Belly fat is one of the most stubborn weight-loss areas. Part of the issue is that the muscle behind the fat is virtually non-existent. Unlike the legs, it’s hard to “tone” this area. We can do sit-ups and twists as much as we want, but the calories burned from those core exercises are likely being burned from fat storage in other areas- sorry!

One of the best ways to reduce belly fat is simply through losing weight.

Now, the last thing you need is someone telling you to “eat less and exercise more.” In reality, that is the debrief of most fitness articles. Instead, we want to shed light on a N.E.A.T. way of exercising more. It is called Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Translation= “calories burned without exercise.”

The most extreme example I’ve seen of this is a cookbook that takes the total calories in the meal and tries making a meal “calorie-free” because of the calories you burn making the meal. Personally, I don’t think the time required makes this concept practical at 6 pm on a Tuesday.

So, how can you use N.E.A.T. in your life? Well, it’s not going to give you a new body or new life. However, it’s great to supplement into your exercise routine. Here are some examples:

  • Walking Meetings- Steve Jobs was famous for walking meetings. The act of walking helped him focus and of course he burned a few calories while doing so.
  • When choosing between stairs and time is not of the essence, choose stairs.
  • Park farther away at the grocery store. Your risk of dents and you benefit from the longer walk.
  • If you’re in walking distance to restaurants and grocery stores, take advantage!
  • And maybe the most underrated…chores! You can get some serious steps in combining laundry, home cleaning, and miscellaneous home tasks.

In summary, this concept won’t change your life. It is not meant to. It is meant to help you look for opportunities that can not only burn a few more calories, but also create opportunities for mindfulness. Take these moments to listen to music or a podcast. In need of silence? Wear some headphones without playing music.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: “small decisions, repeated consistently over time, create big changes.”