There is a popular mantra in weight loss: Eat less, move more. If only it was so simple! Many people dislike exercise and if that sentiment is familiar, this post is for you!
Did you know that is is possible to lose weight without exercise?
It’s the truth – we have seen it many times before. It is easily possible to lose weight without having to exercise!
Before we get into the details, we feel it is important to declare our love and appreciation for exercise. Low, moderate, and/or intense exercise is generally fantastic for maintaining and improving your health. Exercise can improve mental health, mood disorders, muscle and bone strength, energy, and the list goes on. Exercise can dramatically reduce your risk of chronic diseases. It can also increase the speed of your weight loss. Exercise can help you feel amazing!
You should try to exercise if you can, even if it is just a walk around the neighborhood or some squats in your living room.
With that said, not everybody CAN exercise, and not everybody wants to. There is also a lot of peer-reviewed research suggesting that exercise is not enough to cause weight loss. Is this contrary to everything you’ve ever heard about weight loss? Stay with us – we will explain.
What Is It About Exercise?
Like we said, exercise is great! However, intense exercise can increase hunger and this has been backed up by research. A dramatic increase in hunger can present huge challenges with weight loss. In addition to increasing hunger, many people exercise and then overcompensate with food because they “did their time at the gym”, thus preventing an actual calorie deficit. After an increase in exercise, finding the proper nutrition balance can be difficult.
Another common issue is that many people will become more sedentary throughout the day after their intense workout. Some experts have dubbed this as the “sedentary athlete“. These athletes will get in a great workout and then become couch potatoes for the remainder of the day. So many calories are burned throughout the day as we walk around our lives, to the kitchen, around the office, talking with colleagues, making meals, chasing the dog, etc. When we exercise and plop down for the rest of the day, we may end up burning fewer calories than we would have through steady, less-intense daily activities.
It is also very difficult to measure exactly how many calories we each burn in a workout session. Fitness watches and exercise machines are notoriously bad at accuracy (but we still admittedly love them anyway). Trying to do all of that math can become burdensome. Our bodies are amazing and also confusing when it comes to intake and output.
You Can’t Out-Exercise a Poor Diet
For most of us, the days of adolescent staying-thin-and-eating-whatever are behind us. Since you are likely no longer a teenager, you will not be able to transform you body with 24/7 workouts if you eat an all-you-can-eat buffet each day. Consider a double-double burger at In-N-Out which contains 670 calories. Add in the fries which are 370 calories, and your total for the meal (without a drink) is 1,040 calories.
Pretend your plan was to burn 1,040 calories in the gym because you would like to create a caloric deficit. Here are some exercises that a 140 pound female would need to complete in order to reach that goal:
- 3 hours, 11 minutes of low-impact aerobics
- 2 hours, 16 minutes of high-impact aerobics
- 2 hours of bicycling
- 4 hours, 49 minutes of walking
- 2 hours, 16 minutes of running/jogging
You get the point. That is a LOT of time to devote to exercise each day. The likelihood of anyone being able to commit that much time and energy to exercise on a consistent basis is extremely low. The likelihood of becoming overwhelmed, fatigued, or even injured is very high.
In general it is much harder to burn calories than it is to consume them.
(Side note: check out this nifty fitness calculator here!)
Lose Weight Without Exercise
The most important factor BY FAR, and we cannot stress this enough, **BY FAR** with your weight loss will be your nutrition. Evidence, time and time again, shows that the most effective way of losing weight is to reduce calories through a healthy, balanced diet.
There are many diets that work which is why there is so much confusing weight loss information on the internet.
This is actually good news, though, because it gives you the flexibility to choose which diet you can stick with!
On top of that, you can do the keto diet for a month, and then switch to intermittent fasting or low-carb. After a few months, you could switch again in order to prevent diet fatigue.
There are so many options available to you!
If you want to lose weight without having to exercise, you will have to become laser-focused on your nutrition. The absence of exercise will give you less wiggle room in regards to cheats and treats, but that is a more favorable trade-off for some people, which is OK!
Keep in mind that whatever weight you have gained, whether it has been over the past 4 months or 40 years, it took a long time to gain. It might take a long time to lose as well.
One of our weight loss plans, the HCG Diet, does not include any exercise. The calorie consumption on this diet is low, which causes rapid weight loss but will not provide the energy for exercise. This is a fantastic option for anyone wanting to lose weight quickly without having to exercise much.
If you’re trying to lose weight and actually want to increase your exercise, check out our post with tips on how to slowly add exercise into your routine.
The Bottom Line
At our medical weight loss clinic right here in Salt Lake County, we’re invested in our local community and care about each individual person. We’ve got a full staff of wellness specialists who are ready and eager to support you the entire way on your weight loss journey. If you would like to learn more about what we can do for you, call or text our office at 801-566-4242, or submit a request for a free weight loss consultation! You do not have to go this alone. Take advantage of our nutritional counseling, appetite control medications, vitamin injections, and nutrition guides to help to maximize your success!