A lot of people are unsure about how to lose weight, on the one hand, they’ve seen friends lose tons of weight through some quick fix diet. They also have friends who have lost weight just through taking up walking or jogging (whilst still eating exactly the same as they were beforehand).
There is a belief among many that you need to both diet and exercise to lose weight, but how accurate is this? In this article, we will be looking at how to lose weight without dieting. Whether it is possible if it is possible how to manage it, and whether there are better alternatives.
Can you lose weight without dieting?
Short answer, yes you can. A lot of people seriously over think weight loss, at the end of the day it all comes down to calories in versus calories out. So how do we work out calories? The first thing you need to calculate is what your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is, this is an amount of calories you burn whilst sitting down doing nothing.
Next, you need to find out how many calories you burn performing non-exercise activities, you can do this using the step-counting app and other apps that estimate calories burned whilst performing activities such as gardening, housework, and climbing stairs. This will give you an idea of how many calories you are burning daily.
The next thing you need to work out is how many calories per day you are eating, you can use calorie-tracking apps such as myfitnesspal.com or its competitors. Once you have been tracking your calories long enough (remember you don’t have to diet, just maintain your current cals) you should have a rough idea of what your average calories in are.
Now all you need to do is ensure that the calories burned each day, outnumber an amount of calories consumed. There doesn’t need to be a huge difference here, even a deficit of 100-150 calories per day will lead to a significant amount of fat loss if you manage to maintain this for a year.
How do I increase calories burned?
This can either be through exercise, through non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) – which we mentioned earlier, or through both. There are many forms of exercise that you can take up: running is a popular option as it is so accessible and can be done with little instruction, equipment or cost.
Another option would be to participate in sport, such as football or basketball where you can burn hundreds of calories in a game. Remember so long as your food intake doesn’t increase and you are adding exercise to your week you will benefit from some fat loss results.
You can also join a gym and start lifting weights, this is actually the best option as it will help you to increase muscle. Particularly if you are very overweight, to begin with. Stick to compound exercises such as bench presses, deadlifts, squats, and bent over rows, compound exercises are any exercise that works multiple muscles (rather than isolation exercises that only work one muscle at a time – like a bicep curl).
Whilst not having to diet, there is one small change you would have to make which would be to increase protein. This is so that your muscles have adequate fuel to repair themselves. Now if you just added 100 calories of protein you would end up gaining weight rather than losing it!
So you’re going to have to find that 100 calories from fat and protein. This still isn’t dieting as the total calories will be the same as they were, but you are improving your macronutrient ratios. If you were already eating a load of protein then this change will not be needed.
The other option is increasing NEAT levels, so increasing the amount of housework you do, increasing the amount of gardening, or the easiest to increase is the amount of walking you do. Download a step counting app and find your average. Then try to increase it by 1k, that should burn an extra 50 or so calories per day. If you want to burn 150 extra calories then you will have to add 3000 steps to your daily step count.
Is there a better alternative?
If you are looking to lose a small amount of weight over a reasonable amount of time, but aren’t looking to transform your physique then you don’t need to diet. As mentioned earlier it is a simple case of altering the energy balance and creating a small calorie deficit.
If you have dreams of rocking a six pack or losing 15-30kg of body fat then you may have to work a little bit harder. You will have to step up your training, increase NEAT and sadly you will also have to alter your diet.
To do this all you have to do is look at your current diet, increase your protein ratio and lower calories from carbs and possibly fat until you are consuming fewer calories than you were beforehand.
So once you have worked out your daily calorie expenditure (let’s say it’s 2,500 calories) and you added 300 calories worth of exercise that means that an amount of calories burned per day was 2,800. That means that you could eat 2,800 calories in one day and not gain any weight.
But if you took 10% of the calories away you would end up with a 280 calorie deficit at the end of the day. That means that you could eat 2,520 calories and still lose weight – provided you completed the exercise.
As you progress through this diet, you can start to take off more and more calories until you hit your body fat percentage target. After that, you can start to slowly reintroduce calories back into your diet to build muscle.
So there you have it, you now know how to lose weight without dieting, and you also know how to get the best results possible with a form of dieting.
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