Nutrition FAQ #2 – Do I Have to Exercise and Diet to Lose Weight?

By Michelle Donovan, MS, RD, LDN, ACSM-CPT

As a registered, licensed dietitian and American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, I have gotten a lot of questions over the years and there’s a good chance that you may be curious about some of these as well. In this ten-part series, I’ll address the questions I have received the most over my almost 30 years in the field of nutrition and wellness.

Ideally, yes.


What you eat and how you move work together to help you create a calorie deficit to lose weight. The added bonus of exercising is that it helps improve health overall. Exercise burns calories, promotes heart health, and mental health.

Losing weight without exercising is possible, but not advisable. When you exercise while watching what you eat, you maintain or even gain muscle mass. This is important because muscle is the metabolically active tissue that burns calories, anywhere from 30 to 50 calories per pound of muscle per day. Keeping muscle and adding muscle is good for weight loss and weight maintenance.

Michelle Donovan, MS, RD, LDN, ACSM-CPT
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