13 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Without Trying: Or Changing Diet

Written by Nathan | Updated on 20 November 2021

After going to the gym and exercising, taking miles-long walks, and carefully planning out your meals for each day, you might be exhausted and wondering how to lose weight without trying. Because weight loss can be challenging to achieve, it can be very demoralizing to face disappointing progress every day even though you’re doing so much. 

Rather than obsessing over upping your exercise routine or figuring out when to fast, think about what small, easy things you can do to cut calories and lose weight. There are dozens, if not hundreds of simple changes you can make that, added together, will result in a lot of progress. Here are 13 to consider to help you lose weight.

Small Plates Promote Portion Control

A deceptively simple solution, small plates benefit weight loss in a few ways. For one, a smaller plate will prevent you from loading up on excessive portions. Your eyes can often be hungrier than your stomach is, which can lead people to heap on tons of extra food they don’t need. Secondly, smaller plates mean that you have to get up and move to grab more food if you still want some. That lag-time between finishing your first serving and thinking about your second one gives your brain more time to tell you to stop. 

Just using smaller plates instead of large ones can result in as much as a 29% reduction in your typical portion size at mealtime [1]. 

You could also use plates with portion recommendations imprinted onto them; they can tell you how much of a specific food group to grab [1]. Since most people don’t have the USDA’s food group guidelines memorized by heart, this can be useful for keeping healthy portions in mind.

Sleep Well to Lose Weight Without Trying

Research shows that sleep and weight are intertwined substantially. Insufficient sleep can cause many hormonal changes that increase appetite and cortisol, leading to people eating more and keeping the weight on [2]. 

A study from the Canadian Medical Journal Association, for example, has shown that people who have tried to get more sleep have seen reduced weight overall [2]. One study where participants got more than seven hours of sleep resulted in a 33% increase in the likelihood of losing weight [2].

Finding time to get enough sleep can be challenging for many people with busy lives, but researchers have suggested a few strategies to help. Try reading a book before bed instead of watching tv, going to bed earlier, or charging your phone in a separate room, so browsing isn’t done in bed [2]. 

Sleep is the body’s way of healing itself, and that plays into weight loss, so try to catch as much of it as you can.

Keep Healthy Food Close & Junk Food Out of Sight

Snacking is one of the big killers when it comes to weight loss; all those small bundles of calories can slip by your notice easily when you feel hungry. A common point of advice is to avoid buying unhealthy snack food, and while that’s still a good idea, it’s unreasonable to expect people to never have a bag of chips or some cookies on hand.

So, try switching up where you put them. Put the unhealthy snacks far away and in hard-to-reach places, like at the back of the most annoyingly-positioned cabinet or high up in your pantry. By making it difficult to get that food, it’s less likely you’ll follow through on the impulse and actually reach for it [3].

To make it even easier, put your healthy snacks like watermelon or cucumber upfront, so you can grab them in a snap when you feel like snacking. Simply being careful about where you put your food can go a long way to helping you lose weight.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking more water can hardly ever hurt, and there’s evidence that it can help reduce appetite and increase your metabolic rate [4]. By drinking two glasses before a meal, you might be able to reduce your consumption by almost a quarter of its normal amount, which can add up to a lot of lost calories over time and reduce weight [4]. This is because water, despite having no calories, still fills up the stomach and leads your brain to think you are fuller than you really are.

Drinking cold water can also stimulate your metabolism, as the body has to expend more energy to keep you warm when you drink cold liquids [4]. This isn’t a particularly significant increase, but when you’re trying to figure out how to lose weight without trying, every little thing adds up to make a difference. 

Try to replace high-calorie beverages, like your morning orange juice or latte, with water too. If you need a little flavor kick, add some low-calorie flavoring. The bottom line is water should be a core part of your daily routine. If you replace things like soda or fruit juices with it, you’ll likely notice reduced weight soon.

