2 Weeks to Health 1st Ed – Day 13: Staying Active Around the House and at Work

This is day 13 of the first edition of the book 2 Weeks to Health, a 2-week course designed to kick start a healthier life. The expanded and reworked second edition is set to be released in the summer of 2018.

“Limiting the time you’re inactive is even more important than exercise.” – Tom Rath

Small changes can make a big difference. If you consciously think of ways to make yourself more active throughout the day, then you can improve your health by changing only small things in your everyday life.

Desk jobs will often require you to sit for 8 hours per day, and humans are not made to be sitting down for that long. There are a few tricks to get yourself moving during the workday. First, park far away from the entrance. Force yourself to walk a little bit from your car to the office, the parking spot right by the door is not the best one for your health. Instead of sending an email or calling someone you work with, walk to their office and see if they are available to talk. If not, ask when they are and walk back to their office later. When you have a quick break, spend it doing a couple exercises or stretches instead of checking social media. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, even if you work on the 10th floor. Organize your workspace so that you are required to stand up when you need to use the printer, file documents, or answer the phone. Start by implementing a couple of these and turn them into habits, then add more as you see fit. Sitting all day is horrible for your health, so forcing yourself to move around a little bit more will help with your fitness and weight loss goals.

There are also ways to stay more active at home. On average, American adults watch about 5 hours of TV per day. Just imagine what you could accomplish with your health if you just cut back on one of those hours, or exercised while watching TV. Think for a second about what you do when you are at home or with your family. It probably involves a lot more sitting, right? Just like at work, at home the small changes can make a big difference to your health. Walking your dog, playing outdoors with your kids, cleaning your house, playing active video games such as Dance Dance Revolution, and even cooking can get you up and moving around at home.

Becoming and staying healthy requires a lot of work, at least at first. Once you get into the habit of eating healthy, going for long walks with your dog, working out 5 days per week, and however else you choose to live healthier, it is no longer a lot of work, it becomes a lifestyle.

Advertisements

The Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise and Why it Matters

I’m sure you hear the terms aerobic and anaerobic all the time. The term aerobic has often been used synonymously with the term cardio and is sometimes confused with a type of fitness class from the 1970s. What exactly are aerobic and anaerobic exercises, and why does it matter?

It turns out that these are directly related to your metabolism and the way your body uses energy. The amount of energy your muscles keep stored at any given time only allows for about a second of maximum exertion and after that, your body needs to begin making more energy for itself. For the first couple minutes of a hard workout, your body will use carbohydrates in the form of blood sugar or glycogen (sugar stored in your muscles) to generate additional energy. These first couple minutes do not require additional oxygen to create the new energy, so it is called an anaerobic (no oxygen) process.

If you exercise extends longer than a couple minutes without a long enough break to allow your muscles to restore their energy, then your body begins to run out of glycogen and blood sugar to safely use and must find a new way to produce energy. Your body decides to start breaking down fats, carbohydrates, and even proteins to use as energy. If your workout lasts long enough, your body will even go as far as breaking down your muscles for energy! These metabolic processes require oxygen, which is why they are referred to as aerobic processes.

How you train determines what type of energy pathway you are using. If you are lifting weights, throwing a ball, or running a sprint, then you are using anaerobic processes to provide your body with energy. This type of exercise forces your body adapt to become better suited for short, explosive movements. Your muscles will start to store more energy and they will begin to grow larger. If you decide to go jogging, swimming, or dancing, you are using aerobic processes to fuel your body. The more you do these kinds of workouts, the more your body will adapt to utilizing and mobilizing fat, which could lead to a lower body fat percentage. Also, your ability to store and transport oxygen in your muscles will increase and your aerobic capacity will rise.

A good mix of aerobic and anaerobic activities are required to stay healthy and fit, but depending on your fitness goals you may want to choose to train one more often than the other. To lose weight, aerobic activities should be favored, while to gain muscle size and mass, anaerobic exercises should be your go to exercise type.

How to Stay Healthy While Working a Desk Job

One of the perks of working for a large company is they often have fitness programs and on-site gyms so you can squeeze in a workout during lunch or after work. However, your average company does not have the benefits that a larger company may have. This does not mean employers and employees can’t find ways to make the workplace a healthier place to work.

If you work an office job you probably spend at least six hours per day sitting down. Try to find reasons to get up and walk around. Organize your office space so that any time you need to print, scan, or copy a document you are required to get up and walk to the printer. Park in the farthest parking spot at the office to give yourself an extra few minutes in the morning to walk into work. Instead of calling a co-worker, walk to their office and see if they are available to talk in person. If they are unavailable, walk back later. Instead of sending a mass email to everyone, post information on a bulletin board that requires everyone to get up to read new information.

