Do You Have to Exercise With Weight Watchers to Lose Weight?

A complete weight loss program includes exercise and a solid nutrition plan 1. Weight Watchers, a popular weight loss program, focuses on the nutrition aspect of weight loss 234. Although you do not have to exercise to lose weight on Weight Watchers, the program acknowledges the importance of exercise and encourages you to integrate exercise into your weight loss routine 123.

Weight Loss

Although many factors contribute to weight loss and the speed at which you lose weight, the main driving factor is caloric intake versus calories burned. If you eat fewer calories than you expend, you will lose weight. You must continue this on a consistent basis, day after day, to be successful. If you create a caloric deficit of 500 calories one day but eat 500 extra calories the next day, you just canceled out your progress.

Diet vs. Exercise

To lose weight, you can either reduce your caloric intake or burn more calories. Diet allows you to reduce calories and exercise allows you to burn more calories. Although you can adjust your caloric balance by changing the type and amount of food you eat, this only affects weight loss on one level. By adding exercise to the equation, you can affect weight loss on both levels -- reducing intake and burning calories 12. The American Council on Exercise notes that only 10 percent of a group of people who lost weight and kept if off for at least one year did it with diet alone 12. Eighty-nine percent used diet and exercise together.

Weight Watchers

The Weight Watchers program emphasizes the nutrition aspect of weight loss 234. The program teaches you about eating healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, but the emphasis is on lowering your caloric intake. You are allowed to have snacks and indulgences as long as you keep your caloric intake at a preset level.

Use the Weight Watchers proprietary formulas to calculate the number of calories you should take in per day 234. You convert these calories into points. Weight Watchers assigns every food item a point value 4. If you don't know the point value of a food, use the online calculators or the slider calculators to figure the point value. Only eat as many points as you are allotted per day.


Although Weight Watchers focuses on the food aspect of weight loss, and you can get results with this approach, the program encourages you to add exercise and physical activity to your routine once you have become comfortable with the eating plan 123.

Weight Watchers does not endorse any specific type of exercise or routine 24. The program encourages you to become more active in ways you find enjoyable, such as walking, hiking, rollerblading or weight training.