If you don't have time to do much exercise and want to lose weight, you're going to have to be extra vigilant about what you eat. When you eat more calories than you burn, you're going to gain weight, bottom line. While pairing an exercise program with a healthy eating plan is the optimal solution to shedding pounds, there are a few tweaks you can make to your lifestyle, without devoting a lot of time to exercise, that will help you lose a bit of weight over time.
Raid your pantry. Losing weight with minimal exercise means lowering your calorie intake and changing what you eat. Mount an expedition into the deepest recesses of your pantry and fridge. If you see lots of boxes or cartons that are stamped with long lists of ingredients you can't pronounce and still add up to a whole bunch of calories in one serving, get rid of them. If the salt content of one can of soup alone fulfills your daily sodium requirement of 1500 to 2300 milligrams, then don't buy it again. Fill your fridge with fresh fruits, fibrous vegetables and the leanest cuts of meat you can find for a reasonable price. Stock your pantry with whole-grain pastas and bread, and replace your bags of chips with low-calorie trail mix or jars of seeds and nuts.
Eat less and snack more. Even though that pasta sauce bubbling away on the burner is enticing you to fill your plate with a mound of spaghetti noodles, don't do it. Exchanging 1 1/2 cups of cooked spaghetti for a more reasonable half cup saves you 175 calories, according to the Mayo Clinic. Reduce your portions over time to help yourself ease into this lifestyle change so you won't be tempted to over-eat. Feed those hunger pangs during the day with small, healthy snacks, and drink more water to fill up your tummy.
Exercise when you can and however you can in order to lose weight. Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that a healthy adult get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, they also advocate breaking down those 20 to 30 minutes a day into 10-minute chunks. That means you can get creative without spending a lot of time exercising. There are opportunities all around you -- a staircase here and a sidewalk there. You can jazz up your housework routine and throw in a few lunges while you vacuum. Or, simply spend 10 minutes horsing around with your hubby in the backyard playing badminton or Frisbee.
Spend 10 to 15 minutes two to three days a week on strength training in order to lose weight. Increased muscle mass burns more calories at rest than fat does. Buy a set of 5-, 7- and 10-pound dumbbells. Start with the lightest weight and switch to the higher weights over time as you get stronger. Perform eight repetitions of each exercise to begin with and then work your way up to three sets of eight reps over time.
- If you're under a doctor's care for a condition that requires you to eat certain foods, in certain quantities, then under no circumstances stop eating them or adjust the portion size.
Linda Kaban is a certified yoga teacher and professional life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. With a bachelor's degree in the humanities, Kaban has been writing since 1998 and has been published in YOGALife magazine along with other healthy living publications.