Exercise undoubtedly aids in weight loss, but there are times when exercise is not possible. You may have an injury, be unable to exercise due to a physical limitation, or just find yourself lacking motivation to exercise. If you fall into any of these categories, find out if you can still lose weight without exercising.
Understand how exercise impacts weight loss
Exercise burns calories and at its simplest component, weight loss is about giving your body fewer calories than it requires. When you do not exercise, you reduce the amount of calories you burn each day, which can slow your weight loss. For example, if you burn 300 calories each day while walking on a treadmill for an hour and consume 500 calories less than your body requires, you have created an 800 calorie deficit. Just relying on food choices alone to create a calorie deficit may slow your weight loss efforts.
Keep an accurate food log
Guessing how much you eat does not work when it comes to losing weight without exercising. A few hundred extra calories each day can mean the difference between gaining weight, losing weight, or just maintaining your weight. Purchase a food scale and weigh your food before each meal. Use measuring cups and spoons to accurately measure dry foods such as oatmeal, cereal, nuts, or granola.
Eat at scheduled times
Grazing is good for animals but not for people who need to lose weight. Avoid the tendency to graze on foods throughout the day. Instead, schedule your meals in a way that works for your needs. You may find that five or six small meals keeps you full or you may want to limit your meals to two or three each day. In either case, divide your daily calorie allotment between your meals to ensure you are able to keep up your energy and fuel your body.
Focus on nutrient density
Get the maximum benefit from your calories by focusing on the nutrient density of your meals. While you could lose weight by eating low calorie fast food meals, you will be depriving your body of much needed nutrients. Eat balanced meals that give you a variety of healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates. Choose vitamin rich fruits and vegetables and all natural dairy products. Skip foods with no nutritional benefits such as sodas, energy drinks, sugary desserts, and most fast food.
Stay active without exercising
Not being able to exercise should not mean that you sit all day without moving your body. Unless your doctor has you on strict bed rest, you can help your weight loss efforts by staying active throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work or while shopping, work in your yard, stand up instead of sitting down when possible, and be mindful of opportunities to take more steps during your week.
Exercise is not the magic solution to weight loss but it does help. If you are unable to exercise or choose not to exercise, it will likely take you longer to reach your goal weight. The National Institutes of Health shows that losing 1/2 to 2 pounds per week is a realistic aim for most people. Without exercise, you will likely lose weight at the lower end of the recommendations.