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How to Lose Weight Without Exercise – 12 Proven Methods

Whether you’re injured, time poor or can’t get about easily, you may be trying to drop a few pounds. If you are, there are a few things you need to know about how to lose weight without exercise.

Before you get started we want to say that dropping fat without exercise is absolutely possible.

So, if you’ve been trying to change your body for a while, but feel like you’re getting nowhere fast, don’t despair. All you need is a little determination and dedication and you can make the changes you want to see.

As exercise is off the cards, it all comes down to diet and nutrition.

There will be times you have to be strict with yourself, and moments when you feel like you want to give in to temptation. However, if you simply stick to these proven methods, the rewards will be incredible.

Check out how to lose weight without exercise and read up on these 12 proven methods.

12 ways to lose weight without exercise

1. Achieve a calorie deficit

This is the most essential part of how to lose weight without exercise. Without achieving this step, the rest on this list are completely redundant.

Science has shown us time and time again that to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit[1]. That basically means you need to burn through more calories than you consume through food.

Luckily, you can figure this out pretty easily. Simply use your height, weight and activity levels to calculate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and ensure you’re eating less calories than that final amount.

Read this article to calculate your TDEE

2. Eat a high protein diet

high protein foods how to lose weight without exercise

This isn’t just useful for building muscle. Research from the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that high protein diet can help to promote fat-free mass and maintain muscle[2].

That means you’ll have less fat on your frame, and your muscle will be preserved, which in turn promotes a higher metabolic rate.

Another study found that, not only does protein help to promote fat loss, it also increases satiety, or the feeling of fullness after you’ve eaten [3].

If you feel fuller for longer, you’re less likely to snack and should be more in control of your cravings. All of this adds up to weight loss.

3. Slow down a little

It takes a few minutes for your body to tell your brain that your full.

Therefore, several studies have linked slower chewing with heightened fullness and less food consumed [4].

To back this up, a huge 23 studies identified a correlation between faster eating and weight gain [5].

So by slowing your eating down a little, you’re putting yourself in a better position to control you portions and put your body in the calorie deficit that is such an important part of how to lose weight without exercise.

[Related Article: Fitness Motivation for Females: Our Top 10 Tips!]

4. Portion control

portion control how to lose weight without exercise

Scientists have discovered that, although you may not need to eat everything on the plate, a larger serving encourages people to eat more food and has been linked to obesity [6].

The way you can combat this is to take control of your portions. Serve yourself a smaller amount of food to ensure you’re not overeating at meal times.

[Related Article: 5 Best Fat Burners for Women

5. Track your diet

After our last point you may be thinking, but how do I know what the right portion size is for me?

Luckily there are a number of food tracking apps like MyFitnessPal available. These can help you to monitor and track your calorie intake and even your protein, carbohydrate and fat intakes too.

Because of these properties, trackers help you support both the first and second point about achieving a calorie deficit and consuming high levels of protein, therefore reinforcing your efforts in those areas.

What’s more, studies have proven that these food diary apps are effective methods of weight loss [7]. 

Related Article: IIFYM  Diet for Beginners

6. Remove temptation

throwing away tempting foods how to lose weight without exercise

One big step towards success is removing temptation. A snack or treat can be the Achilles heel of an otherwise amazing weight loss effort.

The best way to avoid tripping up is to remove the risk of temptation by getting rid of any foods you know are your weaknesses. Whether that’s chips or chocolate, give them away to friends or bring them in to work for your colleagues to snack on so they’re out of sight and out of mind.

Studies have proven that having high calorie treats in sight is linked to higher bodyweight, compared to those who have a bowl of fruit clearly visible [8].

7. Drink plenty of water

We all know water is key to maintaining a healthy body, but it can also help you lose weight too.

One study showed that those who drank 500ml of water 30 minutes before a meal consumed less calories as their hunger was reduced [9].  

8. Eat high fibre foods

high fibre foods

Fibre rich foods are a key part of how to lose weight without exercise.

