Why We Should Stop Counting Calories And Start Stretching Instead
Updated: Jan 15
Most diets are based on consuming the appropriate caloric intake to match your weight loss goals. But let's face it, counting calories is tedious, painstaking and stressful. It is an activity that sucks the joy out of eating. Who wants to constantly read labels with a calculator all the time? Besides, most likely your calorie count is inaccurate anyway especially at times when counting calories is impossible, like say eating out at a restaurant. If you want to have a happier, healthier relationship with food, ditch the calculator and focus on eating healthy foods and healthy cooking methods. We all know what healthy foods are: fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, peas, beans and lean meats. Stay away from added sugar and processed foods. Rule of thumb for cooking methods - cook food using one method only, like steaming only or boiling only to retain much of the nutrients in the food. Stay away from frying.
Most people assume that because stretching is a low intensity activity its only benefit is improving your flexibility, but stretching can also help you to lose weight. It is important to note here that a healthy weight loss program consists of a combination of multiple habits and behaviours which INCLUDES stretching. Nevertheless, here's how stretching can help you lose weight. IT'S THE PERFECT ACTIVITY AT THE START OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY
Exercise is an important part of your weight loss program. But let's face it, you probably won't start off by running or doing tabata training. Stretching is the perfect activity to wean your body into exercising. Start by doing 30 minutes of stretching per day. This activity alone will burn a significant amount of calories, approximately 70 calories for a 125 pound person AND you will increase in flexibility and strength which are needed as your exercise routine intensifies in length and difficulty. STRETCHING INCREASES YOUR NEAT
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It is all the activities you do throughout the day that is not considered official exercise: grocery shopping, walking around the office, bathing the dog, cooking, cleaning, etc. The cumulative impact of multiple NEAT activities has a significant effect on the total number of calories burned per day. Think about it for a second. Have you gained a few pounds... okay, maybe more than a few, since sitting all day at the computer since the pandemic hit? This is because you drastically reduced your NEAT. I for one definitely took my NEAT for granted. Stretching is a great way to increase your NEAT which will help shed those pounds. STRETCHING CAN HELP CENTRE YOUR MIND
Yoga is probably the most popular form of stretching. Yoga focuses on the mind-body connection which is essential for reducing stress and promoting peaceful living. I think we can all admit being committed to a weight loss program is very challenging. Many people lack the discipline to follow the regime closely and consistently. But if you have a strong control over your mind, you can increase your discipline and thereby your chances of success at your weight loss goals. So start stretching for a healthier you. STRETCHES FOR A FULL BODY WORKOUT
Yes, that's right. A full body workout can be achieved by stretching alone. Stretches can be static: when the position is held for a certain period of time; or dynamic: the stretch is carried out while moving. A good daily stretch routine should incorporate both types of stretches. Stretching is expected to be uncomfortable but it should never be painful. Each stretch should last for about 10 - 30 seconds. Rule of thumb: start with your head and work your way down to your feet. 1. Neck Roll
* Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart * Roll your head slowly in a clockwise direction. * Rest 5 seconds. * Roll slowly in an anti-clockwise direction. * Repeat exercise 5 times. 2. Shoulder Roll
* Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart. * Roll shoulders backwards in a circular motion 10 times. * Roll shoulders in the reverse direction 10 times. * Repeat exercise. 3. Triceps Stretch
* Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart. * Extend your left arm across your body keeping the elbow straight. * Use your right arm to support your left arm pushing it into your chest. * Hold position for 10 seconds. * Repeat exercise with your right arm. * Repeat routine 2 times. 4. Hip Rotation
* Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart with hands on hips. * Rotate the hips in a clockwise direction 10 times. * Rotate in an anti-clockwise direction 10 times. 5. Hamstring Stretch
* While standing, bend the right knee and extend the left leg forward with the heel only on the ground. * Bend the body slightly forward placing both hands on the right thigh. * Hold position for 20 seconds. * Rest for 10 seconds. * Repeat with left knee bent and right leg extended. * Repeat the sequence 3 times 6. Quadriceps Stretch
* While standing raise the left leg and tuck behind the buttock supported by the left hand. Hold for 20 seconds. * Repeat activity the right leg. * Repeat sequence 3 times. 7. Ankle Work Out
* While standing keep one foot flat on the ground and rotate the foot of the other in an anti-clockwise direction from the ankles. * Rotate for 10 rotations. * Repeat sequence 3 times. 8. Child's Pose
* Kneel with the tops of the feet lying flat on the ground. * Lower yourself until your buttocks touch your heels. * Let your chest touch the floor and slide your hand forward. * Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. * Repeat 2 times.