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How To Lose One Pound a Week Without Ever Exercising

A registered dietitian shares expert tips for achieving long-term, balanced weight loss.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

While the number on the scale isn't the end-all-be-all for good health, losing just one pound per week can help give you the mental boost and mindset required for achieving long-term weight loss. Once you figure out how to sustainably lose that one pound, you are better able to keep your weight in check and set yourself up for success on the path to a slimmer, healthier you. The good news is losing one pound a week doesn't just mean doing rigorous workouts that leave you exhausted or depriving yourself of your favorite foods. We spoke with an expert who shares exactly how to lose one pound a week without exercising.

You can incorporate small, manageable adjustments into your daily routine without crash diets or crazy workout routines. This thoughtful weight loss approach will help you achieve a healthy, balanced lifestyle that you can maintain in the long term.

Destini Moody, RDN, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian and sports dietitian with Garage Gym Reviews, shares with us her expert insights on how to lose one pound a week without exercising. Regardless of your motivation to lose weight, join us on this journey toward a healthier and more balanced life. The best part is it's free from drastic measures, focusing instead on creating sustainable habits that align with your health and fitness goals. Keep reading to learn how you can achieve sustainable weight loss and lose one pound a week without exercising, according to Moody. And, when you're done, don't miss the 7 Best Ways To Burn 500 Calories, According To Personal Trainers.

How many calories do you need to burn to lose one pound of body fat?

woman stepping on scale

Moody states that there are around 3,500 calories in one pound of body fat. That means you must have a caloric deficit of approximately 3,500 weekly to lose one pound every seven days. To simplify things, aim to torch 500 calories a day. However, Moody cautions this recommendation isn't suitable for everyone.

"If you have a low body weight or are inactive, your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is probably quite low," she explains. "Your resting metabolic rate is how many calories you burn at rest. So, say your individual RMR is only 1,600 calories, and you cut 500 calories from your daily diet. If you only eat 1,100 calories a day, this can be dangerous. Dietitians strongly discourage any diets that are 1,200 calories or less as diets this low tend not to provide enough food to give the body all of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and operate optimally."

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Track your food intake.

food journal

Keeping a food journal or using a mobile app to record your meals and snacks can be a total game-changer for reaching your weight loss goals. This practice helps you stay within your calorie goals while providing insights into your eating habits that you can tweak and adjust.

Moody says, "Use a tracking app or a food journal to track how many calories you're currently consuming, and then determine what you can eliminate from your diet. This is one of the most efficient ways of creating a calorie deficit. After all, how can you figure out how many calories to cut if you have no idea how many you're consuming?"

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Identify calorie-dense foods.

avocados, guacamole, toast

Not all calories are created equal. Identify and cut back on calorie-dense foods that pack a high caloric punch without offering substantial nutritional benefits. For example, swap out processed snacks like chips and sodas for nutrient-rich options like fruit or nuts to keep you satiated without the unnecessary calorie load.

"Examine your daily diet to see if there are any high-calorie foods that are unnecessary," recommends Moody. "If you're having toast with a whole avocado (250 calories), consider switching it with toast and a fried egg (70 calories). Foods like avocado, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, and hummus are healthy foods and snacks, but they also pack a lot of calories without filling much stomach space, resulting in you eating way more calories than you probably realize."

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Back off the snacks.

no to chips and snacking concept

Snacking can be a slippery slope—especially if it involves mindlessly munching while sitting in front of the TV. To achieve your one-pound-a-week goal, consider scaling back on snacks, particularly those high in added sugars and unhealthy fats. Instead, eat mindfully and go for whole, unprocessed snacks like fruits, veggies, or a handful of nuts when hunger strikes.

"There's nothing inherently wrong with snacking, but for most people, it's a source of extra calories that can be easily cut when you start pursuing a calorie deficit," says Moody. "Most people feel the need to snack in the first place because they're not having balanced meals. You may find that, by balancing your meals with high amounts of protein, moderate carbs, and a fruit or vegetable, you can easily reduce your calories by eliminating snacking."

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Eat more non-starchy vegetables.

artichokes and asparagus on plate with lemon

Non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, artichokes, and leafy greens are low in calories, high in fiber, and loaded with essential nutrients. Incorporate a variety of colorful veggies into your meals to increase volume without significantly increasing calorie intake.

"Non-starchy vegetables are high-fiber, low-calorie vegetables like leafy greens, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, and so on. These foods add a lot of water, fiber, and volume to your stomach without adding many calories," says Moody. "Your stomach only feels full when it's full, so if you can pack it with low-calorie foods that take up space, this can be an effective tactic at creating a calorie deficit without feeling like you're starving."

Get quality sleep.

mature woman sleeping in bed, concept of cognitive shuffling to fall asleep faster

According to the National Institutes of Health, inadequate sleep can lead to weight gain by disrupting your metabolism and increasing cravings for high-calorie foods. That's why it's essential to prioritize a consistent sleep schedule and create a conducive environment for rest to support your weight loss journey.

"Studies have shown that people who consistently get less than seven hours of sleep a day produce more ghrelin, the body's hunger hormone," Moody states. "Scientists believe that lack of sleep causes the body to seek other fuel sources during waking hours. Also, if you don't sleep well, you've probably noticed your sugar cravings becoming more frequent, which makes losing weight that much more difficult. Aim to sleep eight to nine hours each night to keep hunger at bay and support your weight loss efforts."

Adam Meyer
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
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