Practical Weight Loss: 10 Easy Ways to Shed Pounds Without the Gym

Even if getting a leaner physique is one of your top goals, it can be difficult to cut out your morning coffee drink or afternoon snack of Pringles and doughnuts. This definitely explains why most of us want to shed pounds, yet so many remain overweight.

It may sound straightforward and easy, but if you’ve tried to lose weight in the past you know it can be difficult. Here are some of the easiest ways to shed pounds, get lean, and stay that way.

1. Eat protein at every meal

Shed pounds by packing on the protein.

High-protein foods will help make you feel full. | iStock.com

Consuming moderate amounts of carbohydrates and higher amounts of protein is recommended to reduce overall body fat. Protein also helps maintain lean muscle tissue and keeps you feeling full longer while burning your fat deposits for fuel. Focus on lean meats like chicken and fish with moderate amounts of lean beef. If you’re vegetarian you can fill up on Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts and seeds, and beans.

2. Reduce portions

Reduce portions to shed pounds without working out.

Chicken cutlets are a smaller portion than the whole breast. | iStock.com

You may think you need to finish all of your food in one sitting. But in reality, the portion size of your entrée at a restaurant or delicious home-cooked meal is almost always double what you should be eating. In order to shed weight, try trading in your giant dinner plates for a salad plate and pack smaller lunches that are heavier on fruits, vegetables, and proteins, and light on carbohydrates.

3. Pack snacks

Believe it or not, snacking can help you shed pounds.

A healthy snack between meals will keep you from overeating later. | iStock.com/NorthStar203

Especially as you start to eat smaller portions, you may be hungrier in between meals. To ensure you don’t hit the vending machine, Eating Well recommends packing a few different snacks with you daily. When you have something you can grab easily, you’ll be less likely to chow down on something you’ll regret later. Some healthy snack ideas include cut veggies with hummus, nuts, peanut butter and apple, or a filling Greek yogurt.

4. Keep a positive outlook

Don't stress about an unplanned "cheat day."

It’s OK if not every day is perfect. | iStock.com

There will be times that you eat healthy all day only to come home and binge on a plate of brownies or order a burger and fries for dinner. FitDay suggests paying attention to how overeating or eating poorly made you feel, then focus on starting fresh tomorrow. Keep a positive outlook and focus on the day in front of you rather than the outcome of the day prior.

5. Cut out empty calories

Shed pounds by eliminating empty calories.

Eating a handful of chips is just going to make you want to eat more chips. | iStock.com

There are a lot of calories in sweets and as delicious as they are, they don’t provide your body with any nutrition, Natural Balance Foods points out, leaving you unsatisfied and wanting more. Don’t deprive yourself, but limit your intake of sugar, especially muffins, cakes, cookies, and candy. If you can’t end your day without something sweet, savor a bit of dark chocolate or mix a cup of dried fruit and chocolate chips. Another way to lower your calorie intake is to skip sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks, and flavored coffee.

6. Stop eating your feelings

Shed pounds by controlling your stress eating habit.

If you need to snack when stressed, avoid comfort food. | iStock.com/Yulia_Davidovich

Binging on junk food is a common response to stress and anxiety, and can make you gain weight if you do it too much. Mayo Clinic calls this emotional eating, and lists work, relationships, and health problems as potential stressors that can lead to weight gain due to eating too much. Gain control of your stress eating, and you’re less likely to gain weight. If you feel the need to snack when stressed, don’t go straight for comfort food to make yourself feel better.

Fruit, nuts, and veggies might not sound as satisfying as a handful of Reese’s cups, but you’ll feel much better about your food choices later if you go with healthier, stress-relieving snacks.

7. Eat high-fiber foods

Shed pounds by eating a diet high in fiber.

Fruit is an excellent source of fiber. | iStock.com/artisteer

Protein is only one of several important nutrients that promotes fullness. It turns out that diets high in fiber-rich foods are associated with lower body weight. Fiber, which forms a gel-like substance as you digest it, sits in your stomach and slows down your digestion to keep you feeling full for longer. The best sources of fiber include plant sources like beans, asparagus, oats, seeds, and fruit.

8. Take your time

Shed pounds by eating more slowly.

Eating too quickly can lead to weight gain. | iStock.com/sunabesyou

Finishing your food as quickly as you can doesn’t help out with digestion. In fact, it can actually be really bad for you. Eating your food more quickly can lead to weight gain, research suggests, because you’re not giving your satiety hormones — the chemicals that tell you it’s time to stop eating — enough time to kick in. Eating more slowly tends to reduce overall calorie intake because you’re not stuffing yourself full of food before your body realizes it’s already past full.

Put your fork down between bites. Drink some water. There’s no rush.

9. Put down your phone at meals

Put down your phone to help you shed pounds.

Distracted eating will make you eat more than you mean to. | iStock.com/Dangubic

You might not think twice about eating in front of the TV or scrolling through Facebook during dinner, but these behaviors make you more likely to overeat. Some research shows people tend to eat more at meals when they’re not paying attention, because they’re either eating too quickly or they grab a second portion without finishing the first. You can put your phone down and turn off Netflix for 15 minutes. You’ll walk away from your meal much more satisfied every time, too.

10. Drink more water

Shed pounds by drinking more water.

Sparkling water can be an effective replacement for soda. | iStock.com/jarih

If you often find yourself reaching for food soon after a meal, you could be confusing hunger with thirst. Staying hydrated throughout the day is important, but drinking more water can also help you avoid unnecessary snacking. Your best bet is to stick to mostly water and avoid sugary drinks. These beverages might satisfy your craving for something sweet, but they won’t keep you full. If you need something fizzy, try sparkling water.

Additional reporting by Meg Dowell

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