How to Lose Weight in a Sedentary Lifestyle
Sometimes it seems like there are two types of people in the world: those who sit at their desk all day, and those who wake up early to go for a run. If you’re in the former category, this post is for you.
Why do we need to exercise? Why can’t we just take diet pills? What’s the best way to lose weight without getting off our butts? Here’s how to lose weight even if your lifestyle doesn’t allow for much physical activity.
Why is exercise important?
Many people today lead sedentary lifestyles – they spend most of their time sitting. And, while there are some good reasons for this, it has its downsides too.
There are many benefits of exercise, but one of the most important is that it helps to regulate your metabolism. When you don’t move around much throughout the day, your body produces less energy and stores more fat. Physical activity gives your body a little ‘push’ and burns calories. This can help you stay at a healthy weight and reduce health risks like heart disease and diabetes.
But not all exercise is created equal! Resistance training (like lifting weights) helps build muscle mass, which boosts your metabolism even when you’re not exercising at all (even as much as 24 hours!). So, if you’re looking for an easier way to lose weight without getting off your butt, strength training should be your go-to exercise method.
How to lose weight without exercising
Exercise is an integral part of any weight loss plan, but it’s not the only way to shed pounds. Diets work too. According to a study in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, dieters who exercised three days per week for 16 weeks lost about as much weight as those who didn’t exercise at all.
You can still lose weight without exercising if your diet is on point. A 2009 report from Harvard University found that both a healthy diet and regular exercise were important components for maintaining a healthy weight. The key takeaway: if you’re going to drink alcohol, do it moderately or avoid it altogether, as alcohol triggers excessive intake of high-calorie foods and makes your body store more fat.
If you need help giving up bad habits like snacking or drinking sugary drinks before bed, try adding them to your list of quit-smoking or cutting-down-on-alcohol items on a spreadsheet – then cross them out once you’ve accomplished them.
Tips for losing weight in a sedentary lifestyle
- Drink more water.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Eat more protein! Protein helps you feel full longer and is a great weight loss tool for those who work desk jobs.
- Find a friend to share your healthy eating habits with. It’s often easier to make smart choices when you have some company to hold you accountable for those choices!
- Make a list of all the things you need to do at work that are not sitting, and do them first thing in the morning before you sit down on your desk or computer chair – answer emails, organize files, return phone calls, etcetera!
- If possible, find a job that does involve getting up! Bonus points if it involves being outdoors!
The first and most important thing to do is to establish a routine. This doesn’t mean you have to get up at 5:30 AM and go for a 45-minute jog. It means getting in the habit of doing something active for at least 30 minutes, three times a week. You can take your dog for a walk on lunch, or go for a quick run after work.
Get up and move
We often tell ourselves that we can’t get up and move because of some excuse. It’s too hard to get up after being sitting for so long, it’s too expensive to join a gym, or it’s just not worth it. Whatever the reason, there are some good reasons why you should get up every once in a while.
The first is that if you don’t move your body, your muscles start to atrophy. If they are not used regularly your muscles will start to shrink and diminish in size which can lead to things like bad posture and back pain. You’ll feel more tired all of the time because you’re not getting the nutrients that exercising provides. Exercise also helps keep your metabolism up which is important if you’re trying to lose weight.
The second reason is that when you exercise your brain releases endorphins which make you feel good! They’re natural mood-lifters and make everything seem better. If you don’t get out of bed for anything else, do it for the endorphins!
If all this isn’t enough for you, here are 6 more reasons why exercising is important: 1) Increased lung capacity 2) Improved sleep 3) Decreased chances of high blood pressure 4) decreased risk of certain cancers 5) increased energy 6) improved cardiovascular health
Schedule in some time for physical activity
If you can’t—or don’t want to—exercise, the best thing you can do is schedule in some time for physical activity. You don’t need to make it part of your daily routine; just make sure you’re doing something each day. This could be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking around while talking on the phone. Just get your body moving for at least 10 minutes each day.
The key to any successful weight-loss journey begins with a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, including a commitment to regular exercise. Without this commitment, it’s easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle and all the risks that come with this.
Physical activity is important for maintaining a healthy weight, boosting energy levels, and preventing disease, but it’s not the only thing you need to do. Besides getting up and moving, be sure to schedule in some time for physical activity, meal preparation, and healthy cooking.