By Dave Smith
Before we dive into this day-long plan for losing weight without exercise, I want to make one thing very clear: I love exercise and I think you do too.
It's unfortunate that "exercise" has been cast as "no pain, no gain" or "sweat till you drop" workouts that very few people enjoy.
To me, exercise is simply moving your body in a way that feels good. That type of exercise is something anyone can enjoy, and that type of exercise is healthy for everyone. Yes, that includes YOU!
If losing weight is your goal right now, I want to encourage you by saying that you CAN do it without taking on a new exercise routine. Below you're going to find a daily routine that you can start following today to help you do just that...
How to Lose Weight Without Exercising: Your Daily Action Plan
There are literally hundreds of habits you could work on that will help you lose weight, but I want to give you only the most important.
Follow this plan from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed and just watch the number on the scale drop. It will happen for you!
6:30am: Drink 2 Glasses of Water As Soon As You Wake Up
Knowing that you need to drink more water isn't the issue for most people. Actually drinking more water is the hard part...
Make it easy by setting out 2 cups (500ml or 16 ounces) of water beside your bed each night. When you wake up, drink it all before you get out of bed.
(Then run to the bathroom to pee!)
This simple step will boost your metabolism, rehydrate your body after a night of not drinking anything, and it will help you feel awake sooner.
7am: Add 26 Grams of Protein to Your Breakfast
The typical North American breakfast is just about the worst way you can eat in the morning if you're hoping to lose weight. Most breakfast meals consist almost entirely of processed grains... toast, cereal, muffins, bagels.
These carb-heavy meals quickly convert to blood sugar to give you an instant boost of energy, but that boost doesn't last long. As you've likely experienced, a blood sugar crash will follow within an hour or two, and that's when cravings (often for sugar) kick into high gear.
If you really want to lose weight without exercising, you can fix this blood sugar roller coaster with one simple move: Eat some protein.
Easily squeeze 20+ grams of protein into your breakfast by eating 2 eggs, a scoop of protein powder in your smoothie, some Greek yogurt, or a little cottage cheese.
10am: Eat 9 Grams of Fat Mid-Morning
When someone offers you a cookie or a donut, does it feel almost impossible to refuse? If so, there's a high likelihood that your body needs more fat.
Research has proven that eating higher-fat snacks will help you feel full and will prevent food cravings from kicking in. The opposite is true for high-carb snacks like crackers and cookies - they actually create even stronger food cravings!
It only takes a few grams of fat to do the trick. Try eating 13 almonds or just 5 walnuts around 10am each day. You'll be satisfied until lunch and it will prevent cravings from appearing hours later in the day.
Noon: Schedule 28 Minutes for a Distraction-Free Lunch
If you eat your lunch on-the-go, you're setting yourself up for weight-gain.
Sit down, turn off the TV, and put away your phone. Eating slowly (i.e. a meal time that is 28 minutes or longer) and without distraction is a proven way to reduce the amount of food you eat.
Ideally, you can eat lunch with others, spend it just relaxing, or practice some mindfulness or meditation. Taking a "slow-down lunchtime" will reduce your stress, which will help your body shed excess weight even faster, and will allow you to re-focus for your upcoming afternoon work and activities.
2pm: Drink 2 More Glasses of Water
Drinking water right after a large meal (i.e. lunch) isn't ideal because you will inadvertently dilute your stomach acid. Diluted stomach acid = slower digestion, which can cause bloating and pain. Instead...
Set your alarm for 2pm. By this point, your lunch would have digested, and you're safe to drink 2 more glasses of water. This will serve as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up (forget the coffee!), and will give your metabolism yet another boost.
5:30pm: Fill 1/2 of Your Dinner Plate with Veggies
Have you heard of the "Reverse Calorie Pyramid" for your daily meals? It's really simple: Eat most of your calories early in the day and fewer towards the end of the day.
This makes sense, right?
Eating earlier gives your body calories when it's most active, while reducing your calories towards the end of the day corresponds to the time when your body needs less energy as it prepares to shut down for the night.
The only problem?
You've likely trained yourself for years to eat a big dinner at the end of a long day. Most of us do this. It's cultural.
Instead of counting calories at dinner, and trying to restrict yourself from eating too much, focus on what you CAN eat. Eat more vegetables.
Fill at least half of your plate with veggies, whether that be a salad, steamed veggies, baked goodies, or any other kind you like, and finish them before diving into anything else.
Veggies are generally very low in calories (as you can see in the chart below), so you can eat a large volume, feel satisfied, and still maintain the Reverse Calorie Pyramid that will help you lose weight without exercise.
7pm: Eat 10 Grams of Protein as an Evening Snack
You've likely heard that it's "bad" to snack in the evening, but sometimes your body really does need something after dinner. It's better to eat and sleep well than go to bed starving and have a restless night due to a grumbling stomach.
The key is to eat something high-protein, low-calorie. Protein digests slowly, so it will keep you feeling full all evening. An easy evening snack is edamame - you can get 10 grams of protein for about 100 calories, which is likely all your body needs.
Plus, evening snacking is often more psychological than it is physiological, meaning you may just be looking for something to nibble on. A high-protein, low-calorie snack like edamame is a healthy choice.
7:30pm: Let Your 12-Hour Fast Begin
After your evening snack, you're now ready to go into fasting mode. No, that shouldn't scare you - it simply means that you're going to go without food for the next 12 hours.
How will that help you lose weight?
I've written a detailed post on how intermittent fasting can be used for weight-loss and weight management, so I won't go into all the details again. Check it out here and then get ready to fast tonight.
9:30pm: Wind Down for 1 Hour
If you're serious about losing weight without exercising, fostering good sleep habits needs to be high on your priority list. This begins long before you actually get into bed - your body needs at least 1 hour of "winding down" time to prepare for deep sleep.
Many people spend their last minutes of the day on the computer, watching TV, or scrolling through Facebook on their phones. This has to stop. It's proven that the light emitted from those devices disrupts your ability to sleep well.
Replace screen time with reading, meditating, deep breathing, or even recapping the positives of the day with your partner or family member. It's your job to ease into sleep each night.
10:30pm: Give Your Body 8 Hours of Quality Sleep
While it's true that not everyone "needs" a full 8 hours of sleep, it's also true that the vast majority of adults are chronically under-slept.
Getting enough sleep is helpful for weight-loss in many ways: Being well-rested gives you more energy to prepare healthy food; it helps you make healthier eating decisions; and it improves your body's response to stress (i.e. you're less likely to store fat when you're well-rested).
In order to get quality sleep, consistency is key. Choose a bedtime that's at least 8 hours before the time you need to wake up in the morning and commit to being in bed at that time. At first, you might not fall asleep immediately, but this will change as you train your body to sleep on that schedule.
Your No-Exercise Weight-Loss Plan: Concluding Thoughts
Exercise will give you a stronger, healthier body for sure, but it is not required for weight-loss. The daily plan I've just laid out is a powerful one that can help you reach your weight-loss goals without a minute of exercise.
Below is a checklist to help you remember each step. Are you ready to get started?