10 Ways to Lose Weight Without Dieting
Sure, you can lose weight quickly. There are plenty of fad diets that work to shed pounds rapidly — while leaving you feeling hungry and deprived. But what good is losing weight only to regain it? To keep pounds off permanently, it’s best to lose weight slowly. And many experts say you can do that without going on a “diet.” Instead, the key is making simple tweaks to your lifestyle.
One pound of fat — is equal to 3,500 calories. By shaving 500 calories a day through dietary and exercise modifications, you can lose about a pound a week. If you only need to maintain your current weight, shaving 100 calories a day is enough to avoid the extra 1-2 pounds most adults gain each year.
Adopt one or more of these simple, painless strategies to help lose weight without going on a “diet”:
- Eat Breakfast Every Day
One habit that’s common to many people who have lost weight and kept it off is eating breakfast every day. “Many people think skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories, but they usually end up eating more throughout the day, says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to the New Food Pyramids. “Studies show people who eat breakfast have lower BMIs than breakfast-skippers and perform better, whether at school or in the boardroom.” Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and low-fat dairy for a quick and nutritious start to your day.
- Close the Kitchen at Night
Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won’t give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television. “Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else,” suggests Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD’s “Recipe Doctor” and the author of Comfort Food Makeovers.
- Choose Liquid Calories Wisely
Sweetened drinks pile on the calories, but don’t reduce hunger like solid foods do. Satisfy your thirst with water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small portions of 100% fruit juice. Try a glass of nutritious and low-calorie vegetable juice to hold you over if you get hungry between meals. Be careful of alcohol calories, which add up quickly. If you tend to drink a glass or two of wine or a cocktail on most days, limiting alcohol to the weekends can be a huge calorie saver.
- Eat More Produce
Eating lots of low-calorie, high-volume fruits and vegetables crowds out other foods that are higher in fat and calories. Move the meat off the center of your plate and pile on the vegetables. Or try starting lunch or dinner with a vegetable salad or bowl of broth-based soup, suggests Barbara Rolls, PhD, author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. The U.S. government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that adults get 7-13 cups of produce daily. Ward says that’s not really so difficult: “Stock your kitchen with plenty of fruits and vegetables and at every meal and snack, include a few servings,” she says. “Your diet will be enriched with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and if you fill up on super-nutritious produce, you won’t be reaching for the cookie jar.”
- Go for the Grain
By substituting whole grains for refined grains like white bread, cakes, cookies, and pretzels, you add much-needed fiber and will fill up faster so you’re more likely to eat a reasonable portion. Choose whole-wheat breads and pastas, brown rice, bran flakes, popcorn, and whole-rye crackers.
- Control Your Environments
Another simple strategy to help cut calories is to control your environment — everything from stocking your kitchen with lots of healthy options to choosing the right restaurants. That means avoiding the temptation by staying away from all-you-can-eat restaurants. And when it comes to parties, “eat a healthy snack before so you won’t be starving, and be selective when you fill your plate at the buffet,” suggests Ward. Before going back for more food, wait at least 15 minutes and have a big glass of water.
- Trim Portions
If you did nothing else but reduce your portions by 10%-20%, you would lose weight. Most of the portions served both in restaurants and at home are bigger than you need. Pull out the measuring cups to get a handle on your usual portion sizes, and work on paring them down. Get instant portion control by using small bowls, plates, and cups, says Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindless Eating. You won’t feel deprived because the food will look plentiful on dainty dishware.
- Add More Steps
Get yourself a pedometer and gradually add more steps until you reach 10,000 per day. Throughout the day, do whatever you can to be more active — pace while you talk on the phone, take the dog out for an extra walk, and march in place during television commercials. Having a pedometer serves as a constant motivator and reminder.
