Can You Lose Weight Without Exercising? We Asked The Experts.

Weight loss is a common goal for many people, but it can be stressful to achieve. There are many factors that contribute to weight loss, including diet and exercise. While dieting without exercise may help you to reduce the number on the scale in the short term, it’s hard to say if weight loss can be sustained in the long run without exercise. For some people though, physical activity just isn’t an option when trying to lose weight. There are some people who have long-term injuries, are preparing for surgery, have painful chronic conditions like arthritis, or are even struggling with mental health issues like depression.

To learn more about losing weight without exercising, we spoke with Mary Sabat, registered dietitian, nutritionist, ace certified trainer, and founder of Body Design by Mary, Barbara Kovalenko, Doctor and nutritional consultant for Lasta, and Meghan Novoshielski registered dietitian, nutritionist, and medical expert for Set For Set. They said that while you can lose some pounds without exercising mainly through dieting, it is still crucial to try to work out every day for your overall health. Find out more below!

Can you lose weight without exercising?

So, can you lose weight without exercising? The answer is not quite simple. "Yes, you can lose weight without exercising, and in fact, diet is going to account for the majority of your success on a weight loss program. Not including exercise in your plan to lose weight, however, is not recommended," Sabat says. "Exercise is beneficial for overall health, and it helps to increase your metabolism, burns calories, and build muscle, all of which can aid in weight loss. People that skip the exercise part on a weight loss plan, for whatever reason, will have a slower time losing and need to be more patient."

Novoshielski recommends that if you're just starting your weight loss journey start off slow. "While it's ok to get started by focusing on your diet, you'll want to eventually increase your physical activity to get all of the health and weight loss benefits associated with regular exercise," Novoshielski says. "Plus, most people who succeed in keeping weight off long-term get regular physical activity."

Exercise can also be crucial for increasing muscle mass, boosting metabolism, and improving overall health. "Additionally, exercise can help prevent muscle loss and maintain or increase bone density, which is important for overall health as you age. However, diet remains the most important factor for weight loss," Kovalenko explains.

And, while it's possible to achieve a daily calorie deficit by only changing your diet, it will be easier to stick with your fitness plan if you combine exercises with dietary changes. "A calorie deficit means you are consuming fewer calories each day than your body burns. In fact, most weight loss is achieved from the changes you make in your diet vs. the calories you burn while exercising. This is great news for people getting started." Novoshielski stresses. So, focus on your diet first, then look for ways to increase your physical activity gradually.

Easy exercises

If you're looking for exercises to slowly implement into your daily routine, it's best to start out easy with workouts like walking, swimming, biking, jogging, and even some light weight lifting. "The cardio exercises will help burn more calories and the weight lifting will help you maintain lean body mass which helps metabolism in the long run," Sabat notes.

Walking is a great, simple exercise that you can do almost every day. "Walking at a brisk pace is enough to support health and weight management goals," Novoshielski recommends. "This means you're walking fast enough so that you can talk but would have a hard time singing the words to a song. Experts recommend working up to 150 minutes of this type of activity per week."

Kovalenko stresses the importance of finding an exercise that works for you. "The key is to find an activity that you enjoy and that you can realistically incorporate into your daily routine," she says. "Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week."

Bottom line

So, weight loss is achievable through diet alone but it is also important to still exercise on a schedule. Not only is working out great for all aspects of your body but exercising frequently can lead to more substantial weight loss. Kovalenko emphasizes that "regular exercise can help improve overall health and fitness and prevent muscle loss and bone density loss. By incorporating healthy eating habits and regular physical activity into your routine, you can reach your weight loss goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle."

Losing weight can be stressful and difficult but it's important to take things slow. If you really want to see significant weight loss and keep it off, it's important to eat a balanced diet and try to work out regularly. Even a little walk or some muscle stretches every day can go a long way!