Everything that you read emphasizes the importance of exercise as a key component of a weight loss program. And while it’s true, and it speeds up your progress towards reaching your goals, if you are faced with having a primarily sedentary lifestyle, you don’t have to feel like your weight loss plans are doomed to fail.
In fact, much of your progress can be made in the kitchen through healthy food choices. This isn’t to say that you should eliminate exercise and adopt a sedentary lifestyle, and having one will indeed make your progress slower, but rather if you are in a job where you sit a lot, you're lazy, are always on the road travelling, or have trouble finding childcare to look after your kids and leave the house for the gym, here’s what you can do to stay on track:
- Cut out alcohol – It’s one thing to have to sit during the day, but it’s another to come home at night and sit around with a glass or two of wine while you dis-engage from the day. Cutting out your regular after work alcohol intake can drastically reduce the number of calories you consume, and in the process play a big role in helping you reduce your waistline, despite not having too much time to exercise.
- Choose the active option when possible – It may sound like old news, but taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting up and walking around the office every hour, and taking 20 minutes on your lunch break to go for a walk are all great ways to integrate extra activity into your day that aren’t direct exercise. Even these few things, just 10 minutes at a time can make a huge difference in your lifestyle.
- Maintain a regular eating schedule – Don’t eat so often that you are eating in excess, but don’t starve yourself so that you end up binge eating on everything in sight when you get home. Part of losing weight in a sedentary lifestyle is recognizing that while you are still burning calories, and need to eat, you aren’t burning as many calories as someone who is active and exercising regularly, so it an be easy to eat more than you burn and not make any progress on your plan. Be mindful of the calories you take in, and eat at regular intervals so you are never too hungry and overeat.
- Eat protein, complex carbohydrate and healthy fat at every meal – Along with eating regularly, combining these three macronutrients at every meal will help fill you up so that you are satisfied after your meal for longer and don’t tend to nibble on food even when you aren’t hungry, or worse yet, end up hungry a short time later and just overeating. You may notice as well, that combining foods with these macronutrients, it will take less to fill you up, and you will likely be able to increase your overall food intake, and thereby your overall calorie consumption.
- Fill up on vegetables – Focus, not on what you shouldn’t eat, or the things you can’t do, but rather what you should eat, and the things you can do. One of the big ones is vegetables. Load up your plate with vegetables at every meal to fill you up, offer a great intake of nutrients and antioxidants, and to take the place of other higher calorie alternatives like pasta, bread and meat. Aim to have most of your plate as veggies and only a small portion as meat and carbohydrates, especially in your weight loss quest.