03 June 2010

50 Simple Steps: Burn Some Excess Calories

*** 50 steps to burn off some calories that are easy to add to your daily routine you will wonder why you didn't think of it sooner!

From Denny: Burning those extra pesky calories to burn belly fat does not always have to be the big strenuous workout. Actually, staying trim has more to do with developing some simple healthy habits that you can incorporate into your day.

We all know that the habit of staying sedentary just doesn't work. We have to get up and move. That's the simple secret: always be moving as much and as often as possible. Well, we can move as easily during TV ads or washing the dishes to add constant daily exercise that burns some calories. Even laughing burns calories. Pretty cool, huh? Add a little extra effort to your routine and you will get back some happy rewards of finding it easier to pull off excess weight and stay trim.

It's always a great idea to take some time and stretch our muscles and boost our heart rate when we have been sitting too long. Eating fiber rich foods that give us maximum fullness for minimal calories also goes a long way to helping us not sabotage our food plans.

Enjoy this simple list as it will make you grin at what you can easily do every day to burn some extra calories!

1 - Vitamin D - Did you know that if you are deficient in this vitamin that it is far more difficult to lose weight? That was found out to be true from a study in the British Journal of Nutrition. You end up losing weight but at a much slower rate. Sweet, huh? Run out and get yourself some vitamin D pills. The recommended daily dose is 2,000 milligrams.

2 - Drink coffee or black tea - If you haven't already figured out this one, caffeine burns calories at a more rapid rate, according to according to professor of nutrition and psychiatry, Susan B. Roberts, Tufts University in Boston. If you normally don't drink coffee then try tea. It has less caffeine but will still help you burn calories at a faster rate. I often drink coffee in the cooler months and tea during the hotter months.

3 - Get more sleep - Did you know that only getting four hours of sleep a night for a prolonged period will actually slow down your metabolism? What a pleasant thought: Sleep seven to nine hours and lose weight!

4 - Do some of your housework by hand rather than by vacuum cleaner, dishwasher or even cooking your own dinner as opposed to take out. Doing housework, especially vacuuming, sweeping, raking the yard are all very aerobic and burn those extra calories. Just think, you get to be practical and lose weight at the same time!

5 - Purchase a basic pedometer. Monitor just how many steps your are taking daily and aim every week to walk a bit more than the last week. You will find those few extra pounds melting off as you get off the couch, out of the chair and take extra steps.

6 - Eat light meals and frequently - Who doesn't want to hear that? Eat all day long. I've often thought that was the secret to Europeans staying thin as they pop into small shops mid-morning and mid-afternoon, early evening for tiny open-faced protein sandwiches and a tea or coffee, chat a bit with friends or the shop keeper and go back to work or their errands. Did you also know that the body uses up more energy to digest smaller meals all day long than it does to digest two or three heavier meals of the same calories? So says Chrissy Wellington, a nutritionist at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts.

7 - Walk briskly - Remember when you were in school and would practically fast walk, almost a run, to get to class on time? Remember what it's like to be late for a meeting in the business world? Now that can burn some extra calories!

8 - Laughing a lot and laugh often - You can actually burn up to 50 calories just laughing about 10 to 15 minutes a day. Who knew? How cool is that? No wonder I have two funny blogs I write as I thoroughly enjoy test driving the funny videos I post along with all the other funny news and funny stories. (Dennys Funny Quotes and Ouch Outrageous Obnoxious And Odd)

9 - Make sure to eat breakfast daily - When you break your fast from the night you are actually sending your body the signal that life is good and you are not starving. The body decides then it does not have to horde fat for famine and starts to release and burn unnecessary excess fat you have stored.

Scrambled egg whites and oatmeal with fruit are great ways to start off the morning in a healthy way. You get protein in the eggs, fruit as a healthy sugar to raise your blood sugar and oatmeal is great for keeping your nervous system calm because it's loaded with B vitamins. Make your own oatmeal from the old-fashioned oatmeal not the instant version which is over processed - and don't nuke it in the microwave. You have to give your digestion system something to actually break down because that's how your body gets it fun in life. If you like the Irish version of oatmeal, the kind you have to soak overnight before cooking in the morning, even better as those oatmeal groats are far less processed than our American versions.

10 - Time your activities - Make sure that every hour when you are sitting down to get up and move around for five minutes. At our house, as soon as the TV ads come on we all get up and move around. You can burn some calories as well as guard against leg clots from sitting too long. It's especially important when sitting at the computer though I usually don't wait as long as an hour. By the way, did you know that during the about two minutes of TV ads you can wash a lot of dishes? Good to know. Dish washing has never been a favorite with me and I figured out to break it up during ads during our favorite nightly shows - and then it wasn't so tedious.

