Do You Have to Exercise to Lose Weight?

| Weight Loss

woman on a diet tempted by sweets

With the threat of snow, icy rain, and frigid temperatures driving us back into the cozy depths of our homes, hitting the gym for a rigorous workout just doesn't seem worth the effort! These wintry days can be tough on the waistline, so we know we can't just laze around the house all day... or can we? Many experts have stepped forward, suggesting that exercise is not necessary when it comes to shedding those extra pounds. Several professionals now insist that it's all about what you eat, and how much you are consuming each day. Take a look below to learn more!

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According to Huffington Post, health experts often claim that weight loss is 75 percent diet and only 25 percent fitness. Now, as much as we hate to admit it, it's true that many of us have been working our butts off at the gym for years, but have very little to show for it. Is it because diet alone is the answer? Well, let's take a closer look at what a low-calorie diet can do for us.

Many people believe that cutting calories is much easier than trying to work off excess calories. For instance, simply cutting out two sodas a day eliminates nearly 300 calories or more. It would take about 30 minutes of moderate spinning in order to work off those sodas. Isn’t it just easier to pass on the pie and call it quits?

woman sitting on couch eating a salad

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So why aren’t we all just cutting calories left and right? Cutting calories results in greater short-term weight loss, but the lost weight often eventually returns. It’s one thing to go on a low-calorie diet for a couple months, but eventually you get tired of it, or your metabolism adjusts and stops dropping weight.

Multiple studies have found that, on average, participants who dieted without exercise for 15 weeks lost more weight than their active counterparts, but these studies did not follow their subjects in the weeks following their diet. Quick-fix diets can be ridiculously hard to adhere to after the first couple weeks, and they aren’t always the best way to permanently shed that weight. Sticking with a semi-restricted diet and throwing in a couple days of hearty exercise a week will keep that weight off better than diet alone!

winter workout

Plus, exercise promotes more fat loss than calorie-cutting alone. Dieting alone may help you shave off unwanted pounds, but a lot of that weight can come from muscle and bone loss. You’re not going to get a sexy six-pack just by cutting out a couple hundred calories a day. Transforming your body comes through exercise and diet. By using your diet to fuel your body with healthy foods, and using exercise to burn through fat and build lean, toned muscles, you really will be getting the best of both worlds! We’re not saying that you need to spend two hours at the gym every day, but a 50-minute workout, 3 to 4 times a week, in conjunction with a leaner diet can really help you go the distance!

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If you're still intent on abandoning exercise and living by the calorie-cutting handbook, here are some guidelines we recommend you follow.

  • Focus on creating balanced meals. Restricting carbs might be efficient in the short term, but it is definitely not a realistic long-term goal.
  • Fill your meals with fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole-grain carbs that promote healthy digestion.
  • Watch how many calories you are cutting. Going too low can often be detrimental to your health, as it will cause your metabolism to grind to a halt, and you will lose muscle mass. Learn about these 14 foolproof ways to cut calories now!
  • Aim to consume about 10 calories per pound; about 1,500 calories a day for a 150-pound woman.

For more information, check out our sources here: Huffington Post, Real Simple, University of New Mexico