When consumed, they increase satiety, helping you feel fuller for longer.

In trials, this has been tested and linked to increased fullness, reduced hunger and lower food intake overall [10].

One particular type of soluble fibre found in glucomannan is too complex for your body to breakdown, therefore keeping you fuller for far longer than other variations.

This has been linked to weight loss on several occasions [11].

Related Article: 3 HIIT Sprint Workouts for Women 

9. Cut out the sugary drinks

Sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices have been linked to weight loss and a number of associated diseases [12].

What’s more, it’s easy to drink a lot of these high calorie drinks, as the sugars are broken down quickly within your body and don’t impact fullness at all.

Instead, try to drink water or coffee as they are low calorie and far more nutritious for your body.

10. Get in plenty of sleep

woman sleeping to lose weight without exercise

In modern life, a good nights sleep can be a rare thing. However if you want to lose weight without exercising, then getting in your z’s could be a game changer.

Scientists say a lack of sleep can have an impact on hormones such as leptin and ghrelin, which regulate your appetite.

Any disruption to these hormones have been shown to increase cravings for unhealthy foods, which can lead to an increase in calorie intake and body mass index [13].

Lack of sleep has even been linked to elevated risk of obesity [14].

11. Sit down to eat

By this, we mean sitting down at the table and paying attention to the food you’re eating. Now, so many of us sit facing a screen when we have a meal, and science indicates this could lead to overeating.

An overall review of 24 studies found that those who were distracted ate, on average 10% more [15]. Overall, this equated to around 25% more calories compared to those who were present when they ate.

12. Avoid stress

woman meditating to avoid stress

This might be easier said than done, but if you can reduce your stress levels, you may be able to shift a little extra weight without exercise.

When you become stressed your body produce a hormone called cortisol at a higher rate. Cortisol can also increase your hunger and cravings, which can lead to high calorie intake [14] [16].


  1.    Davoodi SH, Ajami M, Ayatollahi SA, Dowlatshahi K, Javedan G, Pazoki-Toroudi HR. Calorie shifting diet versus calorie restriction diet: a comparative clinical trial study. Int J Prev Med. 2014;5(4):447-56.
  2.    Jäger, R., et al. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2017 14:20
  3.    Halton T, et al. The Effects of High Protein Diets on Thermogenesis, Satiety and Weight Loss: A Critical Review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004
  4.    Li J, e. (2011). Improvement in chewing activity reduces energy intake in one meal and modulates plasma gut hormone concentrations in obese and lean young Chinese men. – PubMed – NCBI. [online]
  5.    Ohkuma T, e. (2015). Association between eating rate and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. – PubMed – NCBI. [online]
  6.    M, Y. (2002). The contribution of expanding portion sizes to the US obesity epidemic. – PubMed – NCBI. [online]
  7.    Fiona Johnson, Jane Wardle. The association between weight loss and engagement with a web-based food and exercise diary in a commercial weight loss programme: a retrospective analysis. Nov 2010
  8.    Wansink B, e. (2016). Slim by Design: Kitchen Counter Correlates of Obesity. – PubMed – NCBI. [online]
  9.    Dennis EA, et al. Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. Feb 2010
  10.   JL, C. (2013). The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review. – PubMed – NCBI. [online]
  11.   Birketvedt GS, et al. Experiences with three different fiber supplements in weight reduction. Med Sci Monit. 2005 Jan
  12.   Imamura F. Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction.  BMJ. 2015 Jul
  13. Taheri S1, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med. 2004
  14. P, B. (2001). Do stress reactions cause abdominal obesity and comorbidities? – PubMed – NCBI. [online]
  15. Robinson E, Aveyard P, Daley A, Jolly K, Lewis A, Lycett D, Higgs S. Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013
  16. Epel E, e. (2001). Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior. – PubMed – NCBI. [online]


gymgirlfit was created by health and fitness enthusiasts, with backgrounds in powerlifting and writing. We've written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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