Right? Of course, none of us actually believe that. Intellectually and rationally, we know that whatever food we put into our mouth is accounted for either by being used for energy and cell building within the body, or composing muscles and/or adipose (aka fat) tissue.
Yet, its so easy to forget about a quick bit on the run, a snack in the car, or a spare handful of chips. I don't want to point the way to obsessing over caloric intake, but I do want to do some simple math to highlight how a few extra, mindless calories can add up over time.
By gaining a pound, you have to consume 3500 calories over what your body needs to run itself. This amount of calories varies for each person depending on their activity level, age, genetic make-up and gender.
Let's say each day, I eat an extra piece of chocolate. One truffle of average size, is about 60 calories, give or take a few;) Within about 60 days, if I haven't adjusted my diet or activity level, I'll have gained a pound. No big deal, right? Bring on the truffles!
Let's fast forward to a year later...I've continued to indulge my sweet tooth with this tiny little treat. Except now I am six pounds overweight. Fast forward five years and I'm a solid thirty pounds overweight.
Woo-hoo! Over here! Reality check comin' at ya!
An extra serving of rice, a handful of pretzels, a bigger than normal portion of dinner...how do these add up over the years? The first five pounds might not be so stressful. Multiple that number by a few years and many people find themselves wondering, "When and how did I get so overweight?" and that statement is often followed by "I hardly eat anything."
It's so easy to do, but it's also easy to take control over. Mindful or intuitive eating, where you take away distractions and eat in a thoughtful way, is one option. Another option is to offset the calories with some small level of additional activity. Additional being the key word here. The best way to do the latter option is to start with tiny changes. Last week, I suggested some small health steps that will help start you in the right direction. This week, lets focus a little bit more on incorporating small periods of movement into our lives so that we can have a truffle (or two!) and maintain a healthy weight.
Ten Tiny Activities That Burn 50 calories*
1. 11 minutes of dancing
2. 7 minutes power walk
3. 5 minutes of jumping rope
4. 12 minutes of ping pong
5. 6 minutes of jumping jacks
6. 5 minutes of climbing stairs
7. 12 minutes of walking at a leisurely pace
8. 12 minutes of doing sponga
9. 3.5 minutes of squats
10. 16 push-ups
These suggestions do not replace any current movement activities or exercise you engage in on a regular basis. These are the bonuses that help to keep your eating patterns in check. As always, keep in touch and let me know how small changes are helping you make lasting successes.
*This is an approximate number as amount of calories burned can vary from person to person depending on multiple factors.