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Weight Loss

Day #6: Burn an extra 500 calories a day (without the gym)

Just a little bit of extra activity each day can be better for you than hours working out then sitting around all day. Here’s how to make it happen this month – and if you’re joining our January Tweak Diet today, scroll down to find out how it works. And welcome!

Experts are abuzz with a new idea in fitness and guess what? It doesn’t involve the gym.  NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, a fancy way of naming those extra calories we can burn throughout the day not by organised workout session but by increasing our everyday activity.  Simply put it means being more active in your everyday life; moving more.

Anything can count as NEAT, from getting off the bus a stop earlier to putting more oomph into your cleaning and even fidgeting at your desk or standing up while you’re on the phone.   Here are some simple ideas for the coming month:

  • Walk an extra 5-15 minutes on your way to work and on your way home
  • Walk for 15-20 minutes at lunchtime
  • Take the stair option wherever you can (I walk up a few flights of stairs to a different floor to go to the loo!)
  • Stand up while you’re on the phone
  • Get up every hour and walk or move around for five minutes

kirstietew185x123We asked Kirstie Tew (left), a scientist at Ki Performance UK to explain how all this equates to extra burn throughout the day and to suggest ways you can boost your burn. She says:

‘At rest the average woman burns one calorie a minute, so if she spends her working day sitting at her desk, her commute sitting on the bus, train or tube, and sits on the sofa to watch her favourite television show in the evening before heading to bed for eight hours of sleep, she won’t burn much more than 1440kcals in the whole 24-hours.

‘Burning extra calories can start from the minute you wake up. Every extra minute you spend on your skin care routine, brushing your teeth, getting dressed, and putting on your make-up burns an extra calorie, and styling your hair adds an extra one and half calories every minute.

‘In fact, if you you burnt just one extra calorie every minute you were awake you would burn a massive 6720kcals extra each week, the equivalent of almost 2 lbs of fat lost weekly!

‘A 15-minute brisk walk to and from work would add an extra 120 calories to our average woman’s daily calorie burn. If she also went out for a 20-minute brisk walk during her lunch break, she could boost her calorie burn by another 80 calories, adding up to an extra 200kcals a day just by walking.

woman escalator

‘Whilst it’s tempting to take the elevator, if our average woman walked up the stairs she would burn an extra seven calories for each minute it took her, so the more floors she has to climb, the more calories she’d burn. Even walking downstairs burns twice as many calories as standing still.

‘When she got to her office, if our average woman got up from her desk and walked around the office for five minutes each hour during her eight hour working day that would add up to 40 minutes of walking. So, instead of burning only 40 calories  sitting down for 40 minutes, she would burn 160 calories, that’s an extra 120kcals each day. She could wander to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, pace around behind her desk when she’s on the phone, or walk over to speak to a colleague instead of sending an email. Everyone should be able to manage five minutes an hour.

‘If at the end of the day, instead of ordering a takeaway and sitting down to watch an episode of her favourite soap, our average woman went shopping for the ingredients she needs for dinner (burning an extra 1.5 calories per minute), cooked her own dinner (one calorie extra per minute), washed the dishes (1.3 calories extra per minute), vacuumed her flat (2.5 calories extra per minute), and called her best friend for a chat and walked around whilst talking (two calories extra per minute), she would be well on her way to losing a pound a week. That’s because it takes about 3500 calories burned to lose one pound so burning around 500 extra calories a day could add up to one pound lost a week.

Here’s what you need to do to achieve that – without a workout’.




What is the Tweak diet?  Designed for anyone who doesn’t want to go on a big starv-y diet during January, we deliver you one new small change to make to your diet or lifestyle on each day in January.  You continue each change throughout the month and come February, be on your way to weight loss and new healthy habits you can keep all year. You in?

1. Start anytime. Some of you will be starting on January 1st, but that’s not compulsory. If you’re joining us after January 1st, simply go back to Day 1 and start from there.

2. Continue with each of your small changes throughout the month and come end January, you will have built up a heap of new healthy habits and will be well on your way to losing weight and feeling better.

3. If you fall off the wagon just get back on asap If you don’t manage to keep up all your small changes every day, don’t worry. Just get back on the next day or even better, at the next meal.

4. Measure once at the start and once at the end. That’s all Take your waist, hip and bust measurements and weigh yourself at the start and end ONLY of your tweak-a-thin journey. I don’t want you getting bogged down in the numbers and would prefer you focus on how much better you’ll feel (the weight loss will happen, don’t worry)

5. Send us selfies of your tweak-a-thin journey Post them to Healthista on TwitterFacebook and in the comments below. At the end of January we’ll publish them and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a Healthista exclusive pamper hamper handpicked by yours truly.

6. Do what you can Obviously you don’t have to do every single tweak we suggest. Even just one will make a difference as we’ve handpicked each change to be small but powerful.  The more you do though, the better your results.

More posts in Healthista’s January Daily Tweak Diet

Day #1 Record everything you eat

Day #2 Drink two litres of water daily

Day #3 Your at-a-glance portion guide

Day #4: Have a protein breakfast for weight loss

Day #5 Cut back on sugar with these simple tips


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