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Posts Tagged ‘weight control’

One of my co-workers was talking about her grandma ‘Mimi’ recently.  Ms. Mimi lived to be 104 years old.  She never exercised a day in her life.  Instead, she never stopped moving.  She was always ‘doing’ and rarely wanted to sit down to take a rest. 

Today our ‘advanced’ society makes it very easy to develop lazy habits.  Do you sit most of your day in an office job?  Do you ride to work in a car or public transportation?  Do you mow your own lawn?  Do you clean the gutters, wash the windows, iron the clothes, or prepare three meals from scratch?  See where I’m going here?  Many of the activities our grandparents performed as their way of life aren’t done anymore.  We outsource our chores, a meal goes from bag or box to plate in 5 minutes and we surf through hundreds of channels with a click of a finger.  Today’s way of life allows us to move less and less during our days if that is what we choose to do.

But there is a big downside to all of our conveniences…we burn less calories every day and, over time, we gain weight.  One way to stop this process is to get moving!  Even if you don’t like to exercise you can make a habit of moving more during your day.  

Back in 2005 we heard about the ‘losing weight through fidgeting’ study conducted by researcher Dr. James Levine at the Mayo Clinic.  The study compared two groups of ‘couch potatoes’ that included a lean group and an obese group.  The participants were considered couch potatoes if they didn’t exercise.  The study monitored the daily movements of the two groups and determined that the lean couch potatoes moved at least 2 hours more throughout their day.  During the 2 hours of extra movement, the lean couch potatoes burned 350 calories more, per day, than the obese couch potatoes.  These extra movements can add up to10 to 30 pounds a year.  After the study, Dr. Levine stated that “the amount of this low-grade activity is so substantial that it could, in and of itself, account for obesity quite easily.” 

What this means for you is that increasing your activity level can help you fight weight gain even if you don’t formally exercise.  Think back to your grandparents again (or great-grandparents if you’re really young).  It’s unlikely that your grandpa went to the gym to workout or that your grandma headed to a daily jazzercise class.  Instead they probably took care of their home and yard by doing all the chores their self.  And because they had fewer conveniences back then, it took a lot more effort and time to wash clothes, cook or mow the lawn (push mowers!) then it does today. 

We have to compensate for the fact that we sit for a huge amount of our day as we commute to work, sit at a desk at work, and frequently come home to a sofa or another desk.  If we don’t increase our activity levels during the parts of our day we can control, then we will gain weight. 

So how can you increase the activity in your day?  There are endless ways but here are some to consider:

  • Walk to your mailbox instead of driving up to the box.
  • Park as far away as you can from your job, store, etc.
  • Pull the batteries out of the remote control.  You will have to get up to change the channel
  • Mow your own lawn
  • Cook from scratch
  • March in place or walk around when you brush your teeth
  • Spend part of your lunch break walking and take walk breaks during the day even if you are only taking the long way to the copy machine and bath room
  • Walk while your children are at ball practice or dance lessons
  • Spend 15 – 30 minutes each night cleaning your house from top to bottom (windows, baseboards, closets…everything).  Make a checklist for each room in the house with activities you can complete in your 15 – 30 minute timeframe
  • Plant a flower, herb and/or vegetable garden
  • Spend 15 minutes every night decluttering your house
  • Do something active with your children every day like throwing a football or frisbee, playing tennis, flying a kite, playing hopscotch or jump rope, blowing bubbles
  • Walk around your yard or neighborhood every morning or evening 

Your goal is to add movement throughout your day, every day.  Try this.

Post a list at work of all the ways you can increase your activity level:

  • Stand up and move when talking on the phone
  • Walk around the floor or office frequently during the day
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park in the ‘far away’ spots
  • Walk during part of your lunch or other breaks

Try to do everything on your list everyday.

Try this.  Make a list every day before you leave work of the activities you want to accomplish when you get home, such as:

  • Walk the dog
  • Play with kids outside 15 minutes
  • Wash, fold and put away a load of laundry
  • 15 minutes decluttering kitchen junk drawer

These tasks will keep you up and moving and will burn many more calories than sinking into the comfy sofa at the end of your day.  Making a list keeps you on track and helps you stay focused.

In today’s world we are moving far less than the generations that came before us.  Today there is an easy way to do every chore.  The easiest way of all is to outsource the daily chores that we used to do.  While it may make our lives easier, the easy way out results in our moving less and less and this can lead to weight gain for us all.  Take a moment today to think how you can live a more active life, burn a few more calories each day, and maybe lose a few pounds in the process.

Do you think you have a more active life than your grandparents?  Do you exercise most days?  If not, do you try to add extra movement to your days?  I’d love to hear more in the Comments.

For more ideas to increase your daily activity level, read this article about the ‘fidgeting’ study which includes a sample active day.

 

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Drink Water at One Meal Per Day

Do you drink water with your meals?  It is a great habit to develop.  Not only is water a healthy and necessary requirement for your body but it has zero calories. 

Try this at home:  drink a glass of water with one of your daily meals instead of the beverage you would normally drink.  As long as you don’t sneak in a replacement drink later in the day, you will consume fewer calories each day.

For example, drinking a glass of water with dinner instead of an 8oz. glass of cranberry juice cocktail will save you 137 calories per day, 959 calories per week and a whopping 49,868 calories per year.  If it takes 3,500 calories to equal a pound then 49,868 calories equals 14.24 lbs. over a year’s time.  That’s 14 lbs. that you can control with one small change in your daily routine.

Scroll below to see the calorie content for some of your favorite beverages.

Beverage / Calories                                                   

Cola, 8 oz.  /  112 calories

Cranberry Juice Cocktail, 8 oz.  /  137 calories

Grape Drink, 8oz.  /  143 calories

Iced Tea-Sweetened, 12 oz.  /  120 calories

Kool-Aid,* 8 oz.  /  96 calories

Lemon-lime Soda, 8oz.  /  98 calories

Light Beer, 12 oz.  /  103 calories

Milk-2%, 8 oz.  /  122 calories

Orange Juice, 8 oz.  /  112 calories

Soy Milk, 8 oz.  /  125 calories

Wine-Red, 6 oz.  /  150 calories

Wine-White, 6 oz.  /  147 calories

*mix 1 cup sugar per 2 quarts water 

Source:  www.ahealthyme.com and www.caloriecount.about.com

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