In the classic comedy “What About Bob?”, psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss) “worked” with his patient Bob Wiley (played by Bill Murray) to help him address, and treat, his many many many many phobias. One of the first-serving recommendations Dr. Marvin made, was for Bob to read his recently published book “Baby Steps.” Here’s a little refresher from that moment.

Now let’s do a little diagnosis on you. Think long-term weight loss and/or a healthier you is “crazy” talk? You’ve tried all the fad diets and/or have been known to attempt the occasional sit up (when getting off the coach), so obviously all of your options have been exhausted, right?

Well, guess what, not right. So how about you stop being such a baby, but at the same time be a baby, and take some baby steps to a new you! Ones that don’t involve a new gym membership, diet pills, starving yourself, nor eating what you don’t want to eat. These simple steps likely involve what you do everyday, but just not to the extent, or maybe slightly past the extent, to what you are currently doing in your everyday life.

The result? Weight loss that lasts, improved blood pressure, a healthier heart, and a brighter smile on your face…just for starters. If you build it, the results will come (but that’s a different movie metaphor for a different blog):

  • When eating at a restaurant, always split your meal and take half of it home. If eating with someone, just order one meal and split it.
  • If choosing to eat a salad, try using only half the amount of dressing you normally use, it can really cut out a lot of extra calories.
  • Eat dinner or lunch without watching television at the same time. This will help to be aware of when you feel full instead of after the fact, resulting in less over-eating.
  • Choose to use a smaller plate and also smaller utensils at meal times. This will help keep portion sizes under control.
  • If looking for more long-term calorie burning effects from exercise, try strength training (weight lifting). It will enhance your metabolism after a workout for up to 39 hours due to a process called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. EPOC is only in effect for four to eight hours after cardio workouts.
  • Try to get a lean protein source in every meal or snack throughout the day. Protein takes longer for a person to digest, so it actually burns off 30 percent of its own calorie amount just from being digested and absorbed. Good protein sources include chicken, turkey, nuts, beans, eggs and low-fat yogurt.
  • If you have a dog, spend time each day walking them (weather allowing) instead of every other day or on the weekends only.
  • Replace one beverage (soda, juice, coffee) per day with water instead. Bonus: try to get at least 80 ounces of water a day.
  • Walk continuously for at least 20 minutes three times this week, even if it’s just around the house.
  • Park at the furthest spot away (within reason) at the normal places you go besides home.
  • If talking on the phone, try doing it while standing instead of sitting — it burns an extra 100 calories per hour.
  • Clean your house more often. Twenty minutes of vacuuming burns 56 calories, dusting around the house for 30 minutes burns 77 calories, mopping or sweeping for 30 minutes burns 153 calories.
  • Put a pen between your shoulder blades. You’ll burn calories (and look thinner) when you stand tall. To improve posture, Taylor-Kevin Isaacs, an exercise physiologist and professor at California State University, Northridge, recommends the following shoulder girdle crunch: Stand or sit with your arms relaxed at your sides, palms facing forward. Visualize a pen placed vertically between your shoulder blades, and squeeze them together as if you were trying to hold the pen in place. Hold for a count of 6, relax, and repeat 12 times.


additional sources: Prevention,