How to lose weight fast without exercise
Even though exercising regularly is definitely recommended when trying to lose weight, it is still possible to lose weight fast without exercise.
When simplified to its most basic form, weight management can be summarised by a short equation: calories in – calories out.
The first number represents the energy that you introduce into your body via the food that you eat; the more food you eat, the higher your caloric intake will be. The second number represents the energy that your body burns naturally throughout the day, and when you exercise.
If the result of this equation is a negative number, it means that you are consuming less energy than you are using up. As a result, your body is forced to make use of its fat stores as a source of energy. You therefore end up losing weight.
So the solution to losing weight quickly without having to exercise is fairly straightforward: consume fewer calories than you burn and continue to do so until you have reached your target weight.
The tricky part is determining the number of calories that you should be consuming. Calorie requirements vary greatly because they are influenced by one’s weight, height, age, gender and activity levels. As an example, a short 60 year old lady will most likely need to consume far fewer calories than a tall 25 year old man.
Luckily, a large amount of research has been carried out in this field and various scientific equations have been formulated that aim to approximate the number of calories one should consume, based on their overall goals. One of these is the Mifflin-St Jeor formula, which is thought to be one of the most accurate to date.
We have incorporated this formula into the handy tool below; simply enter your details to get an approximation of your calorie requirements.
This calculator will never show a number below 1000 calories per day. Please speak to a qualified health professional before attempting to eat less than that.
For example, a 30 year old lady who weighs 220 lb (100 kg), is 5 feet 8 inches tall and does little to no exercise should aim to consume roughly 1700 calories to lose weight at a normal pace and 1300 calories to lose weight at a faster pace.
(As a side note, it is recommended that you do not consume fewer than 1000 – 1200 calories per day over a long period of time without medical supervision. This is because consuming too few calories can actually slow down your metabolism (and therefore make losing weight more difficult), as well as lead to nutrient deficiencies and various health problems.)
Once you know your calorie requirements, the next step is to find out how many calories you’re currently consuming on an average day. This way, you can determine how large a change you need to make to your diet.
Most people don’t know how many calories they consume per day. This is because it is very difficult to accurately estimate the number of calories in certain foods off the top of your head. There are however plenty of apps and websites that can do this very well.
Two examples are the smartphone app myfitnesspal and the website nutritiondata.self.com. For example, using the latter we can tell that a medium sized (3 inch) apple has 95 calories and a cup of cooked spaghetti has 220 calories.
Most store bought foods also have nutritional labels on their packaging which provides you with information on calorie, protein, carbohydrate and fat content.
To calculate your average caloric intake, write down everything that you would eat on a typical day. This includes any condiments, snacks and other small foods. Then, refer to one of the resources mentioned above to find out their nutritional information.
For example, consider the sample meal plan below.
Snack – 1 cereal bar – 139 calories
Total: 3191 calories
We often tend to underestimate the number of calories we are consuming. For example, were you aware that half of a 14 inch pizza has 1200 calories? This is a tremendous amount and is only 100 short of the number of calories the lady in the example above should aim to eat if she wants to lose weight fast!
After you have calculated an estimate for your average daily caloric intake, you can start making changes to your diet to lower this down so that it gets as close as possible to the number you obtained from the tool above. Here are some tips to help you do this.
Minimise your intake of junk & processed foods as much as possible
Foods that have been highly processed should be eaten sparingly because they are often one of the biggest contributors to weight gain. The reason for this is due to the fact that they tend to be high in calories but are not very filling and provide almost no nutritional value.
Most processed foods have a lot of their dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals stripped away, to be replaced with large amounts of sugar and unhealthy fat. Take a chocolate cupcake (50 g) for example; it provides you with 199 calories, 19 g of sugar, 1.6 g of fiber and 1.8 g of protein.
Whilst 199 calories is not an alarming amount, 19 g of sugar is, especially when trying to lose weight. This is because foods that contain large amounts of processed sugar but only small amounts of protein and fiber are digested rapidly by the body. Eating them causes your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike and then come crashing down equally as fast. As a result, you are left feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
Because of this, you want to eat things like pastries, cakes, doughnuts, potato chips, deep fried foods and candy only occasionally, or eliminate them entirely if you have the willpower to do so. Instead eat more of the foods mentioned in the sections below.
Eat lots of vegetables
If there is one group of foods that is extremely weight loss friendly, its vegetables. This is because not only are they low in calories, they also contain significant amounts of fiber and nutrients. Some of these nutrients have a direct effect on your metabolism.
For example, a cup of chopped carrots has 53 calories and 3.6 g of fiber but also provides you with all of your daily requirement of vitamin A, together with significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and manganese.
Due to their low energy value, you can eat plenty of vegetables and not have to worry about going overboard on calories. Additionally, their high fiber content works favourably because it absorbs water and forms a thick gel that passes slowly through your digestive system, helping you to feel satisfied for longer.
