Can walking your dog help you lose weight?
When it comes to Fat Loss, there are a number of important factors to consider.
The diagram above represents the Fat Loss Hierarchy. As you can see the most important factor to get right is your daily Calorie intake, followed by your Protein intake, your Fat and Carbohydrate intake and making sure you get enough sleep (7-9 hours) every night! Because sleep helps to regulate two hormones related to appetite - Leptin and Ghrelin.
If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. Similarly, if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight.
Let’s say for an example, you need to consume 2,000 calories every day to stay the same weight. If you consume 1,700 calories, you will be in what they term a “calorie deficit” and you will lose weight.
So how is energy burned?
As you can see from the graph above, the majority of calories are used to keep you alive - your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate - The energy required to carry out all the necessary functions within the body.
The next is NEAT or Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This is the energy you burn for everything other than eating, sleeping or exercise. This is why as coaches, we encourage our clients to move as much as possible. This could be taking the stairs instead of an elevator, parking further from the shops so you have a bit further to walk, cleaning the house, gardening, using a standing desk. The more you move throughout the day, the more you burn! You could increase your NEAT by running around after your pooch or taking them on a few walks every day.
The next is TEF or the Thermic Effect on Food - the energy required to break down the food you consume. Protein has the highest TEF so this is also why we encourage people to consume more protein during a Fat Loss diet. It also helps you to stay full!
Lastly, a small percentage of calories is burned through exercise. If you are only focusing on exercise and walking your dog but your nutrition isn’t aligned to your goal of losing weight, then, like your pooch - you could be chasing your tail!
Nutrition, Lifestyle & Fitness Coach