- Have Protein at Every Meal and Snack
Adding a source of lean or low-fat protein to each meal and snack will help keep you feeling full longer so you’re less likely to overeat. Try low-fat yogurt, small portion of nuts, peanut butter, eggs, beans, or lean meats. Experts also recommend eating small, frequent meals and snacks (every 3-4 hours), to keep your blood sugar levels steady and to avoid overindulging.
- Switch to Lighter Alternatives
Whenever you can, use the low-fat versions of salad dressings, mayonnaise, dairy products, and other products. “You can trim calories effortlessly if you use low-fat and lighter products, and if the product is mixed in with other ingredients, no one will ever notice,” says Magee. More smart substitutions: Use salsa or hummus as a dip; spread sandwiches with mustard instead of mayo; eat plain roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes; use skim milk instead of cream in your coffee; hold the cheese on sandwiches; and use a little vinaigrette on your salad instead of piling on the creamy dressing.
The best time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner if you want to lose weight
Have you ever wondered when is the best time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner if you want to lose weight? We reveal all…
All this time we’ve been so worried about exactly what we eat, carefully counting calories and weighing out portion sizes, reading up on different diets and downing as much fruit and veg as we can, that we forget to worry about what is actually the best time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner to lose weight.
Because, according to research, how we choose the time to eat meals could have a huge impact on your weight loss if you’re a dieter.
Researchers have managed to pinpoint the best time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner if you’re slimming. They found that the best time to have your breakfast is just after 7am, 7.11am to be precise. It’s better to get stuck into your lunch sooner rather than later between 12.30pm and 1pm, with 12.38pm the best time. And when it comes to dinner, the later you leave it the worse it can be for your diet – the optimum time for dinner is between 6pm and 6.30pm, 6.14pm preferably.
What’s the harm of ignoring these guidelines governing the best time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, you might ask? But a recent study has shown that regularly sitting down to dinner after 8pm can add an extra two inches to your waist – that’s the equivalent of two dress sizes for a woman.
The researchers suggest that the difference could be because we have evolved to use up energy during the day, so our mechanisms slow down as we get ready for sleep, reducing the rate at which we process food
What about snacking?
Experts have also managed to pinpoint ‘snack o’ clock’ – the time to eat when dieters are mostly likely to meet their downfall, with some consuming up to 750 additional calories at these points. 11.01am, 3.14pm and 9.31pm are the times when your willpower is most likely to fail you, so find activities to occupy your mind during these periods, or plan healthy snacks to keep you full into your schedule so you’re not tempted by less nutritious options.
Lee Smith, managing director of Forza Supplements, who conducted the research, said: ‘We are all becoming much more knowledgeable about nutrition and how to eat more healthily at traditional meal-times.
‘It is at other vulnerable moments during the day – these snack o’clocks – when all the damage is done in diets.’
He also recommends avoiding coffee shops, as these are ‘like sweet shops to a child – offering all sorts of seemingly innocuous pleasures like lattes which are the enemies of good diets’ and opting out of the work tea round to avoid giving in to calorific accompaniments like biscuits.
What’s the most important rule when it comes to losing weight?
Earlier research by Forza Supplements asked 1,000 dieters when what their best time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner for maximum weight loss was. A massive 76% said that breakfast was the most important meal of the day, with an even bigger 84% of slimmers stating that sticking to set mealtimes is vital when it comes to shifting those pounds. 72% said not to exceed the calories they had at lunchtime at dinner, to keep the intake even throughout the day, and two thirds of those surveyed recommended eating dinner before 7pm, saying that eating your evening meal earlier maximises weight loss as people are less active in the evenings. (That sounds familiar, we’re not sure how many calories it’s possible to burn sitting on the sofa!)
Skipping meals – what’s the harm?
It’s also worth noting that six out of ten respondents in the Forza research said that weight loss would be even more difficult if meals were missed. An alarming number of people fall into the diet trap of thinking that more meals missed will mean more pounds lost, but this is a huge weight-loss myth.
