The Key to Long Term Weight Loss is NEAT

Back again I see, thanks for checking in here on another Wednesday! We’ve been out and about exploring all day but I’m so pumped to finally be blogging. I’ve been thinking about this post for a little while now and I’m so excited to talk about this hidden gem of long term weight loss. I mean, I don’t know anyone that goes through all the effort of losing weight just to gain it all back… ya know? In my professional opinion and in my experience this concept is how I’ve been able to stay within my ‘wedding weight’ for almost 4 years of marriage and lose my baby weight pretty quickly! I’m not perfect by any means and I have a lot of goals that I want to accomplish but I do think this concept is pretty neat….

Neat is an outdated adjective but when I say neat I’m mostly referring to the acronym NEAT and not the slang term (although now I do feel a tiny bit obligated to include it 🙂  ). NEAT stands for Nonexercise Activity Thermogenesis and is a fancy way of labeling a way that our bodies use energy.

Let’s chat about all the ways that our bodies use energy.

There are three main categories of ways that our bodies use energy/the calories that we consume: Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) and Activity Thermogenesis. Our RMR accounts for about 60-75% of energy usage. That is a huge percentage! RMR is the amount of energy required just to simply be alive. I’m talking about breathing, blood flow, brain activity, hormone release and the likes. All of the things that your body does instinctively without you having to tell it to something. This RMR usage is out of our control and unfortunately usually decreases with age. Next up we have TEF, which accounts for about 10% of our daily energy expenditure. This calorie burn comes from the process of digesting, absorbing and storing food. Again, its completely out of our control. The modifiable part of calorie burn comes from Activity Thermogenesis. AT can account for 15-30% of daily energy expenditure and can be broken down into exercise and nonexercise activity thermogensis.

Exercise vs Nonexercise

You exercise everyday right? Have you ever tracked your calories? If you have, then you know it can take a little while to burn off a Snickers bar…. or a sleeve of Oreos. I know I won’t be the first to tell you that exercise is super important (you can read about the current guidelines HERE) but dare I say that it is even more important to include nonexercise physical activity during the day? Yes. I dare.  To put it simply, the best way to add nonexercise physical activity into your day is to walk. That’s it! Walk to the grocery store, walk up the stairs instead of taking an elevator, get up from your desk to speak to a coworker instead of sending an email… get my drift? The reason why its so crucial to weight loss is because it can take up more of your day vs a 30 minute exercise session. The main goal here is to incorporate physical activity back into the majority of your day.  Including this kind of physical activity into your daily life will take a conscious effort! Here are some ways to start adding nonexercise physical activity into your day-

  1. Before you get ready in the morning, go for a 10 minute walk
  2. Walk for half of your lunch break (or any break at work)
  3. Pace when talking on the phone or watching a tv show
  4. Right when you get home, go for another 10-15 minute walk
  5. When you are parking somewhere, park in the absolute farthest parking spot
  6. Make it a rule to take the stairs whenever you can

It is super easy to track your steps with an activity tracker. I love my Fitbit, but any activity tracker will do the track! Aim to move at least every hour for 5 minutes.

The 1 Mile Challenge

If you’re looking to up your game in the NEAT department, then I have a little challenge for you 🙂 I actually had a professor challenge one of my classes at BYU to do this and I loved it! So over the next two weeks (one week, one month or however long you want to try this), whenever you need to go anywhere that is within 1 mile of where you are you need to walk there. I know this isn’t possible for everything (especially in the States since things are so far apart!) but if you can walk to church, a friend’s place, store or whatever then DO IT. Who’s with me? If you decide to do this neat little challenge (see what I did there 🙂 ) then let me know! I want to hear about your experience and what you like/didn’t like about it.

I hope you guys all have a fantastic rest of your week and that you get out there and MOVE! Explore your city and just get your booty up and going.  Also that you come back here on Friday… I’m posting another #foodfriday posts and it’s Chicken Pot Pie healthy-fied. Trust me, you don’t want to miss it.