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Lose weight — without exercise

Yup, it's true. You can lie on the couch all day long, graze on snacks and still lose weight. That's right — no exercise required.

That's if you believe research recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Thing is, you'll have to reduce the calories you consume to lose that weight. And the less active you are, the more calories you'll have to cut.

The study found that when it comes to body composition and fat distribution, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. Doesn't matter if you take in fewer, burn more or some combination of the two. Dieting alone is just as effective at reducing weight and fat as a combination of diet and exercise — if the calories consumed and burned equal out.

Oh and don't bother doing specific exercises to target fat in certain parts of your body, either. Study says that doesn't work. You may get very good at doing sit-ups, for instance, but if you're taking in more calories than you're burning, those rock hard abs will still be covered by a layer of fat, if that's where it tends to gather on your body.

That's right — all those devices you may have bought to build a better butt, tone those thighs or bust back fat, won't do you any good if your body is predisposed to depositing fat on those parts of your body. It seems, the authors said, that we are genetically programmed for storing fat in a particular pattern — and that this programming can't be easily overcome.

That may be why so many of those devices wind up gathering dust under beds and in the back of closets.

One other conclusion the study came to: for overall health, diet and exercise is still the best.

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