Confession: I’m not a natural-born exerciser. I loathed gym, I was terrible at soccer -- the only time I was interested in exercise was while I was riding horses. And even then I never did the stuff I was assigned to (which probably explains all those third place ribbons).
Thank god I have dogs or the only calories I’d be burning would be ... well ... I’ll just let that statement be.
That said, I nearly jumped for joy today when I heard a story on NPR about how the simple act of thinking can help you lose weight. Yes! Thinking! I do lots of that!
How does this magic work? And where can you get more of it?
Basically, to lose weight thinking, you have to reverse psychologize yourself (yes, I made that word up). A team at Carnegie Mellon University ran a small study where people had to look at a picture of a bowl of M & Ms. One group imagined moving the candies from one bowl to another, one at a time. The second group imagined eating the candy. At the end, both groups were given a bowl of candy and told to chow down.
Guess who ate less? A lot less.
The people who imagined eating the candy actually ate half the amount as the other group!
How cool is that? You can actually trick your body into thinking you’ve eaten! Obviously you can't just stop eating, but if you can eat half as much ice cream and still feel satisfied, those are serious calories you can stop counting. And with almost no effort on your part -- and definitely no strained muscles.
Know what other virtually effortless non-exercise activities you can do to drop the lbs.?
- Chew gum. It’s not just to help curb your appetite -- all that chewing action is burning calories away.
- Fidget. Tap your foot, jiggle your leg, twirl your hair. It’s all exercise to your body!
- Eat. Seriously. A healthy breakfast wakes up your metabolism. You’ll also make better food choices later in the day if you eat a good meal at the start.
- Drink. You can’t drink sodas -- even diet -- and lose weight. On the other hand, taking in at least 8 glasses of cold water a day will fill you up and make your body work harder to overcome the cold.
- Turn down the heat. Just a few degrees cooler and your body instantly starts using energy to stay warm.
- Laugh. You can do this one in front of the television even! Ten minutes of laughter burns forty calories -- throw on The Colbert Report and you’re golden!
What little things do you do to lose maximum weight with minimum effort?
Image via Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr