When someone asks me to recommend the best ways to lose weight fast, I always offer a word of caution first.
While it’s certainly possible to lose weight at a rapid pace, it’s important to go about it in a sustainable fashion; if you’re not careful, you’ll put it all back on again faster than you took it off, and then some!
Losing weight quickly is about working in harmony with what your body truly needs, and breaking yourself out of any stressful patterns or food addictions that have hijacked your daily life. In their place, you can then begin to develop healthy habits.
If you can do that, you can even lose weight without exercise.
That may sound crazy, but it’s certainly possible.
I’m going to walk you through 10 easy things you can do to get your fat-burning motor all revved up.
The 10 Best Ways to Lose Weight Without Exercise or Dieting
Consistent, high quality sleep is the most underestimated aid to help you lose weight without exercise, hands down.
It starts with establishing a regular sleep schedule; Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.
Your natural daily rhythm (known as your circadian rhythm) is probably the most important determinant of the health of your hormones and your body’s ability to lose weight and keep it off.
If you get that all out of whack, you can kill yourself in the gym and eat green salads and grilled chicken breasts all you want, but none of it will help you lose weight.
Seven to nine hours every night is what you’re aiming for. About seven and a half is the magic number for me. What’s yours?
Stress will derail a body in no time at all.
If you want a quick way to lose weight without exercise, you need to find a reliable stress management technique; time and time again, research shows meditation to be one of the best methods there is.
I like to meditate first thing in the morning. As soon as I wake up at 5 a.m., I’ll sit down in my chair and I’ll do about five to 10 minutes of mediation and visualization.
It calms my body down, and gives me an opportunity to visualize how I want my day to go and what I want to create in my life.
That’s the routine that works for me, but you may decide that a drastically different routine works for you. Maybe you prefer to sit cross-legged on the floor, or perhaps you’ll meditate at night instead.
Whatever you choose, make sure you allow yourself time to breathe deeply and find your inner quiet.
Not only does this do wonders for you mentally, it’s also cools the sympathetic nervous system, which is the fight-or-flight response that we want to eliminate or avoid as much as possible.
3. Gratitude Practice
You probably didn’t expect to see this among my weight loss tips, but trust me, it’s a good one, and it’s directly related to the tip I shared above.
After my morning meditation, I sit down to list what I’m grateful for in my gratitude journal.
I also revisit its pages right before bed, this time listing my successes of the day. I can’t overstate just how helpful this practice is.
When you focus on the good in your life, you get more of it. When good things are happening in your life, you feel happier. When you are happier, you make better choices.
Think about it for a second: how easy is it to work out and eat healthy when you’re in a bad mood?
It’s a lot easier to reach for a bag of cookies when you’re feeling down in the dumps, and exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. When you’re happy, however, you want to work out and eat healthy. You lose weight without exercise, without even thinking about it.
Practicing gratitude can lead to an amazing domino effect towards positive change in your life, so make some time to focus on the positive and your overdue weight loss won’t be far behind.
4. Early Morning Activity
Are you a morning person?
You may not realize it, but having an established morning routine can have a big impact on how quickly you lose weight.
Try getting your day started with a morning walk or some other type of physical activity.
It doesn’t have to be a full-on workout, but simply getting your body moving will get your lymph flowing and ready you for the day ahead. It can even be something as simple as walking your dogs.
5. Start Your Day with Protein
Also, make it a point to start your morning with protein.
In order to turn your body into a fat-burning machine, you have to get a minimum of 20 grams in the morning. With this, you’ll stabilize your blood sugar, reduce cravings, and keep full for a longer period of time.
Furthermore, it doesn’t blunt cortisol response like heavy carbohydrate consumption would; whereas pancakes and syrup will cause a sugar crash two hours on, a proper protein dish will lift your energy up.
Try anything from eggs to a protein shake; just make sure you’re getting the protein you need.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Here’s the thing about apple cider vinegar: it contains a compound called acetic acid, which has amazing health benefits.
