Making time for a daily run or gym session can be tough enough under normal circumstances. But in some seasons (especially around busy holidays and colder weather), it’s even more challenging. If you’re one of the millions of people resolving to be healthier, including shedding a few unwanted pounds, we have good news.
Contrary to what many a personal trainer would like you to believe, you don’t technically have to exercise to lose weight. Gaining strength is another story. But when it comes to shedding lbs, by establishing healthy habits and sticking to them, you may be able to reach your fitness goals without doing a single lap or pushup.
How to Lose Weight Without Exercise
Eat a Balanced Diet
Everyone knows weight loss isn’t easy. But the formula, for many people at least, isn’t rocket science either. At the most basic level, losing weight comes down to consuming fewer calories than you burn. Of course, factors such as hormone imbalances, genetics, inflammatory or digestive conditions, and certain medications, can also affect your ability to shed pounds. But for most of us, cutting calories is step the biggest factor.
Rather than going on an ultra-restrictive diet, it’s better to try to substitute calorically dense and nutritionally lacking foods with nutritionally-dense, lower-calorie options. This means more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and fewer processed products.
Don’t leave just yet. No reasonable person would tell you to give up your favorite foods for good. That isn’t right, nor is it realistic. But do try to choose mostly-healthy foods most of the time. You can have your cake and eat it too. Just eat your veggies first and enjoy not-so-healthy foods in moderation.
Try Natural Appetite Suppressants
There are countless products on the market touted as weight loss miracle potions. The truth is, there is no magic pill, and anything that claims to be one is more than likely expensive snake oil. However, there are some natural supplements, backed by real-life scientists, that may support a healthy appetite and metabolism.
One of these is fenugreek, an herb that’s a member of the legume family. Research indicates it may reduce appetite and, specifically, decrease fat intake. Part of fenugreek’s benefit comes from its high fiber content. The seeds, which are the most-often used part of the plant, are about 45% fiber.
Fiber takes longer to digest, thus helping you feel full for longer. It can also help to reduce cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. While most high-fiber foods can help you lose weight, research shows glucomannan is the best type for appetite suppression. You can get glucomannan from fenugreek or as a separate supplement.
Griffonia simplicifolia, a plant that’s best-known as a natural source of 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) may be worth a try as well. 5-HTP is a compound that’s converted to serotonin, or “happy chemicals” in the brain. In addition to helping us maintain a balanced mood, serotonin plays a role in appetite. You can also get 5-HTP in an isolated supplement or in certain other products designed for mood or appetite support.
Because of the way it influences the endocannabinoid system (ECS), CBD (cannabidiol) may help to support a healthy weight as well. The ECS is a biological network of neurotransmitters (cannabinoids), cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes responsible for maintaining balance in the brain and body. It influences a broad range of systems and functions, including appetite, metabolism, and digestion. By supporting a well-functioning ECS, CBD may also support you in your fitness goals.
Scientists are beginning to explore the potential uses of a lesser-known cannabinoid, CBDa, too. This cannabinoid, the precursor to CBD, does not interact with the ECS, but it does influence the enzymes COX-1 and COX-2 which spread inflammation throughout the body. The makers of Epidiolex, the first CBD product approved by the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration, are currently exploring CBDa for treatment of inflammatory skin diseases. Some researchers also believe, by supporting a balanced inflammatory response, CBDa may help people maintain a healthy weight, as certain inflammatory conditions, like Hashimoto’s disease, can lead to weight gain.
Get Enough Sleep
If you feel more snack-ish when sleepy, you’re not alone. Not getting enough sleep can cause a host of problems, including increased production of the hormones ghrelin and cortisol. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while cortisol increases stress. Researchers believe stress may increase the production of glucocorticoids, which may be part of why we tend to eat more when stressed or anxious.
There’s also the simple fact that calories provide energy. While coffee and supplements help with this, it’s still going to be harder to resist snacks (especially sugary ones) when you’re not getting enough shuteye. Aim to get between six and eight hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping, consider taking supplements, such as l-theanine or CBD and CBG, which may support healthy sleep cycles.