How to Lose Weight Without Doing One Minute of Exercise

Screen shot 2010-03-04 at 1.16.53 AMThis picture has absolutely nothing to do with today’s article.  I just love Homer, and I wanted to get your attention…although you might be eating a doughnut right now as you read this.  Let’s hope not.

Before I start, I want to let you know I’m not condoning zero exercise.  In fact, exercise is freaking awesome and something you should try to do every day. However, I am here to tell you that if your primary concern is weight loss, exercise is merely the icing on the cake.  90% of your waistline battle is won or lost in the kitchen (or at the restaurant table, or at the drive-thru window, etc.)

Warning: this will ask you to possibly make some substantial changes to your diet – are you up for it?

Eat Real Food

I’m a huge fan of the food philosophy presented in books like The Paleo Diet, Good Calories Bad Calories, and sites like Mark’s Daily Apple. Why?  Because they make this diet thing so simple and logical even a caveman could understand it.  My apologies if you’re a caveman.  If you’re new to the “Paleo Diet” concept, here it is in a nutshell.  Rather than list what you can’t eat, here’s what you CAN eat:

REAL foods – veggies, lean meats, fish, eggs, fruit, and nuts.

Why does this work? Because you’re only eating foods that you’re genetically engineered to thrive on: high quality, high energy REAL foods.  Not from a box, not from a bag, not from a window.  Food from the earth.  Yay nature.

Cut Way Back on the Rest

Bread, cereal, pasta, fried food, rice, bagels, doughnuts, waffles, chips, tortillas, candy etc. – these things are all loaded with carbs (and if they’re processed – refined carbs and sugar), and I’ll bet a million Monopoly dollars they’re the cause of 99% of the population’s weight problem. I’m not telling you to give all of this stuff up completely – I’m just telling you that this is probably the reason the weight isn’t coming off of your frame.  Here’s why:

Most grains, refined carbs and sugar were nonexistent way back in the day, which means our bodies never quite adapted to properly process them.  If you want to understand more why our bodies have such an issue with grains and carbs, this is the best article I’ve readHere’s a great video to explain why refined carbs make you fat:


Video – Why You Got Fat

Today’s general recommended diet ratio of 50-60% carbs, 30% protein, 10-20% fat is so far off it’s ridiculous. I’m sorry, but it is.  This ratio has been pushed on the public for decades, and new “low fat” items continue to pop up every day…and yet the country continues to get wider and bigger and fatter.

Something’s not right.

How I Know it Works

Although I’ve recently added some grains back into my diet to bulk up (oats, flaxseed bread, and brown rice), I can attest to the fact that the Paleo Diet absolutely works.   In the four months that I switched to a Paleo diet (my ratio was probably 40% fat, 40% protein, and 20% carbs), my body fat percentage dropped from 12% down to 5%.  Besides myself, many NF readers have lost quite a bit of weight from making this change as well.

If you’re interested in giving the Paleo Diet a shot, check out this GREAT resource.  Pick a few things on the list, put together your meals, and you will lose weight.  If you’re interested in learning more about ‘going paleo,’ Mark’s Primal Blueprint 101 is a great place to get your feet wet.

Cut Out Liquid Calories

Soda, beer, juice, margaritas Gatorade, vitamin water, cappuccinos, fruit coolatas – avoid them whenever possible (except for beer on St. Patty’s Day…come on.) These beverages are all loaded with sugar which immediately turn to fat in your system.  And switching from a 12 pack of Coke to a 12 pack of Diet Coke might not solve your problems either.  Read my article why Diet Coke might make you fat. My advice: chug water like it’s your job.  It will curb your appetite, keep your insides running properly, and give you an excuse to get up and go for a walk to the bathroom every thirty minutes.

No Paleo? Eat Less Than Before!

Don’t want to change what you eat?  Welp, you’re just going to count calories (using a site like DailyBurn).  It’s a pain in the ass, but it works.  Here are the three equations you need to know:

  • Calories consumed > Calories burned = weight gain.
  • Calories consumed < Calories burned = weight loss.
  • 3500 less calories per week = 1 pound of fat weight loss.

As explained in the video above, the types of you food you eat is more important than these equations let on, but just creating a caloric deficit will still produce weight loss (although far less efficiently).  Tyler over at 344pounds.com has had incredible results by continuing to eat his favorite foods in moderation.  However, along with eating his favorite foods in moderation, Tyler also spends hours and hours in the gym burning off all of those calories, which is incredibly time consuming.  I just don’t have that kind of free time and I guess that you don’t either, so why not work smarter instead of harder? Rather than eating bad foods and spending hours working it off, instead eat GOOD foods, put in only 20-30 minutes of solid exercise, and then enjoy the rest of your day.  Life’s too short to spend it doing stuff that’s just not necessary.

