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20 Alternative Ways to Lose Weight

Updated on October 21, 2017

Need to lose weight?  Ok then, time to go on a diet and exercise more, right? But diets don't work and exercise is... well, it's exercise and if you had the motivation to jog daily or spend an hour every day at the gym you probably wouldn't be reading this article.

So, here are 20 ways to lose weight without diet or exercise (without drugs or "miracle" pills, too, because there's really no purpose if you're going to remain unhealthy).  Some of these you probably already know.  Some, maybe not.  Either way, these are ways to either burn more calories throughout the week or (less painfully) eat more healthy.

If you're serious about losing weight and you've already tried that crazy diet and exercise fad (ahem), give these a shot.

1. Take a Cold Bath

Because your body burns calories to maintain its 98.6 degrees temperature, you will burn more calories sitting in a tub of cold water than if you were to spend the same amount of time hiking with a 40 pound backpack. (Sure it's not pleasant or comfortable, but this article wasn't titled "20 Pleasant and Comfortable ways to lose weight" for a reason.)

If you want to know some of the science and enjoy reading words like "thermoregulation" and "erector pili muscles," check out

2. Drink Ice Cold Water

Your body temperature is 98.6 degrees and cold water is maybe 40 degrees. In order to maintain homeostasis (a constant internal temperature), your body has to bring that ice water up by about 60 degrees. If you drink one eight ounce cup of ICE COLD water, your body will burn off 7.69 calories to warm the ice cold water to body temperature. So if you were to drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day, but made sure it was ice cold... you would burn over 60 extra calories per day by doing what you already know you should be doing - drinking water!

3. Stand Up

If you can stand doing whatever you're doing instead of sitting down, you'll burn roughly 50% more calories doing so. There is no law stating that you must sit down to watch TV or speak on the phone.

4. Laugh

Real laughter has been found to burn 10-20% more calories. Time to rent some comedies, watch comedians, hang out in the Youtube funny section, or do whatever would make you laugh out loud. (It's really healthy, too, as it's been shown to stimulate the immune system.)

5. Park further away - stairs instead of elevator

Yes, I know you know these, but do you do them? Consistently? There are many cultures in our world with almost no obesity, and the biggest reason for this is that they walk or bike all the time.

Bottom line: If there's a place you need to get to, find a way to make yourself walk a little further to get there.

6. Walk faster

Walking is definitely healthy. But if you want to burn more calories, you want to walk faster. The side benefit to this is that everyone will think you're really busy, that you're on a mission! Think I'm joking, try this in the workplace. People will think you're always busy and/or important.

7. Play Wii Fit (Plus)

Wii Fit is OK, but Wii Fit Plus is far better, actually giving you a fun workout by allowing you to string the games and exercises together, or it'll do it for you if you choose. Yes, this is sort of exercise, but I included it here because you can actually burn calories when you're having a snowball fight, hula hoping, juggling, or tilting a table so that a dang tiny annoying LITTLE BALL FALLS INTO THE RIGHT HOLE!! (Yes, I've played...)

There are people that actually studied this. You do burn calories playing Wii (boxing being one with the highest burn rate). Plus, there are several other Nintendo Wii "games" that lead you either directly or indirectly through a decent workout. Look in the Amazon section below for several games that ALL have gotten excellent reviews.

8. Be a Label Reader

Look for whole grain products (but actually check out the fiber content, as some "whole grain" is just a labeling gimmick). Choose frozen or fresh vegetable over canned. Avoid foods with lots of sugar and ideally avoid or eat significantly less foods with preservatives.

In other words, be conscious of what you eat and eat what you already know is what's healthy.

9. Eat Negative Calorie Foods

There are some foods (asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, zucchini) that have such few calories that the act of digestion in the body will burn more calories than the food itself, creating a negative calorie balance.

There are many more! Visit this site:

10. Be a Substituter

The following substitution suggestions can help you lower fat, salt, sugar, and calories and increase fiber in your recipes. This is not even close to a comprehensive list. Here are three recommended sites with a long list of item substitutions (copy into browser):

If the recipe calls for -- Substitute with:

· All-purpose (plain) flour -- Whole-wheat flour for half of the called-for all-purpose flour in baked goods

· Butter, shortening, or oil in baked goods -- Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called-for butter, shortening, or oil

· Butter, margarine, shortening or oil to prevent sticking -- Cooking spray or nonstick pans

· Dry bread crumbs -- Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal

· Eggs -- Two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg

· Enriched pasta -- Whole-wheat pasta

· White rice -- Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur or pearl barley

· Whole milk -- Reduced-fat or fat-free milk

· White sugar 1 cup -- 1 cup brown sugar OR 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar OR 3/4 cup honey OR 3/4 cup corn syrup

11. Add spices and Herbs to your food

The correct combinations of ma huang (ephedra - which contains ephedrine), guarana (kola nut - which contains caffeine), and white willow bark (which contains “natural aspirin”), can increase thermogenesis (heat production), which burns calories. Ginseng (Siberian and Panax), astragulus, gotu kola, schizandra, and licorice root assist the body in homeostasis and stress adaptation.

