How To Lose Weight Without Moving
The one sure-fire way to burn calories without a pill or supplements
I. Setting the Stage
Remember the last time you studied for a test or had a big, hairy project at work you were trying to figure out? Truth be told, you might have been a bit more tired than normal that week. On the way home you might have thought to yourself that “this day drained me”, even though you were just sitting in a chair, hardly moving the entire time.
There’s a scientific explanation for this.
Thinking expends 20% of your body’s total daily calories, even when you’re not moving. Scientific American published these research findings back in 2012. What that means is that even if you were in a coma, your brain would still be consuming 1/5th of all energy you take in as food just to keep itself running.
However, there was a problem with this study. The level of intellectual rigor required from the subjects was basic at best. There was no grueling SAT test, learning how to program from scratch, or connecting different concepts together that had never before been done.
In short, what the study found was that your brain didn’t burn more calories from steady-state mental tasks that you already know how to do. Getting up and going to the bathroom is habit at this point. The neural mapping has been in place for years or decades. The energy required from your intelligence system is, therefore, negligible.
Said differently, you didn’t learn anything new. And so it didn’t flex your brain muscle. And you didn’t burn more than the steady-state calories your brain already burns “at rest”.
But what would happen if you repeated the study when the subjects were learning something? When new synaptic connections were being made?
II. How This Helps You Lose Weight
When you learn, and think, your body has to burn energy, and therefore calories, in order to make new synaptic connections. The technical term for all of these connections, in both your brain and your body’s nervous system is a Connectome.
Truth be told, most Connectomic brain studies are done “at rest” as to isolate the mapping of every neural connection within the brain and body without all the crazy sensory inputs, muscle outputs, and processing to understand something.
Lets think about it a different way. You know when you have that flash of insight or an idea and it feels like a light bulb goes on? What’s actually happening inside your brain is that two previously unconnected individual neurons or regions of neurons inside your brain snap into connection. The electricity flowing through this new pathway is what generates that feeling of a lightbulb turning on. They’re both electrical signals.
But did you also know that you’re burning calories when that happens?
It’s true. You know when you scrape your knee or inadvertently cut yourself, and the wonders of the human body heals itself? It transforms the food you consume into energy, that energy is used by your body’s biological systems to generate new tissue and eventually no more cuts and scrapes. Your body is burning calories to make new skin.
The same thing happens in your brain when you learn something new. That new connection made between neurons requires energy to grow tissue. There are pictures and images of this happening. It looks much like a new plant bulb growing out of the ground. In fact, it happens throughout your entire lifetime.
The energy to make these new synaptic connections happen comes from transforming the food you consume or already have stored as fat. Remember, fat is nothing more than energy reserves, like Tesla’s Powerwall batteries. Said differently, fat is a human being’s coppertop battery.
When you learn something new, you’re burning calories creating new synaptic connections.
If you want to lose weight without moving, exercising, or taking pills, the best thing you can do is to become a learning machine. Read everything you can, think about it, and force your brain to make new connections between different topics.
The insights will come. The calories will be burned.
III. How We Know This
The short answer is because we’ve been mimicking an animal’s brain and nervous system (it’s Connectome) in software over the last 5 years. We observed the behavior described above. It takes energy when you’re struggling to understand something, when that synaptic bulb is growing trying to find a new neuron close by to connect to, and finally when a new synaptic connection emerges from the system, releasing that pent up energy.
The human brain is a remarkably low-powered system that current state of the art supercomputers have yet to mimick. With the technology we’re building, we’ve observed that the Intelligence software is faster than the computer processors it is running on (previously 7, now 5 Raspberry Pis).
For example, if there’s an object in front of our self-driving Mars rover, it will move out of its way, no problem. But if you quickly step in front of it, the time it takes the hardware to detect and avoid the object is slower than the response the software’s brain and nervous system is giving it, to get out of the way.
But in any case, when it’s learning, making new connections and operating itself, it requires more energy, not less, than when its static.
If you’re watching Chip and Joanna Gaines for the billionth time, you’re not going to be burning any calories. If you flip the TV to the History channel, or watch a documentary, and it causes you to think about things in a new way, you might be burning more calories.
If you level up from there, and try to solve a Rubik’s Cube you’ll be burning even more calories.
In fact, reading this article, stretching your own understanding of what it means to burn calories and connecting two previously unrelated concepts are likely burning calories right now.
IV. Concluding Thoughts
Every time you have an epiphany, imagine you lost a pound of weight. It’s a helluva mental model to get you obsessed with learning something.
That’s why exercise is so important to learning things. The brain is connected to the rest of the body. It “cleans the pipe” so to speak. When other parts of the body breaks down, your brain typically suffers because of it.
So, in actuality, exercise helps you lose even more weight. Not because you’re physically needing stored fat energy to move your body (though that’s a big piece of it), but because it’s helping strengthen the pathways of the brain and nervous system.
It’s a flywheel effect. The more you use your entire Connectome, the more efficient it becomes at learning new things, and therefore burning more calories, both in terms of physical and mental movement.
Thinking about something you already know how to do isn’t going to cut it. Are you in college and studying? That’s going to burn you some calories, fella. Just make sure you’re not offsetting that mental exercise with the kegerator in the fridge.
Because then you might need to go streaking through the quad and into the gymnasium.
(There’s more coming).
If you enjoyed this article, please recommend or share it to help others find it. Also, click respond and let me know… how are you going to fire up your connectome today!?