Take the NEAT Challenge

I sometimes feel a little bummed when the holidays are over.  I love decorating the house, playing music, and finding gifts for family and friends.  I get into the baking and festivities.  Then it all comes to a screeching halt.

The holidays are over and with it comes the reality that we had a little too much fun over the past week.  The parties, the cocktails, the extra helpings at dinner, and don’t forget the treats.  It can be easy to get on the scale and feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and upset with ourselves.  While the culmination of the past few weeks can make us feel like we did some serious damage, there are some very simple ways to get back on track.

What we eat and how we choose to be active can have large impacts on our weight gain and loss.  Eating a healthy diet and getting in regular exercise are ways that you can control your health.

There is one other factor that we often forget about.  Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy you expend from everything that is not sleeping, eating, or exercise.  NEAT is all of the tiny little actions you do during the day that add up in caloric burn.

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As a health coach I often hear that people don’t have enough time to exercise.  It can be difficult to find the time to prepare healthy meals.  These are both understandable and they are great reasons to meet with a health coach to find solutions to help you carve out time for exercise  and meal planning.  Yet, if you are someone who is pressed for time, NEAT is where you can make giant leaps in your healthy living process.

Take the NEAT Challenge:  For the month of January, find extra little ways to burn small amounts of energy.  Instead of searching for a parking spot closest to the store, grab one a few aisles back.  You will save time by parking sooner, and you will get a few more steps in.

Stand up every time you talk on the phone.  Pace, walk around your house, and march in place.  We spend a lot of time at home and in the office on the phone.  Use this as an opportunity to get a little extra movement.

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Plan a family activity each evening.  Try a walk around the block after dinner.  Go for a quick bike ride.  Make a snowman and have a snowball fight.  Too cold to go out?  Build a fort in the basement.

Set an alarm on your phone and make sure you get up from the desk every house for a lap around the office and a refill of your water bottle.

The great thing about NEAT is that you don’t have to plan out the exercise.  It actually isn’t even exercise.  You just need to move.  Tap your feet at the desk.  Fiddle your fingers.  All of those little things add up.

What little ways could you add some extra movement into your day?

9 thoughts on “Take the NEAT Challenge

  1. I find that the toughest thing is going from warm temperatures to cold … because we would take walks from April into October, but then the cold and dark set in and we move less at night.

    During the day I tend to be pretty good – I park far away, get up and move, use the bathroom way across the building as much as reasonable, and so on. But even with that there is a difference I notice in terms of general movement in the winter … or maybe it is just that curling up on the couch together with a glass is so wonderful in the winter. 🙂

  2. This is a good idea… I work from home and try to get up from my desk often. I walk around while I’m talking on the phone, since it’s a cordless phone, and I’m sure having stairs in my house helps a little. I also take stretch/PT exercise breaks. It amazes me just how sedentary it can be working in a corporate office, though!

  3. That is a great idea, I know when I haven’t hit my steps goal for the day I can generally get there if I let my toddler “race” me in circles around our house. One time I clocked 3/4 mile just running after him. Toddlers are exhausting.

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