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Is it Possible to Lose Weight Without Exercise?

It may seem impossible for most people to lose excess weight without having to devote time and energy to physical exercise. It goes without saying that eating healthy foods, doing moderate exercise, and living an active lifestyle will help you maintain you maintain a healthy weight.

Diets that require strict adherence can be difficult to maintain over time. Exercise can also be difficult to fit into your schedule. So, is it possible to lose weight without exercise?

In this article, we find out if it is possible to lose weight without exercise.

The 80/20 Principle

Those who have seriously investigated the best way to lose weight have probably heard of the 80/20 diet-to-exercise ratio, which is supposedly the key to success in weight loss. According to this theory, diet plays an 80% role in losing weight, while exercise plays only a 20% role, which suggests diet as the more significant factor in the equation.

Vilfredo Pareto introduced the 80/20 rule in 1906, now referred to as the Pareto principle or 80/20 Rule, and the concept has been applied in many different fields, such as business, time management, personal finance and even health and weight management [1].

So, is exercising without a healthy diet pointless for weight loss?


What is the role of diet in weight loss?

Weight loss requires a calorie deficit, which means your body expends more calories than you consume. The simple reason for why these diet adjustments begin to work is that it reduces energy intake and imparts a negative energy balance [2].

An example of one of the most common methods to reduce daily caloric intake is restricting carbohydrates, also known as a low-carb diet. The low-carb approach is based on the hypothesis that lowering insulin, a hormone responsible for producing a fat-storing anabolic state, enhances cardiometabolic function to induce weight loss [3].

As a GLP-1 agonist, it also goes to the brain to suppress appetite and slows the emptying of the stomach [2]. According to its pharmaceutical makers, Novo Nordisk, the weekly injection medicine improves blood sugar control in three important ways:


Low-carb diets cause the carbohydrate metabolic pathway to shut down. The glycogen stores in the body are depleted as a result. Glycogen, however, does not hold water like fat. Considering the body stores glycogen in its hydrated form, with three or four parts water per glycogen, burning it causes a rapid reduction of body weight as well as water loss.

Once the glycogen stores are depleted, the body relies on the fat metabolic pathway to provide energy. If your daily energy expenditure exceeds your intake, the body will begin burning stored fat.

It is impossible for anyone to lose weight without consuming fewer calories than they burn daily. Losing weight without counting exercise may be possible, but losing weight without eating less than you burn is not.

Yes, diets are essential for any type of weight loss. While both diet and exercise are important for weight loss, adjustments to daily caloric intake should be made.

What is the role of exercise in weight loss?

Although exercise only contributes to a small percentage of weight loss, it provides a way to increase energy expenditure and may help adjust energy balance for weight loss and maintenance [4]. According to most randomized, controlled trials, exercise intervention alone results in modest weight loss, and exercise intervention combined with dietary restriction results in more significant weight loss [5].

Energy expended in physical activity has the potential to affect energy balance, and this can potentially affect body weight regulation [6]. There is sufficient evidence that physical activity can minimize weight gain, but it appears to require moderate to vigorous intensity to have significant effects.

Regardless of weight loss, both aerobic exercise and resistance training have been shown to diminish risk factors of cardiovascular disease and diabetes [7].


The Difficulty of Staying within the Caloric Deficit

As mentioned, in order to lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories than you burn – which is also called a calorie deficit. Temporarily achieving a calorie deficit may not be a problem, but sustaining it may be a bit more difficult.

The sedentary lifestyle is becoming increasingly common with more office jobs and work-from-home options. Lack of movement can make it difficult for people to maintain calorie deficits. If you spend most of your day sitting down at work, it becomes harder to increase your energy expenditure the same way someone with an active lifestyle can.

Exercising can help you expend calories, but it cannot compensate for a bad diet.

Dieting Dangers

Despite the above evidence that reiterates the importance of diet when it comes to weight loss, it is important to note that when it comes to unsustainable fad diets (e.g., keto diets, no-carb diets) that require cutting out entire food groups for a period may have the opposite effect.

Fad diets are diets that often promote rapid weight loss by cutting out entire food groups and are often very low in calories and nutrients which may put you at risk of many health problems. Study findings from The Biggest Loser, a reality show where contestants compete to lose the most weight over a period of time, showed that even when contestants initially showed results, their body weight bounced back later on.

The combination of constant hunger and slowing metabolism is a recipe for weight gain for most people once they get off their fad diets.


Targeting Fat, not muscles

The goal of losing weight is to get rid of fat, not muscle mass. Weight loss requires diet adjustments, but drastic weight loss plans can also be unsustainable and lead to permanent negative changes in the body. In addition, in causes muscle breakdown instead of fat.

While that may be the case, there are some alternatives that are available that can get to the root of the problem. FDA-approved fat removal treatments such as CoolSculpting and SculpSure can effectively target stubborn fat cells that are resistant to any form of dieting and exercise.


Known as cryolipolysis or fat freezing, CoolSculpting is an FDA-approved non-invasive fat removal treatment that uses sub-zero temperatures to target and destroys stubborn fat deposits [6].

During the treatment, the targeted area of fatty tissue is treated using a vacuum suction applicator that cools the fat cells. Under temperatures that fall as low as -13°C, the fat cells suffer cell death and are broken down without damaging the surface of the skin.

The destroyed fat cells are flushed out gradually in the following weeks and months via the body’s lymphatic system.



SculpSure is a laser-based, non-invasive fat removal treatment also meant to target and eliminate stubborn fat pockets. Using the process known as laser lipolysis, SculpSure is able to penetrate deep into the dermis to cause a breakdown of adipose tissue.

During the treatment, an applicator on the skin surface transmits heat energy to the treatment zone while bypassing the outer skin layer. The applicators deliver 1060nm diode laser beams that reach temperatures up to 47°C. Under these temperatures, the fat cells underneath the skin are broken down without damaging other tissues.

There is no downtime, and so you can go back to your home or office after the session [7].

Key Takeaways

While it may be easier to manage how many calories you consume, regular exercise helps preserve lean muscle and burn additional calories. Ultimately, combining dietary changes and regular exercise can help you achieve more meaningful and sustainable weight loss in the long term.

However, if you’re looking for a solution to the pockets of stubborn fat that have been resistant to all forms of exercise and dieting, non-invasive fat removal treatments such as CoolSculpting and SculpSure are options you may consider.

Schedule an appointment for a detailed body assessment to determine which treatment option would be best for you.