What’s the best way to lose weight when you hate to exercise?

When it comes to losing weight, the first thing people think about is “diet and exercise.” While neither is particularly desirable, more people seem to be willing to eat less than to move more including me.

It is possible to lose weight without exercising.

It is possible and you can do it and you can make good progress, very good progress indeed. Staying at goal without exercise is harder and it can be done although it’s easier when you do exercise. For the purpose of this blog, I will only be writing about losing without exercise.

 Mary Beth struggled with her weight for years. In addition to being overweight she had unpleasant memories of being teased as a child for being fat and uncoordinated. As an adult her extra weight caused her hip and knee pain and she would get short of breath with just a little exertion.


She resigned herself to remaining overweight for the rest of her life because she didn’t believe she could exercise and she certainly never thought of exercise as an enjoyable activity. It was embarrassing and painful.

Eventually her weight climbed to a number that she never wanted to see. When her doctor laid out some real health issues related to her weight she knew she had to so something. She joined Weight Watchers®.

Mary Beth's doctor told her that her important health numbers were dangerously high. She carried her weight around her middle which is closely associated with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Mary Beth’s doctor told her that her important health numbers were dangerously high. She carried her weight around her middle which is closely associated with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

She walked into her first Weight Watchers meeting and her attitude was, “I’m willing to starve to lose weight, but please don’t make me exercise.” Her leader promised her she didn’t have to do either – starve or exercise – to be successful. Mary Beth was doubtful and hopeful.


She failed with previous weight loss attempts just because she believed exercise was necessary. Here is how her false belief about exercise got in the way of her losing weight.

Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 1.14.41 PM

click on image to enlarge


As the above flow chart shows, the problem wasn’t that she didn’t exercise, it was thinking she couldn’t lose weight without exercise. That belief was so strongly held that it prevented her from doing the things she was capable of doing that would have allowed her to lose weight.


The most important thing when it comes to losing weight is monitoring food – how much is eaten, what is eaten, and how often it’s eaten.

Mary Beth got her Weight Watchers food plan and after her first meeting her leader sat down with her and the other new members to teach them what they needed to do to get off to a good start and it didn’t include exercising.

Mary Beth started counting and tracking what she ate. Her activity level stayed the same. She started losing weight.



Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 3.37.05 PM

click on image to enlarge


Mary Beth was surprised to learn that even though she didn’t do what she’d call exercise, just her normal, daily activity counted for earning Weight Watchers FitPoints™️ . She was also happy to find out she could swap FitPoints for SmartPoints® and that enabled her to eat a little more food. As pounds started coming off she was inspired to walk more so she got a device to wear on her wrist to count her steps.

This story doesn’t end with Mary Beth turning into a long-distance runner. She still hates exercise but she can manage to add extra steps into her day and that’s all she needs to do.

She describes her weight loss plan by saying, “I shop (walk) a little more and sit a little less and I’m losing weight. Who could ask for more?”

Here is the short answer to the best way to lose weight when you hate exercise. Reduce your calories by monitoring what you eat.



Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.