Eat Spicy Foods

For spicy food lovers, this one should be a breeze. Capsaicin, which is the chemical that makes food spicy, seems to have a link to reducing the desire to eat and promoting a sense of fullness [5]. While the exact mechanism behind this is still unclear, the connection is undeniable. And if you aren’t a huge fan of spice, the good news is that you don’t need much to get the desired effect. In studies, a mere 1 gram of red chili pepper with every meal was enough to result in noticeably decreased hunger and reduced weight [5].

Spicy food can also be an effective way of flavoring your dishes without lots of salt or high-calorie condiments and can introduce you to new kinds of food. That way, you can make whatever dish you please and still have it packed with flavor without compromising your health.

Look Out for Hidden Calories

A lot of calories can slip by your notice because they’re such routine, small parts of your eating habits that you never think of them. Most people who are trying to figure out how to lose weight without trying don’t realize how many calories are in their coffee creamer or salad dressing, for example [6]. Those calories can add up fast, though, contributing hundreds of “hidden” calories on top of your meals. Some good alternatives to hidden calories include:

  • non-sugar sweeteners instead of sugar
  • hot sauces instead of ketchup or mustard
  • salsa rather than ranch as a dip [6]

Don’t forget drinks either. Since they don’t sit in the stomach the same as food, it’s easy to forget they can be full of hundreds of calories too. Try to keep things like soda or alcohol to a minimum, and you might be able to reduce your weight by quite a few pounds.

Slow Down Your Eating

The alluring scent of freshly-cooked food can make it hard to resist devouring the whole thing in only a few bites, but it’s better for your health if you take your time enjoying your meal. Appetite is a complex interaction where the brain exchanges a complex set of hormones and neurological signals for letting each other know when you should stop eating and when it’s time to stop feeling hungry [7]. 

The issue is that this exchange takes time, so if you’re prone to eating your food in just a few minutes, your brain won’t have had enough time to tell you you’re full [7]. That means you’re more likely to get a second serving, only to find out later that you really did not need it. So, make a conscious effort to slow down at mealtimes. You could try setting a timer so that you know how much time is passing or prepare meals that are particularly chewy.

Stay Cold

There’s some evidence to suggest that staying cold can lead to some weight loss, as it forces your body to work harder to stay warm [8]. While this isn’t as sure-fire a road to success as other tips here, it’s certainly worth a try given how simple of a change it is. So, set that thermostat to something cool (or just turn the heat off in winter) and let the cold reduce your weight for you.

Incorporate More Fiber

Fiber is found in all kinds of foods, especially leafy greens, nuts, and seeds like flax-seed. When it mixes with water in your mouth and digestive system, it becomes a gooey substance that helps promote fullness and helps other foods glide through your digestive system with ease. Many studies have revealed that fiber positively affects losing weight and contributes to general health [9].

People on high-fiber diets eat less at mealtimes and are at reduced risk for conditions like diabetes or heart disease, making it one of the most effective yet simple changes you can make to your diet [9].

Lose Weight with Adequate Protein

Even if you’re not looking to build muscle, protein is an ideal macro-nutrient for weight loss. 

Compared to others, it appears to be best suited for reducing appetite and promoting satiety [10]. Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast or incorporating high-protein snacks into your day can lead to overall reduced appetite [10]. 

Even better, protein helps to keep lean muscle mass and strength, so you won’t have to worry as much about losing muscle even when you’re losing weight. In the struggle to find how to lose weight without trying, protein can be a simple, tasty addition to your strategy. Check out what high-protein diets you can follow to help plan your meals around it.

Walk or Workout After a Meal

We know we said without trying, but even a walk can be considered a workout because the truth is, you don’t need to do a lot to make a difference in your health. Studies like this one from the International Journal of General Medicine show that a brief walk or other light fitness activities after a meal for just 30 minutes can reduce glucose levels, leading to a small but noticeable amount of weight loss after a month [11].

Since walking for a half-hour every day is a good idea anyway, it certainly couldn’t hurt to add it to your list of ideas to lose weight.

