By Jim Robertson
I’ve never been much for gyms. Which is a shame, since the guy in the mirror told me I needed to drop a few marginal pounds that weren’t there last year. I’ve never been much of a diet guy, either, so I figured I had limited options. Who better to consult, then, than my friendly doctor, who thanks to my liberal medical insurance was more than happy to give me some not-so-free advice. He said I should try to increase my daily activity level, to get creative and crazy with it, that even a few extra calories per day added up over time. He said the reason this works is that it speeds up the body’s metabolic rate, which is the thing that controls how many calories the body burns for a given activity, even when it’s at rest.
This made sense to me, because up until lately I’d been one of the lucky ones who could pretty much eat anything I wanted and never gain any weight. In fact, I used to eat more than my heavier friends, who hated me for it, and still not have to watch my waistline like they did. Until, that is, about a year ago, when I hurt my back and had to slow things down a bit. I didn’t notice it at first, but the scale gradually began to creep up, and at the same time my eating habits took a bit of a downturn. I had a thing for chips, and they had a thing for me.
So last Friday I paid attention. And, according to calculations facilitated by about sixteen different websites offering calorie expenditure data, I figure that I burned about 200 calories without doing much of anything very different. Just a few creative and slightly crazy choices. Here’s how it all went down.
I parked in a different lot than normal, one located two blocks further away from my office. In addition to being three bucks cheaper for the day, I burned an extra twenty calories from the walk to and from my office, and it took only two extra minutes.
During my morning coffee break I drank water instead. In fact, I drank two tall glasses of it, ice cold, from the vending machine. I’d read that it requires about 100 calories for the body to heat this much water to a point at which it can be processed, which is a darn site easier than the half mile I’d have to walk to burn off the same amount. This was good, and I committed to this form of calorie consumption on a daily basis.
During the day I engaged in all sorts of odd little moves that nobody in the office seemed to notice. I stood on my toes until my calves burned on three different occasions. I pressed my knees together in an isometric way several times, and did the same with my hands. After a meeting I stuck around and cleaned the conference room, and I took the stairs – five stories – instead of the elevator, four trips in all. I even held my newspaper up at eye level during lunch – turkey on whole grain, light mayo, no chips – which should count for at least two or three extra calories between the sports and financial sections. That’s ten calories a week, five hundred calories per year, just from reading the news.
In total, I’d burned about 200 extra calories by paying attention and making better choices. And I’ll keep doing it, too. Because that’s a thousand calories a week, and in combination with skipping the chips at lunch, that’s about two pounds a month without breaking a sweat. I like those numbers, and my metabolism likes them more. Because this isn’t a diet I’ll go on and off, this is a new calorie burning machine inside of me, one that will get me down to fighting weight in short order without even stepping into the ring.
About the Author: Jim Robertson is a passionate author & health/fitness guru here to help YOU
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