As discussed in our most recent article on lower calorie alcohol, determining your required calorie deficit when trying to lose weight is important for success. Although completely different for different individuals, the sweet spot is often thought to be around 200-300 calories per day – large enough to stimulate steady fat loss, but not so large that the person is left always hungry and lethargic.
When trying to achieve these sorts of numbers, it is often the collection of little things you do that make the biggest difference. In light of this, we’ve put together a list of some of the small changes you can introduce throughout your day to burn extra calories that won’t take up too much time or leave you dripping with sweat.
By introducing one or two of these a week alongside regular exercise, a healthy diet, and drinking less calories, we’re hoping that your attempts at getting the shape and figure that you've been working towards becomes that little bit easier.
- Bum clenches: But be careful when and where you decide to do this one - you don't want Steve on the other side of the office wondering why you're head keeps bobbing up and down ever so slightly.
- Stretch whilst watching TV: Rather than sitting on the sofa, have a little stretch whilst watching your evening's telly. Not only will the extra flexibility make you feel better generally but you'll also be burning some extra calories.
- Squat whilst blow-drying your hair: Coming from someone with terrible balance, I'm not sure how feasible this really is but there are those that really recommend it.
- Walk while you talk: Providing the weather's okay, take your next phone conversation outside and have a nice walk around the block.
- Ignore the commercials: Make the most of the ad break and squeeze in a few press-ups or tricep dips from the sofa. If you're watching ITV, you could probably fit in an entire workout...
- Curl those shopping bags: Don't just dump those bags on the floor as soon as you get in the house, bust out a few bicep curls before putting them down (mirror optional).
- Put on music whilst cooking: Put on some music and have a little dance if and when the moment takes you.
- Modify your commute to work: If you're able to, walk or cycle instead of driving. If you're not able to, then park further away from work, or get off of the bus, tube or tram a stop or two earlier.
- Get a dog: As well as a great deal of affection, these friendly little creatures also offer you the opportunity for a much more active lifestyle.
- Walk like you're late: Move more briskly and walk like you're late to a meeting...or in desperate need of the toilet.
- Take the stairs: Unless you need to go up more than five floors, you should really be taking those stairs.
- Give the dishwasher an evening off: Start to see the dishwasher as a luxury or something to only use when stretched for time.
- Drink ice cold water: Your body burns calories having to warm the water when it enters your body, so have a few ice cold glasses throughout the day can help bring your calorie burn count up.
- Become more mindful of your movements: See everything as an opportunity to flex, tone and improve your body - be it picking up the children, mowing the lawn, or even waving goodbye to someone.
- Invest in some ankle weights: You might look a little silly if you go outside, but putting on some ankle weights and going about your daily routine in the house should definitely burn some extra calories. Ankle weights are also great to take things up a notch if you like doing pilates at home or any other core exercises that involves raising your legs.
- Get a good night's rest: Poor sleeping habits can really slow down your metabolism, so make sure to take good care of yourself and get some proper sleep.
- Play waiting games: Rather than getting frustrated, why not incorporate some small exercises whilst waiting for something? To provide you with an example, how about calf raises whilst waiting for the printer?
- Perform leg raises whilst sitting at your desk: Ideally you'd have a standing desk or use a stability ball whilst working, but if that's not an option then lifting your legs every now and then can be a nice little trick for burning some calories.
- Invest in thigh bands: Thigh bands are great because you can perform the associated exercises whilst watching television or talking to your partner (without looking too funny).
- Take up that hobby you've been considering: The hobby doesn't even need to be that active - the energy requirement in getting to the location, speaking and laughing with other individuals, and engaging your mind, will be a lot greater than simply sitting at home.
- Switch to lower calorie alcohol...
We had to sneak that last one in there. Although it's still calorie consumption, unless you want to forgo alcohol completely, then switching to a skinnier alternative just makes sense. By drinking the lower calorie wine, beer or spirits sold here at DrinkWell you can expect to consume up to 50% less calories compared to their full fat alternatives.
To demonstrate this, here are just a few of the calorie savings you can expect for individual products versus their regular competitors (comparative data from Drinkaware):
- Loca Beva Juniper Spirit - 28% fewer calories on average versus regular gin.
- SkinnyLager - 35% fewer calories on average versus regular lager.
- Barton & Guestier Sauvignon Blanc - 33% fewer calories on average versus regular white wine.
To reiterate, then, deciding to make a few small changes each week can have a huge impact 6-months to a year down the line. It might feel pointless walking up three-flights of stairs at work rather than taking the elevator, but in a month that comes to around 60 extra flights of stairs you've walked.
Which of the above would be feasible to introduce this week? I'm thinking about getting a dog personally...