The Choice Is Yours

I’m not going to yell at you and force you to only eat grilled chicken and steamed vegetables for every meal – I’m not your mom (phew, that would be weird).  Besides, you’re a grown individual and you can make choices for yourself.

I AM, however, telling you that if you want to see results without spending hours upon hours in the gym, you need to get your diet under control, and this is the most efficient way for you to get there.  The more you can change to what’s been listed above, the quicker you’ll get to your goal weight.  Switching to a 100% Paleo Diet after years of eating bad carbs is a recipe for disaster.  Instead, try finding a way to implement a change or two along the way until you start to see those results.

I realize this is much easier said than done, which means this isn’t really about your diet: it’s about your will power and finding a good balance of changes that you can successfully manage. Whenever somebody says “I can’t give up that food” or “I just don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal” all I hear is, “I don’t want it badly enough yet.”

I’m okay with that.

If you’re not at that point yet to take control of your life, I’ll do my best to inspire and motivate you to get there…but the desire to change has to come from within you.  If you ARE at the point where you really want to make a change, I’m here to help, along with a community of people on our message boards who are there to support you.

Do we have any Paleo Dieters here? How did you successfully make the transition from a modern diet to a healthy one?  Do you have concerns about giving up carbs and eating more fat? I’m only writing from experience and my own research, but would love to hear some stories on your weight loss successes or failures and I know others would too.

Let’s hear it!

-Steve

28 Day Challenge UpdateOn March 1st I put a call out for people to join me on a 28-challenge.  Over fifty new people signed up for the Nerd Fitness Message Boards and about a dozen bloggers signed up to post their challenge results on their own websites.  Sounds like a dedicated bunch of fools to me.  You can follow my challenge here – I’ll be writing every day throughout.  Join us!

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photo: Greg Easton Photography

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  • Zuska

    I know this is SUPER old, but I just found out about Nerd Fitness! I’m trying to convert to Paleo for the first time- I’m normally very low fat, high veggies, so getting the veggies and less carbs isn’t a taste/craving concern- but my digestive system is having a rough time catching up! All this fiber and fat.. eeeek! Anyone else having these problems?

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  • Jonathan Dumas

     Nice but how much did you lost ?

    I’m on my 3rd week on 100% paleo. Lost 18 pound. My meals are varied

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaybull Jennifer Jay Bull

    I switched to a Paleo diet on April 24.  I went cold turkey, because gradually easing into something just helps find reasons to procrastinate.  The first two weeks of sugar withdrawal were not fun, and I kind of went crazy eating lots and lots of apples every day.  Those first two weeks I didn’t lose weight as I was simply eating too much fruit to combat my sugar withdrawal.

    Mark’s Daily Apple and NF had lots of good information that got me back on track, though.  I now eat 1 or 2 pieces of fruit a day, if that.  I rarely eat sweet potatoes and all breads, processed food, white potatoes, grains, and legumes are off the list entirely.

    I really thought that it would be too expensive or that I would miss hummus, but what I have found is that I am pretty happy with my diet.  I no longer have this huge blood sugar crash when I get hungry.  Instead of feeling emotionally unstable simply because I haven’t eaten or having this spaced out feeling because I was hungry, I would just feel hungry and then eat something.

    I have discovered the joy in eating veggies.  Red peppers are great if you want something sweet to eat, and there are a lot of veggies that I munch on while I cook food – carrots, peppers, cucumbers, zucchinis, etc.  I’ve learned how to make pico de gallo, salads, use herbs such as cilantro, and things of that nature. 

    In my area there is a little store called Fresh Foods that has veggies and fruits for super low prices.  The low prices are because you pretty much have to use them within a day or two before they go bad, so I am shopping more, but since I work out pretty much 5 days a week (3 days of Crossfit, 2 days of yoga)  I just get what I need for a day or two every time I am on my way home from working out.

    Another tip I read about is not going to please everyone’s palate, but organ meat is pretty inexpensive.  I’ve been making liver and onions and have it about one a week.  One package of beef liver is about $2 and it makes enough for several meals.  My husband hates liver, and many of you might feel the same way, but as I have always had a low iron count I really enjoy it not just for taste but because I bruise less easily when I have it regularly.

    Aldi’s has meat for low cost and I am lucky enough to have a freezer so storing meats is not a problem.  That said, I do rely heavily on eggs, especially when I am in a hurry.  Eggs cook really fast, I try to keep a dozen or so hard boiled in the fridge for quick snacks or salads, they are not very expensive, and they are pretty filling.  Since going paleo I actually successfully made a frittata for the first time ever and I am now hooked on trying out different frittata recipes because you can make a huge frittata and then cut it up into individual serving sizes for re-heating later.

