Losing weight without exercise is my dream come true! I hate exercise. I’m the girl who “had her period continuously through junior and high school,” to get out of gym. I’m the girl who lists her favorite activities as “going out to eat,” and “eating popcorn at the movies.”
I got picked last every time and it didn’t hurt my feelings one bit. I wasn’t especially keen on a game of kickball anyway, and I sure wasn’t going to exert myself at all to help my team win.
I was a chubby kid.
liked loved to eat! I didn’t like hated exercise; it wasn’t a surprise I carried a couple extra pounds. My dislike of exercise was exacerbated by being a chubby kid. Nobody tells a skinny kid, “stop reading that book and go get some exercise!” As a chubster I heard that command and many similar all the time. In my mind exercise was something boring and potentially painful that took me away from everything I loved.
So imagine my joy and elation when I discovered I could lose weight without exercise! I lost 18 pounds without exercise! It was easy and it was fast. anybody can do it. All it takes is sticking to 600-calories a day.
Eating 600 calories a day is considered a very low calorie diet (VLCD). VCLD are controversial. It’s debated when VLCD should be used and for who and how long it’s safe. Some suggest there is a connection between eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, and VLCD, however, that’s not necessarily so. A diagnosis of a eating disorder involves more than simply calorie consumption.
I’m not endorsing that you or anybody do what I did. I lost 18 pounds, but they didn’t stay lost for long. I stayed at my “magic number” for less than two months. In two more months, I weighed about ten more pounds than when I started.
My weight yo-yoed for the next 15 years as I went from “VLCD to back-to-normal-eating.” For somebody like me who loved food, there would never be maintaining the lower weight by staying with the low-cal diet. I didn’t understand that as I lost weight the calories my body used for its fuel were fewer. That meant I could never stay at goal weight by returning to a more satisfying caloric intake.
The yo-yoing stopped after my third daughter was born. I just couldn’t stick to VLCD anymore. It wasn’t because I no longer had the willpower needed to do so. I had an observant and precocious 5-year-old daughter. She wisely noticed a double standard – what I told her to do to be healthy and what I was doing.
When she questioned me about skipping meals, I realized that I was unwittingly teaching her unhealthy habits. That ended my VLCD and it also was the first time I weighed more three months after having a baby than what I weighed at delivery. I needed a better way to lose weight so I joined Weight Watchers.
I learned how to lose weight eating a nutritious diet and without skipping meals. Weight loss progress was slower that way, but it was steady. Best of all, I was role modeling good habits for my girls who apparently started paying attention to what Mommy does far earlier than I would have believed possible.
At that time Weight Watchers was encouraging its members to participate in “Pep Step.” Yes, Weight Watchers had an exercise plan to augment the food plan. I ignored it. I can lose weight just by cutting calories and that was all I was willing to do.
Turns out I can lose weight without exercising; I can’t maintain my weight loss without exercise. I also discovered that’s true for most people who lost weight and are maintaining the loss. It’s simply not possible (or extremely difficult) without adding exercise into the maintenance formula.
It took me a long time to see exercise as something that can be fun. I don’t like gyms and I don’t like pain. I do like playing. There are a number of activities that are fun, and yet, they give me the same benefits as nasty old exercise! I like to play with my grandchildren.
I especially appreciate my two-and-a-half-year-old grandson who’s always saying, “C’mon Gamma!” encouraging me to run the loop chasing him around his house. He also loves to take the dog for long walks with me and typically needs to be carried home so I get the extra calorie-burning benefit of carrying his body weight as well as my own.
Yes, weight loss without exercise is possible, but exercise (the right exercise!) adds so much pleasure to my life. It also allows me to eat more and that’s extremely important if I’m going to be able to balance calories in and out for staying at goal.