Saturday, September 24, 2011

Can I lose weight without exercising?

Ask The Honest Dietitian Question One:  Can I lose weight without exercising?

Answer:  Sure.  Weight loss occurs when your calorie intake is less than your calorie output.  Therefore, if you consume less calories than what you put in, you lose weight.  But, it is so much more complicated than that.  First of all, you need to find out how many calories you expend each day without exercise.  So many people do online calculators to try and figure this out, when you really need to be meeting with a Registered Dietitian to help figure this out with more complicated equations and factors.  Once you know what your daily calorie needs are, you can decrease your calorie amounts to result in calorie deficits.  Of course, for health purposes (example:  to keep your hair from falling out, etc.) you should keep your weight loss to 2-2.5# per week.  If you chose to go with an extremely restrictive diet for faster weight loss (such as a cabbage soup diet or simply not eating) you will harm your body by not giving it the necessary nutrients it needs to work properly, you will withhold carbohydrates from your brain (which is the only thing your brain eats for energy), you will waste your muscles, lower your metabolism, age very fast, and ultimately you will give up and go back to your old habits because you did not learn how to eat properly, or you will die.  I am not kidding, withhold nutrition long enough and you might die.

There are so many benefits to exercise, although some people who have been sedentary for a long time think that they need to "Go Big or Go Home".  They think starting an exercise routine means running a 5K, when really just taking a daily walk will help tremendously.  Exercise builds and uses muscles which burn more calories.  I will discuss the additional benefits of exercise later, but doesn't it sound good to eat satisfying, nutritious foods (which most of us have to learn to do) and enjoy some physical activity, instead of counting every calorie and every gram of fat we come across?  Yes, it does!  Keep following me because I want to inspire you to have the healthiest, most satisfying experience with nutrition possible.


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