How to lose weight without working out
To start to lose weight without working out there were five main things that I did. Before I give you the list, you should know that I’ve struggled with my weight since I was a teenager. It has always been up and down and I’ve worn every size from a 5 to an 18! I’m not even five feet tall so when I had to buy jeans that were plus sized I was super embarrassed and mad at myself for not taking control of my weight. That was when I finally decided that I would make some changes. I was very unhealthy and really couldn’t handle working out because of my high blood pressure. I also found out that I have PCOS and hypothyroidism. Both of these conditions make it extremely hard to lose weight – especially around the midsection due to the PCOS.
I was shocked when my doctor told me that I wouldn’t be able to lose the weight without surgery. I was definitely way over my ideal weight, but seriously, it’s not like I was morbidly obese! I found a new doctor that encouraged me to start to make healthier choices and prescribed medication for my blood pressure, thyroid issue and PCOS. It was hard in the beginning but I lost the first 25 pounds without actually working out. Over the past few years I’ve made many lifestyle changes and I’ve lost forty pounds through diet and exercise despite being told that I couldn’t do it without surgery. I started by making small changes to lose some weight and get my blood pressure under control so that I was healthy enough to work out.
I wanted to share the things I did to begin to lose weight without working out to hopefully encourage someone else that is ready to make some healthy changes. Of course I’m not a doctor so I’m sharing my story to inspire and motivate, not to offer medical advice. Believe me, all of the little changes add up to big results so just start doing whatever you can and push yourself a little harder each day. Here is the list of the five major things I did to get started on my weight loss journey.
1. Change your diet.
The most important thing that I did to start losing weight without working out was changing my diet. I met with a nutritionist and started to keep track of the calories I was consuming. I tried to stay between 1300 and 1400 each day. Starving yourself and eating less than 1200 calories is not going to help you lose weight so don’t do it!
Eat your food slowly and really enjoy it, don’t rush through your meal. Being from the south I grew up eating my grandma’s fried pork chops and huge portions of biscuits and gravy with my mama’s crazy, super, sugar-filled sweet tea. I had to learn proper portion sizes and cut out high calorie sweets and fried food. I also added more fruits and vegetables to all of my meals and ate one or two meatless meals each week. The Guide to Portion Control for Weight Loss slide show on the Mayo Clinic website has super helpful examples of how big a portion should be with comparisons to items we’re all familiar with.
A lot of healthy food is low in calories so you can eat a ton of it. Fill up on fresh veggies and fruit. Keep in mind that you need to read food labels. Packaging can be very deceiving so read the nutrition labels, not just the front of the boxes. Protein and fiber help to keep you satiated so grilled chicken, eggs and beans are healthy choices that will keep you feeling full longer and you can use protein shakes between meals if you’re feeling hungry. I use the Nature’s Bounty Protein and Vitamin Shake mix because it actually tastes really good, it’s formulated for women and it’s got probiotics and prebiotics. If you usually skip breakfast you should try drinking a protein shake in the morning. Breakfast really is important because it gets your metabolism started which burns calories throughout the day.
Having a food diary is really helpful when you’re trying to lose weight because it will help you to see how many calories are in the different foods that you’re eating. I use the free My Fitness Pal nutrition facts search. You will be surprised at how quickly the calorie count number goes up. By keeping a journal you can see any patterns or triggers that happen throughout the week to make you crave junk food or eat too much. Make notes of the times that you eat and how you were feeling. Seeing it written made a huge difference for me because I was snacking a lot at night and not realizing how many calories I was really consuming in a day.
Of course I knew that there were a lot of calories in fried chicken tenders and french fries but writing down 1000 calories for just one meal really opened my eyes to how important it is to make healthier choices. I’m an emotional eater, so I have to be mindful if I’m feeling down or stressed and find ways to distract myself when I start to crave skittles and gummy bears because I’m freaking out about how I’m going to finish everything I have to do by the end of the week.
3. Drink lots of water.
When I started making my healthy changes I had to give up drinking soda all day. Diet Pepsi is my favorite but it’s got caffeine and artificial sweeteners and it’s just not good for you. (But I do love it!) I started drinking water all day and only having soda at dinner and I really started to feel better. I drink a glass of water with lemon in the morning to give my body a fresh start for the day and then I add lime or berries to infuser water bottles throughout the day. You can also drink tea. I like green tea because it has EGCG that can help you burn fat or black tea which has natural caffeine for a little boost of energy. Try to avoid drink your calories, unless you’re using protein or meal replacement shakes. If you’re feeling hungry in the middle of the day try drinking a big glass of water before you grab a snack. Often times we’re actually just thirsty when we feel that we are hungry – it sounds crazy, but it really is true. It’s also helpful to drink a glass of water before you eat a meal so that you don’t over eat.
4. Move more.
It’s easy to add more steps to your day and be more active. Park further away from the stores that you shop at, walk down every aisle of the store (even if you don’t need anything from those sections). You’re not working out but you’re still being more active. You can use a pedometer or download apps on your phone to keep track of your steps, how many calories you’ve burned and notify you if you’ve been inactive for too long. I walk around my house while I read books, do lunges in the kitchen while I cook and do a few relaxing yoga moves before I go to bed at night.
5. Set small, weekly goals.
It feels good to reach a goal so making small, attainable goals gives your confidence a boost and motivates you to keep going and trying harder each week. Push yourself to add 100 more steps to each day for a week, take a 15 minute walk after dinner every day or make it your goal to learn to cook three new healthy recipes for dinner. Set your own goals and don’t compare yourself or your progress to anyone else’s. This is about you creating healthy habits to start your weight lose journey. As long as you’re consistent it will pay off so don’t let anything or anyone discourage you.
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