11 - Eat high fiber foods - Did you know that low carbohydrate but high fiber foods take a lot more time to digest than other foods? You also feel fuller for a longer period of time and therefore are a lot less likely to start snacking. High fiber foods: broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach.

12 - Take the longer route to walk - If you are at work take the longer route to the restroom, maybe even take the stairs instead of the elevator. I do this too when parking, especially in a mall area. I park farther out because you will avoid all those nasty dings on your car from careless people opening their car doors and nicking your car. You also get to stretch your legs and walk a bit more, especially if it has been a long drive of over 30 minutes.

13 - Fidgeting - People who are always annoying others with their fidgeting are actually burning extra calories. You can actually burn an additional 350 calories a day by fidgeting than by remaining stoically stationary, this from a Mayo Clinic study. Maybe it's a genetic thing, maybe it's a family culture thing this business of fidgeting. If you are not normally a fidgeter than fake it by tapping your feet, pacing or squirming restlessly in your seat. Now when a kid gets yelled at by the teacher for fidgeting, they can fire back, "But I'm burning excess calories 'cause I don't want to get fat!" That ought to elicit an eruption of laughter from the class.

14 - Keep pancake heeled flat shoes in your bag so you can move faster. Not everyone wants to don clunky sneakers but flats are a nice alternative.

15 - Skip night time meals - Eating late at night can interrupt your sleep cycle. It also will encourage you to skip breakfast. Both are bad for keeping your metabolism at high rev to burn calories efficiently.

16 - Stand and sit straight - What has good posture got to do with losing weight? Well, for one thing standing straighter sure makes us look leaner and taller. The good news is that it also strengthens our abdominal muscles. Who doesn't want great abs?

17 - Drink more water daily - Did you know that dehydrated people actually experience a drop in their metabolic rate? Drinking water all day long is a good idea as it can increase your metabolic rate by about 30 percent, according to a German study. How much to drink? Make that at least eight glasses a day.

18 - Sugar is a health pirate, so beware - How sugar operates is that it triggers the body to release insulin. Insulin then sends sugar to the body's cells to be used as energy - or stored as fat. This is where the dreaded belly fat issue is born: too much sugar in the diet.

19 - Use the squat position more - To squat properly when you want to pick something up from the floor make sure to keep your back straight to avoid injury and then bend at your knees, not your waist (which will stress your lower back). This form protects your back but also has the added benefit of toning your legs!

20 - Chew gum - While it does burn a few calories what chewing gum is really useful for is as a coping skill to keep you from mindlessly grazing on whatever food is available. Some people find this helpful when they are cooking.

21 - Get quality sleep - Did you know that if you sleep poorly you tend to choose less healthy foods? And from experience, as well as yet another study, we all know that sleep-deprived folks move a lot less. If you don't feel energetic then you lazy around listless and don't burn those extra calories of that garbage food you just ate that you thought would perk up your energy level. The reality is you just need more sleep and better quality sleep. Stick to that regime and you won't find yourself reaching for the sugary foods.

22 - Walk while you talk on the phone - When you are on the phone don't sit still. Get up and move around and pace. If you are at work, then wear a headset.

23 - Switch which side you carry your handbag or child - Every woman has practiced this one regularly. Carrying a heavy purse or even a small child on your hip can create nerve stress in your shoulders and strain muscles. The ideal is to swap sides about every five minutes to work more muscles. Besides, think how you will train yourself to become ambidextrous! :)

24 - Pick up your pace - Listen to fast-paced songs when you are walking or taking the stairs. A faster beat pushes you to keep a pace that will accomplish your goal of burning more calories. Fast song: "Closer" by Ne-Yo.

25 - Go out on a date - It's a fact that women tend to order dishes with fewer calories when in the company of a man, usually best when he is not a significant other. When out with other women they order higher calorie foods. Sounds like that study means you need to avoid the girlfriends as your friends could make you fat. :)

26 - Cook your own food - You know it's going to be healthier than restaurant food that has excess oil, salt and sugar. Besides, it takes about 30 to 60 minutes to prepare and you have burned some calories doing it!

27 - Don't lunch at your work desk - If you must do it, then afterward, get up and go out for a short walk. Besides, it's better for your peace of mind to eat elsewhere to get away for a short break mentally as well as physically from the work. When you return from lunch you are more refreshed and ready to work again.

28 - Keep snacks in your handbag all the time - Nuts like dry roasted almonds are a fav at our house, low-calories bars or even a piece of fruit like the handy banana with its own natural version of ziploc bag. Eating often helps to keep your metabolism at high rev and will keep your mitts off the vending machine garbage treats. I did this when waiting around for hours every day for a week while waiting to be picked for a jury trial. Worked like a charm and I never got cranky like most everyone else.

