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How To Lose Weight Without Exercise

If you have been unable to exercise due to physical problems, or just because you hate it, you can no longer use this as an excuse not to lose weight.
02/26/2008 01:23pm ET | Updated November 17, 2011
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You can absolutely lose weight without exercise! Yes, I know it goes against some of what you've heard, but it's true. You can lose weight by taking in less calories than you burn. It's that simple. In order to lose one pound of fat, you need to deficit 3,500 calories. Can this be done without exercise? Absolutely!

If you have been unable to exercise due to physical problems, or just because you hate it, you can no longer use this as an excuse not to lose weight. While it is easier to take in fewer calories than you burn when you burn more calories, it is still possible to lose weight by simply taking in less calories. (I'm not talking starvation just less than you were taking in.)

The best way to do this is to start keeping track of what you eat. Even though this one step is the most important one to take in weight loss, it is the one most resisted. Write down everything you eat and drink, the amount (guess if you need to) and the calories. Figure out how many calories, on average, you are currently taking in. Then you can begin to take control.

I think keeping food records meets such resistance for many reasons. It is tedious to sit there and write: 1 cup mashed potatoes, 5 oz. turkey breast... If you don't know the calories or amounts you have to weigh, measure and research the calories in the foods you eat. Boring!!! The good news is we tend to eat the same foods often. Once you know the amounts and calories in those foods, you are well on your way. Most people never get this far with it. They give up and get frustrated easily. This work takes perseverance and consistency. At the first sign of difficulty those who give up, stay fat. Those who persist lose weight and keep it off. Your body keeps track of every calorie you put in it. Shouldn't you pay attention too?

Once you know what you are taking in, you can begin to analyze the data. Look at where you can either cut down on amounts or make different choices. Once you realize your morning breakfast muffin has 800 calories, you may want to make a different choice.

The data may also reveal some interesting patterns. You may notice that you don't eat until you are ravenous and then eat to excess and make poor food choices. Eating small amounts often has been proven to be the best way to fuel the body and to keep your metabolism running. You can't change your eating habits until you are fully aware of what they are.

In addition to the food records, you need to understand your basic caloric needs. There is a wealth of misinformation out there on this one. While it is difficult to measure the exact number of calories you burn per day, it is also not necessary. If you use this basic formula to start with, you will be close. Take your weight times 10 for women, 12 for men, to get your basic caloric needs per day without exercise. Your metabolism will be somewhere close to this. We all vary genetically in our metabolic rates but more and more studies show, not that much. If your weight is stable your records will indicate what it takes for you to stay there. They will also be the key to help you change.

Now, how many calories a day to shoot for? Don't drop them too much or you won't be able to maintain it and you risk slowing down your metabolism. Start slowly. If you currently weigh 250 lbs., and are female, you are probably taking in around 2,500 calories a day. Shoot for 2,300 calories a day to start. Realize that it is what you do on average that counts and not the odd high calorie day here or there. No one is going to eat exactly 2,300 calories a day. It should be more like 2500 one day, 2100 the next, etc... You want your average daily calories to be 2,300. This will eventually take you down to 230 pounds, without exercise. Once you get there you can again lower your calories a bit, until you land at the next weight.

Exercise is fantastic for weight control, health and overall well being. Incorporating it into your life is a good thing but there are those who just never will. There are also those who can't at 250 lbs. but who may be able to at 200 lbs. Moving becomes easier and more pleasurable as you lose.

So to review:

Keep Food Records

Count the Calories

Analyze the Data

Move more if you can, but if you can't don't use it as an excuse to stay fat. That's it for now. Good luck and let me know how you're doing.