Yes….it is possible to lose weight without exercise. And no...you don’t need a crash diet or crazy supplement plan to do so.
What do you do need? A calorie deficit.
Eating in a calorie deficit is the #1 most important thing needed to lose fat. Yes...this is even more important than exercise.
What is a calorie deficit?
A calorie deficit means you are consuming less calories than you are burning. Yes, exercise can help with this but your nutrition and the food you consume is MUCH easier to control than the number of calories you burn through exercise.
How to ensure you’re in a calorie deficit?
First you need to calculate the number of daily calories you should be consuming to be in a calorie deficit. Check out this blog post for the easiest fat loss calorie calculator.
From there, there are many methods you can take to ensure you’re eating in a calorie deficit. In this article we’ll focus on the 2 main methods I use with my online coaching clients:
1. Calorie Counting
Before I start on this section I want it to be known that calorie counting is not for everyone and there are certain populations I absolutely would NOT recommend calorie count. If you currently have, or have had a history with disordered eating, I do not recommend calorie counting.
Calorie counting is a great way to know with 100% certainty that you are eating within a calorie deficit everyday. With calorie counting you’ll log and record all of the food you eat within a calorie counting app or website like LoseIt or MyFitnessPal.
Reminder: These apps will try to give you a default calorie calculation based on some goals and info they ask you to input when creating an account. IGNORE this calorie calculation. It will likely be different(and probably less) than the calorie goal you just calculated using my website. This is normal. Oftentimes these apps don’t have sustainable fat loss in mind. You’ll want to ignore the default calculation in the app and use what you already calculated.
Tracking your food might seem tedious but calorie counting is a very useful tool and can give you valuable information about the foods you’re eating on a regular basis. Calorie counting also gives you the freedom to enjoy your favorite foods as long as they still fit within your daily calorie target. Don’t forget to track everything you’re putting into your mouth including little handfuls of snacks and drinks!
At the end of the day, the food and drinks you ate should add up to your calorie target. If they don’t you now know you’ll need to make some adjustments for future days.
2. Plate Portion Method
Another great method to help you eat within a calorie deficit is the plate portion method. This method focuses on eating a palm sized serving of protein, a fist size serving of carbs, half a plate of veggies and a thumb sized portion of fats at every meal.
This method is less tedious than calorie counting however, it can be more difficult to know with 100% certainty that you’re eating in a calorie deficit.
What foods count as proteins? Think chicken, tofu, lean red meats, eggs, yogurt, turkey, tempeh, and many more.
Carbs: Rice, potatoes, whole wheat pasta, bread, oatmeal, and many more.
Veggies: Mixed greens, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, spinach, tomatoes, asparagus, and many more.
Fats: Oils, Nuts, Nut butters, Butter, salad dressings and some more.
Once you understand how many calories you need to eat to be in a deficit the goal is to follow one of these methods to stay in the deficit consistently. This is the key to lose weight without exercise.
Importance of Consistency
Eating in a calorie deficit is very important but doing so consistently is even MORE important. Hitting your daily calorie target 50% of the time is not enough to move the needle on losing weight without exercise.
Aim for 80% consistency. That means during a 30 day month you should hit your calorie target using calorie counting or the plate method 24 days. That may feel like a lot right now but once you start tracking consistency it becomes very easy to see why you are or are not making progress towards your goals.
To track consistency get out a calendar. Every day you hit your calorie target you get a big X. Everyday you don’t, leave the calendar blank. At the end of the month it’ll be super easy to tell how consistent(or not) you’ve been.
So where does exercise come in?
Is exercise NEEDED to lose weight? No, it’s not. Does it have huge benefits outside of just fat loss? YES!
As previously mentioned it is much easier to control the food you’re consuming as opposed to how many calories you burn through exercise and on top of that, most calories burned does not = best & most effective workout.
Focus exercise on performance goals as opposed to fat loss goals. This way you’ll likely feel more motivated for your workouts and you’re keeping nutrition as the main fat loss driver.
So why exercise then?
Of course I’m still going to recommend you exercise. The benefits of exercise(though not rooted in fat loss) are far too important not to.
Regular strength training helps improve posture, bone density & heart health, increase energy levels, leads to higher quality sleep, and many many many more benefits.
Building muscle can also help to improve your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
While exercise is not 100% necessary for weight loss it has many other health benefits that you should consider as essential. If exercise is new to you, you don’t have to go crazy overnight! Start small with 10-20 minutes of walking daily. From there, work yourself up to strength training workouts a few times a week. Focus on finding an exercise program that feels manageable for you to complete.
In general the best formula for fat loss is eating in a calorie deficit with a nice well rounded strength program focused on performance based goals. All of this is rooted in following this plan consistently. Find something sustainable and be extremely consistent with it.
Email or DM me if you have questions. I promise you got this.