29 - Wear higher heels than usual every now and then - Higher heels do tone your legs because they work different muscles in the calves and thighs. Excessive long wearing of highest heels like stilettos will shorten the calve muscles and make it unbearable to wear flats or go barefoot.

30 - Stress down and relax - Did you know that stress causes our bodies to release cortisol? And what does cortisol do? Cortisol causes the body to store more calories as fat, especially in the abdomen.

31 - Watch a lot less television - People who cut their TV viewing time in half ended up burning an extra 119 calories a day - all without changing what they ate.

32 - Pilates move of lifting up on balls of your feet - Lift up and then lower yourself down again. Remember when you exercise the feet you are helping out the entire body and inner organs.

33 - Work on building up those abdominals - Try to do 30 seconds of intense bursts to engage your abs tightly, then push for more up to 40 seconds.

34 - Drink green tea, several cups, every day - Of course, green tea has some caffeine to increase your metabolism. The plant chemicals it contains are called catechin polyphenois that gently boost your metabolism as well, according to a study from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. This is great if you are sensitive to the stronger jolt and heating properties from coffee.

35 - Throw some hot sauce on your food - Spicy food will temporarily increase your metabolism. Some people like red pepper flakes on their salad. Italian food often includes red pepper flakes when pan frying a dish.

Here, in Louisiana, we love hot sauce on our morning over easy eggs. You won't need salt and pepper and the hot sauce flavor is outstanding! Hot sauce is made from hot cayenne chili peppers, salt and vinegar. Cayenne pepper is great for clearing up your sinuses and helping your lungs to breathe more freely too while it jolts your metabolism awake and gets you moving.

36 - Work your legs whenever possible - So often we are a sedentary society with the information age and computers. Flying on airplanes is uncomfortable. Try doing small knee lifts and ankle twirls and rotations to keep the blood flowing and cramping down to a minimum. Remember to fidget like in number 13 on this list! :)

37 - Add salmon to your diet - A study found that those who dine more on salmon than on beef lose significantly more weight even when it was measured as the same amount of calories. Well, that's an easy one. A steak can take up to five days to digest while fish does a whirlwind tour of the digestive system within eight hours.

38 - Try taking supplements if your weight loss is resistant. You can take glutamine after meals. In a study from Iowa State University it was found to burn an additional 20 more calories than those taking placebos. Twenty calories doesn't sound like much until you add it up at the end of the week and see how a small amount can prove to be significant.

39 - Eat the peel of that fruit - The body uses up more energy to break down fiber rich foods like the skins of fruits and vegetables.

40 - Have sex - Think of it this way, most couples burn an extra 300 calories an hour while having sex. Who knew weight loss could be so much fun?

41 - Change out your food oils - Skip that bacon fat and other animal fat and replace it with a medium-chain fatty acid like coconut oil. You will lose more body fat.

42 - Keep your blow dryer at your health club - It will motivate you to work out and the heat will boost your metabolism.

43 - Drink a special green tea: oolong - This particular species of green tea is most beneficial to weight loss as it increases your metabolic rate by as much as 10 percent.

44 - Don't eat snacks in your car - Remember this goes to distraction and mindless eating and it's easy to eat larger portions than you intended. Avoid eating in the car and you avoid excess calories. It's also nice not to have to vacuum up the potato chips and get the grease stains out with carpet cleaner. :)

45 - Swing your arms - How many times have you felt the need to move and started swinging your arms to feel better? If you have been sitting still too long and can't go for a walk then the next best thing to do is swing your arms to get some aerobic activity going. Experts tell us that the more parts of your body you use simultaneously then the more calories you will burn.

46 - Have a drink at happy hour and have a snack with it - It's really best to eat a small meal before imbibing alcoholic drinks. But when you can't stop for a little meal then make sure to order an appetizer or eat some olives to balance that alcohol. Drinking alcohol alone can set you up for ravenous eating later.

47 - Exercise while you clean - Use exaggerated stretching motions when you are cleaning up the dishes and wiping down the counters or when you are washing the car. Exercising while you work helps burn a few extra calories.

48 - Keep crackers around for snacking - Crackers that are high fiber and low starch like GG Crispbreads actually create a film on the intestinal lining that can block the absorption of other calories.

49 - Sit up and sit straight - When watching TV, sitting at work, sitting in front of the computer, make sure to sit up rather than slouch. Slouching is really bad for your inner organs and your digestive system and can slow down your metabolism. See? Miss Manners was right after all. :)

50 - Add dairy to your daily diet - Turns out that scientists have found that low-fat dairy tends to inhibit fats from being stored in the body. Also, calcium helps boost your metabolic rate to lose weight.

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