It’s a tale as old as time — following the holiday season where we’re encouraged to relax and indulge, come January 1st, every Instagram ad is telling us it’s time to shed pounds and swap meals for shakes. If you’re looking for an article that’ll tell you how many burpees you need to do right now to “work-off” that last slice of pudding you consumed, you’re in the wrong place. Instead, we’ve found some simple ways to lose weight without dieting.
The best healthy routine is one you enjoy, so crash dieting, skipping meals, or cutting major food groups entirely aren’t likely to last longer than a few weeks at best. If you’re looking to lose weight, and more importantly, keep it off, it’s a good idea to make small changes, rather than drastic ones. It’s also a good idea to consult your doctor or dietician for more advice or sign up to a support group to help you stay motivated.
Finally, if you’re looking for more inspiration for getting moving this January, you’re in the right place. We’ve hand-picked the best free ab workouts on the internet to try from home, found the best running shoes to buy, and written guides on how to run a 5K.
We’ve also found the best adjustable dumbbells, the best exercise bikes, and the best treadmills for upping your cardio from the comfort of your own home. Oh, and while we’re at it, no, you shouldn’t be doing a squat challenge this January either.
Here are three simple ways to improve your diet and lose weight without trying.
Eat more protein
Fancy that, a weight loss article telling you to eat more and not cut things out, but by this, we don’t mean eat like a bodybuilder getting ready for a competition (chicken and rice Tupperware bros, we’re looking at you). Instead, just make sure you’re getting protein in every single meal, as it’ll help you feel full for longer, and prevent you from reaching for unhealthy snacks when hunger hits.
One study found that adding more protein to the diet helped participants feel fuller throughout the day, compared to a diet high in carbohydrates. Another study found that participants who ate high protein meals were less likely to snack, as they had reduced levels of ghrelin, which is the hormone responsible for hunger.
Of course, eating a higher protein diet doesn’t have to involve any chicken, especially if you’re vegetarian. Adding Greek yogurt to your breakfast is a brilliant source of protein, as is tofu, eggs, and grains, and pulses.
Don’t eat three hours before bed
You’ve eaten well all day, but when you sit down in the evening to watch TV, the snacks come out. Sound familiar? Experts have found that when you eat can be as important to weight loss as what you’re eating if you’re trying to lose weight.
According to research, the best time to eat your final meal of the day is between 6.00 and 6.30 pm. Other research concluded that the body’s natural circadian rhythm slows down before bed, so if you’re snacking in the evening, your body won’t burn fat as efficiently when you’re asleep. It’s a far better idea to fast from dinner to breakfast, than to snack in front of the telly and skip your morning meal the next day.
Of course, snacks don’t have to be unhealthy, and if you are looking for a healthy after-dinner treat, we’ve found 12 healthy snack ideas for weight loss here.
Stop looking at your phone at mealtimes
How many evenings a week do you eat dinner scrolling on your phone, or watching TV? Eating more intuitively is an easy way to eat better in 2022. As you eat your dinner, chew each mouthful and listen to your body to better understand when you’re actually full.
A review of more than 20 different studies into nutrition found that when people are distracted when they are eating, they’re likely to eat 10% more than when they’re focused on their meal.
By slowing down and focusing on your food, you’re also likely to get more enjoyment out of what you’re eating. Food releases dopamine, the happy chemical in your brain, so making a conscious effort to sit and mindfully eat your meals could make you eat, and feel, better.