If your body isn’t getting food then it isn’t getting nourishment, so it stores fat as your metabolism slows down to reserve energy. You could initially lose weight, but you will just end up eating more later on and putting all the weight back on. Three meals a day with healthy snacks in-between is still the optimum way to lose the pounds and keep them off too.
What should a day’s diet look like?
NHS recommends that for women wanting to lose weight, you should stick to an allowance of 1,400 calories a day. When considering the best time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s important to start the day off with a good breakfast (just after 7am), so try hitting 400 calories if you can.
At lunchtime (between 12.30pm and 1pm) we’d recommend sticking to no more than 400 calories here too. You’ll need a boost halfway through the day to get you through to dinner and it’s important to give your body the nutrients and protein it needs. Opt for complex instead of refined carbohydrates such as those found in white pasta, rice and bread, so you stay fuller for longer and don’t experience an energy drop a couple of hours after lunch
Dinner (between 6pm and 6.30pm) can be fewer calories, so aim for around 300. You don’t want to feel too full before bed so go sparingly on the carbohydrates and fill up on protein (especially that found in chicken which aids sleep) and vegetables.
If you stick to 400 calories for breakfast, 400 for lunch and 300 for dinner then you’ll be able to treat yourself to two 100 calorie snacks throughout the day and still leave an extra 100 for any milk in tea and coffee throughout the day, and fruit too (there are 52 calories in a small apple, 53 in a pear, 59 in an orange and 89 in a banana).
You can pick two of any of these snacks under 100 calories, from jaffa cakes and a glass of wine, to yogurt and pretzels!
What do the experts say about the best time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Forza Supplements’ Lee Smith said ‘The results show that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day for successful dieters. Skipping it just makes you hungrier and more likely to over-indulge in later meals – causing a surge in blood sugar.’
And it seems that eating at regular times doesn’t just have a positive effect on weight loss. Nutritional Therapist for Bio-Kult probiotic Natalie Lamb also suggests that eating at regular times of the day can also help with effective digestion and removal of waste, all important for the good health of your gut. She suggests that cutting down on our intake of sugary food can ward off unwanted bacteria and yeast, and that it’s ‘best to eat at regular times each day of the body naturally knows when to expect food and to produce the correct digestive enzymes.’
Sleep More, Weigh Less
It’s true: Being short on sleep can really affect your weight. While you weren’t sleeping, your body cooked up a perfect recipe for weight gain.
When you’re short on sleep, it’s easy to lean on a large latte to get moving. You might be tempted to skip exercise (too tired), get takeout for dinner, and then turn in late because you’re uncomfortably full.
If this cascade of events happens a few times each year, no problem. Trouble is, more than a third of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Yet experts agree that getting enough shut-eyes is as important to health, well-being, and your weight as are diet and exercise.
Your Sleepy Brain
Skimping on sleep sets your brain up to make bad decisions. It dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the locus of decision-making and impulse control.
So it’s a little like being drunk. You don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions.
Plus, when you’re overtired, your brain‘s reward centers rev up, looking for something that feels good. So while you might be able to squash comfort food cravings when you’re well-rested, your sleep-deprived brain may have trouble saying no to a second slice of cake.
Research tells the story. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutritionfound that when people were starved of sleep, late-night snacking increased, and they were more likely to choose high-carb snacks. In another study done at the University of Chicago, sleep-deprived participants chose snacks with twice as much fat as those who slept at least 8 hours.
A second study found that sleeping too little prompts people to eat bigger portions of all foods, increasing weight gain. And in a review of 18 studies, researchers found that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.
Add it all together, and a sleepy brain appears to crave junk food while also lacking the impulse control to say no.
Sleep and Metabolism
Sleep is like nutrition for the brain. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours each night. Get less than that, and your body will react in ways that lead even the most determined dieter straight to Ben & Jerry’s.
Too little sleep triggers a cortisol spike. This stress hormone signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours.
