Mindless eating can be bad news for everyone, not just individuals looking to lose weight. In Brian Wansink’s book, Mindless Eating, he discusses how the body rarely notices when it goes 100 to 200 calories overboard but in time, those calories start to add up right along with the numbers on the scale. Likewise, if you eliminate just a couple hundred calories each day, instead of going on a crash course diet, you might be surprised by how well your body responds.
We all know that food is one critical component to healthy living. What we put in our bodies is what fuels us. If you eat Cheetos or Taco Bell or Starburst you’re not going to be your best self. If you nourish your body with real food, plants, lean sources of protein, and nuts and seeds, you’ll see a dramatic shift in the way you feel, move, and in many ways, behave.
I think we all recognize that movement is the other critical component to general well-being. In my time as a wellness consultant I’ve met with many people who are looking to shape up, live healthier, and see results. While no two people come in with the same needs or desires, there is one piece of advice I share with everyone: take up mindless movement.
Mindless movement is kind of like mindless eating but provides you with the opposite results. Putting it simply, mindless eating is eating without realizing how much you’ve eaten, eating because you’re bored, not hungry, or not knowing when you are satisfied. Mindless movement is basically the same thing, but it works in your favor. You are moving without the intention of “working out.”
Like mindless eating, mindless movement becomes a habit. Remember, not all habits are bad. Yes, I would encourage you to break mindless eating habits as those can really sabotage your good intentions. On the flip side, I’d encourage you to pick up some mindless movement habits along the way! Here are just a few things that go through my mind on a regular basis that have developed into habits which give me a little extra exercise here and there.
- When shopping, do I need the cart to haul my groceries to the car or can I carry them? Pushing a cart doesn’t do much for my biceps and triceps but carrying a few grocery bags a few times a week gives my arms a midday mini-workout.
- When opening doors, I opt for physically opening the door instead of pressing a button that opens it for me. Activities of daily living, such as opening doors, are important to keep doing so that when I’m older and wiser, I will hopefully still have the ability to participate in functional fitness activities such as this.
- When I see an elevator, escalator, and a set of stairs, I go for the stairs. Yes, I’m also the person walking up the escalators when a traditional staircase isn’t available. Sometimes even with a small suitcase.
- When I’m waiting to board a plane, I always stand up. For me, because I’m healthy and able to stand, it makes more sense to stand up during connections than it does to sit down only to find myself prisoner to seat 14F for the next two or more hours.
- Same goes for when I’m waiting for dinner at a restaurant. Someone else probably needs that bench outside the restaurant more than me!
- Do you know people who drive around parking lots to find the closest spot possible? That has always kind of annoyed me. Unless the weather is terrible or I’m in a walking boot (been there, done that) a few extra steps never hurt anyone. Plus, someone like my grandparents or a parent with four children could need that space!
- When working, I sit on a ball! Case in point, this photo, snapped by the DSM Register when I was featured in the paper a couple years back. Using a ball as my chair was initially an accident but I liked it and haven’t gone back to a chair since 2008. On a side note, my feet aren’t really that big in case you’re wondering.
So here’s the point: these activities will need to be intentions if you aren’t currently doing them but after awhile they will become habits and thus mindless ways to workout without actually breaking a sweat, needing to change your clothes, or taking a shower. Do I think you should still find designated workout time? Yes, most definitely! I do, however, believe this is just as important, if not more important, so get started with mindless movement today!