Choose Healthy Coooking Oils

Oils are a basic and necessary part of cooking many meals, whether you’re sauteing, baking, or frying. They’re also used extensively as dressings for salads. However, oils are essentially just fat and can account for massive amounts of calories if used improperly.

When using oils, try to cut down on how much you use, as often you can get away with far less than you think [12]. Figure out what oils are best for you and which ones should be avoided. For example, olive oil possesses many positive qualities, such as reducing bad cholesterol that vegetable oil does not [12]. Prioritize oils with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat over those with saturated and trans fat, as the first two are far better for your health [12].

Conclusion

We hope these 13 tips serve as tools to begin or continue on with your life-long wellness journey. When it comes to getting rid of weight, it’s a gradual process, and the end-goal should always be longevity and health. All the small changes you make in your life add up to big calorie deficits and will leave you in generally better health than when you started. 

Just for safety’s sake, remember that excessive, unexplained weight loss can be dangerous and signal medical problems. Always check in with your doctor to save you from any unexpected medical issues.

If you’re new to weight loss, small steps like these can be the best place to start. Hold on to this list of how to lose weight without trying and decide which tips work best for you.

References

[1] Hughes, J.W., Goldstein, C.M., Logan, C. et al. 28 July 2017. Controlled testing of novel portion control plate produces smaller self-selected portion sizes compared to regular dinner plate. BMC Obesity. 13 November 2021. BMC Obesity. https://bmcobes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40608-017-0167-z#citeas

[2] Chaput, Jean-Philippe, PhD and Tremblay, Angelo, PhD. 11 December 2012. Adequate Sleep to Improve the Treatment of Obesity. PMC. 13 November 2021. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3519150/

[3] Maas, Josje; de Ridder, Denise T.D.; de Vet, Emely; and de Wit, John B.F. 14 June 2011. Do distant foods decrease intake? The effect of food accessibility on consumption. Psychology and Health. 13 November 2021. Taylor and Francis Online. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08870446.2011.565341

[4] HR NewsWire. 15 January 2020. Yes, drinking more water may help you lose weight. At Work. 13 November 2021. Web. https://hub.jhu.edu/at-work/2020/01/15/focus-on-wellness-drinking-more-water/

[5] Janssens, Pilou L.H.R; Hursel, Rick; Westerterp-Plantenga, Margriet S. 1 June 2014. Capsaicin increases sensation of fullness in energy balance, and decreases desire to eat after dinner in negative energy balance. ScienceDirect. 13 November 2021. Web. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0195666314001123?via%3Dihub

[6] Marino, Stephanie. 22 July 2018. Hidden calories: How to spot and avoid them. Michigan State University Extension. 13 November 2021. Web. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/hidden_calories_how_to_spot_and_avoid_them

[7] Ann MacDonald. 19 October 2010. Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster. Harvard Health Blog. 13 November 2021. Web. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-eating-slowly-may-help-you-feel-full-faster-20101019605

[8] Young Huh, Joo; Mougios, Vassilis; Skraparlis, Athanasios. 5 April 2014. Irisin in response to acute and chronic whole-body vibration exercise in humans. ScienceDirect. 13 November 2021. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0026049514001061

[9] Nancy Ferrari. 17 February 2015. Making one change — getting more fiber — can help with weight loss. Harvard Health Blog. 13 November 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/making-one-change-getting-fiber-can-help-weight-loss-201502177721

[10] Brad Dieter. 2021. Protein and Weight Loss: How Much Protein Should You Eat to Lose Weight? NASM. 13 November 2021. https://blog.nasm.org/nutrition/how-much-protein-should-you-eat-per-day-for-weight-loss

[11] Hijikata, Yasuyo and Yamada, Seika. 9 June 2011. Walking just after a meal seems to be more effective for weight loss than waiting for one hour to walk after a meal. PMC. 13 November 2021. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3119587/

[12] Cleveland Clinic. 20 October 2020. How to Choose and Use Healthy Cooking Oils. Health Essentials. 13 November 2021. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-choose-and-use-healthy-cooking-oils/

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.