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The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
Anne M. Rensberger, LICSW
A NEAT Way To Lose Weight

A NEAT Way To Lose Weight

What determines if you are heavy or lean? Is it
1. What you eat?
2. How much you formally exercise?
3. Your everyday activities?
While all are determinates, today we are going to focus on the surprising importance of your everyday activities in what you weigh. What scientists call NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is the amount of calorie-burning movement you do during the day in non-formal exercise.
Obese persons sit, on average, 150 minutes more each day than their naturally lean counterparts. This means obese people burn 350 fewer calories a day than do lean people. This propensity to sit seems to be hard wired into the brain, so it is not just “laziness”. Obese people are NEAT deficient, perhaps as a result of a neurological defect in processing biological drives and environmental cues. You may have heard the television reports about people who fidget or wiggle being thinner than those who dont. That is a part of it.
For those of us that are NEAT deficient, all is not lost. We just have to accept that our natural inclination is to minimize movement. What we have to do to counter that is to consciously work more movement into our everyday life until it becomes routine. Yet many of us find that hard to do in your office and home. Every obese person has to find his or her own way to move more.
At Work
If you drive to work, walk around the car a couple of times before you get in or after you get out. Wash that cars windows daily; pick up the litter from the back seat. If you take a subway or the bus, walk to another stop or get out a stop early. Straighten up your desk daily. Be the one to clean up the break room. Pack your lunch and take it somewhere to eat outside if possible.
At Home
Shop, prepare, and cook your food. Do the dishes by hand. Lose the TV remote and change channels by getting up and down. Develop a hobby or an activity that takes some movement that you can do while you watch TV sewing, crafting, knitting, juggling, lifting light hand weights, or giving yourself a manicure and pedicure. These involve some movement and may require you to jump out of your chair more as you pursue them. Every night before you go to bed pick up and straighten up one room in your house. Walk your dog.
Make your social life more active. Take dance lessons. Make a walking date. Go to a museum or art gallery instead of a play. Visit a town and walk through it. Try not to make your social life revolve around food and sitting.
So if you add more activities to your daily life along with a diet and formal exercise, weight management will get a lot easier.

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