How to Lose Weight Without Exercise

lose weight without exercise

Can You Actually Lose Weight Without Exercise or is That Just a Dream I Had?

No Pain, No Gain. Sign up for weight loss boot camp and work til you pass out, it’s the only way you’ll ever lose weight right? The truth they don’t want to tell you while you’re running up the hills with a 50 lb backpack is that exercise is the hardest and least effective way to lose weight.

After a session with Sgt. Bootcamp you’ll probably be looking far and wide for a way to lose weight without exercise. Maybe that lesson wasn’t the best encouragement.

Take the dynamic duo of “Diet and Exercise”. The two you always hear talked about when it comes to weight loss. The reason people push physical activity is because it is the one that makes you FEEL like you’re making a difference, the active one, after all you “go to the gym” you never “go and eat your diet”, it is just always happening. That is the reason why diet is so much more effective than exercise. You always have the choice to eat or not eat, and to eat one food or another.

In my experience the relationship between these two is about 80/20. If you eat a healthy diet formed using solid principles and good information, you will lose 80% of the weight you want over a given period. If you add regular exercise, you’ll lose a little bit more. The bonus you really get from exercise isn’t weight loss, but rather fitness.

You get stronger muscles and better cardiovascular health from exercise.

You get weight loss from diet.


Note – If you are looking for a “fat loss pill” I am here to tell you that no pill will make you lose weight without a proper diet and it is possible that it may be dangerous to your health. Sorry. However weight loss without exercise is possible and I want to explain why. Also, you do get some weight loss through exercise, but most is through diet.

How Weight Gain Works

Your body has one goal and that is to stay alive. It is pretty incredible at doing it too. In times of plenty the body piles on fat stores, a very efficient way of storing calories, for the future. If food is scarce that fat gets burned for fuel along with muscle tissue if things get bad.

The body also adapts to the circumstances it is under…

If you go out every day and lift heavy things, run around a lot and are generally active, two things will happen. You’ll feel the need to eat more and your body will put more of that food to building muscles and less to fat.

If you’re at a desk working each day things will be different. Your body will not require as much food since the energy you use is much less and any excess food you do eat will turn to fat rather than muscle since fat is a much better storage place from the body’s point of view.

This is why some people seem to be able to eat whatever they want and stay trim while other people put on weight. (Well it is one of the reasons)

How Weight Loss Works

The body is pretty complex and there are lots of chemical reactions  and other processes which go on within it that affect weight loss (things like eating too much sugar affecting insulin or the affect of the 3 basic food types), but the biggest culprit for weight loss or gain is still the calorie. Calories are just a measurement of the energy out body uses, and how much of that energy is in different foods. So your body burns a specific number of calories based on what you’re doing each day, the more active the more calories needed. The bigger or more muscular you are the more calories are needed. So to lose weight the biggest factor is going to be to eat fewer calories.

So here it is, once the weight is on you need to convince your body that it is in its best interest to burn it off for energy. One way you can do this is to exercise; if you are constantly running your body will get the message that excess fat stores are really slowing you down and try to burn them off. A much easier way is to start eating a little less than your body requires each day and make up the rest from stored calories. This is the essence of weight loss through diet.

Now it isn’t this simple as eat less calories, lose more weight. There are other factors like the type of foods (sugar, fiber, protein, fats, etc) which affect the body differently when it comes to storing fat and building muscle, but the most important part is that if you get excess energy from food that your body doesn’t need at the moment it is going in to storage as fat.

As you might be able to tell, this is a complicated subject, which is why there are so many books, DVDs and people with information on the specific things that you’ll need to eat to lose weight. Not all foods are created equal, especially not in the world of soft drinks and ice cream.

What You Should Do (Not Exercise) to Lose Fat 

If you read and remember these 3 tips I believe you will be in the right mindset to succeed at losing weight without working out.

  1. Find a Diet You Like and Stick to It – If you fail to plan you are planning to fail. It is true when it comes to an effective diet. If you don’t know the steps to follow ahead of time you aren’t going to be able to figure them out as you go along. Losing weight is simple in theory, but not in practice. You need support, motivation and good information. Sticking with it is important as well. Everyone has stress in their life and you probably have your fair share. Breaking away from good eating to deal with stress is really self sabotage and in the long run adds more stress to your life. If you can’t deal with a change to your eating habits like this you will need to find a support system before you start that will allow you to succeed.
  2. Realize That You Are Unique – You aren’t the same as your friend or a celebrity or anyone else. You have a different lifestyle, different interests and a different body than the people around you. First of all, don’t compare yourself to others, measure yourself by your own goals. Secondly, what works for one person may not work for another. Certain diets might not fit your lifestyle and personality and you may not get identical results to other people. Keep this in mind.
  3. Give it Time to Work – Real change will not happen overnight. Some diets (especially those that totally eliminate carbs) show massive drops in weight in just a few days which are not sustainable. This is not to say that a carb cycling diet will not work, but give any diet you try a few months to work before you get upset or dejected and give up. Depending on your weight, safe fat loss goals will vary but the most I would aim for is 2 lbs per week and keep in mind that is high. If you regain some weight one week, look back and what happened, stress, party, etc and continue on the path but learn from what happened. Remember, the tortoise won the race by being consistent.
  4. *Bonus* Exercise Does Not Mean Going to the Gym - I stand by the fact that you do not have to exercise to lose weight, but I also believe it is beneficial in the long run. Keep in mind that going to the gym is not the only way to exercise. Going for a 15 minute walk is quick and easy but also is actual exercise, even if it doesn’t feel like it. If you walk 15 minutes every day you will be surprised by the positive effects you will gain. After a while you might even enjoy it and up the time. Or not, it is all up to your preference.

 So Do You Want to Start Now?

If you put something off it becomes harder and harder to get it done. You are probably feeling pretty motivated at the moment to start losing weight. If you already know what steps you want to take then good job, go and get to it! If you need help finding a program that is going to fit your lifestyle you can check out my Comparison and Rating Chart, reviews of diets I’ve actually tried, or use the Find a Diet Tool to help you make the best choice that you will actually stick to. Any other questions? Drop a comment here or send me an email.