Friday, September 28, 2012

Surprising Small Changes Add Up Over Time

Earlier this week I was walking from my hospital job to my car, parked in a lot about 4 blocks away. It was a lovely day, and I was happily thinking about the extra 200 steps I was getting in! Recently the hospital had re-evaluated some of their contracts and decided to eliminate leasing the lot I had been parking in until last month. The lot I now park in is about a block further from the hospital than the other lot. A quick calculation had me figuring I was burning close to an extra 20 calories a day walking back and forth to work. Could this add up over time? It most certainly could. 

Take any example of a small, seemingly insignificant change in your work environment. Maybe you changed jobs and now park farther from your office than in your former job. Maybe your company moves to another floor in the building and you walk up 2 more flights each morning (and possibly each afternoon coming back from lunch). Perhaps there's a change in some email policy, or a restructuring of the chain of command that has you going just another 30 steps further back and forth to your boss's office several times a day. You may actually find yourself more fit over time, one day wondering how this miraculously happened.

The downside is the change occurring in the opposite direction. Beware!!

If you've had a change in the number of steps you take each day because of your office proximity to others or the number of flights of stairs you take, or the number of blocks you walk to and from the parking lot, this can really effect your weight over time. I can't tell you how many people call me out of desperation with a story like this: "I've gained 20 pounds over the past 2 or 3 years and I can't fit into my clothes anymore. I have no idea how this happened. Nothing has changed in my life, absolutely nothing!"

But who remembers that week in 2010 when the office moved to the first floor from the third (and you had been taking the stairs like a conscientious health-minded person)? It was just nice to be in that newly designed suite with modernized computers and beautiful carpet. You didn't miss taking those stairs ....

Who remembers that in 2009 there was a new parking lot constructed closer to your building? You may have been excited at the time, thinking "it's so long to those horrible rainy days when I'd be soaked on the way in from walking so far" but not noticed the number of steps you cut out of your typical work day....

How easy it is to forget that we moved to another part of the building in 2008, because nothing has changed (since then)!

Think hard: Have you made a minor change at work (or some other part of your daily routine) that could have eliminated 200 steps (about 10 calories) from your day? Pick a moment today while you're walking somewhere and count 200 steps--it's not much at all! Yet 10 calories a day works out to one pound of body fat a year (3650 calories). One pound of fat melted off, or one pound more stuck on!
Thirty calories a day is 3 pounds a year. Barely noticeable to anyone, since our weight fluctuates 2 or 3 pounds week to week anyway. After 3 years, though--9 pounds may be enough to notice your clothes are suddenly tight!

What's changed in your life that you didn't notice before?
How about sharing a change you can make that will help you lose weight over time? Make the commitment now and tell us about it!

1 comment:

Rachel Page said...

Great article. A slimmer body, more energy, even a longer life; they all start with small changes you can begin today.