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Ways to lose weight without diet or exercise

11 science-based ways to lose weight

Here are 11 science-based methods to shed pounds without following a traditional diet or workout regimen.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts, and fact-checked by experts.
We look at both sides of the argument and strive to be objective, unbiased, and honest.
11 proven methods to lose weight without diet or exercise
Last updated on January 3, 2024, and last reviewed by an expert on September 21, 2023.

Following a regular diet and workout routine can be challenging.

11 proven methods to lose weight without diet or exercise

But, there are many tried-and-true strategies that make cutting calories simpler.

These methods not only help you shed pounds but also stop future weight gain.

Here are 11 science-backed methods to shed pounds without dieting or hitting the gym.

1. Take your time and chew well

Your brain requires a moment to realize when you’re full.

Taking the time to chew food properly can lead you to eat at a slower pace. This slower eating is linked to consuming less food, feeling more satisfied, and having smaller meal sizes.

The speed at which you eat can also influence your weight.

Research from 23 different studies showed that those who eat quickly tend to put on more weight compared to those who eat at a slower pace.

Rapid eaters have a higher chance of being overweight.

To cultivate the practice of slower eating, try counting the number of chews for each mouthful.

Summary: Slowly consuming your food can make you feel fuller while eating fewer calories. It’s a simple method to lose weight and avoid future weight gain.

2. Opt for smaller plates when eating less healthy foods

Food plates nowadays are typically bigger than they were years ago.

This shift might play a role in people gaining weight, as using a tinier plate can give the illusion of larger portion sizes, potentially leading to eating less.

Conversely, a large plate can make a dish appear smaller, prompting you to add extra food.

You can use this psychology to your benefit by presenting healthier foods on larger plates and less nutritious options on smaller ones.

Summary: Using smaller plates can make your brain think you’re consuming more food than you really are. So, it’s a good strategy to serve less healthy options on small plates, helping you eat less.

3. Consume more protein

Protein has a remarkable impact on your hunger levels. It can boost the feeling of satisfaction, decrease your appetite, and assist in consuming fewer calories.

This might be because protein influences a few hormones responsible for hunger and satisfaction, such as ghrelin and GLP-1.

A study revealed that when participants increased their protein consumption from 15% to 30% of their daily calories, they consumed 441 calories less daily and shed an average of 11 pounds in 12 weeks, without purposely cutting out any foods.

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If your breakfast typically consists of grains, think about changing it up to a protein-packed option, like eggs.

In a particular study, overweight or obese women who had eggs for breakfast consumed fewer calories at lunch compared to those with a grain-oriented breakfast. Furthermore, they ate less throughout the day and for the following 36 hours.

Some protein-packed foods to consider are chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, lentils, quinoa, and almonds.

Summary: Introducing more protein into your meals can be associated with weight reduction, even without actively exercising or cutting down on calories.

4. Keep unhealthy snacks out of view

If unhealthy foods are easily accessible and in view, it can trigger more cravings, leading you to eat more of them.

This is often correlated with weight gain.

Recent research suggested that people who have high-calorie foods prominently displayed at home tend to weigh more than those who have just a fruit bowl out.

Hide unhealthy snacks in cabinets or cupboards, making them less tempting when hunger strikes.

Conversely, let healthy choices be the star by displaying them on your kitchen counters and positioning them at the forefront in your refrigerator.

Summary: When unhealthy snacks are within arm’s reach, impromptu snacking is more likely. This behavior can lead to weight gain. Always keep healthier options, like fresh fruits and veggies, easily accessible.

5. Opt for foods rich in fiber

Foods that are high in fiber can help you feel satisfied for longer periods.

Suggested read: 14 reasons why you’re always hungry

Research also shows that viscous fiber, a specific kind of fiber, is especially beneficial for weight management. It promotes feelings of fullness and reduces the amount you eat.

When viscous fiber interacts with water, it forms a gel-like substance. This gel prolongs the absorption of nutrients and delays stomach emptying.

You can find viscous fiber in certain plant-based foods like beans, oats, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, oranges, and flax seeds.

A popular weight loss supplement known as glucomannan also has a high amount of viscous fiber.

