Can you lose weight without exercise?

This is a question I have heard many times on the Slimming World social media pages.  Before I answer that though, let me ask you a quick question:

What is exercise?

For many of you when you saw the word exercise would have probably started thinking about one of the following:-

  • Gym
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Tennis
  • Football
  • Fitness Classes

Am I right?  Thought so!

So how many of you exercise, especially daily?

Exercise comes in so many other forms though such as:

  • Walking – could be to shops, school, work or just walking the dog
  • Housework – vacuuming, dusting, ironing,
  • Decorating
  • Gardening
  • Washing the car

So if I now asked the question how many of you exercise, would that be different to your first answer?

Can you lose weight without exercise?

Going back to my very first question,  the answer is actually very few people will do literally no exercise.  The key thing to keep in your mind though is that you lose weight in the kitchen and inches in the gym’!

If you follow Slimming World’s principle of food optimising you will lose weight.  The key is to ensure you are burning off more calories than you are consuming.  If you don’t do high activity and you are not losing weight, maybe its your portion sizes.  One of the things I love about Slimming World is that I don’t have to weight a lot of my food as its free.  That said, I can’t eat constantly free food all day long and lose weight.  Keep a food diary especially in the first 4 weeks of joining, this will help you see where you could still make changes.  Talk to your consultant.  They usually ask you to hand your diaries in during the first 4 weeks so they can help you.  Make sure you do this.  You will be surprised how it will help.  A year on I still look back at my initial diaries to remind myself what I was eating.

Increasing your activity

As I have shown above exercise isn’t about going to the gym etc.  In this blog i’m going to avoid the word exercise and use activity instead.

To help your weight loss the more active you are the better.  This doesn’t mean you have to immediately go out and buy a whole new fitness wardrobe and join a gym.  Make a list of what activity you already do.  Not just the type of activity but how long you spend on it.  Then think about anything you do now that you could change!  Do you drive the kids to school when you could walk it?  Could you get off the bus 1 stop earlier?  Could you use the stairs rather than the lift?

The above all sound simple, but increasing your activity is!  I bought my husband a Fitbit a couple of years ago to try and encourage him to think about his activity levels.  He never used it so I decided to.  I was amazed what activity I did on some days compared to others.

They say we should do an average of 10,000 steps a day.  I know that on days when I work at home, even with walking the dogs twice a day, that is still difficult to do sometimes.

You don’t need to go out and buy a Fitbit either to track your activity.  Some mobile phones now have an app on them or you can buy a cheap pedometer from Amazon for as little as £6.99

This may sound silly but I will go to the toilet upstairs rather than the one downstairs to increase my steps!  I’ve also been known to walk up and down the stairs a few times to make sure I hit my 10,000 steps!

So how much activity are you already doing?

I’ve already shown you that you may already be doing some forms of activity, but do you know how many calories you could be burning off?  According to an article in Women & Home this is what they say:

  • Making the bed – 70 calories per hour – equivalent to 20 minutes Pilates
  • Ironing – 157 calories per hour – equivalent to 30 minutes of water aerobics
  • Sweeping – 161 calories per hour – equivalent to 30 minutes cycling
  • Dusting – 166 calories per hour – equivalent to 20 minutes aerobics
  • Vacuming – 178 calories per hour – equivalent to 20 minutes jogging
  • Washing the car – 344 calories per hour – equivalent to 45 minutes of swimming

I don’t know about you but I suddenly have the urge to clean!!

Tips for getting more active

If you want to increase you activity be realistic.  Don’ t set yourself goals that you know will be difficult to achieve.  Consider your current level of fitness too.  No-one can go from being a couch potato one day to running a marathon overnight.  It takes a lot of training.  You may also need to consult your GP for advice and guidance.

Pick something that you will enjoy.  I love the gym and dancing, both which my husband would absolutely hate!  Sometimes, getting friends to do the activity with you will motivate you, sometimes it doesn’t.  I know my husband would rather go jogging on his own rather than with someone else.  Also if they find an excuse not to go, you may use that as your excuse not to go too!

Don’t put pressure on yourself either.  It doesn’t have to be a formal session or cost money!   I can sometimes be found dancing around my house with my dogs.  Anyone looking in may think i’m completely mad, but its fun and keeps them active too!

I also have an Amazon Fire.  Anyone who has one will know that the song lyrics come up on the TV.  I had a great weekend with my 2 young nieces the other week dancing and singing along to lots of different tunes!  I was amazed at the number of steps I had done that day too!

Just going for a walk at the weekends with your family will increase your activity levels.

You may have things around the house you can use to increase your activity.  Especially is you have kids!

When I joined Slimming World I measured myself.  Every month on the anniversary, I measured myself again.  I was so motivated to see the inches coming down, especially if the scales didn’t feel like they were moving.

I used to to go the the gym before going to Slimming World.  My inches have reduced massively since I joined.  I haven’t increased my activity levels, I’ve toned.  I don’t believe I would have achieved the results I did by only going to the gym.  The new me is down to food optimising!

One word of warning!

Many weight loss programmes I have been on before allow you to ‘buy’ yourself more calories by doing exercise.  Slimming World doesn’t do that and I’m proof you don’t need them either.    Keep to the principles of food optimising and you will succeed.   The worst thing you can do is tell yourself you can have the extra glass of wine or chocolate bar because you went for a walk!

What activity do I do?

I’m very lucky as I get a gym membership as a benefit with my company.  The gym is also in the same building.  This makes it very convenient for me as I can go during my lunch hour.  Whenever I am in the office I always try and go for 30 minutes.  As its only a short time I concentrate on cardio.  If i’m not feeling great even 30 minutes on the treadmill walking is better than nothing.

As you know I have 2 border collies so every morning and evening they will get a walk.  This varies from 30 minutes in the morning to longer in the evenings and at weekends.  If we have a nice dry weekend, my husband and I love taking them on long walks in the countryside.

I hurt my back in 2015.  Previously to that I used to have an App on my phone to work on my abs.  It built you up gradually doing different exercises to tone your abs up.  I did it for about a year and actually got to a 4 minute plank which I was so proud of.  the App was free and so a great way to exercise with structure without spending a penny.  There are many other Apps out there doing similar things.

I missed working on my abs, so I bought myself an Ab machine.  This allows me to work on my Abs without putting pressure on my back again.

This was really cheap – less than £30 from Ebay.  I don’t think this specific one is available now but both Amazon and Ebay have similar ones within the same price range.

Every night I get it out while watching one of my favourite programmes and use it for 30 minutes.  I recently stopped using it for a few weeks and have really noticed the difference.  I’m now back on it!

My advice to anyone looking at their levels of activity is to make sure firstly you can do it.   Like me, my days of the 4 minute plank are over so there is no point saying I’m going to do it.  But I can still do by abs using my machine.    Don’t say you are going to start going to gym when you realistically don’t have time to go because of the kids etc.

Secondly, do something you enjoy.   If its a chore you will lose interest very quickly.

And finally build it up gently.  You will do more harm than good if you push yourself too hard too soon.  You will either find it too difficult and lose interest or you will injure yourself.  The same goes if you decide to join a friend in their activities.   I have a colleague who has now joined the work gym.  When she first joined she tried to do the same as me!  I’ve been going for 4 years.  I could see she was struggling to keep up with me so suggested to her she starts walking on the treadmill and builds herself up.  I admired her for her commitment but we were never going to be at the same level.  That is not disrespect to her.  I struggled when I first joined and had to build up slowly to where I am now.   She took that on board and no longer tries to keep up with me.   I hope this will help increase her activity levels and


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