Can you lose fat without exercise?
It’s a budding question on the minds of all of the people that don’t enjoy exercise, can you lose fat without exercise? Although the most efficient and safest way to lose fat is by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to lose fat without exercise, it’s just a little harder.
The most important part of losing fat is being in a calorie deficit, this means consuming less calories than you use. Therefore, it is relatively simple to lose fat without exercise, eat less than you expend. It isn’t always possible for people to exercise, but there are several other factors that can have an influence on you losing fat, such as the amount you eat, your stress levels and how much sleep you get.
Create a calorie deficit
First things first, we need to talk about being in a calorie deficit. To put things simply, if you eat more calories than your body uses then you will put on weight, and vice versa. The number of calories your body needs is known as the TDEE (Total Daily Calorie Expenditure). There are different factors that determine your TDEE, one of them being your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate. This is basically the number of calories your body needs to just do its daily business without any movement.
Without any movement or exercise, your body will still burn a set number of calories each day so that you can breathe and your body can function properly. Any movement on top of this is an added extra to your TDEE.
1 pound of fat equates to 3500 calories, therefore in-order to lose 1 pound a week you would need to be in a deficit of 500 calories 7 days a week. To lose 2 pounds a week you would have to be in a 1000 calorie deficit a day. These are the recommended guidelines of a healthy amount of fat loss whilst still maintaining a healthy diet.
With this information, it is clear to see that you can lose fat without exercise. Extra exercise means there is more calorie output, without any exercise incorporated it means you will have to consume less calories in-order to be in a deficit.
Increase your NEAT
Furthermore, another way you can lose fat without exercise is by increasing your NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). This is any activity that you do in the day that doesn’t come from exercise, such as walking to the shops, doing the gardening and carrying shopping. Although you may not know it, all of these things will increase the number of calories you use.
Increasing the amount of NEAT you do will increase calorie input and make it easier to be in a deficit. By taking the stairs instead of the lift, parking further away so you have to walk further, you will be increasing the activity you are doing without having to do any formal exercise.
Make adjustments to your diet
If you want to lose fat without exercise it is more than likely that you will need to make adjustments to your diet, the first being to drop your calorie in-take to be in a deficit. There are some tips and tricks you can use to make weight-loss through diet easier:
Eat more protein
Protein is one of three macronutrients and is a great tool when it comes to fat loss. Government recommendations advise that you should eat around 0.8 kilograms of your bodyweight in protein per day, but this will vary from person to person. Foods high in protein take longer to digest and often leave you feeling full for longer than other foods such as starchy and sugary carbohydrates. Good sources of protein to incorporate into your diet include chicken, red meat, turkey, eggs and dairy products. By spreading out your protein in-take throughout the day
Other factors that can contribute to weight gain include your sleep and stress levels. When we’re stressed our body secretes the hormone cortisol, which is better known as the fight or flight hormone. As a result of cortisol being released into the body, it stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism which can increase your appetite and also increases your insulin so blood sugar levels rise.
If your body is subject to chronic stress, your appetite will be increased and your insulin levels remain high which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. For all of these reasons, it is important that you try and keep your stress levels under control, as it can be a factor in fat loss.
Why you should still exercise
Even if it is possible to lose fat without exercise, you should still try to exercise when possible because it has a wealth of other benefits on the body. Some of the advantages of exercise include:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Reduced chances of cardiovascular disease
- Increased muscle mass (whilst still losing fat)
- Increased bone density
- Reduced stress and anxiety
As well as the need for exercise as a way to improve other aspects of your life and health, reducing your calorie intake to extreme levels as a way to lose fat can have a detrimental effect on your body. If you choose not to exercise, but you want to lose a lot of weight fast then your daily calorie intake will be limited. This is not an encouraged way of losing weight as more often than not, people that choose extreme diets tend to put weight back on when they go back to their normal routine as it isn’t sustainable. Reducing your calories to an extreme level can cause:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Muscle loss
- Loss of bone density
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Menstruation problem
So, can you lose fat without exercise?
The short answer is yes, you can lose fat without exercise, however this isn’t the most efficient way to do so. Incorporating exercise into your daily habits will increase your calorie output meaning it’s easier to be in a calorie deficit, on top of all of the other health benefits exercise brings.