    I also try to remember to always have a snack on me.  While I am handling hunger better, when you get too hungry you make mistakes.  So I try to keep raisins, or nuts, or cut up peppers in a ziploc baggie, or a variety of other items in my purse.  I generally have a couple paleo friendly snacks on me at any given time.  I’ve lost about 10 pounds since going paleo and lots of inches.

    One of the better ideas I read about on NF – I think it was from reading Spezzy’s story – is that you can pre-cook what you plan to eat for the week on a day off.  i usually spend one day a week cooking several different food items – chicken breasts, frittatas, spinach, liver and onions – that way all I have to do during the week is throw what I want to eat into the microwave.

    It is not an easy diet, but I really like knowing that everything I eat is not processed really by anyone other than me and possibly my butcher.

  • Natasha

    Steve, i ran into your site a little over a month ago and you got me interested about paleo. I thought i would give it a try… Today i had an assessment at boot camp i also started 6 weeks ago and my trainer was surprised to see i dropped my body fat percentage from 38.2 to 29! I totally attribute this to 6 weeks of the boot camp together with 4 weeks of paleo! I’m stoked to do another assessment in next 6 weeks! :) Thank you!

  • Jess

    Chugging water like nobody’s business really helped. I swear I lost about four pounds and gained it back in muscle in two weeks from just doing squats and interval training and lunges! Not really doing full workouts right now, but getting there. Just wanted to say that water does wonders :D

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  • Epzilonz

    Man. I am running out of all kinds of options. I say I am goimg to do it, but nobody helps me keepy promise. As a teenager, I can’t trust anybody, not even myself. I met a girl online that I talk to, but she hasn’t seen me once. I told her she wouldb be disappointed if she knew. Though she swears she’ll love me no matter what. I tried that Lipozene bullshit, and didn’t lose a pound. I managed to stop gaining, just can’t lose any. I don’t wanna die alone, and I need to get lose more then 50 pounds.

    I PRAY TO GOD THIS WORKS
    I DON’T WANT TO DIE ALONE

  • http://www.facebook.com/bee.thao.963 Bee Thao

    Dear Epzilonz,

    I do not know what you are going through in life. I am sure it’s a struggle. Though I urge you to not lose hope in yourself but to daily remind you to believe in yourself. I can relate to your writing, it’s tone, it’s sound for I played that same tune from around your age to even now at times. Epzilonz, you cannot constantly depend on others for keeping promises, seeking validation, being accountable, working out, etc. It will drive the ones who care about you weary and eventually it will break both them and you.  It is of utmost importance that you work on loving and trusting yourself. Believe me, no one else will if you don’t first love and trust yourself. This is a fact of life. The being the process of self-discipline and the art of consistency.
    So start now, start today. Take action, no matter how minute it may seem to you as it starts the process of creating your foundation of which you build your life upon. Take the time to read, to study, then put into action what you learn to lose that excess weight with a healthy eating lifestyle and exercising. Don’t expect drastic weight loss #’s stay consistent and smart and one day you will meet your goals. Good luck on your journey.

  • itssophiachavez

    Rice and potatoes are nothing but starchy foods. They’re just carbs.

  • Jake

    http://youtu.be/vPrfGPh0dzk My diet formula

    Hey do you think this could work?

  • Arturo Antonio Mejia Marmol

    Excellent Post :)

  • OrangeKiwi

    Okay, this may sound like I’m trying to rain on people’s parades but just bear with me for a second. I completely agree that food choice is crucial when trying to be healthy, you can’t pump yourself full of coke and ice cream and expect your body to function okay with that. I’ve gone through a ton of different diets (meaning a way of eating, not the ‘I won’t eat bananas for three days’ kind) and I’ve settled on a mainly vegan diet both out of health and allergy reasons. It may not be the best, and it does mean I still have to be careful to keep those refined carbs at bay, but it works. What I do want to mention, however, is this fix people seem to have with the Paleo diet. Does it work? Sure, and it’s a pretty healthy way to go too. It’s a decent diet, but it has no real scientific basis, at least not from the point they are trying to sell it from. There are a few bits of literature on that, but I think this TED talk summarizes them well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMOjVYgYaG8
    If the Paleo diet is for you, great, it’ll be pretty healthy and definitely worth switching to, but it’s not the way we were ‘designed to eat’, at least not if we look at what we actually ate back then. It’s a minor nit to pick, sure, but I found it odd that a site such as this (which aims to be based on scientific facts) puts so much faith in ‘what we used to eat back then’ according to the Paelo diet book.

    Other than that pet peeve, this is a really great movement and definitely worth sticking with, it’s a great site.

  • Amber McCaughlin

    I read the whole article.. I’m guessing just eat until I’m full on Paleo only foods and do 20 minutes of exercise a day and I’ll lose ALL my extra weight?!

