Lose Weight Without "Exercising"!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - 08:30
low back pain, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, health problems, knee pain, seniors, autoimmune

As an Ontario Registered Social Worker, ACE-Certified Health Coach, ACE-Certified Medical Exercise Specialist, ACE-Certified Personal Trainer, and an AAHFRP-Certified Post Rehabilitation Conditioning Specialist, and as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for the American Council on Exercise, I help my clients define what their goals are. Goals are related to physical wellness, mental health, stress management, sleep problems, functionality in activities of daily living, and chronic pain/pain management.  I will help you feel better!

Using coaching techniques, counselling/psychotherapy strategies, and a wealth of knowledge, I help move you where you find yourself in the present, to where you wish to be in the future. Over the past 25 years, I have created a unique practice that combines registered social work, health coaching, medical exercise, and personal training. I am fascinated by the intersection of physical and mental health, and have been a pioneer in bridging the gap between these two realms.  I enable my clients to achieve successes they did not think possible.  I am based in Toronto, and work with clients locally as well as throughout Canada. Sessions happen in person, or virtually via FaceTime, Zoom or Skype.

As obesity in both children and adults continues to be a serious personal and public health issue, the need to recognize all contributing factors becomes even more important.  Inactive lifestyle and low levels of structured exercise, coupled with excessive food intake, are commonalities observed among a majority of overweight/obese individuals. 

Over the last decade, an innovative field of study has developed which looks how activities of daily living, called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) impact on weight gain and obesity. NEAT is the energy expenditure that occurs during daily activities that are not considered planned exercise, including standing, walking, talking, and fidgeting.  This body of literature grew from the observation that people who fidget and move around a lot in their everyday lives – individuals who “can’t seem to sit still” – tend to not be overweight. In a 2005 study, researchers recruited 20 healthy volunteers who had one very similar description of their planned physical activity – they did none.  They were self-proclaimed “couch potatoes”.  Of the 20 volunteers, 10 were classified as lean on the Body Mass Index scale, and 10 were classified as mildly obese.  The authors selected mildly obese subjects because this group is less likely to have medical impediments and orthopaedic issues than the morbidly obese.  Each individual wore an inclinometer and triaxial accelerometer, sensitive monitoring devices that capture data on body position through all planes of movement 120 times per minute.  With this equipment, the authors were able to capture data every half-second for 10 days, leading to an incredible final collection of 25 million data points on movement and posture for each subject after the 10-day experiment was completed.

The results were striking: the obese subjects were seated for 164 minutes longer each day than the lean subjects.  In addition, the lean participants were upright for 152 minutes longer per day than the obese subjects.  Sleep times between the groups did not vary at all.  In essence, the energy expenditure generated by the lean individuals’ extra movement averaged 352 calories per day, which is equivalent to approximately 36.5 pounds per year!


  • Kravitz, L. A NEAT "new" strategy for weight control.  IDEA Fitness Journal, April 2006.
  • Levine, LA et al. (2005).  Interindividual variation in posture allocation: Possible role in human obesity.  Science, 307(28), 584-86.

Exercise Specialist Recommendations:

  • Make a decision to always take the stairs, no matter how many flights are entailed!
  • If you must take an escalator, walk up the escalator stairs instead of standing still.
  • Walk everywhere you can.
  • Bike everywhere you can.
  • Take an evening stroll after dinner.
  • Park your car in the far reaches of parking lots.
  • Take frequent breaks from computer time to use the washroom, make tea, or find something you need.
  • Walk around while talking on the phone.
  • Clean up your house often!
  • Get a dog and walk it every day.
  • Borrow a friend’s dog and walk it every day.
  • Wear comfortable shoes to work that do not inhibit movement.
  • Set your phone to remind you to stand up and stretch every half hour.

The possibilities are endless.  Keep moving!