Give Yourself a Head Start, Part 1
Most of us know someone who puts a task on their to-do list that's super simple (or even already done) just for the satisfaction of crossing it off, or someone who counts every little thing done toward a project or goal. What we may not be realizing is, they're onto a secret that can boost your weight loss in the long term.
A really interesting study looked at the benefits of perception to fitness and weight loss by comparing two groups of housekeepers. Hotel housekeepers were selected because most (67%) don't do any exercise outside of their jobs. All were measured and weighed, and had their BMI and body fat percentages calculated at the start of the study. Half of them were then told how much exercise they were already getting by doing their jobs. The researchers educated them about how many calories are burned in various activities they already do and how other activities build strength, etc. The other group just went back to work as usual without this information.
At the end of just one month with no change in diet and no addition of a workout routine, the group that had the information session had lost an average of 3 pounds, had a better body fat percentage, had lost inches, and had improved their waist-to-hip ratios. How? Changing the perception of what they do all day from “just work” to “exercise” had changed how these women moved through their days. Those who had the information were more likely to do tiny things like take the stairs for breaks or do tasks in a way that increased how much “exercise” they were getting. These micro-changes added up, big time.
You can do the same thing with your activities. If you're overwhelmed with the idea of getting a gym membership or fitting workouts into your schedule, first start by looking at all the things you do that already get you moving, lifting, and otherwise working out just by living your life. Make a list, if that motivates you, but really look at the benefits of what you are already doing, and start from there. You may surprise yourself later by working “little extras” into your routine to get more benefits. Plus, once you look at your routine and see how much you're already doing, it's pretty hard for formal workouts to look so intimidating. Just changing your perception can dramatically improve your results over time.