When it comes to losing body fat and belly fat, extreme diets and exercise programs do not work. Fads do not work. Yes, maybe it can help reduce a couple of inches, but that is not sustainable. The moment you stop the fad diet or exercise, you simply pile on all that weight you lost, sometimes more than what you lost. This is called a yo-yo effect, which is typical of fad diets and weight loss programs.
Amongst all the lifestyle changes that one could adopt for sustainable fat loss is a concept called N.E.A.T. NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. These are little activities you can do during the day to induce thermogenesis over and above your workout. Thermogenesis refers to our body’s ability to burn fat, even when we are sitting and are not doing too much.
Most of us think that an hour of workout is all we need, thus becoming sedentary active for the rest of the day. That one hour of workout will be great for your heart health, lung capacity, and muscle building, but when it comes to burning belly fat, just an hour is useless and holds no value.
Some examples of NEAT include:
- Walking during phone calls (20 mins post breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
- 10 squats / 2 surya namaskars / 10 jumping jacks after every hour.
- Squat to pick up something from the floor, stretch to open a cupboard.
- Park your car further away from a parking spot, so you can get additional steps.
- Choose to walk instead of drive, if you have to go to a place nearby.
- Stretch and fidget in between work.
- Stand up and stretch while watching TV or even do a wall-sit!
- Chair stretches.
- Calf raises, while standing to cook.
- Dance for 10 minutes in between work.
- At the airport and have lots of time on your hands? Walk and get some steps.
- A few hip opening or back bending asanas during the day.
- Do your own dishes.
- Make your own bed in the morning and at night.
- Calf raises, while brushing your teeth.
All of this is doable, no matter how busy you are, and what the nature of your job is. Even stretching is a NEAT movement and induces thermogenesis.
Why do it?
The benefits are beyond burning fat and staying healthy; they also:
- Help prevent osteoporosis.
- Build great bone health.
- Build healthy circulation.
Every movement, every stretch counts. Even if you only burn 100 calories a day with NEAT activities, multiply that by seven days in a week, the result into four weeks a month, and then by twelve months in a year. All the little movements add up to a considerable amount of calorie burn. Whether your workout duration is 30 mins or 1 hour, NEAT helps you add movement over and above that. What will help here is a step tracker. There is no magic in 10,000 steps, but it is a good benchmark for us to aim for. It is not easy to get 10,000 steps in one hour of work, but is definitely possible if we workout, plus add in movement throughout the day.
Now, NEAT movements are not a free ticket to eat more, or sneak in extra cookies and cupcakes, but it definitely helps your body burn it better.
Now, go ahead and sneak in additional movements into your day! Be as creative as you can, but remember, movement is medicinal for your body and mind.
My name is Luke Coutinho. I am neither a God nor a Guru. I am not a healer or a doctor or a cult leader. I am Luke Coutinho and I practice in the field of Integrative Lifestyle Medicine and Life Coaching. When one hears the word “medicine”, one immediately thinks of the pharmaceutical world, allopathy, chemotherapy, radiation, antibiotics and other drugs used by conventional doctors and medicine. I am not a practitioner of Alternative Medicine either.