Thursday, August 22, 2013

Simple Weight Loss Boost


Do you know anyone who appears to be thin no matter what they do? I sure do.  One of the thinnest people that I know orders waffles topped with ice cream every time he goes out to brunch.  People like that used to drive me nuts, then I realized three things:

1. Getting stressed out about another person’s weight (or lack of weight) was going to do nothing to help my cause.  I have learned that stress, anger and self-pity only lead to unhealthy habits.

2. Thin doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.  I wanted to be thin AND healthy, which meant I had to change bad habits (like eating ice cream for breakfast).

3.  These “naturally thin” people must be doing something special, and figuring out what they do differently could help me reach my weight loss goal.

There are hundreds of factors that determine what a person weighs and thousands of articles discussing the significance of each of these factors.  I have read a lot of articles over the years, but one of them was so different from the others that it sticks out in my memory.  This article talked about how some people are thin, not because they spend hours at the gym, but because they are more restless than others.   The results of studies done by Mayo Clinic suggest that thin people are naturally more inclined to move throughout the day than obese people.  Could this be the secret of those “naturally thin” people?  

Whether this article shows the secrets of the “naturally thin” or not, it made a big difference in the way I live my life.  During one of my weight loss plateaus I realized I needed to make some kind of change in order to continue to lose weight.  I turned to the ideas in the Mayo Clinic study and began increasing my activities of daily living (in addition to my time at the gym). Sure enough, I started to lose weight again.  Now I am in the habit of being active in my daily life and I tend to take the path of most resistance instead of least resistance.  This is one of the factors that I believe has helped me to keep the pounds off for so many years.

Here are some of the things you can do to boost your daily activity level:
  • Walk around your neighborhood while you are talking on the phone
  • Walk or bike to the grocery store and carry things home in a backpack
  • Use a hand held shopping basket to do your grocery shopping instead of a push cart
  • Go for a bike ride, hike or walk with your friends instead of meeting for a drink
  • Park in the furthest parking stall instead of the closest
  • Always take the stairs (I live on the fourth floor of my apartment building and I take the stairs 95% of the time, even with groceries)
  • Get up during TV commercials (feed the cat, get some water, stretch)
  • Dine out at restaurants within walking distance
  • Keep your cellphone out of reach so that you have to get up to answer it
  • I have started listening to Pandora “workout stations” at home when I need an energy boost.  I have found that I am less likely to be sedentary when this music is playing.
  • Don’t ask other people to get things for you even if they are closer, get up and get it yourself
  • Take time out to play with your kids, pets, friends
  • Stand while you are waiting for something, you will burn 50% more calories than if you were sitting
Don’t forget that these things are in addition to the time you spend doing your normal exercise routine.  Cardiovascular exercise and strength training are still important for weight loss/maintenance and your overall health!
see the fitness pyramid here :


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