Calorie burning suggestions for the nonathletic

January 18, 2001

Calorie burning suggestions for the nonathletic

Every January, it happens. A flood of magazine articles, news clips and headlines scream at us, "You're too fat. Lose weight!"

OK. I get the message, but I have to admit, I'm weakening on my New Year's resolution to drop some poundage. After all, its been 21 long, chocolate-free days. What's a woman to do?

Eating healthful foods and exercising regularly leaves me exhausted.

Let's face it, the demands of work, family and holidays make a stop at the local grease pit for a burger and fries tempting. And leftover Christmas truffles magically jump into my hands every time I open the kitchen pantry.

Still, I'm trying. Thanks to advances in modern science and careful grocery shopping, I have been able to eliminate fat from all aspects of my life except one - my body. That's because my body conserves fat. You see, fat was rarely found in my ancestors' diets, and it's my job to savor what they didn't have.


In today's world, however, Americans consume too much fat. Even when we diet, we like to embellish low-fat recipes. For example, when a recipe calls for yogurt, I substitute Hagen Dazs ice cream. I guess it's not surprising that instead of losing weight, I'm packing on the pounds.

But I'm not alone. In a recent scientific survey, the average American weighs slightly more than a 1980 Buick Roadmaster. As a result, Americans are weight-conscious, leading them to read reduced-calorie and fat-free labels, usually while eating a Kit Kat bar.

Did you know the FDA initiated a new set of guidelines concerning food labeled as "low-fat" or "lower fat?" All such foods must pass rigorous FDA inspection by the FDA inspection staff. And the FDA recommends a few tips for consumers to protect themselves.

No. 1: If the food has a good taste, it's probably too high in fat. The FDA recommends that you, yes, you, Mr. Fattypants, stop, drop and roll away from the item, then immediately report it to a secret FDA inspector.

No. 2: Burn more calories than you take in. That's the latest news in a governmental study of fad diets.

So begins our love affair with exercise machines.

How many of you own an exercise machine or contraption of some kind? I own five. My treadmill has been converted to a clothes rack for my off-season wardrobe and the other contraptions, including my Thigh Master, are used as scarecrows for my vegetable garden.

It's easier, I discovered, to go to a fitness center and work out on posh, sleek, machines that do the work for you. According to my highly clinical observation, however, every machine used in a fitness center focuses on one thing: jiggling your butt.

What do you do if you are not athletic? Burn calories by the hundreds by engaging in strenuous activities that do not require exercise.

Here is a list of calories burners to get you started:

Exercise - Calories burned per hour:

  • Beating around the bush - 75
  • Jumping to conclusions - 100
  • Climbing the walls - 250
  • Swallowing your pride - 150 150
  • Throwing your weight around (depending on your weight) - 50-300
  • Dragging your heals - 75
  • Banging your head into walls - 95
  • Pushing your luck - 235
  • Making mountains out of molehills - 500
  • Hitting the nail on the head - 50
  • Running around in circles - 400
  • Bending over backward - 125
  • Passing the buck - 35
  • Tooting your own horn - 25
  • Climbing the ladder of success - 1,000
  • Adding fuel to the fire - 120
  • Putting your foot in your mouth - 300
  • Going over the edge - 50
  • And my favorite activity:

    Picking up the pieces - 600

Let's get out there and burn some calories!

JoEllen Barnhart is assistant to the director for Frostburg State University's Hagerstown Center. She has three sons.

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