Can You Lose Weight Without Working Out?

Twelve tips to shed pounds without exercise.

We get it. Sometimes it’s tough to find the motivation to get moving. And while daily exercise will always be the best choice for getting fit and being healthy for a massive list of reasons, it IS possible to shed some pounds without changing your level of activity—even over the holidays! 

Don’t believe us? Read on. 

To lose weight, you need to use more calories than you take in. Usually, working out is what shifts the balance, helping you burn extra calories—even when you’re done with your sweat sesh since muscle and increased blood flow keeps your metabolism revved up. But if you’re not going to start a workout program, that means your eating habits need to change. If you reduce your intake by about 500 calories/day, you can drop one pound a week. 

Wondering how to do that without going for a run? We’ve got 12 tips to show you how. 

  1. The obvious one: Get the new MyHealth+ premium app and one of our smart scales! Your scale measures 17 different body metrics that give you a baseline for your body and a goal to shoot for. It also helps keep you accountable, keep you motivated, and includes a food scanner, allowing you to find out how many calories are in your food and a tracker to help you see what you’ve eaten and help you plan future meals. It also allows you to see how your actions and what you put into your body affect more than just your weight and can be part of a positive routine that sets you up for a healthy day.

  2. Practice mindfulness when you’re eating. Most people think of mindfulness as a meditation tool and something you use to calm down or enjoy the moment. However, you can also apply mindfulness to eating. Slow down, enjoy each bite, pay attention to what you’re eating, savor the tastes and textures, be thankful. Research shows that practicing mindful eating can help you make better food choices, help you realize when you’re full, and only eat when you’re hungry. Another hint: turn off the TV and put your phone down. They’ll distract you, and you’ll keep eating even when you’re full. 

  3. Focus on protein. Protein helps you feel fuller longer, takes longer to digest (meaning your body burns more calories), and if you load up on lean protein - think chicken breast and turkey, fish, Greek yogurt, beans, and tofu – research shows you’ll eat less throughout the day. “In a study published in Nutrition Metabolism, dieters who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their diet ate nearly 450 fewer calories a day and lost about 11 pounds over the 12-week study without employing any other dietary measures,” as reported in Women’s Health. (And eggs are perfect for this. When eaten for breakfast, they’ll help you feel fuller longer and consume less later in the day.) 

  4. Up your water intake, particularly before a meal, when it can help you eat less. Not a fan? Throw in some lemon and lime slices (some research shows that adding lemon to your water can also help ward off fat accumulation thanks to polyphenols and reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that can trigger hunger), or cucumber, frozen berries, or fresh herbs like mint or basil. 

  5. Ditch the juice and other sugary drinks - including sugary energy drinks! (And if you think you can drink diet pop, think again! Some research shows that it can make you consume more calories throughout the day and crave sweets.) While you’re at it, try to drink your coffee black; it’s an easy switch that can save you 140 calories and 7 grams of fat if you drink a double-double. At your office holiday party? Avoid the cocktails and sugary punch, and opt for clear spirits (gin or vodka) and drink plenty of water in between.
  6. Get enough sleep. The holidays often mean late nights and added stress. But there’s lots of research showing that a lack of sleep leads to weight gain, triggering hunger hormones and mindless eating. So aim for at least seven hours a night to feel your best.

  7. Cut back on carbs and increase fiber intake. Refined carbohydrates are not your friend when it comes to weight loss. White flour, white rice, and regular pasta spike blood sugar levels and make you want to eat more. You should also clear your cupboards of packaged cookies, granola bars, grocery store muffins, etc., which are loaded with sugar, refined carbohydrates, corn syrup, and usually a bunch of unnatural ingredients. Instead, replace the carbs with fiber-rich fruits and veggies or complex carbs like brown rice, whole grains, oatmeal, and whole wheat pasta. (Or swap noodles for zucchini noodles!) 

  8. Read the label on those protein bars. Not all meal replacement bars are created equal. Some bars can be over 350 calories with more than 10 grams of sugar. They might also contain artificial sweeteners and other fillers. Look for clean eating bars with the fewest ingredients, high in fiber and protein, low in added sugar, and no high fructose corn syrup.

  9. Portion control. Yep, if you’re going to lose weight without exercising, the amount you eat matters. A trick to help: Use smaller plates. Are you navigating Christmas dinner and holiday parties? Avoid the appetizers (or at least the creamy dips, greasy chips, and nutritionally-void crackers), and pile your dinner plate with veggies and lean turkey.

  10. Eat healthy snacks. As long as you’re eating things like fruits and veggies, nuts, and string cheese, having a mid-afternoon snack can keep you from overeating at dinner. And try not to snack in the morning, as a study shows that snacking in the afternoon contributed to more significant weight loss than mid-morning snacking.  

  11.  Prep, prepare, and plan: Ditch the unhealthy snacking food, move healthy foods to easy-to-grab spots, plan your meals, don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry, prep veggies, so they’re quick and easy to grab when you’re in a rush or feeling famished, and stock your freezer with healthy foods like bags of frozen fruit (for things like smoothies or throwing on top of yogurt or oatmeal), and freeze leftovers in portion-controlled sizes. Going to an event? Eat something healthy before heading out, so you don’t arrive feeling famished and eat everything in sight. 

  12. Eat at home (or take home-cooked meals to go). Forget about takeout, and if you eat at a restaurant, ask them to split your order in half and take half of your meal to go; swap the side of fries for a garden salad, hold the gravy and the mayo, and avoid the breadbasket. Better yet—take your lunch to work. 

It takes some thought and dedication and being strict on your cut-backs, but it is possible to cut calories and lose weight without working out.