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Can You Lose Weight Without Exercising?

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Originally published August 7, 2022. Last updated March 29, 2024.

Many people turn to exercise and other forms of physical activity to lose weight, but for varying reasons, exercise doesn’t always help people lose weight. Sometimes, reaching their goal requires alternative interventions.

The weight loss industry in the United States is projected to reach $295.3 billion by 2027. With hundreds of thousands of products out there that promise results, navigating a weight-loss journey can be difficult — and even demoralizing when these products don’t match up to their promises.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can lose weight without exercise and the various options you have to help you achieve your goals.

Do You Have to Exercise to Lose Weight?

Many factors influence when and how a person loses weight — and it’s different for everybody. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in daily. You can lose weight by eating less and not exercising, but exercising or participating in other physical activities will help you burn more calories. 

You can lose weight without exercise and you can also lose weight by just eating a healthy diet and following an exercise routine. It’s important to always ask your doctor about your options and what methods will be most helpful for your body. Some medical conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), require special considerations.

However, diet and exercise are not always a guarantee for losing weight. Genetics also plays a factor in how successful an individual’s diet and exercise plan is. In one study, researchers discovered that genes could account for up to 80% of a person’s predisposition to be overweight. Other findings indicate that genes are instrumental in determining a person’s ability to build strength and muscle mass.

Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise is, across the board, essential to maintaining your health and wellness. Getting the right nutrients in your body fuels your cells and helps you feel better. Exercise will also reduce your risk of various health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes. 

Rather than relying on fad diets and short-term exercise programs to lose weight, it’s better to focus on building healthy habits. 

What Happens When You Try to Lose Weight Without Exercise?

While exercising is great for your health, it’s not always an option for everyone. Some reasons that a person may be unable to exercise when trying to lose weight include:

  • Physical injuries that make exercise impossible.
  • Disabilities that impact or completely impair certain movements.
  • Pain from tendons or joints or conditions like fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Conditions that cause your blood sugar to drop when you exercise, such as diabetes or hypoglycemia.

Some people may also find exercising challenging due to a lack of interest or motivation in physical activity. Gym memberships can also be costly and some people just simply don’t have the time to themselves they need to dedicate to a regular fitness routine.

You may have a hard time losing weight quickly and safely without exercise, but it is possible. While it may take some time to reach your goal through a diet alone, slowly losing weight will help you sustain your weight loss long-term. 

12 Tips for Losing Weight Without Exercising

If you’re trying to lose weight, the good news is that it’s possible without exercise — but it takes patience and dedication. Below are a few tips to help you lose weight if you can’t exercise.

1. Reduce Your Portion Size

Looking at your portions is an excellent first step if you’re trying to lose weight. When cooking for yourself, take a look at the serving suggestion on the package or look up a suggested serving size online. You can use measuring cups and food scales to ensure your portion is within the serving size, which will help you stay on track.

Since you can’t control the portion sizes at a restaurant, consider asking for a to-go container when your meal arrives. That way, you can reserve the portion of the meal you don’t want to eat for later.

2. Track Your Eating Habits

Many people don’t think about what they eat until they decide that they want to lose weight. If you’re trying to lose weight, tracking what you eat can help you stay on top of your diet since you’ll know exactly how many calories you’re consuming throughout the day. You should track everything, including your snacks and drinks.

An easy way to track your eating habits is by keeping a journal or using an app. Write down what you eat and how many calories were in the meal or snack. You can use these entries to identify your habits, such as grazing. Once you identify these habits, you can change your behaviors to reduce your overall calorie intake and lose weight. 

3. Drink More Water

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will keep you hydrated, but it can also help you feel more full, reducing the desire to overeat throughout the day. Drinking water will also reduce the number of liquid calories you consume from other drinks, such as soda or sugary juices. You can drink more water each day by:

  • Carrying a water bottle with you during the day
  • Drinking on a schedule to ensure you drink enough 
  • Filling up your bottle regularly
  • Using a water bottle or app that helps you keep track of your water intake

Drinking water while eating foods rich in fiber will also make it easier to lose weight since you won’t feel as hungry. Hydrating will also make you feel better throughout the day, allowing your body to carry nutrients to your cells, assisting in digestion and balancing your electrolytes. Aim to drink about eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

4. Get Plenty of Rest

Sleep is essential for your health and getting enough sleep each night can help you lose weight. When you don’t get enough sleep, you disrupt hormones like ghrelin. Ghrelin signals to the body that you’re hungry. Other hormones affected by a lack of sleep include cortisol, leptin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF 1). These hormones can influence your hunger levels and how much you eat throughout the day.

Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, can also worsen with weight gain. Such conditions will make getting quality sleep more challenging. 

5. Eat More Fiber

Eating foods rich in fiber will help you feel fuller longer since it takes more time for your body to digest. You won’t have to eat as many calories if you eat food and snacks rich in fiber, including:

  • Barley
  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Berries
  • Beans
  • Pears
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Avocados
  • Carrots
  • Kale chips
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpeas

If you’re going to increase the amount of fiber in your diet, you also need to increase your water intake. Water will help your body digest the extra fiber, reducing the risk of constipation.

6. Keep Healthy Food Around and Accessible

When you’re hungry, it might be tempting to each sugary or unhealthy foods if they’re the only thing you have around your home. If you’re trying to lose weight, keep healthier options around the house and at the forefront of your pantry and fridge. Choose healthy snacks between meals and stock your fridge with plenty of fruits and vegetables. 

