Want to lose weight without going to the gym? Take advantage of some of life’s greatest (and surprisingly fat burning) pleasures like sleep, sex, acupuncture, laughter, and just breathing deeply—no diet, no sweat.
1. Lose Weight by Having Sex–
Sex is a great way to lose weight. In fact, the average sex session burns 150 to 250 calories per half hour—depending on how athletic your sex tends to be. Dr. Laura Berman, PhD, LCSW, a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics-gynecology and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago, and director of the Berman Center has said that sex is definitely a good workout– even if you aren’t extremely acrobatic, as sex naturally gets your heart rate up, which in turn improves circulation and burns calories and fat. By practicing positions other than just missionary, you are also engaging different muscle groups, so it can be both a cardio and toning exercise.
2. Lose Weight with Acupuncture and Herbs–
The point of acupuncture is to balance specific organ systems in the promotion of a healthy body. But more than tonifying the blood and keeping the Qi in check, acupuncture has been used for centuries to regulate weight by helping with metabolism and energy production. According to acupuncturist Douglas Eisenstark L.Ac., who has served as a Clinic Supervisor at Emperor’s College and Yo-San University, “Weight loss is a part of the ‘middle burner’ or the spleen, stomach and liver organ systems of Chinese Medicine.” Focusing on those meridians address digestion and the clearing, which are also related to stress—a common cause of overeating. In conjunction with the acupuncture, herbs are a vital part of Chinese Medicine. Doug doesn’t just put his patients on an across the board weight loss formula since the impetus for weight gain is different for each person. “Weight loss formulas generally help in digestion. However, there are different formulas for different conditions and each case is different. One should see an experienced Chinese herbalist to get a proper formula.”
3. Lose Weight by Sleeping–
Sleep is more than just a pretty-making mechanism. While you get your beauty rest, your body is working away to regulate your systems and heal any damage done from daily wear and tear. More than the necessary mending, your digestive system is also pumping hard to process your food, metabolizing carbohydrates and breaking down fats. Some studies have linked sleep deprivation to weight problems, with the likely culprit being changes in hormone levels—cortisol and insulin in particular. Cortisol’s main responsibility is the regulation of sugar, protein, fat, mineral and water metabolism. When physical or emotional stress throws us out of whack, cortisol reacts by pumping up the produced levels. Sleep deprivation also triggers cortisol production. Insulin is in charge of blood sugar and fat storage. Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased levels of insulin, which makes weight loss more challenging. Bottom line: unless you want your bottom to continue to expand, treat yourself to a good night sleep– nightly.
4. Lose Weight by Getting a Massage–
Massage improves circulation, helping in the interchange of oxygen and nutrients between the blood and tissue cells which increases muscle recovery and strengthening. More than muscle, massage is believed to be able to move toxins and water weight from the body as well as burst fat cells, forcing them to be absorbed away instead of bunching up on your thighs. More than releasing water weight and breaking down fat cells, according to reflexology there are certain pressure points on the feet that can stimulate the metabolism and encourage weight loss.
5. Lose Weight by Volunteering–
Whether you’re collecting trash along the ocean’s shore, helping out at a retirement home, or walking shelter dogs, volunteering is undoubtedly a great green activity that lets you get out of your box and do something for someone other than yourself. Now, more than a do-good pursuit, you might also be able to make your contribution a multi-tasking activity, especially when it comes to hanging out with rescue pups. Research from the University of Missouri at Columbia showed that volunteers who walked shelter dogs for an hour a week also lost weight—about 12 pounds a year. Up your dog walking activity to 20 minutes a day for five days a week and the average weight loss goes up to 14 pounds a year! Volunteering at a shelter is, sure, great for the dogs, but it’s great for your mind and body too. Some studies have shown that about 70% of people who commit to those weekly walks keep it up long term (and often stay longer than an hour)– which is a much high rate of return than any average exercise program. Not sure that dog walking is your cup of tea? Determine your volunteer personality then make sure to incorporate an active angle, like walking along a local trail picking up trash or preparing food at a neighborhood food bank. The great news is, even if you don’t lose weight, you know you’ve done your part to help the environment or another person today.
6. Lose Weight with Spice–
If you want to start shedding pounds tonight, toss an extra clove of garlic into your crock pot. The Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco showed that spicing up your meals with garlic and pepper can help curb overeating. Research revealed that overweight people who added extra calorie-free and salt-free flavors to their meals lost an average of 30 pounds in six months. Alan Hirsch, M.D., founder of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago says that “The flavors made people focus on the sensory characteristics of the food — its smell and taste.” When foods are more enjoyable, eaters tend to feel fuller faster and therefore aren’t tempted to overeat. A few spices to try: onions, garlic, hot peppers, and horseradish. A note: try to skip the salt which promotes water weight gain—it may not be fat, but the swell sure makes it seem like it.
7. Lose Weight with every Breath you Take–
We couldn’t live if we didn’t breathe. The question is: Are you reaping all of the rewards of your breath? Breathing correctly can actually help you to lose weight. Problem is—few people do. Scientists from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque found that women who relaxed in meditation class once a week lost an average of 4 lbs a month. Billy Blanks Jr. who helps thousands lose weight with his “Dance with Me” classes and DVDs believes that breath is one of the best no-equipment necessary, easy green exercises that so many people do incorrectly. “Singers breathe correctly.” Billy says, “It is the kind of breath that you are supposed to do in daily life. It’s called diaphragmatic breathing– in through your nose and out through mouth. As you breathe in your stomach is filled with the maximum amount of oxygen and so your stomach expands and goes out. When you exhale your stomach goes in.” It makes sense when you think about it, but it’s opposite of how the average person breathes. Full deep diaphragmatic breathing actually burns more calories and helps to tone your abs because you are actively using the muscles in your core over and over again all day long. It also delivers more oxygen to your blood and muscles, allowing you to workout harder and longer. Not sure if you’re doing it right? Billy suggests that you lay on your back. When we lay on our backs we naturally breathe correctly. Place your hand on your stomach and naturally inhale, watching your belly and your hand raise up. The slightly open your mouth and slowly, with control exhale. The goal is to exhale for 35 counts. Once you master it, diaphragmatic breathing becomes second nature.
8. Lose Weight with Laughter–
Laughter really may be the best medicine. Not only does it calm the nerves, improve the immune system, and break the ice, but it also burns calories. Yes, a good giggle provides a natural cardiovascular workout for your insides, by increasing your heart rate and circulation, and toning your abdominal muscles. Dr. William Fry of Stanford University says, “Laughing heartily five times a day has the same beneficial effects as ten minutes on a rowing machine.” What’s more? 10-15 minutes of solid laughter can burn 50 calories which can translate to 4.4 pounds in a year– hey, every little bit counts!