Lose Weight Without Exercise!

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.

Don't let the goggles and the  lift ticket dangling from my parka fool you into thinking I spent the day on the slopes! I used to drive my father crazy when he's buy me a lift ticket and all I wanted to do was sit in the lodge drinking hot cocoa!

Don’t let the goggles and the lift ticket dangling from my parka fool you into thinking I spent the day out on the slopes “getting exercise!” I used to drive my father crazy! He’d buy me a lift ticket and all I wanted to do was sit in the lodge drinking hot cocoa!

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.

My personal trainer! I just paddled him to the sandbar in the kayak and now he's going to make me run around chasing him!

My personal trainer! Look at that expression! He means business! C’mon Gamma, let’s go to the beach! That means I just paddle him to the sandbar in the kayak and now he’s going to make me run around chasing him!

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.

Dog walks are longer and deliver a better full-body workout when I'm accompanied by my personal trainer!

Dog walks are longer, more strenuous and deliver a better full-body workout when I’m accompanied by my personal trainer! C’mon Gamma! Run up this gravel hill with us!’

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!

Being active and at goal makes my life better. Monitoring eating and physical activity is a small price to pay for all the benefits I enjoy for my efforts!

Pulling this wagon full of cuteness is more fun than eating popcorn at the movies! Being active and at goal makes my life better. Monitoring eating and physical activity is a small price to pay for all the benefits I enjoy for my efforts!

 

 

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is the general manager of Weight Watchers of Maine. She is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. Her experience with her own weight management journey and raising girls has given her insight into the struggles families face with weight, healthy body image, food and physical activity. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news for more than ten years and appears monthly as a guest on FOX network morning program Good Day Maine.