Researchers found that when dieters cut back on sleep over a 14-day period, the amount of weight they lost from fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories stayed equal. They felt hungrier and less satisfied after meals, and their energy was zapped.
Sleep deprivation makes you “metabolically groggy,” University of Chicago researchers say. Within just 4 days of insufficient ZZZs, your body’s ability to process insulin — a hormone needed to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy — goes awry. Insulin sensitivity, the researchers found, dropped by more than 30%.
Here’s why that’s bad: When your body doesn’t respond properly to insulin, your body has trouble processing fats from your bloodstream, so it ends up storing them as fat.
So it’s not so much that if you sleep, you’ll lose weight, but that too little sleep hampers your metabolism and contributes to weight gain.
Tricks and Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep
In today’s world, snoozing can be difficult, particularly when all your screens (computers, TVs, cell phones, tablets) lure you into staying up just a little longer.
The basics are pretty simple:
- Shut down your computer, cell phone, and TV at least an hour before you hit the sack.
- Save your bedroom for sleep and sex. Think relaxation and release, rather than work or entertainment.
- Create a bedtime ritual. It’s not the time to tackle big issues. Instead, take a warm bath, meditate, or read.
- Stick to a schedule, waking up and retiring at the same times every day, even on weekends.
- Watch what and when you eat. Avoid eating heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime, which may cause heartburn and make it hard to fall asleep. And steer clear of soda, tea, coffee, and chocolate after 2 p.m. Caffeine can stay in your system for 5 to 6 hours.
- Turn out the lights. Darkness cues your body to release the natural sleep hormone melatonin, while light suppresses it.
How Sports Can Help You Lose Weight in a Healthy Way
There’s no denying it: losing weight is almost never an easy task to accomplish.
Slow progress leads many to feel frustrated, going to the gym often feels like a chore and making smart choices about nutrition can sometimes leave you feeling deprived.
There are some ways to get around these obstacles, though. In particular, there’s a pretty simple fix that can help you find more enjoyment in exercise.
According to Olympian Katie Uhlaender, an American skeleton racer, the best way to make exercise seem less dreadful and more exciting is to simply engage in sports or activities that you actually enjoy.
“Make it about being active and having fun. Choosing sports over working out is awesome,” she said. “It’s a way to stay active and have fun while creating a lifestyle that keeps you alive, engaged and healthy. Open your mind to different possibilities — skiing, kiting, swimming in the ocean, triathlons, surfing, etc. There are so many ways to get out and be active and learn new things in life.”
It’s a pretty simple concept, but still, many of us don’t embrace the idea. Instead we routinely head to the gym to log our time on the treadmill or in the weight room just because we’re told it’s what we’re “supposed to.” But really, what’s the point if you’re not enjoying yourself?
Of course you’re going to dread going to the gym if you never have fun while you’re there.
Using Sports as a Healthy Way to Lose Weight
So, you’re interested in the idea of embracing a new sport or activity in place of your typical workout routine. Where do you start?
“The best way is to approach it as a choice to change behavior, to create a happier and healthier lifestyle,” Uhlaender said. “Do not attempt to crash diet, or have a stopping point, create a new approach to behavior toward stress, toward yourself, and take the power back in life by actively creating new things to do in your life and new choices.”
Ultimately, Uhlaender says it’s about creating an active lifestyle and making actively smart choices, both in terms of your activity levels and your nutrition choices.
“It’s about making smart choices and not treating food as a regime,” she added. “Make the choice to feel better.”
Oh, and aside from taking your workout routine from boring to a blast, participating in sports and activities that you truly enjoy has one more pretty incredible benefit: a better body image.
Uhlaender agreed: by taking the emphasis away from the number on the scale and placing more weight on being proud of what your body can do and working to improve performance, the tedium and frustration so many experience as part of losing weight essentially vanishes.
“It takes the focus away from what society thinks and allows [you] to focus on community, seeking adventure and a lifestyle of new and exciting things to do,” she said.