You can also push to have more programs like the larger companies, but with fewer expenses. An internal ‘biggest loser’ competition can motivate employees to lose weight by offering a nice reward such as a few extra vacation days. Spend a few dollars per person to buy everyone a pedometer and see who can take the most steps in a one month period and offer a reward for the most active employee. Offer a longer lunch period for employees who plan to exercise during that time. Work out a deal with the local gym to give employees a reduced price on their gym memberships. Also, you can cater a healthy lunch every once in a while.

Office outings can be a great way to build camaraderie and a healthier company culture. Instead of the office going to a sports game or someone’s home for a party, plan for everyone to attend a ‘high ropes’ obstacle course, play a sport, or play paintball. If your company is large enough, create your own internal sports league that meets and plays your favorite sport once a week after work. Or even better, challenge other companies in the local area to see who the best firm in the local area is.

Even if your company does not offer all the fancy perks to help you reach your health goals, there are plenty of ways to make your work life work for you and not against you. Pick your favorite idea and start talking to your colleagues about setting something up. It only takes a few people to like your ideas to get the ball rolling.

Weight Loss FAQ

I get a lot of questions about weight loss. Some are more legitimate than others as you will soon see, but I want to share with you some of my favorite and most common questions I receive. These questions are based on energy consumption and energy use. The human body is amazingly complex and I receive a lot of questions about very specific diets or foods and their physiological effects.

What is the Best Diet Plan to Lose Weight?

The best diet plan for anyone to lose weight is to simply count calories! The only way to lose body fat is to have a sustained calorie deficit, meaning you consume fewer calories or burn more calories than your body needs for the day. You can start figuring out your diet plan by using this calculator to estimate how many calories you should be eating Calorie Calculator

When you calculate your calorie values, pay attention to the Calories/day to maintain your weight, Calories/day to lose 1 lb per week, and Calories/day to lose 2 lb per week. The Calories/day to maintain weight is just that, the calculators estimate for if you eat more than that amount of calories for a day, then you will begin to store fat and gain weight. Notice that to lose 1 lb per week all the calculator did was subtract 500 calories from the amount you need to maintain weight. To lose 2 lb per week it subtracted 1000 calories. This is based on the 3500 calorie rule. It’s estimated that it takes a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to burn 1 pound of fat. This divides out to be 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound of fat per week, or 1000 calories per day to lose 2 pounds of fat per week.

So why doesn’t it list 3 pounds of fat per week? Anything more than 2 pounds lost per week begins to become an unhealthy amount of weight loss. This is about when you begin to have a calorie deficit lower than your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of calories you need for your body to function if you were sleeping all day. Having a deficit below your BMR will make your body run inefficiently and cause you to feel weak and your mind cloudy. So the best diet plan is simply having a calorie deficit of about 500–1000 calories per day.

This deficit can come from either eating less, exercising more, or both. If your body needs 2000 calories to maintain weight, then to get a 500 calorie deficit, you can consume 1800 calories and burn 300 calories. Or you can consume 2000 calories and burn 500 calories. Or not exercise and just consume 1500 calories. It doesn’t matter how you get to your goal calorie deficit as long as you get there.

Weight loss is all about calorie deficit, so the actual foods you eat to get there doesn’t matter much for weight loss, friend.you but does matter for your overall health. So on your path to a sustained calorie deficit resulting in fat loss thus weight loss, try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, limit your fatty meat consumption, and keep in mind that carbs are not what causes weight gain, so whole grains are your friend.

What is the Best way to Lose 30 Pounds in 60 Days?

The easiest way to lose 30 pounds in 60 days is to amputate your least favorite appendages. Other than that it is nearly impossible and here’s why:

The rule of thumb is in order to lose 1 pound, you must have a 3500 hundred calorie deficit. So to burn 30 pounds, you need to burn or not consume 105,000 calories over those 60 days. You will need to have a calorie deficit of about 1750 calories per day to lose 30 pounds in 60 days. Considering the average male needs to eat about 2500 calories per day to maintain weight, and the average female needs 2000 calories, you will need to be eating in the 500–1000 calories range per day to lose weight that fast. Or you can eat 2000 calories and burn 1000 calories through exercise. Regardless the sum of what you eat and what you burn while exercising needs to be well below 1000 calories.

I would not recommend this. Your body needs a certain amount of energy through calories to properly function. Getting such little nutrition for 60 days is essentially anorexia, and is not healthy by any means. So, if you want to lose that much weight, you will need to lose it through other methods rather than just burning fat, of which none are healthy and I do not recommend them. However, high protein low carb diets can decrease your water weight and cause very quick weight loss, dieting pills on top of a diet may help (but you’re still essentially starving yourself), and of course there is liposuction.

TLDR: There is no fully healthy way to do this, but essentially the only way is to nearly starve yourself on a low-calorie diet.

What are some possible reasons as to why I’m gaining weight when I’m not even eating a lot, I’m on a low-carb diet, and I have a desk job?

