Archives for January 2011

Leaving Behind the Sedentary Lifestyle

I’m a bit scared right now because I’m starting a new program tomorrow.

For some reason, I take it a lot more seriously than the “challenges” I set for myself last year. I feel I was just warming up for the real feat!


The program I’m going to follow is the 8-week N.E.A.T plan outlined in James Levine’s book Move a Little, Lose a Lot. The idea is to increase  your daily NEAT activity (= non-exercise activity) and lose the extra pounds in the process.

The eventual goal is to have 135 minutes of NEAT activity every day, which – by the way – is the difference between obesity and normal weight.

The NEAT Plan in a Nutshell

The plan consists of basic concepts like  NEAT Feet, NEAT Beat and NEAT Treats (!). Every day you gain from one to six points depending on how many of the daily assignments you complete. Every two weeks you can reward yourself (NEAT Treat) if you get 75% of the max number of points.

The most important part of the plan is NEAT Feet. The program prescribes three 20 minute walks every day. It’s very important to take several separate walks, because sitting for hours on end is poison to your health. Walking for an hour a day and then staying put for the rest of the day is cheating.

NEAT Beats are activities that are supposed to activate you mentally, like going to a museum or drawing your dream life.

I have actually already done my first beat task: I got myself a NEAT plant I put on my desk at home. Because I’m not a plant person, I got myself a bamboo shoot because I heard it’s “indestructible”. We’ll see.


In a nutshell, every day has it’s  NEAT Feet and Beat prescription. The plan is progressive, meaning that it starts easy and gets gradually more difficult.

Defining Your NEAT Dreams

To set the ground for the new lifestyle, we had to define our neat dreams, ie. what it is we want to achieve with the new physically active lifestyle.  I came up with three things:

  1. In my dream life, I wake up every morning full of energy and eager to start the day’s work.
  1. In my dream life, I’m healthy, strong and physically active. Because I take care of myself, I needn’t be overly afraid of the pains, aches and diseases that come with the sedentary lifestyle.
  1. In my dream life, I’m able to buy fitting clothes that are a match to my personality.

In my first day, I’m supposed to be on my feet 3 x 20 minutes, eat a fruit at the breakfast and get a NEAT plant (which I have already done).

Wish me luck!



How To Achieve Your Goals – A Book Review

Do you have trouble achieving your goals? Read on.

This is the perfect time to revisit a book I bought three years ago in New York. It’s called This Year I Will…How to Finally Change a Habit, Keep a Resolution, or Make a Dream Come True” written by coach and “change expert” Mary Jane Ryan.

The think the book title is pretty much self-explanatory. It’s a book written for anyone who wants to make lifestyle changes, learn new skills  or keep their New Year’s resolutions.  🙂

It is organized in four main parts, each part having several chapters for working with issues that typically rise in that phase. At the end of each chapter there are questions and exercises to work thorough.

A healthy part  of “This Year I Will”  focuses on how to pick the right goals and frame them in a way that improves your chances of actually achieving them. It also explains the concept of SMART goals, goals that are concrete, realistic and measurable.


I particularly like the chapter titled “What’s standing in your way?” Think about a situation where  you set some goal, but never really seem to get anywhere.  It might just be poor planning, but it might as well be because you have issues that effectively stand in your way, blocking your progress. This is the how Ryan words the dilemma:

…while you’re truly committed to changing, you’re more committed to something else you’re not consciously aware of that prevents you from creating forward momentum.

This chapter speaks to me so strongly because I feel I’m in the same boat at the moment. I very much would like to make better progress with my lifestyle change (I don’t see why I couldn’t), but I think I’m actually more worried about being a failure.  Therefore, it’s better not to try too hard. I definitely can’t stand if I “fail” again!

And it’s always easy to come up with reasons for not doing something, except the reasons are really rationalizations.


Who is this book for?

It’s for anyone who has ever wondered why they aren’t able to stick to their goals and resolutions –  90 % of human race? – and who would like to have some support on the way to improve their chances of achieving goals.

Click here to grab your copy!