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Can’t Work Out? Here Are 5 Ways to Lose Weight Anyway

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Do you need to lose weight but working out is not an option for you? Maybe you have recently been injured, your schedule does not allow for it, you can’t afford a gym membership, or one of several other reasons is keeping you from an exercise routine. While the health benefits of strenuous workouts are undeniable, some people simply cannot commit to a steady fitness regimen. That doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight and get in shape. Here are five ways to reach your weight goals when you can’t work out.

1. Control your portions

When you’re not able to work out, diet is the single most important discipline in your life. While the type of food you eat matters, the amount of food you eat—and your calorie intake—can be the clearest indicators of an unhealthy diet. Even with all the “low fat” and “sugar-free” foods available today, Americans are eating nearly 25 percent more calories than we did in 1970. Eating clean and whole foods is best, but it’s not always convenient, particularly if you’re too busy to work out. If that’s your situation, look into meal delivery services, which bring healthy portions of fresh, delicious food right to your door.

2. Eat clean, real food

Along with portions, the kind of food you eat is essential. No matter what your body type is, it’s hard to go wrong with eating clean. Eating clean basically means that you are putting real food in your body. This kind of diet consists of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, nuts, and eggs. In other words, it’s all the foods that the human body is genetically engineered to take in—the high-quality foods that give us energy and help us flourish.

3. Eat the other foods rarely

When you start eating clean, you’ll quickly see and feel the benefits. This may encourage you to stick to a strict whole-foods diet, and it may even turn you off from other, unhealthier foods. But if you find that you still crave the other stuff, that’s OK. Just try to make it a rare indulgence. Here’s why: In the grand scheme of human history, foods with refined carbohydrates, grains, and sugar really haven’t been around for that long—and our bodies are not built to adequately process them. Be aware of that when you eat fried food, bread, pasta, candy, chips, rice, and the like.

4. Watch what you drink

What you drink is another key factor in losing weight and getting in shape. Watch out for sugary drinks (e.g., soda, alcohol, juice, sports drinks, sweetened coffee). When you ingest drinks such as these, all the sugar converts to fat in your system. As with processed foods, try to consume these sparingly. Opt for water; not only is water the most natural source of liquid nourishment, it also helps keep the digestive system healthy and curbs your appetite before meals.

5. Get sleep

Getting enough sleep can also play a role in maintaining a healthy weight and overall physical health. Sleep is often sacrificed amid a busy schedule, which can lead to stress, and impact your appetite and weight (i.e., “stress eating”). Leptin and ghrelin—the hormones that regulate appetite—can be disrupted by sleep deprivation. This can lead to cravings for unhealthy food and higher-calorie intake.

Sometimes, working out is not an option. Don’t let that stop you from taking steps to improve your weight and overall health. Control your portions, eat real food, and drink a lot of water. Make a rare occasion of eating refined carbs, grains, and sugar, as well as drinking sugary drinks. Lastly, be sure to get enough sleep and avoid stress eating.

-Cheryl Conklin