No, you do not need to exercise to lose weight. It's true. You can lose almost all the weight you want just by changing your eating habits. The vast majority of people can get to within 10% of their desired weight with diet alone. Most can even can achieve 100% of their target weight without doing any exercise at all!
Too often physicians tell patients, "Diet AND exercise." We hear this all the time. Diet AND exercise. The fact of the matter is, that diet alone is usually enough to achieve very significant weight loss.
Most Americans find excuses to not have time to exercise. Work, kids, time, money, motivation, running late, etc. Exercise is usually our last priority. This is unfortunate, but true.
When doctors tell patients that weight loss requires diet AND exercise. We have already built excuses into the system. They can't find time to exercise, hence, they will not be able to lose weight. We are giving people a reason to not lose weight.
We should rephrase our recommendations. You need DIET ONLY. Forget exercise! If you have time, please exercise. It's great for your heart. But it is not necessary for weight loss. But weight loss is necessary! Please lose weight.
We have to be clear and truthful. Diet modification is more than enough to cause major weight loss. Let's not tie it to exercise and destine both to noncompliance. They won't do either.
How useful is exercise?
Assuming you weigh 200 pounds, if you walk or jog for 3 miles you will burn about 300 calories. That's not much! That's one plain bagel from Panera.
Exercise should not be used as a way to burn calories. It should be used to increase your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular health. But's it's not a good way to burn calories.
A 200 pound person doing squats for 2 minutes straight, non-stop burns 320 calories. That's only 2 minutes of resistance training! Even if you aren't putting up any weight, just your body weight. Two minutes, 320 calories. Better to do two minutes of squats than run for 3 miles if you just want to burn calories.
Back to our problem, diet does not have to be tied to exercise. You can get to within 10% of your target weight with diet alone. If your ideal body weight is supposed to be 150 pounds, you can easily get to 165 with just diet. If you want to weigh 170, you can easily get to 187 with JUST DIET!
Most people will achieve 100% of their target weight with just diet alone. It's not that hard!
Start dieting and lose weight! NO EXCUSES! I don't want to hear about not being able to get to the gym, no time to run, had to pick up the kids, can't afford a gym membership, etc, etc.
Dieting is free! (and may cost you less than what you are paying now) You will be paying a lot less for food, since you will be eating a lot less food. You don't have time to exercise, but you definitely have time to diet. You eat every day, right? Just eat way less. It's not rocket science.
Although, you don't need to exercise to lose weight, exercise is great for your cardiovascular health and goes a long way towards improving your well beingand health. I will never tell my patients to stop exercising, but I will tell you that exercise is not necessary for weight loss.