Lose weight without trying

While structured diets help a lot of people, others find they only work while you stick to them rigidly. Instead, increase your activity levels each day and make a couple of healthy food swaps and you could lose around 1lb a week without really trying – and you might even have fun, too! What’s not to love?


How it works?

Given that it takes 3,600 excess calories to lay down 1lb of fat, your aim is, through a combination of everyday activity and small amounts of calorie reduction, to take these out of your weekly diet. Our guide assumes you consume more than the recommended amount of 2,000 calories a day. We suggest you aim for your five fruit and veg portions per day and drink plenty of water over other sugary or diet drinks. The ideas outlined below can be mixed and matched to suit your lifestyle, though you should aim for a total calorie reduction of approximately 500 calories each day.


Burn off 300 calories with 60 minutes of vigorous housework – mopping, dusting and vacuuming are all great exercise. Hold in your abs while cleaning for a great tummy workout!

And while you’re at it, burn off an additional 130 calories with 1 hour of ironing.

Revive yourself after all that hard work by replacing your cappuccino with an espresso and save 100 calories.


Swap your usual glass of orange juice for a glass of tomato juice and save 70 calories.

Take your kids, your grandchildren – or do an exhausted neighbour or friend a favour and take their toddler – for a walk in their pushchair. A 60-minute walk pushing a buggy at a moderate pace burns off 280 calories.


Burn off 200 calories with a 40-minute burst of dancing – grab your partner, the kids, the cat… and get on down!

Swap your ham baguette lunch for two small pitta breads, a medium serving of falafel and a salad and save 150 calories.

And when it comes to dinner, have lentil bolognese instead of the meat variety and save a whopping 250 calories.


Swap your usual muesli and skimmed milk breakfast for a slice of wholemeal toast spread with a little butter and honey, and save 100 calories.

Don’t sit at your desk at lunch – go shopping instead with a little more brisk walking than browsing and burn off 150 calories.

On your return, swap your usual cheese sandwich lunch for a bowl of cream of tomato soup, a wholemeal roll and a small pat of butter and save 110 calories.


Get the car clean and sparkling for the weekend ahead – do it for 60 minutes (complete with a good waxing!) and you’ll burn off 200 calories.

Then treat yourself to an end-of-week swim at your local leisure centre – 20 minutes of moderate lane swimming will burn off another 130 calories.

For dinner, swap a traditional fish supper for a medium-sized haddock served with a medium baked potato and salad and save 180 calories.


Burn off 34 calories by playing bat and ball with the kids for 40 minutes – either in the garden or head off to the park. It’ll help them stay fit too!

For your Saturday night tipple, swap your swimming pool wine glass for a 150ml serving and save 150 calories (just the one, mind!).

And while you’re at it, swap your usual snack of 40g tortilla chips for a 23g bag of popcorn and save 100 calories.


Burn off 180 calories with an hour of gardening – the more digging you do, the better!

What nicer way to round off the weekend than with a 30-minute cycle ride around your local park or countryside? You’ll burn off 200 calories!

Finally, treat yourself to your Sunday roast but skip the chicken skin and save up to 200 calories.

And while you’re at it, swap three medium roasties for 4tbsp mashed potatoes and save 130 calories.

Total calories lost (relatively painlessly): 3,600

Keep this going over seven weeks and you’ll be half a stone lighter!

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