You don’t have to do exercise to lose weight. Here’s how.
In my previous post, i talked about doing three 30 min firm casual walks a week to add some reasonable calorie burning to your week. For an average woman in height, weight and age, this is the difference from aprox 1600 calories a day for maintaining her weight with little or no exercise… to aprox 1850 calories per day by simply adding in three walks. Don’t under estimate 250 calories, thats half a bottle of Chardonnay!
However, exercise may not be your cup of tea at all. In fact according to a BBC documentary i watched recently, about 80% of people do not exercise at all. It does not mean they are fat, it just means they don’t do any exercise. Some people bike or walk to work casually in their work gear and some work physically for a job. When i visit Sydney i am always amazed how many people i see walking or biking across the harbour bridge to work and from ferries up the centre of town. These people incorporate a form of exercise into their day. Exercise is technically termed as being carried out to improve ones health or well being… so the word “exercise” has a defined meaning and just walking to the toilet or shop across the road is not exercise, it’s just normal activity.
I know people in my group of friends who have good intentions with exercise but never officially get to it for one reason or another. They are no different than many millions of people. But this doesn’t mean they can’t increase their daily burned calories another way to achieve the same end. Like all good things, there is a trade off and for this idea to work, it requires awareness and a little weekly planning. xxx
NEAT is a term you may not have heard before. It’s a technical term – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – meaning, all other activity that burns calories outside of sleeping, sport exercise and eating. In other words, moving about during our day doing things and getting places. This includes standing.
NEAT can be done without breaking a sweat and in your normal clothes. Lots of us have very sedentary jobs and so are not constantly active. My own work is sedentary. Outside of my workouts and walks, i sit for hours at a time during the week. This isn’t normal. We were designed to be constantly active and we were far, far more this way before we had the communities, cities and societies we know today. Most of our activity was hunting for food and making or preparing things associated with this and keeping the village/home in order. Everything we did back then was manual and so we burned a lot more just doing these things. We didn’t do exercise because burning calories and staying in shape was part of our lifestyle. So the key to improving our lack of calorie burning is to simply stay more active all day and adopt more small daily activities into our life. It is easy to be at your computer and lose 2 hours working away.. i can do this. But what i try to do more now is to incorporate things i need to do each week into slots between my working day rather than leaving one day or the weekend for it. In fact, if we do leave things for a specific day or the weekend, something almost always gets in the way and we don’t succeed in doing those things we planned. So doing them on the move as your week progresses is far more efficient in my mind. This is mainly because its more manageable for achieving all the tasks i need done bit by bit… and i get in my NEAT calories!
I know what you might be thinking, “how much can i honestly burn just getting up and doing things every hour or so?” A lot more than you may think trust me!
As an example for you, we decided to go out for dinner and walk to our local Indian Restaurant recently which is in our town centre. I measured this with my calorie burning app. You can find out what i ate on a future post. We walked there and back and i burnt 80 calories each way, a total of 160 calories. We stopped on the bridge and took some photos and enjoyed an amazing evening with crystal clear sunset skies. It is hardly having to work hard is it? Interestingly, after this walk to dinner i decided to measure how many calories i burnt at home working during the day when i didn’t do anything apart from visit the loo, make some food and get a few cuppa’s. This was an afternoon and i did little getting up and down during this 4 hour period – i burnt only 100 extra calories. Extra on top of my base metabolic rate… the app only records my movement and steps based on my weight, height, age and sex. Walking to dinner burned more than the 4 hours of working at home and only took 15 mins each way!
A more interesting example for you was my morning out of the house on Sunday. My wife and i got up early and drove to a location between some Sunday markets and a cafe we like. We walked to the cafe hard out as our base exercise. It took us just over 28 mins to cover almost 3.6Km. Thats about 7.6Km/hr speed so not a lot of talking going on! For interest sake, i burned 337 calories to earn my breakfast. I liked this.
We had breakfast and walked back the same way at a nice comfortable rate of about 5-6km/hr and talked a lot. This is where the exercise ended. When we got to the car, instead of taking it with us to the markets, we dropped some bits inside the car and continued on for another 1km walking to the markets slowly… chatting and enjoying the sunshine. When we got back from a nice stroll about the markets, according to my app i had covered another 2.3km on top of my 7.2km walk with my wife. This equated to aprox 170-180 of the total calories burned that morning as you can see from the clip to the left. This makes sense because the dinner walk to the Indian Restaurant was about 160 calories for just over 2km. Total calories for the day, 829… and i loved my morning.
Ok so that’s a lot of km’s for some of you, i know. But the point is, if you’re in a chair most of the day you can change your NEAT easily. Cleaning the pool from 10-11am burned me 100 calories. I walked to our local markets in the village to get veggies on thursday night… about the same distance as the Indian Restaurant and aprox 160 calories. There are options to burn calories all the time you just need to take them. You can even stand and walk about when chatting on the mobile phone… or get up every hour and venture a reasonable distance for a cuppa and return. Go outside your building for lunch and down the street. Use stairs and not elevators. Play with the kids or dog at night for 20 minutes. The idea is to take every opportunity to stay mobile and not use the car. Whatever you do, keep moving every hour. A moderately active day like this can add 200-400 calories to your day’s total depending on your size and what you do. That’s a fair chunk and will absolutely tip the scales from being well overweight to being your ideal weight.
Now going back to the average woman scenario; she could increase her NEAT by 300 calories a day and be better off than to go actively walking three times a week. She would also have a higher maintenance value of 1900 calories. This would be a more than reasonable diet and she could incorporate a burger or pizza once or twice a week with a few glasses of wine. Add in three walks with her girlfriend for 30 mins a time and you have a maintenance level of about 2150 calories a day. That my friends is a decent amount of food for any woman! How do i know this? My wife Sandy is currently on a weight-loss level of 1700 calories per day while on this program with me and manages this quite well. She lost 1/2 a kilo in 5 days. Albeit small, her next weigh in will confirm if this is working.
Remember this: Overweight people don’t get there from eating massive amounts more than those who are steady with their food intake. Their weight often rises over many years. As little as 50-100 calories a day can make the difference. For example, 100 calories more than what you need per day equates to almost 11 grams of fat. Add that up every day and by the end of the year you could be aprox 4 kilo’s heavier.
My experiment progress:
So i need to correct the first post. I mentioned that i dropped from 99.9 to 97.8. I read the scales wrong – it should have been 98.8. I will edit that part of the post so it’s correct for any new readers.
However this week i weighed myself on day 13 and i was down another kilo to 97.7 so the plan is working and quite steadily. It’s good not to lose weight too fast on diets as the results are not sustainable. My next weigh-in is on Wed this week which will be day 19 so stay tuned for more!