If you are overweight or obese, losing weight may feel like a big challenge. Changing lifestyle habits can be difficult and require a lot of discipline. Social media is filled with girls in lycra who are meant to provide you with ‘fitspo’ (fitness inspiration) as they show off their workout routines. Is exercise really important when it comes to shifting those extra pounds?

To lose weight, you need to change your current habits.

For you, this could mean eating less and eating a healthy balanced diet.

There is no miracle method to losing weight, so don’t bother with weight-loss teas and shakes.

Keeping active will cause you to burn more calories and help you lose weight, but it might not be necessary.

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Can you lose weight without exercise?

Yes, you can definitely lose weight without exercising.

You may have heard the phrase that weight loss is 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise, and many experts say this is true.

To lose weight, you need to be taking in less calories than you burn.

Dieting is much more effective than exercise because it takes a lot of activity to burn enough calories to lose weight.

If you eat less, you won’t have as many calories to burn.

However, exercising will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

According to the NHS, exercise can help you to burn off the excess calories that you cannot lose from diet alone.

Don’t panic, this doesn’t mean you need to start lifting weights and going for runs.

You can burn calories through dancing, going for a walk, playing a sport, or doing some gentle yoga.

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The NHS recommends achieving at least 150 minutes of activity over a week.

If you fit an activity into your routine, you will be more likely to keep the weight off in the future.

Being active provides also lots of health benefits such as halving the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

It also lowers your risk of early death by up to 30 percent.

Exercise will make you feel better about yourself, with physical activity boosting self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy.

How do I lose weight?

The NHS weight loss guide is a 12 week diet and exercise plan that will help you lose weight safely.

You should lose between one and two pounds a week by sticking to a daily calorie allowance.

For most men, this means sticking to a calorie limit of no more than 1,900kcal a day, and 1,400kcal for most women.

If you find it hard sticking to the calorie limit, use the BMI calculator to get your own personal weight loss calorie allowance.

You can download the pack on the NHS website. 

Weight loss tips

If you don’t think the guide is for you, the NHS has put together a list of diet and exercise tips to help you lose weight.

Firstly, never skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight, and you may end up snacking more throughout the day because you feel hungry.

You should also at at regular times during the day, because this helps to burn calories at a faster rate.

It also reduces the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.

Treat yourself with plenty of fruit and veg, because they are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – 3 essential ingredients for successful weight loss.

Fibre is also important because it keeps you feeling full. It is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and veg, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and beans, peas and lentils.

Make sure you aren’t confusing hunger with thirst, because many people end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need.

The final tips include using a smaller plate, not banning foods entirely, cutting back on alcohol, and planning your meals for the week.

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