If you cut way back on your calories, you can lose a lot of weight without doing a lick of exercise. But you absolutely need to exercise to keep the weight off. I tell people that if they’re not prepared to substantially increase their physical activity, they shouldn’t even bother trying to lose weight. It won’t have any lasting benefit. Exercise is the key.
My recommendation is to shoot for about an hour a day. People who successfully keep off lost weight tend to exercise for 60 to 90 minutes daily.
The good news is that you can spread out the exercise throughout the entire day. You don’t have to do it all at once. Most people still have some planned exercise at a specific time each day. For instance, they take a walk or a bike ride right after work every day.
You could also try using a step counter, which I think is a wonderful tool. They give you immediate feedback and make setting goals easy. When you’re just starting out, take it slowly. Work up to an hour a day slowly in 15 minute increments.
Getting in your physical activity will never be easy. Even people who have been doing it for years will tell you that they still have to force themselves to get out there every day. But if you want to keep off weight, exercise has to be a priority.