  • ManOver40!

    Hi Steve
    My wife Brittany and I are already a good way into a food reformation that started years ago when she broke me of my fast food addiction. Brittany works for the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project(ASAP) educating teachers in whole local food and I’m with UltimateBodyPress.com.

    We cook 3 meals a day at home and are about to take our first 30 day Paleo challenge.
    Even with us both looking to make better choices each week, the one thing that sets apart a great week from a not-so-great one is the PLANNING. If we plan ahead and make the list our meals always come out healthier.
    Plan – then go to the store. It’ll save you more Calories than Pac-Man can eat on five bucks worth of quarters.

  • artli

    Tell me please, why do you always treat chemicals so badly? Maybe they won’t do any good but most times they won’t harm you as well. You can’t tell if a product is harmful judging only by the fact that it contains, say, preseravtives or artificial sweeteners. Food additives may mask obvious drawbacks but that’s the other story, it has nothing to do with the effects of food additives themselves. Especially if you remember that, for example, we eat more preservatives from some natural products than from the products where the same preservatives are added intentionally.

  • insecure

    I’m 13 and I’m 153 and I’m sick of being fat I’m always feeling insecure when I go places help!

  • BikiniWeather

    I’ve done a lot of research on how I can start losing weight and the main idea is eating less calories… The problem is that I’ve also read that eating too little causes the body to store more per meal because it feels it’s being starved… Another concept is eating small meals regularly to keep the metabolism going, but then you end up not actually eating less… So who’s word do I take for it?

  • Dana

    I love Cheese,but I would love to also shed a couple pounds to keep up with the new puppy, any cheeses better then the rest?
    Thanks

  • Jeanlee

    I’m not giving up cereal fuTure Life Zero is my life saver in the mornings. I am now bedridden for 6 weeks with 5 weeks to go. I have given up carbs at supper time having lots of water and with protein and veg for lunch and supper. I never weigh myself but at hospital last week weighed in at 104kegs and I’m 1.6 m short. This past week cutting down substantially on carbs has decreased my bloated belly from 129 to 113 cms. So, I’m aiming to give up all refined carbs including rice and potatoes, and will weigh in 5 weeks when Im allowed to start walking again.

  • yesica

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    “waist, 4″ at the hips. This program was an entirely new approach for
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    completely contrary to what I did in the past diet. This is the first time I
    realized that losing fat and getting fit is not complicated, it’s actually…..
    quite simple. I did not even go to the gym, I was working at home. And I do not
    even have to limit social events, almost no one knew what he was doing. Really
    was the easiest thing I’ve done in my life. I would recommend this program here
    is the address: http://tinyurl.com/kxpwhlp

  • Melanie Marat

    I lose more than 14 pounds whit the program on this page: https://howtolosewaightfast.wordpress.com/ Good luck

  • Ken

    I really don’t know why so many people find it so hard to loose weight. Is it really so difficult to just eat vegetables, soups, nuts, etc.? Does that really sound so horrible? You don’t even have to exercise. I lost 100 pounds in 7 months – most in the first 4 months. It hardly felt like I put any effort, and frankly, the meals I ate were delicious. I am at no risk of putting the weight back on, and frankly, I would never go back to eating the rice, pastas and other crap I was eating before. Frankly, this wasn’t that difficult, and I don’t feel like it took a lot of will power. I don’t count calories. I still pig out on food 5 times a day. I still have sugar in my coffee. You really don’t even have to try that hard.

  • mika

    Jacqui L., New Zealand

    I stumbled upon Mike’s website while searching for a
    solution to the ‘post-baby belly’. He seemed to be talking a lot of sense but I still wanted to be sure this book would be right for me before purchasing. So I emailed Mike my questions. He answered right away and was friendly, knowledgeable, positive, encouraging, and trustworthy.

    So I purchased the book, read it, and have now begun to
    implement the advice. In only two weeks I can already see results. Although I’m already fairly lean, I’ve struggled for six years to get rid of the last bit of stomach fat caused by pregnancy. But finally there’s been a breakthrough. The area is noticeably firmer and I’m already feeling so much better about myself.
    I can see that if a person follows all of the advice in Mike’s book, then they will achieve results. He knows what he’s talking about and it is so refreshing to have someone pass on the knowledge that’s actually going to work..

    Download the book here: http://tinyurl.com/nlg7xcd

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  • Devian

    Your best bet is to go with something with a shorter lifespan, and likely something more fresh-water. Catfish is more fatty and you have to be careful where it comes from (catfish caught/farmed in Asia is WAY more dirty and dangerous for you), but it has less of that “fishy” flavor and is GREAT steamed with veggies. Tilapia is also low-fish-flavor but less fatty. Also, for seasonings, try Mrs. Dash – no sodium!