(Natural News) The lack of exercise can contribute to a wide array of health problems, including obesity and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, around 39 percent of the American adult population is obese.
For people who have sedentary lifestyles, but can’t allot time for exercise, there are natural ways to burn fat that are less strenuous compared to normal exercises. Adopting these small changes may help a person lose weight. Here are five natural ways of burning fat without exercise.
1. Eat protein-rich foods
The body needs protein to repair tissues, maintain bone and muscle health, and a variety of other purposes. Aside from these, some studies have shown that consuming protein helps burn fat.
One review of different studies examining the effects of high-protein diets on body weight, fat loss, and satiety found compelling evidence that high-protein meals helped with weight loss. The studies suggested that high-protein meals reduced energy intake, thereby reducing stored fat. This meant that eating protein-rich foods made a person feel fuller, reducing the urge to eat more.
Protein is found across a wide variety of foods, not only meat and poultry. Some of these foods include:
- Nuts & seeds (walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, etc.)
- Legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans, peas, etc.)
- Fresh fish (wild-caught salmon, tuna, etc.)
2. Avoid sugary drinks
Even if a person reduces the amount of food intake, drinking sugary beverages can still contribute to weight gain. Sugary or soft drinks contain a lot of calories and little to no nutritional value.
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A study conducted in Europe found that sugary soft drinks led to a higher risk of all-cause mortality. Specifically, the researchers found that drinking artificially sweetened soft drinks (the “diet” beverages) was linked to deaths from circulatory diseases. On the other hand, researchers connected sugar-sweetened drinks with deaths from digestive diseases.
Some of these beverages include:
- Fruit punch
- Sweetened powder drinks
- Sports and energy drinks
3. Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a diet pattern, wherein a person only eats within a designated time frame each day. It is promoted to encourage weight loss and improve health.
A review of studies on IF showed that it was effective to some degree. While there were variations on weight loss effectiveness, human clinical trials and mice experiments exhibited improvements in health. IF had anti-inflammatory effects and displayed benefits in the gut microbiome. Moreover, it promoted autophagy, the process of removing damaged cells from the body.
IF’s most valuable contribution, however, is how it helps a person manage hunger. Cravings come and go all the time, and it is easy to fall for them. Setting a window for eating limits food intake and teaches the person to control those cravings.
The most common methods of IF include:
- Alternate-day fasting – This is switching between days of normal eating and days where a person eats only 25 percent of daily calorie needs. For example, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are meant for fasting.
- Whole-day fasting – This is setting aside days for fasting within a week. For example, the 5:2 diet approach means fasting for two whole days a week and eating normally for the rest.
- Time-restricted fasting – This method sets a window within the day where a person can eat normally. The common time frame is 12:8 hours. A person eats within eight hours and fasts for the rest.
4. Reduce stress
When people are stressed, they tend to reach for comfort foods.
Studies have shown that the neurobiology of stress overlaps with the areas of the brain that regulate appetite and energy. High levels of stress significantly influence diet patterns and increase the cravings for high calorie foods. In fact, research compares stress eating to drug addiction, in that both seek something akin to a reward. The high levels of stress coupled with high-calorie foods inevitably results in weight gain and an increased risk of diseases.
Here are some things that can help manage stress:
- Developing a stress management plan
- Interacting with family and friends
- Doing relaxing activities (i.e. meditation, getting a massage)
- Seeking help from a psychiatrist or counselor
5. Get enough sleep
The body requires sleep in order to perform maintenance on the body. It repairs tissues, stores memories long-term, and other crucial functions that keep the body healthy.
The recommended amount of sleep per night is seven to nine hours. However, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control reports that a third of American adults do not get enough sleep each night. This leads to an increased risk of developing numerous diseases and conditions, like heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. (Related: Sleep deprivation may cause weight gain.)
Reduce these risks by getting enough sleep each night. Here are some things that you can do if you’re having difficulty sleeping:
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Turn off the lights before sleeping
- Meditate before going to bed
- Take a hot shower to relax your body before sleeping
- Play some calming music in the background
6. Adding physical activity into the day
Physical activity does not necessarily translate to going to the gym or playing a sport. It can also refer to everyday movements, like walking or going up the stairs.
It is important to consciously take the step to become more active in some way. Try doing the following:
- Brisk walking
- Household chores
- Playing with the kids
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Parking farther from the entrance
- Properly carrying heavy objects
- Taking a lunchtime walk
All of these are relatively small efforts for incorporating physical activity into your day.
It may be difficult to find time for exercise, but there are natural ways to burn fat. Incorporating these practices is one step toward reaching a healthier body. Learn more about keeping the body primed and how to do it at Health.news.