Here’s how you make it work for you: Before you have a meal, pour one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a glass of water, and drink that before you eat.
This will diminish the insulin spike after you eat, thus limiting how much of your meal ends up getting stored as fat.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you have blood sugar issues or are diabetic, but it will definitely help more if you are.
Trust me on this one; have a few shots of apple cider vinegar in your water throughout the day; it really makes a difference.
Here are a few other apple cider vinegar recipes to try:
- Hawaiian Apple Cider Vinegar Drink
- Switchel: The Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Drink
- Apple Cider Detox Soda Drink
7. Eliminate Gluten
If you’re having trouble losing some of your weight, I guarantee that if you stop eating bread, pastas, and cereals, you’ll lose almost five pounds in a couple days. That’s a promise.
These inflammatory, allergenic foods wreak havoc on your body, and lead to rapid weight gain.
If you do need a starchy fix, opt for dishes prepared with almond flour instead. Try gluten-free pastas like rice or quinoa or lentil pastas; they’re all much better options.
Here are few recipes to try instead:
- Healthy Portobello Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- 3-Ingredient Paleo Sweet Potato Waffles
- 10 Mason Jar Meals That Make Healthy Eating Easy
8. Reduce Your Cardio Workouts
As you might know from reading some of my work, I’m no fan of long-term cardio.
Too much cardio crushes your body, and is one of the easiest ways to suppress your thyroid.
As if that’s not bad enough, long-duration cardio doesn’t build muscle, which means it has little impact on the long-term caloric burn you need to lose those pesky pounds.
You can only get that kind of long-term burn you want by raising your metabolic rate, and the only way you can do that is by strength training.
Building more muscle will allow your body to burn fat even when you’re not working out, so that’s what you want to aim for.
Better yet, if you strength-train in a circuit fashion, you’ll still get a cardio benefit because it will definitely leave you huffing and puffing.
9. Heal Your Gut
Your gut is a huge component of your ability to lose weight.
Studies have shown that obese and overweight people have a different set of bacteria in their colon than healthy, lean people.
With this in mind, you should aim to improve the quality of the microorganisms in your gut, whether that’s eating more fermented vegetables like sauerkraut—I love sauerkraut—or supplementing with a good-quality probiotic.
Removing gluten will already be a big help because we know that it does serious damage to the gut lining. This allows all sorts of stuff to seep into your bloodstream and create inflammation, which in turn makes you pack on the pounds.
In addition to addressing this compromised internal environment with fermented foods and probiotic supplements, you might also want to look at things like glutamine or even fish oils and aloe vera to sooth and heal some of the inflammation inside.
Once you heal your gut and start maintaining a healthy diet, the pounds will start melting off and you’ll lose weight without exercise.
[Related: 8 Proven Steps to Healing Leaky Gut Syndrome]
10. Contract Your Muscles
You might not have ever heard of this final tip before, but give it a shot: the next time you sit down to eat, try priming your body to receive those nutrients by contracting your muscles for 30 seconds.
You’ll feel heat generating in your body, which means your muscles are generating heat as a by-product. Your breathing will also increase.
It may feel silly, but you’re essentially producing some of the same effects you’d experience during a workout.
We know that the biggest meal of your day should come after your workout, and that’s because exercising makes your muscle cells open up like a flower to the sun.
This is exactly when you want to give them the nutrients they need.
Eating at any other time of the day increases the likelihood that the nutrients you’re taking in will be stored elsewhere in your body, like in your fat cells.
You don’t want that, so prevent it by turning your muscles on before each meal; you’ll decrease the potential damage of whatever you’re sitting down to eat.
By adding these 10 ways to lose weight without exercise into your daily routine, you’ll prep your body for round-the-clock fat burning. Best of all, you won’t even notice that those pounds are melting away.
Remember, losing weight is not about suffering through a restrictive diet or killing yourself on a treadmill; it’s about priming your body to operate in its most essential and elegant form.
Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.