Summary: Viscous fiber can be a game-changer in controlling your appetite and reducing the amount of food you consume. This particular fiber produces a gel that decelerates the digestive process.

6. Stay hydrated with water

Consuming water can aid in reducing hunger and support weight loss, especially when taken before eating.

A study involving adults showed that drinking half a liter (17 ounces) of water roughly half an hour before meals led to decreased appetite and a reduction in calorie consumption.

Those in the study who drank water prior to eating saw a 44% greater weight loss over 12 weeks than their counterparts who didn’t.

Switching out sugary beverages, like sodas or juices, for water can amplify these benefits.

Summary: Consuming water before eating can lead to eating less. Swapping out sweetened drinks for water offers even more advantages.

7. Opt for smaller serving sizes

Over recent years, portion sizes have grown, notably in dining establishments.

These bigger servings can lead people to consume more, contributing to weight gain and a rise in obesity rates.

One particular study revealed that when adults were given a doubled appetizer size, they consumed 30% more calories.

Suggested read: How to stop overeating: 23 simple tips

Simply dishing out a slightly smaller amount can result in consuming fewer calories, and chances are, you won’t even spot the change.

Summary: Increased portion sizes are connected to a rise in obesity and can tempt individuals to eat more.

8. Dine without digital distractions

Focusing on your food can lead to reduced calorie intake.

Those who munch while watching television or diving into computer games might not realize how much they’ve actually consumed, leading to potential overindulgence.

A review of 24 studies highlighted that individuals who dined while distracted consumed around 10% more during that meal.

Moreover, not being mindful during a meal can influence your calorie intake later. Those distracted during meals consumed 25% more calories in subsequent meals compared to those who were attentive.

Regularly eating with electronic distractions might mean you’re taking in more calories than you think. Over time, these additional calories can significantly affect your weight.

Summary: Distracted eating often leads to consuming more. Being mindful of what you’re eating can aid in reducing intake and support weight loss.

9. Prioritize quality sleep and manage stress

Often, the importance of sleep and stress management is overlooked in our health journey, but they play crucial roles in regulating appetite and body weight.

Insufficient sleep can mess with the balance of hormones like leptin and ghrelin that regulate appetite. Additionally, when you’re under stress, the hormone cortisol rises.

Fluctuations in these hormones can lead to an increased desire for unhealthy foods, which can result in consuming more calories.

Moreover, continuous lack of sleep and enduring stress can heighten the risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Summary: Lack of sleep and high stress can disturb hormones that regulate appetite, making you more prone to overeating.

10. Cut back on drinks with added sugars

Added sugars might be one of the most detrimental ingredients in modern diets.

Drinks loaded with sugars, like sodas, correlate with a heightened risk of numerous health issues.

Drinking these sugary beverages can quickly add up in calories because liquids don’t give you the same feeling of fullness as solid foods.

Suggested read: 30 easy ways to lose weight naturally - backed by science

Choosing to avoid these drinks can lead to significant health improvements over time. But remember, replacing soda with fruit juice isn’t a great choice since it can also be sugar-rich.

Instead, opt for healthier drinks like water, coffee, or green tea.

Summary: Drinks laden with sugar can contribute to weight gain and various health issues. Liquid calories don’t satisfy hunger as effectively as solids, making it easy to overconsume.

11. Consider using red plates for less healthy foods

An intriguing approach to eat less is by serving less healthy foods on red plates. Some studies suggest that this method might work, especially with junk foods.

One research found that participants ate fewer pretzels when they were on red plates compared to white or blue ones.

The theory behind this is that the color red is often associated with signals to stop or caution in many man-made scenarios.

Summary: Using red plates could potentially lead to consuming fewer unhealthy snacks, possibly because the color red evokes a sense of stopping or caution.


Simple daily habits can make a big difference in your weight loss journey. These don’t always involve traditional dieting or exercise routines.

Techniques like using smaller dishes, taking your time while eating, hydrating with water, and avoiding meals in front of screens can be effective. Emphasizing protein-rich and fiber-filled foods can also be beneficial.

Yet, it’s a good idea not to adopt all these habits at once. Start with one strategy, and if it suits you, then explore another.

Making just a few tweaks in your lifestyle can significantly influence your weight over time.

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