The Most Effective Weight Loss Method I See Almost No One Using
It isn’t through exercise, dieting, or supplementation
The fitness industry, especially the fat loss industry, is a cesspool of pseudoscience and misinformation.
While the only way to lose weight, which is a caloric deficit is kept in obscurity — Useless and dangerous fat loss pills, gimmicky workout plans, and fancy diets are shoved down our throats.
Even coming to the caloric deficit, things like hours of exercise and restrictive diets are advocated. These help for sure — but there’s one highly effective method that is barely talked about.
I stumbled across this method when I noticed something — every time I came home for vacations, I’d gain weight and within just a few weeks of getting back to college, I’d lose it all.
Turns out, I was unknowingly exploiting this obscure fat loss method in college.
This Can Constitute up To 50% of Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure
Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is the number of calories you burn in a day. If your calorie intake is lesser than this, you’ll lose weight. As simple as that.
So, to lose weight — you need to either increase your TDEE and/or decrease your calorie intake. Exercise, especially cardio, achieves the former and dieting the latter.
But research shows that exercise usually accounts for only between 2 to 10% of the TDEE. The rest is accounted for by:
- Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) (About 50% of your TDEE) — this is the energy required for bodily functions such as respiration, cell repair, brain functions, and blood pumping.
- The Thermic Effect of Food (BMR) (About 8–15% of your TDEE) — this is the energy required to digest and assimilate the consumed nutrients.
- Your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) (From 15 to 50% of your TDEEs) — a fancy term for your daily physical activity apart from exercise.
It’s the last one — NEAT that we are interested in. Studies have found it to contribute a whopping 50% to the TDEE of highly active individuals.
Yes, 50% — which is over 5 times that of exercise. Remember how I would mysteriously lose weight in college?
It was because of a ramped-up NEAT — my college campus is 300+ acres and by walking to class, the gym, canteens, or the grocery store, I’d unconsciously get in around 5 to 6 km of walking every single day!
NEAT can account up to 50% of your TDEE and increasing it is the most effective way to lose weight.
12 Ways to Ramp up Your NEAT
Ever since I’ve discovered NEAT, I’ve been on a constant quest to find sneaky and easy ways to increase it. Here are the effective ones I’ve found:
- Walk While Talking on The Phone. I love conversing and it's not uncommon for my phone conversations to stretch to 3 and even 4 hours. By walking instead of lying on the couch, my NEAT’s shot to the moon. Irrespective of how long you converse, walk — any walking is better than no walking.
- Use a Shopping Basket Instead of A Trolly. I’ve been doing this for so long that it feels natural now. You have to carry the basket which, unlike the smooth trolly is work. Unless you’re buying a ton load of things, go for the basket.
- If You Work at A Desk, Stretch Now and Then. As a writer and software developer, I’m glued to my desk, so I do this all the time. Not only does this increase your NEAT, but it also prevents stiff joints and chronic neck and back pain.
- Take the Stairs Instead of The Elevator. If this is too cumbersome — take the elevator one floor below or above your target floor. With my hostel elevator going only to floors 3 and above and my floor being the second, I used to do this all the time.
- Ditch the Car for Short Trips. The first few weeks after I learned how to drive, I took my car everywhere — even to the milk shop a stone’s throw away. Now, unless I really need to take my car, I walk.
- When You’re Working, Keep Your Phone on The Opposite Side of The Room. Not only will this make you walk every time you have to check your phone, but it will also dissuade you from unnecessarily checking it.
- Undertake Some Cleaning. With the maid dismissed, to help my mom, I took up the duty of mopping the floor. Moreover, thanks to all the dust that settles in my road-facing room, I’ve to clean it every morning. Cleaning can make you move a surprising lot.
- Get in Those Quick Reps. Ever since I got my doorway pullup bar, I’ve made it a norm to bang out a few reps each time I pass it. If you don’t have one, no worries — drop and get in a few pushups or pump some quick squats at different times in a day.
- Swap Your Moped for A Cycle. Both are two-wheelers but there’s one major difference — while one uses petrol for fuel, the other uses you for fuel. My cycle’s rusted from a long period of unuse but I’m getting it up and running soon.
- Take Post-Meal Strolls. Not only do they help you get in some walking but are also great for digestion. There are few things better than a post-dinner terrace stroll enjoying the starlit sky.
- Park Your Car Some Distance Away. I’ve been doing this unwittingly thanks to my city’s traffic and lack of parking spaces. But I think it’s a smart way to get some more walking in.
- Track Your Steps. You don’t need a fitness band to do this. You can do it using a pedometer app on your smartphone. Set step goals and achieve them. This will actually feel like a game.
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