It’s true.

I bet you’re looking for fast results, right?

Of course you are, we live in the world of instant gratification and immediate information.

The blessing and the curse of the internet age.

Well, what if I told you that you could fast track your weight loss results by simply walking more?

Read on.

It’s all about NEAT

No, I’m not talking about being tidier.

NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Expenditure.

This is all movement outside of formal exercise, and can make up a large amount of your daily energy output.

If you want to learn more about energy output you can read our blog here.

The thing is, this part of energy output varies massively between people.

In fact, your friend who stays naturally thin no matter what they eat, probably has high NEAT levels (and probably a lower appetite than you think).

There can be individual differences in NEAT that add up to over 2,000 Calories per day.

So how do I get more of this NEAT?

Essentially, you need to look for more opportunities within your day to be active and move about.

Even fidgeting while sitting will help compared to sitting motionless.

Sitting motionless burns on average 80 Calories per hour.

Add fidgeting into the mix and it becomes 118 Calories per hour.

It may seem small but across an 8 hour work day this becomes a difference of over 300 Calories.

Unfortunately, standing desks don’t change your output that much, there needs to be movement as well.

A simple trick you could adopt would be to set a timer every 30-60 minutes at work and then walk around for only 5 minutes.

It may not seem like much, but this 5 minutes of movement every hour across an 8 hour work day would equal an extra 132 Calories per day.

Across a working week, this is an extra 660 Calories burned, simply by walking

Can’t I just exercise?

Differences in NEAT vary among individuals, and some have a drop in their NEAT levels when they undergo formal exercise.

So if you’re planning on doing exercise in your weight loss journey that’s great, just make sure your NEAT levels don’t drop.

In several studies, it has been shown that people’s NEAT levels drop enough to compensate for the energy burned through exercise.

So if you feel tired and lethargic from the gym, do your best to keep moving!

And remember, food is the bigger part of the weight loss equation compared to exercise anyway.

NEAT decreases as you lose weight

Yep, to make matters harder, as you lose weight your NEAT levels decrease.

This is part of the body’s self defence system against weight loss.

Your body loves homeostasis (balance) and as such, sees weight loss as a threat to survival.

So no, your metabolism isn’t being damaged by weight loss, you’re just moving around less!

Practical steps to increase your NEAT

  • Buy a dog (and walk it)
  • Take the stairs everywhere
  • Park as far away as you can from doors
  • Walk an extra few stops from the bus/train/tube
  • Walk to work
  • Cycle to work
  • Walk at lunchtime
  • Get a walking desk station for work
  • Walk in the evening instead of watching TV
  • Use a step counter (outside of exercise)

In summary

NEAT can make or break your weight loss diet.

If you’re looking for faster weight loss, look to remain as active as you can outside of exercise.

Questions welcome as always in the comments.