You don’t have to eliminate your favorite snacks entirely, but putting healthy alternatives front and center makes it easier to choose them when you’re hungry. You might even find a healthier version of your favorite snack so you can still indulge.

7. Eat With Fewer Distractions

Many enjoy eating meals while watching TV, playing games or reading a book. Some people even drive while eating. While these activities can make a meal more enjoyable, they can also distract a person from how much they eat. Rather than multitasking, try focusing only on your meals each time you eat. You’ll be able to enjoy the food more and chewing slowly will also help you realize when you’re full sooner than if you were distracted.

8. Utilize Lighter Cooking Methods

You can enjoy the benefits of fried foods and other meals cooked in oil with lighter cooking methods. Rather than deep-frying your meals in oil, you can recreate the texture by broiling or air frying your food. You can also substitute cooking fats like butter and lard for healthier oils, such as:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avacado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Grapeseed oil

Just keep in mind some oils have lower smoke points, so use the oil that best fits your cooking method. It’s also beneficial to measure the oil you use so you can keep track of how much you consume.

9. Prepare Your Meals Ahead of Time

Some people turn to unhealthy foods when they don’t have the energy to cook something healthier. They may have had a long shift at work, ran errands all day and just want something simple to eat. Rather than turning to unhealthy foods during these times, you can meal prep in advance to save yourself time and energy.

Some people spend a day preparing meals for the entire week, while others might make one or two meals to substitute in on days they don’t feel like cooking. Recipes like jar salads and healthy soups offer tasty, quick lunch options. Whatever method works for you, be sure to incorporate plenty of veggies to keep you more full.

10. Eat More Protein

Like fiber, protein can help you feel more full, but it can also make you feel more energized throughout the day. You can replace the carbs and fats in your diet with protein to reduce the hormones responsible for hunger. You’ll eat fewer calories, helping you lose weight faster.

The recommended daily protein intake varies based on your circumstances, such as your body type, age and health. Remember that you shouldn’t eat all your daily protein in one meal. Instead, aim for 25 to 30 grams each meal to sustain your energy throughout the day. Different protein-rich foods you can incorporate into your diet include:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Black beans
  • Greek yogurt
  • Salmon
  • Tofu
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Legumes
  • Artichokes
  • Almonds
  • Milk

Alongside weight loss, eating protein can also help you build more muscle.

11. Make a Plan for Emotional Eating

Some people eat when they feel stressed or emotional, even when they’re not feeling hungry. If you’re one of these individuals, find an alternative to snacking to soothe your emotions, such as:

  • Taking a walk
  • Running a bath
  • Cleaning your room
  • Watching a movie
  • Listening to music
  • Talking with friends or family
  • Reading a book
  • Surfing the web
  • Painting or drawing

If you can’t help but eat, try eating something light, like air-popped popcorn. These light snacks will help reduce your emotional eating cravings but won’t significantly affect your calorie intake. 

12. Be Patient With the Process

Remember that it will take time to start seeing results when you’re trying to lose weight. Being patient and dedicated to the process will help you sustain your motivation.

Additionally, you may not see the number on the scale go down rapidly, but you can establish non-scale victories, such as:

  • Your clothes fitting better
  • You have more energy
  • You sleep better
  • You’ve reached a fitness goal or milestone
  • You feel more confident
  • You’ve lost inches

Setbacks and plateaus are normal, but you can get back on track quickly by staying on top of your diet plan. Tracking your progress will also help you get through any setbacks you may have.

Other Ways to Shed Weight Without Working Out

Changing your diet isn’t the only way you can lose weight. Synergy Wellness offers various treatments to help people lose weight without needing to work out, which is ideal for individuals who can’t work out due to physical limitations. Some of these treatments include:

  • Medications and supplements: Nutritional supplements and medications can help you lose weight by depressing your appetite and providing you with the nutrients you need to be healthy. Synergy Wellness provides you with these medications and supplements to assist in your weight loss journey. 
  • Liposuction: Synergy Wellness offers liposuction, ideal for individuals who have tried dieting and exercise but have found little success. Liposuction can target specific stubborn fat areas, helping you achieve your weight loss goals. 
  • Cellulite treatments: Cellulite is often the aftereffect of weight loss, leaving behind dimpled skin. Synergy Wellness offers cellulite treatments to help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
  • BodyFX: Synergy Wellness’ BodyFX treatment can help you contour your body to get rid of stubborn fat and is a non-invasive alternative to liposuction. BodyFX can help you improve skin elasticity, reduce dimpled skin and target fat in multiple areas, such as the thighs, hips and abdomen.

These treatments can help you achieve your ideal shape without working out. You’ll still need to maintain a healthy diet to sustain the benefits of these treatments long-term.

Lose Weight and Shape Your Body With Synergy Wellness

If you’re trying to lose weight but don’t want to or can’t work out, Synergy Wellness offers alternatives to help you achieve your ideal weight and body shape. Our body shaping and medical weight loss treatments are performed and supervised by our professional staff and have a long track record of success. We can help you reduce your hunger cravings, achieve your vision and help you sustain your weight loss through a healthy diet.

If you’re ready to eliminate stubborn fat and shape your body, contact Synergy Wellness to learn more about our programs and get started on your weight loss goals.

Picture of Dr. Jan Trobisch

About the Author:

President, Medical Director: Jan Trobisch, MD

Dr. Jan Trobisch graduated from the esteemed Freie Universität Berlin in 1999 and completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, California, by 2004. After his residency, Dr. Trobisch worked as a hospitalist and served as an attending physician for the residency program. He founded Synergy Wellness Center in 2009.

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