Losing fat without exercising is easy – when you do it right.
When a friend tells you they’re trying to lose weight, what’s the first thing they say?
“I’m going to run every day!”
“I’ve started this weightlifting routine. I’m going five times a week now.”
“I want to lose five pounds. I just really need to start exercising.”
When we eat something we “know” is “bad” for us – how do we justify it?
“I’ll be running this off later!” “That’s an extra mile on the treadmill!”
What’s the theme here?
The focus is on exercise. Nobody focuses on food!
There’s a myriad of reasons for this (insert link). Exercise is fun, “dieting” is not. Exercise adds something to our life, “dieting” takes something away.
This post is not intended to vilify exercise.
When our goal is fat loss, our first action is to put 80% of our efforts into exercise, and 20% into our food.
Which is unfortunate, as 80% of our results will come from food – NOT exercise. I’m going to highlight a recent example from my own life to illustrate this point.
Four Weeks, No Exercise, 10 Pounds Lighter
In late June 2016, I developed a bilateral inguinal hernia. I went under the surgical knife for repairs in July. I was not cleared to exercise until August 19th.
During this time – which spanned the initial injury, surgery, and recovery – I did not exercise.
Pre-surgery, I couldn’t walk more than a few feet without feeling pain and discomfort in my groin. Post-surgery…well, I was still in pain, and had to wait to be cleared to return to “normal activity”. That’s a long way of saying I sat around a lot for several weeks.
Oh, and I went to Vegas, where I was doing anything BUT counting calories.
For fun, I weighed myself the morning before my follow-up appointment. Prior to the injury, I weighed around 170 pounds.
Conventional wisdom says I should be heavier. Stepping on the scale, the numbers flashed right in front of me. Despite living on the couch for weeks, I weighed 160 pounds.
Here are the before and after weigh-ins:
My “Secret” For Success
How did this happen? How did I lose fat without exercising?
Did I really lose muscle and gain fain? (No.)
Do I just have really great athletic genetics? (Ha!).
I lost weight without exercise because I paid close attention to what I ate.
Without exercise, my carbohydrate needs dropped drastically. Your body can convert dietary fats and proteins into carbohydrates for energy. Your body cannot convert excess carbohydrates into anything but fat.
If your energy needs are met, excess carbs turn into fat. If your energy needs are low, your carbohydrate need is lower.
So, I ruthlessly cut my carbohydrate intake. My diet was about 50% fat, 40% protein, and 10% carbs, all of which came from vegetables or greek yogurt. Two or three times a week, I had a small amount of legumes. Two or three times per week, I threw these guidelines aside and ate what I wanted – I always saved this for a social occasion. Like the weekend I said “fuck it” and went to Vegas for a friend’s bachelor party.
Most days, I didn’t track calories. I’d check in once a week to get a feel for my numbers, but beyond that, there was no need. I knew that, by sticking to a variety of meats, vegetables, eggs, and yogurts, I’d lose fat without having to count calories.
Exercise is a great tool for heart health, building muscle, being happier. It has tons of benefits, and should not be neglected.
Exercise is also overrated for fat loss.
Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “you can’t outrun a bad diet”. Maybe you’ve lived it yourself.
I lost 10 pounds, without exercising once, by ruthlessly cutting sugar, wheat, and other simple carbohydrates.
If your goal is fat loss, food needs to be your first, second, and third priority.