Cayenne pepper, ginger, and mustard increase the metabolism; less than 1 teaspoon of dry mustard can increase the metabolism 25% for up to 3 hours. Green tea is also known to raise metabolism (and is quite healthy). Bay leaf, cinnamon, and clove decrease sugar cravings and help control blood glucose levels.

12. Wear ankle and wrist weights

Wear ankle and wrist weights while cleaning, working in the garage, doing yard or garden work, watching the kids... Basically, anytime you're doing some sort of activity where you don't have to set beautiful fashion standards, you can tone and burn calories wearing the weights.

13. Dance

Take a dance class with your partner (and practice OFTEN at home) or just crank up the music and cut loose. Have fun, shake your booty, swing the arms, jump up and down, go crazy!

14. Sex

It's well known that sex burns calories. I'll avoid the details. If you want more science, google "calories burned during sex" but read the sites with a critical eye.

15.Garden or Garage

Preparing and tilling the soil, planting, and weeding are great activities for body and mind. Or build something - do some woodworking or something similar. Use your muscles and do something proactive for your house, yard, or neighborhood.

16. Play with your kids or grandchildren

Children LOVE it - and I mean absolutely and entirely love it - when an adult really plays with them, chases them, crawls around with them, hides, runs... If you don't do it for yourself, then at least do it for the kids.

17. Breathe and give yourself Mini-Meditations

Take a deep breath and on the exhale, relax your body and allow your muscles to stretch further. Feel your breath go through the body, through the vertebrae in the back, causing them to relax and to release tension and tightness.

As you go about your daily routine, do it more deliberately, really stretch the body, and breathe deeply into each stretch. It may seem silly, but pretend to be a ballerina or maybe a children's costumed character where every movement is exaggerated and extended.

Give yourself frequent "mini-meditations" where you take just a moment and breathe in deeply, imagining the breath flowing all the way through the body.

Other ways to meditate anywhere, keeping in mind that there are two keys to meditation, 1) deep breathing and 2) some sort of mental focus. With the following list, pause for a moment and notice as many of the item as you can see. And go slowly as you notice these, take them in, and breathe every 2 or 3.

· Shadows

· Corners

· Spaces BETWEEN things (think like an artist)

· Listen and count as many different sounds as possible

· Eat VERY slowly and mindfully (this can be a topic all on its own)

· Many more - just choose a category, pause, and experience your world

18. Volunteer

Help clean up the neighborhood - organize a spring cleaning. Help out local scouts, school events, Habitat for Humanity, food shelters, community centers, help clean/straighten local library. Volunteer to mow lawns or shovel snow in your neighborhood.

People may look at you strange, unfortunately, when you offer such help. But if you simply explain that not only do you enjoy helping, but it's also great exercise, then I'm sure they'll understand.

19. Play

Go outside and have some fun. Hula hoop, shoot some baskets, climb a tree (careful!), skip and race like a kid, hit a tennis ball against a wall, play drums, throw a baseball into one of those springy net things that bounce it back to you... And if you're bad at any of these, then you'll likely end up getting even MORE exercise chasing the ball around or whatever.

Basically, get off the couch, get away from the computer or the TV, go outside, and enjoy your life!

20. Rebound or Jump on a mini-trampoline

Ok, this last one is pretty much exercise. But it's been found (by NASA and many others) to be the absolute best form of exercise for long-term health. Plus, you can do it while watching TV, listening to music, etc. It's not bad on the joints. And if it's done right, it can be sorta kinda fun.

There you go, 20 ways to lose weight without diet or exercise.

Know this, each time you do even just one extra thing, it makes it easier to do the next one, and then the next one, and so on. Eventually, you want to just LIVE a life of health and activity. No more dieting. No more crazy inconsistent workout routines.

Just live a life of health and fun and watch the weight melt away.

Have fun!


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