A sedentary lifestyle, depending on your weight, age, and gender, can bring the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain weight down as low as 1300 calories per day. Even if you’re not eating a lot, you are still eating higher than what your body needs to maintain its weight. Also, a low carb diet isn’t helpful if you aren’t also watching your proteins and fats. All of them together make up your caloric intake, so focus on eating a low carb, low fat, and low protein diet. Choose foods that are filling but low calorie to eat, these will typically be fruits and vegetables.

If you are already eating lower than your recommended calorie intake, which can be calculated here Calorie Calculator , then you may have a thyroid issue which could be excessively be lowering your metabolic rate. If you think this is the case then contact your doctor.

How can I Count my Daily Calories Gained from Food? Is this Possible?

You can get pretty close to calculating your calorie intake by keep track of what you eat, how many servings you eat, and then referencing that with the nutrition facts on the packaging. Look for the label like this one:

Notice this label states that for every 172 grams you eat, then you gained about 200 calories. You can buy a scale to weigh your food, although most servings will have an easier measurement such as number of crackers, or 3 cookies, or something like that. If you keep track of everything you eat, just add up how many calories you consumed from each item that day, and you will know how many calories you gained from food for the day.

Follow up question: “Ya, but it is really a difficult one to weight your food & count while at the office. There is no app for it?”

If you go to Computational Knowledge Engine they have a really good database of pretty much every type of food that can offer nutritional estimates. Just search for the food you are eating and they will give estimates. But you will still need to do portion control, which will involve possibly measuring your food. I would suggest taking your lunch to the office and have it pre-made and measured so you can do all that at home.

Will Swallowing Glass Marbles Make me Less Hungry and Lose Weight?

Oh jeez no. In a similar Quora post I saw about someone asking what to do when swallowing a glass marble, some of my favorite answers were “unswallow the marble”, “it’ll pass and come out the other end”, and my favorite was a comparison how everything will be fine because the hungry hungry hippos do it all the time. But real talk, one glass marble should pass through your system, multiple glass marbles will win you a trip to the emergency room. The quote “play stupid games, win stupid prizes” comes to mind. Please refrain from eating any objects that aren’t food. If you want some real weight loss tips then ask me anything, just don’t swallow marbles.

The DASH Diet: How to Lower Your Blood Pressure

What if I told you there is a dietary approach to stop hypertension, and that by watching what you eat you can potentially get off your high blood pressure medication? The DASH diet, or the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, is exactly that. By following just a few dietary habits, you can put yourself on a path to lowering your blood pressure.

  1. Focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Eat 4-5 servings of both fruits and vegetables per day and 6-8 servings of whole grains. Eating 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy products is also encouraged on the DASH diet.
  2. Limit your sodium consumption to no more than 2300 mg per day. The average American will consume over 3500 mg of sodium per day. Bringing your sodium consumption down to 2300 mg (or even better, down to 1500 mg) per day will help lower your blood pressure. Always check the nutrition labels on your food. Foods that are perceived as healthy may have excessive sodium.
  3. Limit sweets to 5 servings per week. We all love desserts, but it’s good to limit the amount you eat to no more than one serving per day, but the less you eat the better you will feel.
  4. Limit alcohol consumption to no more than 2 drinks per day. Just like sweets, the less alcohol you drink the better off you will be to some extent. There are a few benefits to drinking alcohol in moderation which you can read about here.

I will often see people who are eating otherwise very healthy diets eating way too much sodium. Sometimes perceived healthy foods have far more sodium than we realize. For example, a chicken caesar wrap at a restaurant may have as much as 3500 mg of sodium, three times what you should be eating for an entire day. But if you manage to get your sodium down and you eat plenty of whole foods, then your blood pressure will begin to drop. To read more about the DASH diet, you can visit dashdiet.org.

Tips for Starting a Healthier Lifestyle! – Things Worth Sharing

With the new year just a few days away, this is another chance to make resolutions and adhere to them. Here are a few tips to starting a healthier lifestyle by Cambria Joy. Just remember, the goal is to change your lifestyle, your resolutions should not be temporary, but the start of continued learning and personal growth.

‘Things Worth Sharing’ is the portion of the website where I share interesting and useful health and fitness articles not written by 2 Weeks to Health. Nothing is advertised, everything is awesome.

Free Healthy New Year Resolution Guide 2017!

new-year-coverDo you have a new year resolution related to your health? If yes, or if you are considering making one, then check out our new E-book that is 100% free. Every year we see people making resolutions and then giving up on them far too quickly. Only 8% of people who make resolutions continue them for the entire year and that needs to change. We want to help you knock your resolution out of the park no matter what it may be, which is why we are giving this away.

Click here to view and download The Healthy New Year’s Resolution Guide for free (it will take a few seconds to load)