty-five grams of nuts is 60 calories difference. Ten grams of uncounted calorie-dense food here, forgotten apple there, and that’s it! You’re at your weight-maintenance level and don’t lose fat any more.

Counting calories is highly efficient for weight loss. The best way to keep track of everything you eat is by using kitchen scales and writing your calories down. 

21. Take care of your skin

If you have a lot of weight to lose and want to do it without exercise, you should think of your skin. It might become loose when you drop pounds, and the older you are, the more difficult it will be for your skin to become dense again. 

There are no 100% efficient ways to keep your skin tight, but you can try by making massages and going to the sauna.

Take care of your skin: It's too important to neglect it
Take care of your skin: It's too important to neglect it

22. Move more

Even if you can’t or don’t want to exercise, you can burn calories by moving your body. Play with your pet a bit more actively. Walk to the supermarket instead of riding a car. Move around the house. Flex your muscles every half an hour if you’re working in front of a computer. 

Physical activity is not only about professional sports and gym membership. It’s also about doing home chores, playing with your kids, or taking a walk in a park.

Summing up

The absence of exercise in your daily routine won’t slow down your weight loss progress too much. Start your weight loss journey in 2022 and hit your weight goal faster by following our recommendations. 

Of course, what and how much you eat matters. But don’t forget about proper motivation and your emotional state as well. Ask for help when you need it, whether it’s your relatives or a professional weight-loss service you’re asking for support.

Sources:

  • Epel E. S., Lapidus R., McEwen B., et al. (2001, January). Stress May Add Bite to Appetite in Women: A Laboratory Study of Stress-Induced Cortisol and Eating Behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology. DOI: 10.1016/s0306-4530(00)00035-4
  • Cederbaum A. I. (2012, November). Alcohol Metabolism. Clinics in Liver Disease. DOI: 10.1016/j.cld.2012.08.002
  • Shelton N. J., Knott C. S. (2014, April). Association Between Alcohol Calorie Intake and Overweight and Obesity in English Adults. American Journal of Public Health. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301643
  • Beccuti G., Pannain S. (2011, July). Sleep and Obesity. Current Opinion on Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283479109
  • Nelson J. B. (2017, August). Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat. Diabetes Spectrum. DOI: 10.2337/ds17-0015
  • Paddon-Jones D., Westman E., Mattes R. D., et al. (2008, May). Protein, Weight Management, and Satiety. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558S