Don't Exercise to Lose Weight!!Weight Loss - no exercise required« click for printable PDF version

Here's what a typical exercise-based weight loss program looks like:

Monday is cardio day - 20 minutes of stair climbing to nowhere, followed by 30 minutes of slightly uphill walking back that also doesn't go anywhere.

Wednesday is personal trainer day - a whole hour of being worked like a farm animal by someone whom I am paying for the privilege of telling me so.

Then, on Fridays, it's off to my body shaping class to bend, flex and jump around with a roomful of others, hoping that I will come out looking different than when I went in.

Isn't that how most of us do it?

We grunt and sweat through our workouts, smugly satisfied that our efforts are burning up more calories than the piece of chocolate cake we had for dessert last night.

Despite our best efforts, however, our weight and shape seem stuck at the very place we're trying to escape.

Eventually we give up hope on losing those last 20-30-40 pounds and the exercise routine becomes just another part of our social circle, or we quit the program altogether.

Well, as a doctor, I'm here to tell you that the common belief that exercise is THE WAY to lose your excess weight is false.

Your inner couch potato can rejoice, because, while exercise is a good thing to do for many other healthy reasons, it is not your #1 tool to losing weight.

The basic problem is that, even though exercise burns off the calories, it also stimulates hunger. That causes us to eat more, and unless we're very controlled in how much or what we eat, this will wipe out any weight loss advantage from working out.

In other words, in most cases, exercise makes your weight loss challenge even more difficult than it already is.

Check out the results of this study -

In 2009, researchers at Louisiana State University followed the weight loss progress of 464 overweight women for six months. They found no significant difference between women who exercised and those who did not.

Dr. Timothy Church, chair in health wisdom at LSU, pins the lack of an exercise bonus on "compensation". By that, he specifically means that those women who worked out rewarded themselves in one of two ways later that day: eating more or doing less.

Even just a brief stop at Starbucks for a coffee and muffin for a little "treat" wipes out 300-400 calories of workout time.

Colleague Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism and a prominent exercise researcher at LSU, agrees: "In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless."

For those of you who are more mathematically inclined, chew on this the next time you come back from the gym... Our bodies need 6 calories daily to sustain a pound of muscle, but only 2 calories per pound of fat.

This means that when you finally manage to convert 10lb of fat to muscle - which is a major achievement - you can eat an extra 40 calories per day without weight gain effect.

Exercise is good for many reasons, but the exercise that is best for weight loss is just plain, old self-control. We did write an article on that a while back - The #1 Reason for Weight Loss Failure


If you are already on the WeightWorks program, then you know how exercise fits into your new, naturally-thin lifestyle.

If you are not yet on the WeightWorks program and want to learn more about how we can help, please complete our online get-acquainted questionnaire. Enter the coupon code "ARTICLE50" and we will take 50% off the cost of an initial doctor consultation to review your situation, make suggestions and answer any questions you may have.

Click here to go to the questionnaire.

It's the best first step you'll ever take.

   - - Yours in health,   The Doctors of WeightWorks

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