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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sheldon Bjorgaard, ND

Weight Loss without Exercise?

Is pain or injury making it difficult to exercise and is this making you feel like it is impossible to lose weight? Perhaps you’re dealing with chronic joint or muscle pain that makes even the thought of exercise or working out painful. On top of this you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes and have been told that you need to lose weight to manage your condition or you’ll have to be on medication for life.

Do you feel like you’re doomed to a life of perpetual weight gain or never being able to lose it until you’re out of pain and can exercise again?

Well, I’ve got good news for you. And that news is that exercise is NOT required for weight loss.

A several studies have confirmed that despite the numerous health benefits of exercise, when compared to dietary changes, exercise doesn’t have nearly as big of an effect on body weight compared to dietary changes without exercise.

The problem is, most people vastly over estimate the number of calories that our bodies expend with exercise. In fact, it would take jogging or running for 45 minutes to 1 hour every day just to burn off the number of calories in 1 muffin. Depressing, I know.

Now don’t get me wrong, exercise certainly has its benefits. Cardiovascular health, brain health, stress relief, and maintaining weight loss, but what we may not realize is that when it comes to weight loss and deciding where we want to focus our limited resources, exercise is FAR less important that our diet. The other great thing about focusing on diet and nutrition for weight loss FIRST is that once we lose a few pounds we start to feel more mobile and energetic, and at that point exercise becomes actually enjoyable!

So now that we know that we can stop stressing about needing to exercise to lose weight, what should we do with our diet?

1) ERF (eat real food). Processed foods are designed to be overeaten. Food companies make billions of dollars and spend millions creating hyperpalatable foods with addictive properties. I talk with my clients about the concept of “single-ingredient” foods and making a staple food list of safe and supportive foods for their goals. I teach clients to focus on what I call the “trifecta” of nutrient dense foods - protein, healthy fat, and fibre.

2) Meal Planning and Prepping. I teach my clients a simple framework for planning their meals 24 hours at a time so that they know what to eating, when, and in what amounts, and most importantly with foods that you actually ENJOY.

3) Intermittent Fasting. When we eat is just as important as what we eat. Most people think intermittent fasting simply involves not eating for 16 hours a day, but there is MUCH more to it than that. There are dozens of different ways to implement intermittent fasting to your lifestyle and it’s important to find what works best for YOU.

By following and implementing these 3 simple steps I am able to help my clients lose 1-2 lbs per week (15-35 lbs in 3 months) while retaining lean muscle, and even if they’ve been “stalling” for months. The better part is that by implementing my system they are able to keep losing weight as long as they want, and maintain it with little effort. The very best part is seeing chronic conditions like insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity reverse themselves for good 😊.

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