Can I lose weight without exercise?

Fuelling Your Body


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

DO I have to exercise to lose weight?

No, you do not have to exercise to lose weight. You can easily lose weight with diet alone. Humans are very efficient. This has been our ancestors’ saving grace in the hardest of times, such as wars, droughts, famines, or just plain old hard times.

We can do very much with very little and the longer and harder we work out, the more efficient we become. Mathematically, weight loss is simple. Weight loss = energy expended - energy ingested (calories in versus calories out). However, because of your metabolic efficiency, attempting to exercise away excess calories can easily become a four to six-hour per day job, and is not a long term sustainable proposition.

Proper nutrition is the most important factor in weight management. After all, you can undo a gruelling 90-minute workout with a cup of froyo, a frappuccino, or a handful of nuts, whereas simply excluding rice from your lunch will result in the same caloric loss as an intense 90- minute workout.


You will hear people say, ‘But the machine in the gym or my fit device told me I ’burned’ 600 calories doing this thing or the other’. I have always generally known that these calorie counters reported exaggerated levels, of 20 per cent or more than tested; possibly to motivate users or as a best-fit measurement.

In a published paper By MB Nelson, LA Kaminsky, DC Dickin, and AH Montoye, in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, titled Validity of Consumer-Based
Physical Activity Monitors for Specific Activity Types, it was shown that, “While they might be accurate when counting steps, fitness trackers have been found to overestimate the calories burned in a workout by up to 40%.”

So, take the numbers from these machines with a grain of salt. Nutrition reigns supreme when it comes to weight loss/management. Weight loss is 75-90 per cent nutrition and 10-25 per cent exercise. Regardless of how exciting and social media “post-able” your working out is, the fact is, if you really want to represent change you should be posting your meal planning, preparation and portioning, and telling people that you just finished packing your meal bag and not that you just finished your cardio. The reality is, you should be investing many times more effort, consistency
and dedication in your nutrition than your workout.


Yes, you absolutely should. You should exercise all the time. Exercise is second only to nutrition when it comes to disease prevention and wellness. Exercise has tremendous benefits, reducing the risk of: Compromised mental health, type-2 diabetes, stroke, dementia; joint and back pains, heart disease, cardiovascular complications; and more.

For weight loss, nutrition is significantly more important, but understand that for your best possible wellness, good nutrition and exercise are both essential — even if
they are not equally important.


Of course, exercise helps in several ways.

• Remember, weight loss = energy expended - energy ingested? The greater the energy expended the greater the weight loss. Yes, exercise may be 20 per cent of the effective change, but with exercise, in the same time period, you can lose 50 pounds instead of 40 pounds.• Muscle development will increase your basal metabolic rate (BMR) — your rate of energy expenditure at rest.
• Added muscle will improve your chances of maintaining your weight loss.
• Exercising helps to entrench your wellness mindset; healthy habits help to
entrench a healthy lifestyle.• Exercise assists in mood control, helping to curb emotional eating.• Working out promotes hormone regulation.
• Regular exercise assists in normalising sleep patterns. Do what you can maintain; the most important thing is to be consistent and maintain this consistency for life. Over
time, gradually, challenge yourself; safe changes in intensity will mean positive changes in you.


• Progressive weight resistance training: Contrary to misguided popular belief, building muscle is the most important thing you can do for your weight management. You certainly don’t have to be a bodybuilder, but muscles are essential to help to keep your BMR high and give you the strength and joint stability to be as active as possible.

• Walk: We all know how important walking is to hip health, spine health, maintaining mobility, and cardiovascular benefit (briskly is better), as well as the benefit of being outdoors and getting sunlight to produce Vitamin D and other essential factors.
• Cardiovascular workouts: if you prefer a 40-minute cardio class, CrossFit-type workout, or an eight-minute high-intensity interval training to get your heart and breathing rates up, this will do wonders for you.
• Embrace other activities which involve:

o Coordination and balance, dance, martial arts/combat sport (including taichi), racket sport, team sports etc.
o And flexibility, types of dances or martial arts, yoga. Always prioritise on your nutrition. True, you don’t need to exercise to lose weight but you should always exercise. Don’t allow exercise to distract you from proper nutrition, as you cannot sustainably use exercise to undo poor eating.

However, exercise is too important to bargain with. Take the time, make the effort, do the workouts you must, and add activities you will enjoy.

Consistency is everything.

Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 876-863-5923, or visit their website at

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon