Monday, October 26, 2009

A NEAT and easy way to lose weight.

I was at Vermont Cottage's blog the other day, looking at her wonderful home interior design ideas and she had posted about French women staying fit. One simple thing they do is walk more.

I rummaged through my dresser drawer to reclaim my pedometer and then did a bit of research on an old theory I had used about a year ago, before I got busy with other things. Now I'm going to recommit as it is a simple, effective way to be productive and healthy.

The NEAT idea comes from endocrinologist James Levine of Mayo Clinic and stands for "non-exercise activity thermogenesis." These are activities such as standing or walking during the day, not cardio exercise, which accounts for much of your movement and therefore caloric expenditure. A sedentary lifestyle robs people of 1,500 to 2,400 calories a day, says Levine.

And I have to agree. There have been many a Saturday when I woke up after lying down eight hours, sat down for breakfast, sat in my car to drive errands, came home and sat down for lunch. Sat at my computer doing work, then sat down for dinner. Sat on the kids' beds to read stories, then laid down to go to sleep. Not a whole lot of calorie expenditure going on there;-).

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Dr. Levine from USA Today.

Q: What do you mean that we have "sitting disease"? What can be done about that?

A: A desk-bound man or woman takes only 5,000 to 6,000 steps a day. That compares with about 18,000 steps a day for the average man and 14,000 for a woman in an Amish community.

On a typical weekend, it's possible to use many of 40 different NEAT-squelching devices: alarm clock, cellphone, BlackBerry, home computer, microwave, remote controls, electric toothbrush, snow blower, lawnmower.

We need to move more throughout the day. The key is to find what you enjoy doing.

Simple examples include a quick walk around the block before your morning shower; a 30-minute walk at lunch; having a couple of walk-and-talk meetings during the day (research shows you'll think better); pacing when you're talking on the phone; taking a 15-minute catch-up walk after work with your partner; walking with your children and listening to their music with them; doing some active volunteering such as taking a stressed mom's children out for a walk or bringing a meal to an elderly person.

If you incorporate some of these ideas into your day, you burn an extra 500 to 1,000 calories.

He concludes by noting that it only takes 21 consecutive days for your brain to adapt to a change.

So if you work more NEAT into your life for 21 days, it becomes a dynamic and energized way of living that naturally flows through your day.

As you can see from the photo, I've put my computer up on a big cooking pot so I can stand while I type. I will also make it a goal to sit a lot less the next three weeks. Twenty one days is November 16. So if you want to move about a bit more until then, your body should be a more active machine! Best wishes and thanks to Daryl for your post which made think to dig out the pedometer and dig up the Levine article.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to YOU for following up, Eileen! These are great ideas and easy to do. I did get out a CD yesterday that I got last year from work to incorporate just 4 exercise moves a week. They change each week for 10 weeks. By then, I'll either get a new CD (they're free from our insurance provider at work) or I can move to the advanced stage for 10 weeks. I have to say, though, I have a hard time getting up to 6000 steps a day, let alone 10,000! I guess that's why my pants are getting tight. It's a great reminder to get up and move around during the work day. And I need that goal to shoot for.