How to lose weight without increasing exercise

by Claire

Chronic illness does not necessarily have to go hand-in-hand with weight gain, but it so often does. Fatigue, pain, shortness of breath, loss of exercise tolerance, post-exertional malaise, and the subsequent loss of strength and stamina all contribute to a sedentary life where the ability to exercise is severely reduced. And of course on top of reduced energy output, many people add an increased energy input that really piles on the kilos. Comfort eating is a very welcome pleasure when we are bored, upset, and depressed. It is also a way to emotionally care for and nourish ourselves when we feel that there is little we can do about our lives. Beyond the habit of comfort eating is a real desire for carbs, sugars and proteins. Often eating the right sort of food can trigger a small rush of energy to our fatigued minds and bodies. Chasing this rush can become addictive and confusing, as often the food that delivers an energy burst one day can overwhelm the digestive system the next, making you feel sluggish and tired instead of perky and alert.

I have previously written about my relationship with my body – I am a fairly body confident person, but the 20 kilos (and growing) I’ve put on since getting sick is starting to get excessive, and I would like to lose some of this weight. I think that this drive is partly because I am getting better; I am leaving the house more, and wanting to wear nice clothes again, and I am slowly starting to take care of my appearance.

So the challenge is; how do you lose weight without increasing exercise? Below is my plan to slowly lose a few kilos:

Start the day with water


I try to start every day with a glass of water and either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Both of these are cleansing and aid in fat loss.
To this I am going to add one liter of water, and then wait at least 45 minutes before starting breakfast for the water to flow through my system.


Green Shake

I used to have a green shake every day as part of my breakfast – Now I’ll make a large one every morning to have before breakfast and before dinner. Increasing my fruit and veggie intake is great, and filing up on nutrient dense, fiber rich foods will mean I can eat less at breakfast and dinner which tend to be more carby and starchy.

Eat Less

Dr Rudi got it right with his diet advice; “It’s very simple – all you have to do is eat less. Anyone who has ever tried this regimen has lost weight. But remember, eating less will not work, unless you actually eat less.“Currently I eat a bit much, so cutting down will be healthy and reasonable. One goal I have is to eat an afternoon and morning snack so I don’t suddenly realise how ravenously hungry I am at lunch and dinner and go overboard.

No Sugar

Fructose is added to absolutely everything – and it’s making us fat. I have some fructose in two serves of fruit a day (combined with fibre, which helps the body deal properly with it), and I have limited sweetener in the form of glucose – which still contains lots of calories, but it doesn’t upset the body as much.

Much less alcohol

Because I don’t need those liquid calories.


Healthy Food Choices

We all know which foods are healthy. I am increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables that I eat, and decreasing any processed foods. I try to have a good portion of raw food as well as some cooked. I try to make sure there is some good protein in every day and only occasionally have home-made glucose-sweetened sweets. If I wanted to find an online movement for motivation and recipe inspiration (which I probably will need in a few weeks) I would go with the JERF movement. Just Eat Real Food. It’s simple enough!

Keeping track

In order to track my progress and maintain motivation I keep a health journal. I write down what I eat every day, and then grade my food choices with a tick, a nothing, or a cross. Eating foods with a cross is fine (sugar, alcohol, too much, fried chips etc.) but I just won’t lose weight if there are lots of crosses on the page. It is so helpful to do an end of week review and just glance at how many ticks or crosses there are.
I also record my weight every day. I lost two kilos in the first two weeks of these small measures, and then gained them both back after a weekend of holiday food. This is a long, slow process, but worth it!

Fat burning foods

There are also some foods out there that either raise the metabolism or increase fat oxidation. For the most part I am just concentrating on eating less and making healthier food choices, but adding these to my diet won’t hurt.

Green Tea – 2-3 cups
Cayenne Pepper

So that’s the plan – I’ll let you know how I get on. Please share with me your stories of how your chronic illness effects your weight, and if you’ve got any weight-loss tips I’d love to hear them!