How Picking Your Nose Can Help You Lose Weight

WOAH clickbait title much?

Yeah sorry about that.

But there is some method behind my madness and in the next 1500 words I’m going to explain why.

Let’s start off at the very beginning with a pretty diagram I made on Paint:

Yes, talented I am. This diagram is essentially explaining the workings of the eulogised, yet at the same time much maligned, human metabolism.

Humans need to pay out a certain amount of energy throughout the day; I’m sure you’re more familiar with the term ‘burning calories’. The total of this energy outlay creates something called your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE); this is what the whole of the above diagram represents.

Interesting I hear you cry. So now let’s work out what those different shades of blue mean:

BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate

That big chunk at the bottom of the diagram, equating to about 60-70% of your ‘Total Daily Energy Expenditure’, is your ‘basic metabolic rate’.

This ‘resting metabolism’ means you’re ALWAYS burning calories for basic life functions. If you were to lie down all day (dream) you’d still be expending energy through activities such as the pumping of the heart, the heaving of the lungs and the functioning of the brain.

EAT: Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

EAT is basically exercise and, as we know, exercise burns calories. For most of us, this can account to approximately 10-15% of our energy expenditure throughout the day.

Vigorous, intentional physical activities promote good health and using calories to be active and exercise strengthens muscles, helps maintain body weight and reduces risk factors for chronic disease.

While exercise is vital to life, it’s important to note that it actually contributes to very little of our TDEE.

TEF: Thermic Effect of Food

Eating burns calories. The act of digesting and metabolising food raises heat production, even when you’re resting, thus meaning it accounts to around 5-10% of the calories we burn throughout the day.

Of course, the amount of calories you consume far outweighs the amount you can burn eating, so don’t think you can negatively eat your way to a six-pack. Yes, including celery.

NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

And here we are: non-exercise activity thermogenesis - the reason why you can pick your nose and lose weight. (Kind of).

Scientists like to call this part of our energy expenditure ‘fidgeting’, and that’s what it is; all the spontaneous activities you perform that aren’t labelled as ‘exercise’.

Things like walking, playing with your dog, twiddling your thumbs, cleaning, shopping, chopping wood (you mean you don’t chop wood?), making a sandwich, carrying, gardening, talking on the phone, lifting your kids and PICKING YOUR NOSE.

The little gem that is ‘NEAT’ can account for as little as 15% of energy expenditure in sedentary individuals and up to 50% in very active individuals.

The more you move, the more calories you burn throughout the day.

This is one of the major reasons why you can look at a piece of cake and put on ten pounds, while your friend over there can eat five cakes and look even more shredded than before. You don’t necessarily have a ‘slower metabolism’, or them a ‘faster one’, but they simply MOVE MORE.

Now I’ll admit we don’t have gargantuan reserves of bogeys stored away for us to utilise to look good in a bikini, nor are we eight years old, but utilising this concept of ‘moving’ allows us to burn more calories throughout the day.

And as we know, the more calories we burn, the less likely we are to put on weight.

Debbie vs Sally: A Real Life Example

Say hi to Debbie.

Debbie, 40 years old and weighing 65kg, has a basal metabolic rate of 1400 calories per day.

She burns an extra 100 calories a day from eating and as her only form of exercise is a 45 minute Zumba Toning class and a 60 minute cardio session in the gym twice a week, she burns an extra 300 calories on the days she exercises.

She’s currently burning 1800 calories a day.

Now Debbie works in an office. She sits down on the train to work, at her desk from 9-5, on the train home and in front of the TV in the evening. She doesn’t have kids, has a cleaner and acclaims to be a Netflix junkie.

She doesn’t move. Poor Debbie.

Now say hi to Sally.

Sally, 40 years old and weighing 65kg (what are the chances?), has a basal metabolic rate of 1400 calories per day.

She burns an extra 100 calories a day from eating and as her only form of exercise is a 45 minute Zumba Toning class and a 60 minute cardio session in the gym twice a week, she burns an extra 300 calories on the days she exercises.

She’s currently burning 1800 calories a day.

