• Slowing down is one way to lose weight and enjoy what you eat
  • Mindful eating helps you track what you already consumed
  • Fluctuations in certain hormones lead to hunger pangs and cravings

A healthy weight for your body type reduces your risk for serious illness. Healthy eating habits also impact your energy levels throughout the day. While exercise in the form of aerobic activity and strength training is recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services for most adults, there are certain situations where opportunities to exercise may be scarce.

Here are ten science-backed ways to lose weight without exercise:

1. Plan When To Eat

Meal, Food, Breakfast, watch, clock
Representation. Rolf van de Wal/Pixabay

Having set meal times a day can help you know when to eat and keep you from mindlessly grabbing for food, said Dr. Charlie Seltzer, MD, a Philadelphia-based weight-loss specialist. Along with planning when to eat, nutritionist Keri Glassman, RD, recommended tracking what you eat, including the smaller random portions you have throughout the day.

A bite here and there may still account for calories adding to your weight when left untracked. Review what you have monitored and be familiar with your habits, such as grazing or stress eating.

2. Serve Food In Smaller Portions

Smoked Salmon, Salmon, Food, Toast, Cucumber,
Representative image. LUM3N/Pixabay

Over time, plates have seen an increase in size. A study with adult participants found that doubling the size of a dinner appetizer resulted in 30% more calorie intake.

It is worth decreasing the size of your plate, especially when consuming unhealthy foods, to lose weight without exercise. A smaller plate can trick your brain into thinking you are eating more, according to studies. This is in contrast to bigger plates that make you want to add more food because a portion looks smaller.

3. Eat Protein First

The hugely popular poached chicken, rice and chili dip dish is often sold at the Singapore's ubiquitous open-air food courts. 
The hugely popular poached chicken, rice and chili dip dish is often sold at the Singapore's ubiquitous open-air food courts.  AFP / Roslan RAHMAN

Protein makes you feel satiated with fewer calories since it affects ghrelin and GLP-1 – hormones that play a role in hunger and fullness. When you eat more protein and eat them first, you will have less room for carbohydrates and other unhealthy food options. A study found that increasing the protein intake from 15% to 30% resulted in participants eating 441 calories fewer, leading to a weight loss of 11 pounds over 12 weeks.

4. Fill Up Your Breakfast Plate With Veggies

regular consumption of plant protein improves the human lifespan
regular consumption of plant protein improves the human lifespan Evita Ochel - Pixabay

Fruits and vegetables contain more water compared to other food groups. This means they have more volume but fewer calories to fill you up. You may also opt to flip the ratio of your meals to have more low-calorie vegetables rather than carbohydrates to avoid overeating refined carbs. This tricks your brain into thinking you are eating more because you have a full plate and eating a larger volume of food, affirmed Dr. Seltzer.

5. Load Up On Fiber

Lentils are very rich in protein (about 26%), folic acid, and both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Lentils are also very high in Vitamin C and the B vitamins, and contain eight of the essential amino acids. It provides both carbohydrates and protein which make them a great source of good energy meal. And they're low in fat and high in calories. If you don't eat beans often, start with a small portion or you'll experience the flatulence factor and end up dining alone. IBTimes

According to registered dietitian Heidi Katte, the recommended daily serving of fiber is 25 grams for women and around 38 grams for men. However, most Americans get fewer than 10 grams daily.

Studies showed that viscous fiber, in particular, helps in weight loss by reducing food intake and increasing fullness. This fiber is only found in plant foods such as beans, oats, Brussel sprouts, flax seeds, asparagus and oranges. When in contact with water, viscous fiber forms a gel, increasing nutrient absorption time and slowing down digestion. That said, drinking lots of water is necessary when eating more fiber.

6. Choose Water Over Sugary Drinks

Representation. Pixabay-StockSnap

When counting your sugar consumption throughout the day, make sure you include what is in your sugary drinks. Liquid calories do not have the same effect on fullness as solid food, making it easy to forget the added sugars in your beverages.

Added and untracked sugar intake may be one of the culprits of weight gain. Sodas and other sugary beverages may increase your risk for serious diseases as well.

In general, drinking water can help lose weight without exercise – especially before meals. A randomized controlled trial revealed that drinking half a liter of water resulted in a lessened calorie intake, with adult participants losing 44% more weight in 12 weeks compared to those who did not drink water.

7. Eat Slowly

Representation. Sabrina Osland made changes one at a time, such as using a smaller bowl when eating, and would only add another until the last change turned into a habit. Pixabay

In a fast-paced world, slowing down is one way to lose weight and fully enjoy what you consume. According to a review of 23 observational studies, fast eaters are more likely to gain weight. Your brain needs time to process that you have had enough to eat. Eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly is associated with decreased food intake and increased fullness despite the smaller portion size.

8. Keep Unhealthy Foods Out Of Reach

Fruits and Vegetables, Berries
Representation. Pixabay

Humans are visual creatures. When unhealthy foods are locked away behind closets or cupboards, they have a lower tendency to catch your eye and invite you to grab them to eat. According to a comparative study linking unhealthy food to weight gain, when high-calorie foods are more visible in the house, people are more likely to gain more weight. Keep a bowl of fruits or other healthier options visible instead.

9. Consume Food Mindfully

A recent survey of more than one thousand American adults revealed that while 72% said they grew up eating at the dining room table, only 48% do so today. Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Distractions such as mobile phones, computer games or TV shows while eating may lead to the inability to track what you are eating and how much you have already consumed. A review of 24 studies showed that people who were eating distractedly ate 10% more than those who ate mindfully. This might also result in consuming 25% more calories later in the day, according to the same study.

10. Avoid Stress And Sleep Deprivation

Sleeping in Pajamas
Be cute and comfy in your new pair of jammies this Wear Pajamas to Work Day! Vic_B/ Pixabay

Though they are not directly related to eating, your stress levels and sleep quality may help you lose weight without exercise if you know how they affect your appetite. Sleep deprivation disrupts appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin, while higher stress increases the production of the stress hormone cortisol. With fluctuations in these hormones, you may experience hunger pangs and cravings for unhealthy food, resulting in higher calorie intake.

High stress and low sleep levels may also increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity and other serious health conditions.