General Question

partyrock's avatar

Can I lose weight from diet alone ? Can I lose weight from cutting calories but not exercising ?

Asked by partyrock (3865 points ) December 10th, 2011

They say it takes 3500 calories to burn if I want to lose one pound… I’ve been reading and it says if I want to lose 10 pounds in one month, I would need to cut about 500 or 700 calories a day.

If I cut back 500 calories a day from my diet, but do not exercise, can I still lose weight ?

I don’t eat a lot of junk food or drink soda so I think this will be easy for me. The hard part is exercising for one hour a day, and sweating. Can I still lose 10 pounds a month if I just watch what I’m eating and cut back on calories ?

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37 Answers

janbb's avatar

I don’t know if you can guarantee a set weight loss – so much depends on metabolism – but yes, you can lose weight by cutting calories alone. Maybe try to build some extra physical activity into your day by taking stairs, parking further away in parking lots, etc.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, you can still lose weight if you don’t exercise as long as you expend more calories than you take in.

Keep_on_running's avatar

Yes. I cut out a lot of salt and sugar from my diet just for the benefit of my health and lost about 3 kilos in one week. I also cut down portion sizes though, no exercise included. I’m quite thin already but it does work.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

When I went from eating meat to becoming vegetarian (without bread/dairy/eggs) when I was in my 20’s, I lost about a stone (15 lbs) in three weeks and I was still eating well and having full meals.

Once you hit your late thirties, your metabolism shifts and exercise really does play a larger role in losing weight. However, I went on a very restricted diet and still lost weight without exercise…it just takes a bit longer. One thing I learned is that adding exercise after a month or two on a restricted diet is the best way to go…your body has adjusted and then you can gradually work in a system of exercise. The short answer to your question is: Yes, you can lose weight without exercising.

However, one form of exercise that is fantastic, underrated and works like a dream to drop pounds and reshape your body…is the mini-trampoline. Get a good quality one ( like Urban Rebounder——there are others), get an egg-timer, set it to 20 minutes, you can watch a movie/TV show/listen to music…and the 20 minutes is done before you know it. Just keep continually bouncing or jogging or alternating. It works your core, your legs, your heart…and most importantly, it stimulates your lymphatic system. I’ve heard that ten minutes on a mini-tramp is like thirty minutes of jogging….not sure if this is true, but it sure feels like it….but without the pain and strain on your legs and ankles. I wouldn’t be without my daily mini-tramp…I hate exercising…but this works for me and it is simple.

Judi's avatar

Yes. Exercise just makes maintenance easier. I’ve lost hundreds (maybe thousands) of pounds over my life without exercising.
The only time I was able to actually KEEP it off was when I started a regular exercise program.

nikipedia's avatar

Why don’t you want to exercise?

Coloma's avatar

Yes, you can lose weight, at a much slower rate by diet alone, BUT..if you want to see the pounds just FALL OFF overnight, walk briskly 3 miles day, 5 days out of 7.

A brisk walking pace is usually about 3mph, so, a 3 mile walk will be about an hour.

This was my routine for years, and my walk incorporated a lot of hills, which is even better, burns more calories, works more muscles.

Seriously….you can easily lose that 10 lbs. in about a month if you eat 1500 calories a day and walk, walk, WALK!

Also…exercising in the mornings revs up your metabolism for the rest of the day, sooo, double bonus!

incendiary_dan's avatar

You’ll get more bang for your buck if you eat foods that are nutrient dense. That’s because having a lot of nutrients makes your body work better. Not rocket science.

Eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, free-range or wild meats, nuts, and that sort of stuff. Not too much grains, legumes, or starchy roots.

nromstadt's avatar

You can likely lose weight. My mother decided over the summer that she wanted to lose weight, after being told that she was close to developing hypertension (high blood pressure). She just cut back on the evening snacking and has to date lost about 25+ pounds. She does not exercise. Don’t set unrealistic goals though. Ten pounds in a month can be done, but don’t get discouraged if it does not work for you. Good luck!

partyrock's avatar

@nikipedia – It’s not that I don’t want to exercise, but I’m not at a gym at the moment and I don’t like running around my neighborhood. I do walk, and I have Insanity and P90X, but I only do those for maybe 30 min, a few times a week :(

partyrock's avatar

@nromstadt – How long did it take her to lose 25 pounds?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

When my mother was diagnosed with diabetes a few years back, I became afraid for my own health and kicked all added “extra” sugars and salt from my diet. No soda, no juice, no cream in my coffee and tea. Caffeine took the edge off and I’m glad because I was sooooooo irritable for the first month but by month three, I’d lost about 12 lbs, even with my sit down office job and no exercise other than daily stretches and maybe a few minutes of dancing here and there.

RedmannX5's avatar

@partyrock Have you ever heard of the Dieter’s Paradox? It pretty much states that in order for a person to go on a diet and lose weight, that person needs willpower, yet willpower goes hand-in-hand with energy, and food/drink is the only source of energy. Quite the catch 22. I would argue that dieting can make some people lose weight (as seen by the personal reports on this webpage), but the fact is that dieting doesn’t work for the vast majority of people out there because of the aforementioned Dieter’s Paradox. In addition, (as @Judi brought up), even when diets do work and make people lose weight, it is very rare that they keep the weight off.