Now Sally is a teacher. She takes a 20 minute walk to school, is on her feet from class to class throughout the day, walks home from work, is on her feet cooking and cleaning in the evening, and yeah has a tendency to pick her nose a lot.

She does move. Good work Sally.

Now who’s going to have less body fat?

Yes, you got it, Sally.

While Debbie probably burns an extra 300 calories per day from her NEAT, Sally is out there racking up a whole load more energy expenditure (sometimes up to five times more) from all her spontaneous non-exercise activities.

Debbie may only expend approximately 2100 calories on a day when she exercises, whereas Sally could potentially expend 2500.

This is why when Sally and Debbie meet up for their post Zumba Toning 400-calorie toffee nut latte with sugary sprinkles and healthy 300-calorie chia seed, raisin, macadamia and peanut granola bar, Sally can get away with it and Debbie can’t.

While Debbie and Sally have just eclipsed the amount of calories they’ve burnt in their Zumba class (hint: which is why Debbie never loses weight) Sally has the opportunity to burn more calories throughout the day with all the movement she does.

Sally doesn’t have a faster metabolism, or better genetics, or can digest sugar better, or whatever other BS excuse we can come up with…

She simply moves more.

So What Am I Saying?

I’m saying move more goddammit.

Have a look at this table taken from this study:

Look at how many extra calories are burned, just from standing (roughly an extra 471). Even if standing all day was too much and the day was split evenly between sitting and fidgeting and standing and fidgeting, the difference would be an extra 260 calories.

As Mike Gibney, from his book Ever Seen a Fat Fox, states:

‘An extra 260 or so calories expended every day without any increase in energy intake would see weight fall and if energy intake increased to meet this 300 calories, then energy balance would be maintained’.

If you wanted another visual explanation as to how being seated all day pales in comparison to an active job have a look at this graph taken from this study:

If we head back to our diagram at the beginning of this post, we’ll notice that NEAT actually accounts for more energy expenditure throughout the day than exercise. I know, how depressing.

All that blood, sweat and tears you leave in the gym has very little to do with how much body fat you can actually lose. Now of course I’m not saying don’t ever train - there are significant benefits to exercise and lifting weights that will benefit your body fat percentage - but don’t be fooled into thinking that three sessions a week are solely going to save you from an expanding waistline.

The answer is to become more active throughout the day.

It’s clear that we have two camps: those who manage to keep the weight off seemingly effortlessly and those who do not. Really it’s a case of those who are active in an effortless or routine way and those who struggle to stay active.

Daniel’s Top 6 Tips for Effortlessly Increasing Your NEAT To Help Lose Weight:

Pick Your Nose – OK, it was the title of the blog post so I can’t leave it out can I? It may be a little ambitious to state that picking your nose can help you lose weight, but the principle is there: the more non-volitional exercise you can complete, the more calories you’ll burn.

Walk – Easy, yet so hard. Those 10,000 steps everyone keeps telling us to complete every day? Yeah it works. Seriously, do it.

Get Up At Work – How many of you find yourself sit down at your desk at 9am and not get up until you need a wee at lunchtime? That’s four hours of doing nothing. Set yourself the target of getting up every half an hour and walking, even just for 30 seconds.

Clean – I hate cleaning as well, don’t worry. But doing something even as simple as washing up after every meal, will ensure you’ll be more active than if you chucked everything in the dishwasher all the time.

Take The Stairs –Stop being lazy, lazy.

Gardening, Playing With The Kids, Fidgeting, Stretching – Do them.

 

 

THIS ARTICLE WAS TOO LONG AND I DIDN’T READ IT – CAN YOU SUMMARISE IT PLEASE

- Humans need to pay out a certain amount of energy throughout the day; the total of this energy outlay creates something called your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

- TDEE is made up of our Basal Metabolic Rate, Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, The Thermic Effect of Food and Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis

- The little gem that is ‘NEAT’ can account for as little as 15% of energy expenditure in sedentary individuals and up to 50% in very active individuals

The more you move, the more calories you burn throughout the day

- It’s clear that we have two camps: those who manage to keep the weight off seemingly effortlessly and those who do not. Really it’s a case of those who are active in an effortless or routine way and those who struggle to stay active

 

 

 

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