One of my first blog posts was titled Let’s Start at the Very Beginning… a Very Nice Place to Start. That entry discussed “calories in,” which is half of the weight loss (gain or maintenance) equation Calories in + calories out = change (or lack thereof). The other half of the equation is “calories out,” which is the topic of this follow-up post.
Before I began this weight loss / maintenance journey, I wasn’t measuring my calories in. And I certainly wasn’t measuring my calories out. So while I assumed that non-exercise movement (like brushing teeth, standing in line, folding laundry, cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming the car, etc.) didn’t really matter or add up to anything significant, I didn’t have anything upon which to base that thought.
Epiphany Alert: Normal, everyday movement can equal a lot more “calories out” than previously realized. Additionally, consciously maximizing everyday activity can pay big dividends.
Several months into following Weight Watchers, they teamed up with the electronics company Philips, and released a nifty little device named ActiveLink. It’s basically a super-pedometer, that not only accounts for steps, but also senses movement in all directions and velocity. It calculates how much energy you have burned and translates that directly into Weight Watchers Activity PointsPlus (AP) that you then have available to consume. (Note: Other companies have similar devices. Other popular ones are FitBit and BodyBug.)
The data that has been recorded by my AL is eye-opening. On non-exercise days, the number of APs that I typically earn ranges from 0 on the low end to 3, for days when I’m up and moving most of the day. On a weekly basis that adds up to almost an entire day’s worth of extra food that is available to be consumed!
Now I maximize EVERYDAY ACTIVITY every day. So how do I maximize my everyday activity?
- Taking extra trips to the basement to switch the laundry (and not sending the kids to do it!)
- Walking to a neighbor’s house, instead of driving
- Standing while folding laundry… standing burns more calories than sitting
- Parking a little further back in the parking lot at the store
- Cleaning the kitchen nightly (BONUS: waking up to a clean kitchen every morning)
- Walking the compost from the kitchen out to the compost bin
- Taking stairs instead of the escalator
- Standing while checking e-mail – laptop stays on the countertop and not at my desk with a chair
- Working in the yard (though not my favorite… as my husband can attest to!)
How do YOU maximize your “calories out”? New ideas are always welcome!