How to Burn Calories Without Exercise

By , Denise Schipani, Woman's Day
Slim-Down Ideas

Splurging on a gym membership isn't the only way to weight loss. What you eat is obviously important, but how you eat can also help you reach your goal weight. Click through for nutrition tips that could help boost your metabolism. Try these pointers for yourself and you could drop 10 pounds—no sweat! 

Rev Up Your Metabolism with Healthy Fats

Research has found that eating fat for breakfast turns on your fat-burning switch and helps your body use more calories all day long.
Try these foods in the A.M.:
  • 2 eggs cooked in 1 Tbsp olive or canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter on whole-wheat toast
  • Sliced avocado on English muffin with 1 slice of cheese
Cold Water

One study showed that drinking two 8-oz glasses of water increased metabolism by 30%—and cold water boosted the burn a bit more.
Sip a glass of water (or unsweetened iced tea, which will also give you a shot of caffeine) with each meal. For added flavor—and vitamin C—drop sliced lemon into a pitcher of water and let it sit overnight in the fridge before drinking.

Smart Swaps to Fuel Your Slimdown


Swap Out: 1 cup blueberries
Swap In: 1 cup sliced strawberries

A cup of strawberries has 130% of your daily dose of vitamin C—a nutrient your body needs to burn fat—whereas blueberries contain just about 20%.


Swap Out: An 8" flour tortilla
Swap In: A 6" corn tortilla

Opting for the corn version in tacos and quesadillas saves about 100 calories and delivers 100% whole grains, which take more energy to digest.

Afternoon Snack

Swap Out: Hummus
Swap In: Greek yogurt dip

You burn more calories digesting protein than any other nutrient, and Greek yogurt has 11.5 g per ½ cup. Mix ½ cup plain Greek yogurt + ½ cucumber, grated + 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice + 2 Tbsp chopped dill or mint.


Swap Out: Soy sauce
Swap In: Curry powder

Curry contains curcumin, a compound that helps control hormones linked to weight gain. Try 1 to 2 Tbsp curry powder instead of soy sauce (which can cause bloating, too) in your next stir-fry.


Swap Out: A fudge pop
Swap In: 1 oz dark chocolate

A new study shows that people who ate more dark chocolate weighed less. The researchers suspect antioxidants in chocolate may boost metabolism.

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How do you burn calories without exercise? What suggestions will you try?

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Blueberries are high in antioxidants. Report
Strawberries instead of blueberries? Both have good health benefits! Report
You guys do realize curry can refer to any combination of spices right??? Report
I love strawberry guess, I will eat more now. love love them little red berry. Report
the information about the blueberries vs. strawberris is quite amazing. I guess I always assummed berries are berries. Report
Drinking water is so important!. I need to drink mine warm or hot for health reasons. I always thought the "cold" water trick was a old wife tale Report
I like the dark chocolate one. love that stuff and try to use it in small doses. Report
Great ideas. Didn't know Vitamin C helped in burning fat. Will incorporate more strawberries. Report
Great ideas! Report
I appreciate the swapping tips. Report
sounds to gimmicky and how can you measure that your burning more fat cos of these subsitutes? Report
interesting! Report
there were a couple of swap outs I did not know. I still wonder about the exercise though. I guess it would help with the weight loss quicker since it is a sure fire way to boost metabalism Report
I didn't read the whole article but I too think you need to exercise to lose weight permanetly.I use a stand up elliptical machine and it has really helped to limber up my lower back and I use the "El"machine everyday.Drink lots of water also.I don't drink what the experts reccomend but do try to drink as much as I can. I am not a morning person so breakfast is OUT except I do try to eat one piece of toast with my one med.every day.That to me constitutes breakfast.It is close to lunch time right now so will have some lunch soon.I try to stay away from high fat foods but sometimes allow myself a fried treat...not more than twice a year but I would rather eat a piece of fried chicken than something sweet.I have to be very careful as fried food is my weakness luckily I don't eat out very often and I love to cook so we eat in mostly.Anyway this article has issues I disagree with. Report
great tips Report
Bravelute, I too found myself arguing with this blog, for all the reasons you did but also since studies have proven that skipping meals in no way attributes to greater weight gain. Infact it's found those that normally never ate breakfast and began doing so over consume, as they simply eat it IN ADDITION to what they normally consumed for Lunch and dinner, where they were already fufiling their caloric needs. Just be aware, if you start having those two eggs and toast, you're adding alot of calories and must remove them from your other meals. Also, drinking cold water doesn't have more then at most a 5 calorie difference. Now if you're drinking that cold water instead of a cold soda, now we're talking! But the theory has been if the water is cold your body has to work harder to heat it up... the problem with this is that burn to process food is usually present in our calculations already (daily need). So drink more water by all means, but none of these things replace active lifestyle. You'll still need to hit the cardio. Report
I agree about the the other comment about the blueberries.....I eat both berries in my smoothies as they both have their own attributes. Report
Great tips...thanks Report
Thanks for these lovely and workable suggestions. Report
Thank you for these GREAT suggestions! I didn't realize strawberries had that much vitamin C and I would have chosen blueberries as the more superior. As it is I PREFER strawberries and eat them often. I'm already eating the healty fats and that is what help me last year to get my weight off and inches as well. I'll try some of the other suggestions I'm sure! :) Report
I will try the cold water with lemon. Report
Got to try these tips! Really could use a jump start to this metabolism of mine! Report
Great tips! Thanks for sharing! Report
WHOA great ideas ,thanks sparkpeople to the rescue!!!! Report
Some good swap ideas plus I think I'll have those 2 eggs. I frequently swap things around based on what I have on hand.
Brave, I'm glad you were "brave" enough to add your comments. There are lots of things to substitute This for That. Hmm, I think there is someone making a gazillion dollars selling books doing exactly that. You, too, shared good info. I thought sharing info was part of the goal of SP.
Thanks to all who take the time to comment. Report
Wow , I feel real good about myself - I have been practicing these methods by accident :) - good to know ! Report
good ideas. boy did someone wake up on the grumpy side of the bed this morning. Report
Nice tips Report
I found myself arguing with this blog. Why swap out blueberries? Why not mix 1/2 and 1/2 blueberries and strawberries for all the benefits of each.

And hummus would be a super food to keep in the diet. Why not switch out french fries and replace with hummus OR Greek Yogurt dip and some crispy raw veggies?

Chick peas have 7 g. of protein in 1/2 cup. Not too shabby as protein goes in pant foods.

While the claims may be true, it is simple enough for a researcher to really see if eating more protein does boost metabolism or not.

Most foods you mentioned as MAYBE boosting metabolism, MAYBE because of protein content are actually on the anti angiogenic food list that Dr. William Li mentions on his Ted Talk video: Can We Eat to Defeat Cancer Cells? where he says anti-angiogenesis can deprive cancer cells and fat cells of a blood supply and we can do that with the food we eat.That's a good thing since those cells have no blood supply of their own. So if eating yogurt, olive oil, chocolate, strawberries, blueberries, and a myriad of other foods destroys the blood supply to the fat cells, the process probably uses up calories just forging ahead on that battlefield. I imagine a great epic battle being waged in my body when I eat a meal that focuses on anti-angiogenic foods, Report
Really interesting ideas - some I'd never heard before, and some that I'm going to incorporate! Thank you. Report
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