I recently went on vacation with my family and I managed to not gain a single pound. Sure, if I went to the Olympic training center, this would not be much of a feat; however, we went to Michigan. Additionally, we ate out 1-2 times a day for 7 days. And still, I did not gain a pound. We ate ice cream, we ate pizza, we ate burgers, we drank drinks. I did not have a lot of water nor did I sleep very well. From eating habits alone, it seems like I should have gained 10 pounds!
Sure, I am 23 years old and in good shape so you can argue that I have a high metabolism and it’s genetics. Let’s through that notion aside because in reality, I don’t have great genetics as obesity and diabetes runs in the family. Heck, my grandfather had to get quadruple bypass surgery and my other grandfather passed away from a heart attack before he turned 50. Genetics is not on my side. Generally, about 2400-2600 calories a day is maintenance; that is not a huge amount for a person my age.
So how did I do it?
Well before I go into that, here is a little background about how weight change occurs. On a broad scheme, the body burns X amount of calories every day just to live; this is called the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). For me, a 155 pound male, 5’6”, 23 years old, my BMR is roughly 1630. This means I burn 1630 calories a day to stay alive. Now you can alter this number with dieting and what not, but we are not going to go into that. Earlier I mentioned that I need about 2500 calories to maintain my weight; that means on average I burn an extra 900 calories from actually moving, whether it’s walking, reaching for a cup of water, fidgeting, etc.
Alright, so how did I not gain any weight on vacation after eating out all the time and consuming many more calories than normal?
Yep, pretty simple.
Notable walks of the trip included 20 minutes to breakfast one morning, a 2 hour round trip to a lighthouse, and 3 hour walk around the Detroit Zoo. A majority of our walks were short walks downtown, in and out of shops. By no means is it necessary to take hour long walks, even the littlest of activity will add up. We walked virtually everywhere we went. We did not go out of our way for any extra walks, that was just our mode of transportation. By increasing my everyday calorie expenditure with walking, I was able to offset the extra calories I ate.
How can YOU apply this? Here's the general science behind it:
Whether you are walking, hiking, riding a bike, playing with kids, etc. just be active!