You may have been trying to lose excess weight for some time and found that it just doesn't want to shift. You might feel you've followed plans and diets with no avail, so assumed you just can't achieve what you desire. Here's some good news, there is something you can start doing right now that will help to get you closer to your dream body.
It's called NEAT. It won't magically make you lose pounds of fat, but can significantly add to that negative energy balance you should aim to maintain in order to lose weight. In other words, on average you need to consume less calories than your body uses. This may mean a combination of cutting back on your portion sizes AND attending workout sessions regularly to burn fat faster.
The problem is that through a typical day, there will be lots of moments where you are stuck doing nothing, like sitting in traffic or at your desk for hours on end. Think about how active you are outside of those workout sessions? Do you always use the lift or escalator? Do you tend to hop in your car to drive, even if you're only heading to somewhere around the corner? How about sorting out chores like shopping, washing up the dishes or cutting the grass? Many people I know either outsource these tasks or aim to have as little part in them as possible. What if you could increase your daily calorie expenditure (how much your body uses in a day) without having to hit the gym twice every day, just buy choosing the active options?
What Is NEAT?
NEAT Stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is when our body uses up energy to manage our body temperature. The term NEAT suggests that you can lose weight just by being more active throughout your day.
Think about walking between offices, climbing stairs at the office, carrying your shopping, hanging out clothes on the line or playing with your kids. All these activities could be part of your normal day and can increase the amount of calories your body uses.
Here are 7 easy ways to increase your NEAT and help your body to lose weight quicker.
1. Take a Walking Break
This can be around the office in between meetings, laptop hours and projects.
2. Roam Around the Room While on the Phone
The advantage of discussing matters via phone is that your partner won't see what you are doing. I am not suggesting to do anything that can distract you from the call, but walking around in your office or around the block can actually help your brain come up with ideas quicker.
3. Get Outdoors
Use every excuse you can to get outdoors and get active. Take the kids to the park, walk to the shops, take a stroll at the beach or join a friend on a dog walk. Getting active this way is fun and engaging. It will also do wonders for your mental health.
4. Forget the Elevator
And the escalator. Wherever you have the chance, choose climbing stairs instead. If you are very much out of shape, start with 1-2 floors and as your stamina improves, take on bigger challenges. It will not only help with your weight loss, but it will help to get your glutes and legs stronger and improve your balance.
5. Stand Up
Sounds simple doesn't it? Then why are we not doing it more often? Many office based clients of mine spend most of their day sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen for hours without realising they haven't even stood up once.
Address this by standing up regularly, maybe do a few stretches and sit down again. If you fear you'll forget, set alarms to every hour or two hours to remind you to move. Alternatively, working at a standing desk is becoming more and more popular. These can be adjusted for your height and are very comfortable according to reviews.
6. Stop Hiring People to Do Chores
Have you got a cleaner? Do you take your clothes to a launderette instead of washing them at home? Do you hire someone to mow your lawn? I challenge you to give them a month break and see how you can get along by yourself. Feel free to get the family involved and make it into a bonding experience. Cleaning, washing, washing up, ironing, mowing the lawn, cleaning the windows, taking out the litter and many more activities add small amounts to your energy balance.
7. Meeting on the Go
Why not organise your next meeting with a client or a fellow project manager in the nearby park and increase the number of steps you take on the day? Half an hour walking and talking while enjoying the sun and the sounds of nature can do more for you than just burn some extra calories. It will help clear your mind, get some fresh air and stay energetic for the rest of the day.
Use some or all of the above methods to increase the calories you burn via NEAT. Keep at it for a month or so while focusing on a balanced nutrition and regular workouts and see what happens. I guarantee you will feel better, be closer to your goals and gain motivation to keep going.
If you have any questions on NEAT or the best weight loss strategies, feel free to get in touch.
Gareth Allen - Personal Trainer and Owner.