A well-thought-out diet and exercise allow to lose and maintain weight effectively, but only if they become a part of life. Short-term strict food restrictions and “raids” to fitness clubs threaten breakdowns and rapid return of the lost kilograms.
If you are not yet ready for global changes, try to make some simple habits that will help you spend a little more calories and consume a little less. We have selected the top 10 tips on how to start losing weight without diets and exhausting exercises in the gym.
Yes, you’re unlikely to lose 10 pounds by the beach season. But you can lose weight smoothly without slowing down your metabolism and eating disorders, and keep a healthy weight for the rest of your life.
Top 10 habits to lose weight without dieting
1. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly
Many people literally swallow their lunch in 5 to 10 minutes, staring at a phone or computer screen, and then switch to more important things. At the same time, there are at least two important reasons for stretching out a meal.
In one study, it was found that by eating a 600-kcal lunch in 24 minutes, people felt significantly more nourished than those who emptied their plate in 6 minutes. Moreover, three hours after a meal, slow eaters consume 25 percent fewer calories in the form of snacks.
Slow and careful chewing of lunch can not only reduce daily caloric intake, but also increase energy expenditure.
In a recent study, Japanese scientists found that if you chew your food for 30 seconds, then after a meal, food thermogenesis increases by 1.8-4 kcal for about 90 minutes. One of the authors of the experiment noted that if you take into account every meal over a year, the cumulative effect can be significant.
2. Add a salad to your meal and eat it first
One study tested how salad consumption affects the amount of food eaten afterward.
The participants were divided into several groups and were given 150 or 300 g of salad with different calories (33 kcal, 67 kcal and 133 kcal per 100 g). They were then offered as much pasta as they wanted and the total energy value of the meal was calculated.
It turned out that the lightest salad of 150 grams helps to reduce the caloric value of the dinner by 7%, while the portion of 300 grams – by 12%.
In order not to accidentally eat more than necessary, choose dishes made of fresh vegetables and greens, without dressing in the form of mayonnaise, cheese or other fatty products.
Try salads made from cucumbers and cabbage, spinach, celery root, broccoli, bell peppers, and other low-fat plant-based ingredients.
3. Drink a glass of water before meals
There is evidence that a glass of water just before a meal helps you eat less without any portion control.
This method works best when combined with dieting, though. In one study, drinking 500 ml of water 30 minutes before lunch helped obese people lose 2.4 pounds in 12 weeks, twice as much as the control group.
In another experiment, older people on the diet lost an additional 2 kg of weight through this technique.
One systematic review concluded that drinking before meals helps people 55 and older lose weight, but does not work in younger people. Another review noted that it makes sense to consume more fluids while dieting or during weight maintenance.
Try drinking a glass or two of water 30 minutes before a meal to see what effect it has on your appetite and portion size. Perhaps this method will help you eat less.
4. Switch to a lower-calorie food
Often people adjust their main menu to less fatty meats or completely eliminate sweets, but do not pay attention to sauces and salad dressings.
At the same time, these little things can greatly affect the overall calorie intake. For example, in the already mentioned experiment with salads and pasta, the energy value of the servings increased by 100 kcal just from the dressing and added cheese.
Paying attention to small daily habits in your diet, you can remove 200-300 kcal from your diet, which over time will translate into significant weight loss. Such things can include a couple of spoonfuls of sauce, an extra piece of bread, cream and sugar in your coffee. Agree that we sometimes envision global changes in our diet, but we completely forget to count calories when adding certain things to make our food taste more intense.
So if you can easily give up calorie additions, do it.
5. Don't put strict limits on your favorite food
The main disadvantage of all diets and restrictions is that people cannot stick to their chosen routine for a long time. So, no matter how good it seems to be to completely avoid sweets, flour, or fast food, think first about whether you can make it through without your favorite foods.
For example, in one experiment, a strict ban on bread increased the number of dieting failures by up to 23 percent. At the same time, in the group without such restrictions, only 6% of the dieters broke the diet, and the results were the same for everyone.
Strict bans can cause eating disorders and mood problems, as well as force overeating during constant breakdowns and gaining extra pounds.
To stay healthy, don’t go to extremes and don’t demonize certain food groups. You can cut back on caloric foods, but if you really like fatty meats, chocolate, ice cream or baked goods, don’t give them up altogether. Allow yourself the occasional favorite foods in moderation.
6. Give up liquid calories
Liquid calories are sweet drinks: lemonades and energy drinks, tea and coffee with sugar, as well as fruit juices and milkshakes. Unlike solid foods, these foods are almost never satiating, but they are high in carbohydrates.
One study estimated that by replacing sugary sodas, juices and milk with water, one could reduce the daily caloric intake by 235 kcal. During another experiment, a similar action reduced the total energy value of the diet by 200 kcal per day.
On a monthly basis, giving up sugary drinks could reduce calories by 6,000 kcal. In essence, it’s like spending two weeks on a soft diet without slowing down your metabolism.
7. Choose the right snacks
It is often advised to give up snacks so that you don’t consume extra calories between meals. This approach makes sense, but only if you can tolerate long periods without eating and don’t feel very hungry when it’s time to sit down to eat.
If stomach urges make you daydream about dinner, pounce on food and consume much more than you need to satiety, snacking can make up for it.
But they must be chosen wisely. Cookies, sweets, waffles and other sweet and fatty products will add to the diet a lot of calories, but the feeling of satiety will not provide.
In order to suppress hunger, choose protein- or fiber-rich foods: fruits and vegetables, yogurt, unsweetened cottage cheese, nuts, hummus (chickpea paste), and protein shakes.
They can help you make it to lunch or dinner without howling in the stomach and at the same time provide you with vitamins, micronutrients and dietary fiber, which are good for health.
8. Eat lunch and dinner early
A review of scientific evidence concluded that earlier lunch and dinner help maintain a healthy weight.
Researchers found that eating lunch at 3 p.m. negatively affects gut microflora diversity and health. And eating dinner after 9 p.m. impairs glucose sensitivity. Both can cause you to gain excess weight and lead to additional health problems.
Try moving dinner and lunch to an earlier time and see how it affects your well-being and weight. If you fall asleep late, cut back a little on your last meal. For example, replace a full dinner with a protein snack that is enough to keep you from going to bed hungry.
9. Get enough sleep
According to numerous studies, lack of sleep disrupts the production of hormones responsible for feelings of hunger and satiety, and increases appetite and cravings for sweet and fatty foods. All this contributes to gaining extra weight and accumulation of fat in the abdominal area.
To avoid increasing the risks, try to sleep 7-8 hours a night, which is the optimal night’s rest for most adults.
10. Try to be more active in your daily routine
Increased calorie expenditure is usually associated with jogging or group fitness programs. And while cardio exercise is exceptionally healthy, you can lose weight without it.
One study estimated that daily household activity accounts for about 15% of your total energy needs per day, while exercise accounts for only about 5%.
Take as a rule of thumb the fact that any activity is better than no activity at all. A short walk, climbing the stairs instead of the elevator, doing chores at home, and a short warm-up at work can all help you spend more calories without straining yourself too much.