As a general rule of thumb, you should aim for every plate of food that you eat to have at least a third of it consist of vegetables. This is not too difficult to achieve; the great thing about veggies are they are super versatile so can be cooked in various ways and incorporated into dozens of delicious recipes. There is also no shortage of vegetables (as you can see here), so you never have to get bored of eating the same old thing.
Eat a little bit of fruit
Just like vegetables, the majority of fruits are low in calories and packed full of nutrients. As an added benefit, they contain naturally occurring sugars, which gives them their sweet taste. This comes in handy, especially if you have a sweet tooth.
Excellent low calorie fruits to include in your diet when trying to lose weight include melons, berries, peaches, papayas, oranges, pineapples, cherries and apples. You can enjoy fruit on its own or eat it together with foods such as yogurt, as well as use it to prepare healthy desserts such as fruit orbet.
That being said, because fruits have much more sugar than vegetables do, you should limit your intake to 2 or 3 servings per day.
Eat enough high quality protein
Protein consumption has been shown to help satisfy one’s appetite whilst also boosting metabolism. This means it assists on both ends of the calories in – calories out equation, making it highly beneficial for weight loss.
This study found that an increase in protein consumption from 15% to 30% of total calories lead to 400+ fewer calories being consumed. Another study found that obese men who followed a diet high in protein had less obsessive thoughts about food.
Try to include a source of high quality protein with each of your meals. For example, your breakfast protein source could be eggs, quinoa for lunch and fish for dinner. Other excellent protein rich foods include beans, lentils, unprocessed meats, nuts, seeds and dairy.
A lot of studies seem to suggest a protein intake of 25 – 30% of total calories is the sweet spot for weight management. Protein has 4 calories per gram, so on 1500 calorie diet this would mean you should aim for roughly 95 – 115 g per day.
Don’t be scared of fat rich foods
It is true that when compared weight for weight, fat has more than twice the number of calories (9 calories per gram) that carbs and protein do. Because of this, a lot of people tend to avoid fat rich foods when trying to lose weight.
However the truth is that certain fat rich foods can actually be beneficial for weight loss. This is because besides fat, they are also high in protein and / or fiber. Examples include fatty fish, avocados, nuts, seeds and olives. All of these foods are highly satiating and keep you filling satisfied for a long period of time; they are the fat rich foods that you want to eat.
The fat rich foods that you want to avoid are those that have been highly processed, which once again means minimising your consumption of junk foods.
Also, you should try to cook food in coconut oil instead of other types of oil. Not only is it very resistant to heat, studies have also shown that it can boost energy expenditure, thereby helping you to burn more body fat.
Eat complex carbs
Plenty of studies have found that low carbohydrate diets have a positive impact on weight loss, so this may be an approach that you want to try out yourself. It is important to keep in mind however that low carbohydrate does not mean no carbohydrate.
Carbs will still be a part of your diet, but once again you should aim to eat carbohydrate rich foods that have undergone as little processing as possible. These foods are the ones that are as close to their natural state, including vegetables, fruits, unrefined grains and legumes.
When you eat these foods, they provide a slow and steady release of energy. This is unlike junk carbohydrate rich foods that are mainly made up of processed sugar, which provide large bursts of energy very quickly.
Carbohydrate requirements will vary from person to person, depending on metabolism, activity levels and age. As a guideline, aim to consume 50 – 150 g of carbs per day, adjusting your intake depending on how your energy levels and mood are affected.
Drink plenty of water and eliminate sugary beverages
Water is your ideal choice of beverage when it comes to losing weight. The primary reason for this is that it has 0 calories, meaning you can drink lots of it. Studies have indeed shown that water consumption may assist with weight loss.
If you are someone who drinks lots of sugary beverages, the first thing that you want to do is swap these for water. This will have a significant effect on reducing your overall calorie consumption. For example, an average can of cola has around 140 calories; have one or more of these each day and over time, the numbers add up.
When you drink sugary beverages, the calories that they contain aren’t registered by the brain as efficiently as those from solid food. This can be clearly seen by comparing how hungry you feel after drinking a can of cola and after eating 2 large boiled eggs. The eggs will leave you feeling far more satisfied and cause you to eat less later on than the cola will.
The high fructose content in these sugary beverages can also burden the liver, resulting in fat storage. This does unfortunately mean that besides sodas, the consumption of most types of fruit juice should also be limited (it is better to eat solid fruit instead).
Whenever possible, aim for your choice of beverage to be water. If you find its taste boring, infuse it with lemon or some fruit. You can also have unsweetened carbonated water, teas and coffee from time to time.
With the tips mentioned above in hand, take a look at the following meal plan.
Snack: a handful of almonds – 162 calories
Total calories: 1384 calories
When compared to each other, this meal plan has less than half the number of calories that the meal plan above has! In a similar way, do this for your own daily meal plans; swap high calorie processed foods with those that are wholesome and nutritious, yet lower in calories.
Once you start to consume fewer calories than you burn, you will begin to lose weight. The larger of a net deficit you create, the more weight you will lose (again be cautious about consuming too few calories).
As time goes by, your weight loss progress may begin to slow down, which means you might have to adjust your caloric intake once gain.