Exercise is vital for your overall health and well-being. But, what if exercise is a challenge for you due to a physical limitation or hectic schedule. In this post, I discuss the pathways to weight loss that do not involve exercise.
Lose Weight without Exercise Summary
- To lose weight without exercise, one of the following reductions in your diet must take place.
- Limit calories. Regardless of your dietary preference, studies show that reducing calories leads to weight loss.
- Limit a certain type of food. Limiting refined carbs and processed foods can result in weight loss as can placing limits on a specific macronutrient (i.e., carbs or fat)
- Limit the number of hours a day you eat by practicing intermittent fasting
How to Lose Weight without Exercise [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- The three ways to lose weight without exercise.
- The difference between low-fat and low-carb.
- The best diet to implement with these strategies.
How to Alter Your Diet to Lose Weight without Exercise
When you include exercise in your weight loss program, you get some additional perks, including a reduction in the harmful visceral or belly fat and a reduction in insulin resistance. When your cells are less resistant to insulin, it is easier to keep the weight off after it’s lost (1).
Regular exercise should always be something that you are striving to bring into your life.
However, the reality is that some of us have health or physical limitations that make exercise challenging or have obligations that take priority.
To lose weight without exercise, some reduction in your diet must take place. What you choose to cut back on is up to you. You have three choices.
You can limit calories, limit a certain type of food, or limit the number of hours you consume food during the day. Let’s look at each of these options.
One way to diet for weight loss is to limit your calorie intake. There is a lot of evidence to support the fact that reducing the calories that you take in results in weight loss.
Calories are important, but how you go about reducing those calories will make a big difference in how much success you ultimately achieve.
This leads us into the second thing that can be limited to lose weight without exercise, and that is the limitation of a certain type of food.
Limit the Type of Food You Eat
Reducing your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates, which include the 3C’s (cookies, cakes, and candies), is the best option for anyone regardless of whether you prefer a more animal or plant-based diet.
If these foods and sweetened drinks are a part of your diet, reducing them will result in weight loss without a need for exercise. Traditional diets also have us reduce a type of macronutrient, which gives us the option of either following a low-fat or low-carb diet.
If you follow my blog, you know that I side with low-carb dieting. What you might not know is that when I first started teaching diet and nutrition, I had more of a slant toward low-fat dieting. It wasn’t until I watched my husband, who had struggled with his weight all of our married life, lose 80 lbs that I made the switch. If you’re interested in his journey, we’ve chronicled it on our YouTube channel called 2 Fit Docs.
I’ve studied both diets, and there is evidence that both of them work as long as you are choosing healthy, whole foods (2).
Low Fat vs. Low Carb
One of the challenges of low-fat dieting, however, is that it has been the diet of choice for the past 60 years, which was a period in which obesity rates skyrocketed. This disconnect between the diet and results may be because many people find low-fat diets difficult to stick with due to hunger.
This feeling of hunger may be explained by looking at the nature of a carbohydrate versus a food that is primarily fat. Carbohydrates are a quick and easy source of energy for your body. That’s not a bad thing, but it does mean that they will burn up quickly, much like twigs on a fire.
You get a short burst of energy from your high-carbohydrate meal, but if you want to keep that energetic fire burning, you’re going to have to add fuel by eating continually. If you try to put off eating, your body reminds you by turning up hunger and cravings.
Dietary fats, on the other hand, digest and burn at a much slower rate, so they are like the logs on a fire. Because the available energy is slower to burn away, hunger and cravings stay away longer.
A low carb, high-fat diet also puts your body in a hormonal state that favors the burning of body fat over fat storage. It does this by keeping the level of insulin, which is the fat-storing hormone low in your blood.
The calories we get from carbs and dietary fats are not alike. They have vastly different effects on your blood insulin levels. Carbohydrates, particularly refined carbs, cause a significant spike in insulin, whereas dietary fat produces little or no increase in insulin.
If you’d like to learn more about low-carb dieting, I have many blog posts on low carb dieting.
The third way that you can lose weight without exercise is to limit the number of hours you consume foods in 24 hours. In other words, practice intermittent fasting.
Limit the Hours You Eat (a.k.a. Intermittent Fasting)
Fasting involves splitting your day between a period of eating and not eating or fasting. A popular way to practice intermittent fasting is to stop eating after dinner, skip breakfast, and break your fast at lunchtime the next day.
If you’re new to fasting, you may need to work up to this level before you feel comfortable. But, when you fast regularly, you’ll find that it helps you lose weight without exercise in two ways. First, it naturally reduces calories by eliminating high-caloric habits like eating refined snacks at bedtime and consuming alcohol in the evening (3).
Also, while you’re fasting, there is no food coming in, so we see that it has the same fat-releasing effect as a low-carb diet because the level of insulin in your blood would not rise during your fast.
Pro Tip to Double Weight Loss
To double your weight loss success, combine a low-carb, high-fat diet with intermittent fasting. Both will limit fat storage, and you’ll find that eating this way keeps hunger under control, making it easier to fast.
We discussed three ways that you can alter your diet to lose weight without exercising. You can limit your calorie intake, limit your carb intake, or limit the hours that you eat during the day. When the excess weight comes off, you may find that you feel more inclined to exercise. That will prove to enhance your overall weight loss and health even farther.
I want to share an email I received that I hope will support what I just said and encourage you that there is hope despite your starting point.
Tim wrote, “I am a 5’11’ 53-year-old man who, on July 8th of 2019 weighed 410lbs. I had been dealing with psoriatic arthritis for over ten years. I was diabetic with an A1C of 6.5, heart issues, edema, and severe sleep apnea and had recently bought a medical scooter because I couldn’t walk more than 100 yards without developing crippling pain. Both my hips needed replaced but no one was willing to risk my life with the surgery.
Because of you and your 0-1-2-3 plan and videos as well as the Two Fit Docs I have lost 105 lbs in 11 months with no real exercise as I would not walk because of my hips until I started riding a bike in May. My A1C is now 5.6 with no medicine. My Edema is gone and hair has started to regrow on my lower legs. Since May I am riding a bike about 200 miles a month.”
Tim went on to mention that he now follows a low-carb diet and intermittent fasting, but you can start the same way he did by learning my free 0,1,2,3 strategy.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
(1) Ross, Robert, et al. “Reduction in obesity and related comorbid conditions after diet-induced weight loss or exercise-induced weight loss in men: a randomized, controlled trial.” Annals of internal medicine 133.2 (2000): 92-103.
(2) Gardner, Christopher D., et al. “Effect of low-fat vs low-carbohydrate diet on 12-month weight loss in overweight adults and the association with genotype pattern or insulin secretion: the DIETFITS randomized clinical trial.” Jama 319.7 (2018): 667-679.
(3) Varady, K. A. “Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss?.” Obesity reviews 12.7 (2011): e593-e601.
About the Author:
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.