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Lazy Ways to Lose Weight All January Long, According to Science

How to cut calories and slim down without trying very hard.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

It's mid-January. How are you all doing on those New Year's resolutions to get back in shape? What's that? You haven't moved a muscle except for adjusting your facemask? Well, here's a motivating story for all you binge-watching yet another series—a lazy man's (and woman's) guide to losing weight during the last days of the start of 2021.

Kick back, and let's start burning off those holiday cookies with these science-backed tips to lose weight with little effort. And for more easy ways to lose weight, if you're not too lazy, don't miss Simple Ways to Start Losing Weight Immediately, According to Science.

Let the sun shine in

Woman waking up from a restful nights sleep in her bed

Stay in bed. Just open the shades. And keep your eyes open, too. Morning sunshine that enters your eyes helps synchronize your body for fat burning. A study in PLOS One found that obese women who were exposed to 45 minutes of morning light for three weeks experienced reduced appetite and lower body weight.

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Sit and shiver

Woman in bath

Take a cold bath. Here's why: You have two types of fat in your body—white fat (stores energy; too much causes obesity) and brown fat (expels energy through thermogenesis and metabolism; may improve insulin sensitivity). Repeated exposure to cold temperatures lowers the body's core temp and boosts the activity of brown fat, studies suggest. In one study in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, people who spent 10 consecutive days in rooms cooled to 60.8 degrees significantly increased the activity levels of their brown fat. In another study, this one in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzing PET-CT scans of 1972 people found a correlation between more brown fat and lower body mass. The scientists concluded: "…the amount of brown adipose tissue is inversely correlated with body-mass index, especially in older people, suggesting a potential role of brown adipose tissue in adult human metabolism."

Wear a hydration pack while watching TV

hydration pack

You already know that drinking water is a great strategy for weight loss. Well, here's how to make the technique even easier. Strap on a hydration backpack so you can sip hands-free and won't even have to keep getting up—arrgh, the hassle!!!—to refill your tumbler. For weight loss and good health, "you should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water every day," says Beachbody celebrity trainer Autumn Calabrese, author of Lose Weight Like Crazy Even If You Have a Crazy Life! A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that obese people who replaced two or more high-calorie drinks every day (like these 7 Unhealthiest Drinks for Weight Loss) with zero-calorie beverages like water lost an average of between 2 and 2.5 % of their body weight in six months.

Hire a 'personal chef'

spoon holding up chili from a bowl
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Too lazy to cook? Order an Instant Pot on Prime and follow this delicious, nutritious, weight-loss-friendly Instant Pot Keto Chili recipe that's about as easy as dumping Fruity Pebbles into a cereal bowl. For less than 10 minutes of hands-on time, you'll be rewarded with six—count 'em—six meals. Each serving is under 300 calories.

Fight fat by fidgeting


If sedentary describes you, you're either lazy or, more likely, have a desk job that doesn't allow for a lot of physical activity. Try tapping your foot or bouncing your legs to get a little more movement into your ass-in-chair activity. Researchers reporting in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine found that seated fidgeting significantly increases energy expenditure. They tested subjects who sat and worked while using a standard chair, an under-desk device that encouraged fidgeting, and a fidget-promoting chair. It turned out that the fidget-boosters increased energy expenditure on par with walking about 2 miles per hour.

Dab the Dominos

Woman grabbing slice of cheese pizza with pepperoni meat lovers

Before you take a bite of that slice, take a napkin to it. Mop up some of that oil from the cheese pooling on top and you'll save yourself roughly 40 calories per slice—and maybe avoid dripping grease on your shirt.

Master monotony

banana almond oatmeal

When it comes to planning your meals, take the lazy approach: Be boring. Eat the same things every day. "Most successful losers have just a couple of go-to breakfasts or snacks," says Lauren Slayton, R.D., author of The Little Book of Thin. "Repetition builds rhythm. Be boring." Preset meals make it easier to stick to a weight-loss plan.

Ask him to feed you grapes

green grapes bunch in bowl

Lie on the couch mimicking Cleopatra in repose and ask your significant other to feed you a bunch of grapes while the kids fan you with palm fronds. This daily practice could result in a half-pound of weight loss. Of course, simply grabbing a handful of grapes or an apple from the fridge might be easier than recruiting family members to do your bidding. Researchers reporting in PLOS Medicine analyzed the eating habits of 118,000 people every four years for 24 years and found that people who ate an extra serving of fruit daily over a four-year period lost about a half-pound of weight. People who ate an extra serving of vegetables lost a quarter-pound, on average, suggesting that simple addition to your diet is yet another lazy way to lose.

Stifle cravings with cinnamon

ground cinnamon

This takes no effort at all: Simply sprinkle some ground cinnamon over your coffee before brewing. Or, if you prefer tea, steep a cinnamon stick in the hot water along with your teabag. The American Diabetes Association recommends cinnamon as a natural way to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar, both of which can help manage cravings for carbs and sweets.

Lick a leftover candy cane

peppermint oil

Try having your after-dinner mint before dinner. Peppermint oil signals satiety to your brain, reducing appetite, according to a study in the journal Neurogastroenterology & Motility. The minty flavor also coats your tastebuds, making savory foods and baked goods less appealing. For that reason, gargling or brushing your teeth can effective dessert deterrents.

Leave different crumbs on the couch

Bowl of air popped popcorn

Here's a weight-loss tip you don't even have to get off the couch to practice: Switch from snacking on potato chips to munching on popcorn. While a cup of crushed potato chips packs almost 300 calories, a cup of air-popped popcorn contains just 31 calories. And it won't take much popcorn to fill you up. One study in Nutrition Journal found that 15 calories worth of popcorn was as satisfying as 150 calories of potato chips. For more satiating snacks, check out these 15 Best Snack Combos That Double Weight Loss.

Conduct a covert operation on your casseroles

chicken casserole

Get sneaky with your mac 'n cheese, play hide and seek with carrots, and doctor that chicken and rice dish. Pureeing vegetables and then hiding them in food is a simple trick that parents have used on their kids to get them to eat more vegetables for decades. Now a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that it can work in adults, too. Penn State researchers who hid pureed vegetables in participants' comfort foods found that not only did people like the taste of their food, they consumed on average 357 calories less per day when eating the more filling foods that had been doctored with hidden vegetables.

Take a nap before grocery shopping

Girl napping

Feeling well-rested before you go food shopping may keep your cravings in check so you don't fill your cart with chips, baked goods, and other calorie-dense foods, according to the journal Obesity. In the reported study, 14 normal-weight men were given a set budget and asked to shop for as much food as they could in the morning after a night of sleep and in the morning after a night of sleep deprivation. It turned out that the men purchased more calories and a greater overall amount of food when they were sleep-deprived; more proof that sleep, the laziest of activities, is one of the most effective weight-loss tools. Need help getting some shuteye? Check out these 7 Healthy Diet Changes That Help You Sleep.

Jeff Csatari
Jeff Csatari, a contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, is responsible for editing Galvanized Media books and magazines and for advising journalism students through the Zinczenko New Media Center at Moravian University in Bethlehem, PA. Read more about Jeff