5 Simple Ways to Lose Weight Without Spending a Dime

Health-related goals like losing weight, and financial goals like spending less or saving more, are among the most common New Year’s resolutions each year.

Losing weight and gaining wealth might seem like incompatible goals. After all, Americans spend $33 billion on weight-loss products every year, according to the Boston Medical Center.

But you can lose weight without buying into weight-loss products or services. We’ve identified five methods supported by scientific research.

They’re all cost-free, safe and relatively simple. They involve no diets, supplements, workout equipment or whatever else the weight-loss industry might peddle to folks who’ve resolved to shed pounds in 2019.

1. Drink water before eating

Focus and Blur / Shutterstock.com
Focus and Blur / Shutterstock.com

Mounting evidence suggests that drinking water before meals can aid weight loss efforts.

For example, a study published in the research journal Obesity in 2015 found that drinking 500 milliliters of water — roughly one 16-ounce glass — 30 minutes before eating their main meals can help obese adults lose weight.

Over a 12-week period, the study participants who were instructed to “preload” with water before meals lost an average of 2.87 pounds more than the participants who did not preload with water.

Study co-author Helen Parretti, a lecturer at England’s University of Birmingham, explains:

“The beauty of these findings is in the simplicity. Just drinking a pint of water, three times a day, before your main meals may help reduce your weight.”

2. Don’t stay up too late

PR Image Factory / Shutterstock.com
PR Image Factory / Shutterstock.com

As we reported in “5 Ways That Being a Night Owl Can Harm Your Health,” studies have associated staying up late with consuming more calories.

In a large study published in the journal Sleep in 2013, participants whose sleep was restricted to 4 to 8 a.m. consumed more calories overall compared with those who went to bed from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. The researchers attributed this difference to the first group eating more food late at night.

3. Get enough sleep

gpointstudio / Shutterstock.com
gpointstudio / Shutterstock.com

Getting fewer than five to six hours of sleep per night can increase your chances of weight gain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Just don’t oversleep either, as getting more than nine hours of sleep can also lead to weight gain.

So, what’s the magic number?

Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology reports that the consensus is most adults need at least seven hours per night. Here’s why:

“Researchers believe that a lack of sleep alters the release of two hormones that help your body to regulate feelings of hunger. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and releases less leptin, which suppresses appetite. This could lead to an afternoon trip to the vending machine for a candy bar or a visit to the coffee shop for a drink filled with fat and sugar.”

4. Avoid distractions

Oleg Troino / Shutterstock.com
Oleg Troino / Shutterstock.com

The American Heart Association defines “mindless eating,” in part, as eating while distracted — such as while watching TV, working at a computer or texting. The AHA continues:

“Simply put, it’s not paying attention to what we eat, which can lead to being overweight and even obesity.”

Brian Wansink, founder and director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, has written an entire book on the topic. It’s called “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.”

The solution to mindless eating is perhaps what researchers at the University of Birmingham call “attentive eating.” That means thinking about the flavor and texture of food while eating and recalling what you ate at your most recent meal, for example.

The researchers’ comprehensive study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013, suggests that not only do people who are distracted from their meals tend to eat more at those meals, but they also tend to eat more at later snacking sessions. People who eat attentively at meals, on the other hand, snacked about 10 percent less.

The university explains:

“The evidence suggests that distracted eating reduces people’s ability to remember what they have eaten earlier in the day. Since food memories normally inhibit later appetite, distraction may increase intake later in the day by interfering with these memories.”

5. Use smaller dishes

Vlad.Romensky / Shutterstock.com
Vlad.Romensky / Shutterstock.com

A comprehensive study published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research in 2016 found that the size of the plate or bowl you eat from can have a “substantial” effect on how much you eat.

Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab did not conduct the study but emphasized that using a smaller plate is more effective when you are serving your portions to yourself, such as at a buffet, rather than when you are served food by someone else.

As it turns out, serving yourself with a smaller plate leads you to serve yourself less food, which in turn leads you to eat less.

If you’re intrigued, check out the Food and Brand Lab’s Small Plate Movement challenge. It entails eating off a 10-inch plate, rather than the usual 12-inch dinner plate, at your largest meal of the day for a month.

Do you know of other ways to lose weight without spending money? Let us know below or over on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
17 Items Under $40 That Will Organize Your Home
17 Items Under $40 That Will Organize Your Home

These clever products on Amazon can help transform a messy nest into the pristine home of your dreams.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

Don’t Trash These 11 ‘Disposable’ Items — Reuse Them
Don’t Trash These 11 ‘Disposable’ Items — Reuse Them

Are you throwing away money? Consider giving these things a new purpose.

These 5 Laptops Have the Best Battery Life
These 5 Laptops Have the Best Battery Life

Need a laptop that runs as long as you do? Check out these models.

5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down
5 Monthly Bills You Can Easily Negotiate Down

Here’s how to bring down recurring expenses and save hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars each year.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

Social Security Checks Likely to Grow This Much in 2021
Social Security Checks Likely to Grow This Much in 2021

The federal government recently released a key statistic that gives clear insight into what next year’s COLA will be.

The Safest Grocery Store to Shop During the Coronavirus
The Safest Grocery Store to Shop During the Coronavirus

One grocery chain stands especially tall in its efforts to keep stores safe in the age of COVID-19.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

7 Hobbies That Help You Live Longer
7 Hobbies That Help You Live Longer

Research shows some hobbies can add years — or even decades — to your life.

Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease
Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

One type of food associated with the Mediterranean diet offers especially large benefits.

5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less
5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less

In this week’s podcast: tips on retiring overseas — from someone who’s been helping American expats for decades.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.