Intuitively this Dieter’s Paradox concept makes perfect sense, but go ahead and read up on it or check out this scientific empirical study if you’d like. Overall, YES you might be able to knock off a couple of pounds by starving yourself of vital food and energy, but if you want to lose weight in a healthy way without it coming back, get in the habit of exercising.

partyrock's avatar

@RedmannX5 – I won’t be starving myself, or starving myself of nutrition, I was just asking if I can still lose pounds if I cut out 500 calories per day from diet.

RedmannX5's avatar

@partyrock Yes I was mainly referring to those who drastically reduce their food intake thinking that it is a healthy way to lose weight. In your particular case, I think it could be beneficial for you to knock off those 500 calories/day, but if you want to see results quicker and have them last longer, I would exercise. Believe me, I HATE exercising, but I’ve found that when I can muster up the motivation to do it on a somewhat regular basis, I feel much better, more energized, and more motivated to eat healthier.

jonsblond's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week. Any exercise is good for you. You don’t have to exercise an hour 5–7 days a week to lose week. I’ve maintained my weight and lost some weight by eating healthy and exercising in my own home just 30 minutes 4 days a week.

HungryGuy's avatar

Yes, you can. Starve your body of the energy it needs, and it will consume its own stored energy (fat). But you’ll have to reduce your calorie input to almost nothing to lose weight without exercise.

And I have to ask. Who is this question for? Certainly not that skinny girl in your avatar?

partyrock's avatar

@HungryGuy – That skinny girl in the avatar is me! But I only want to lose 10 pounds.

What do you mean reduce my calorie input to nothing ?

It takes 3500 to lose one pounds, so if I deduct 500 calories a day, I can lose that in one week.

global_nomad's avatar

My sister lost a lot of weight over the course of a year doing Jenny Craig. She actually lost most of it within the first couple of months. She hit a plateau and the only way to move past that was to exercise. But prior to that she didn’t exercise at all.

RedmannX5's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Caffeine has been proven to cause irritability and anxiety in humans, especially when consumed in high doses, I just wanted to shift your perspective a bit because it very well could’ve been that the caffeine you were drinking actually augmented your irritability (especially coupled with the stress of dieting). Hope all is well though :-)

nromstadt's avatar

@partyrock Probably about 3–4 months to drop 20lbs, and then by 5 months she was down at least 25. She was not going for rapid weight loss though. And her eating habits have not drastically changed – she mostly just stopped snacking, which made a tremendous difference.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, but you don’t get the other advantages of weight loss coupled with exercise.

Ela's avatar

Dieting without exercise makes you smooshy, imo. You don’t have to exercise for an hour a day or get all sweaty. I did weights daily for 15–20 mins, rotating days between upper body and lower body muscles. I toned up nicely. The key for me is consistency.

filmfann's avatar

Actually, no.
If your body notices a lower intake, it will decrease your metabolism to compensate.
It is important to exercise to keep that metabolism at or above your current level. Then you will see the weight drop.
The alternative is to drastically cut your intake calories. You will lose weight, but you might damage your health on the way.

jonsblond's avatar

@EnchantingEla My exercise routine was about the same as yours. I used 5lb weights for my arms for about 10 minutes every other day, then spent 10–15 minutes doing lunges and squats the days I didn’t work on my arms. I included aerobic activity (kickboxing dvd) 4–5 days a week, 20–30 minutes each time. I was fit and had some guns with this simple routine. It really isn’t that time consuming. Consistency is the key.

partyrock's avatar

@jonsblond – Did you lose any weight from doing that? How much weight did you lose and in how much of time ? I do about 30min a day of cardio and dancing.

partyrock's avatar

@jonsblond I’m eating healthier and cutting calories every day.. plus about 30 min to 40 min a day from dancing and or walking… I hope I can lose the weight…

Not sure if I can lose the 10 pounds in one month from doing this… Unless I probably exercise 2 hours a day :)

jonsblond's avatar

@partyrock I started this routine when I was 27. This was after having two children. I’m 5’ 3” and kept my weight at 117–120 when I was consistent with the routine. My legs and arms were very toned. I slacked off during the winter and easily gained 10–15 lbs. I got back to my exercise routine in late Jan./early February and was back to 120 by late spring.

rooeytoo's avatar

Read the Food Tree. Her diet theory, which certainly seems pretty healthy, relies completely on what you eat. You will lose weight whether you exercise or not.

EmptyNest's avatar

You can lose weight but you will lose muscle mass and end up with loose skin depending on how much weight is lost. Excersizing burns calories and tones muscles and you will look better. Good luck!

RedmannX5's avatar

@partyrock I think all of us here would agree that if you look anything like your avatar picture, you certainly do not need to lose any weight.

I hate this country for instilling beauty into the word skinny, it’s all about finding that happy balance

partyrock's avatar

@RedmannX5 – I have a bit of stomach fat I’m trying to get rid off…

RedmannX5's avatar

@partyrock Totally understandable

Ela's avatar

@jonsblond I have a few inches and pounds on ya ; ) I’m 5’6” and 140(ish). I was never able to get into aerobics and kick boxing would prolly kick my ass LoL : (
I just walk, swim (ride bike in summer), play with my kids and do weights. I’m starting belly dancing soon, though and am excited!

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

You can lose weight and inches without exercising…if you do the Simeons protocol to the letter. It is not easy, but it works.

likipie's avatar

You’ll lose weight faster if you decrease your calories and exercise but if you’re not wanting to work out at all it is possible to lose by diet alone. It takes a bit longer but it is possible.

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