A NEAT Morning

November 20th, 2009 | Posted by Alison Spath in Healthy Habits

Given that yesterday was our Stay At Home day, I decided to take the girls car seats out of the car to wash the covers. Upon removing the Britax Beasts, I discovered they were harboring a small community of broken crayons, cheerios and Kashi granola bar crumb fugitives.

So this morning instead of running past the car wash like I do day after day, I thought my carseat-less vehicle could use a little quality time with the vacuum before I spent a half hour reinstalling the seats.

But without car seats in the car, I couldn’t take the kids with me. Therefore, morning run time was swapped out to pay for serious suction while Zak was around to stay home with the girls.

Ready?  GO!

I could have been that neighbor who’s running her vacuum outside at 7:30 in the morning, but instead I thought we’d just go Fresh’N Up! Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Fresh'N Up

I mean, come on. Who needs to work out when you can play “Beat the Clock” with the car wash vacuum?

I totally used to be that person who’s car was always clean. But then I had kids. While I still always empty the car of items after each car adventure – regular vacuuming has fallen to the way side.

I did find some friends hiding under the seats though.

Some Friends

And I got a little wash woman pay for my services.

Pays Off

Even some GREEN! You mean to tell me there’s been a dollar bill under my seat all this time?

Even a Dollar

But then I hit the jackpot!


Time to celebrate! I put my car back together and ran off with my winnings to the little store near the car wash to score some bananas. Thank goodness bananas are cheap, I don’t think my rinky dink corner store is able to make change for a $500 bill.

I returned home with a nice and neat car, and very ready for some fruit cereal.

Friday Fruit Cereal

1 diced banana
2 Tbsp ground flax
1/8 c raisins
1 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk

Fruit Cereal with Pumpkin Seeds and Raisins

Not only is my car NEAT, my morning activity was N E A T too! NEAT as in Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. NEAT is basically all the ways you burn calories that doesn’t have anything to do with a “real” work out, or the energy you expend to make your heart beat, digest food, sleep and remember to return library books on time.

From taking the stairs, doing housework, raking leaves for some yardio to secretly hauling things out of the house to donate – you burn calories doing all of these sorts of things and it can definitely add up.

Knowing this can actually make a difference in how many calories you burn. A few years ago there was this remarkable study done by Harvard University where researchers studied 84 female housekeepers at seven different hotels for four weeks. About half of the group of women were told that their housekeeping work can be considered exercise, and the other half were told nothing.

Of the women who were told that their day to day work is part of an active lifestyle, the researchers found that

the informed group had lost an average of 2 pounds, lowered their blood pressure by almost 10 percent, and were significantly healthier as measured by body-fat percentage, body mass index, and waist-to-hip ratio.

The women in the control group had very few changes in body composition in comparison.

So you see, your mindset matters! You can bet your waist-to-hip ratio that I was thinking about how running to and fro between open car doors, flinging car mats around, ducking between seats to dig out pennies, $500 dollar bills and pink ponies was burning calories.

Isn’t that NEAT?

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11 Responses

  • holly says:

    i LOVE neat. i remind myself of that when i clean all the time – holly, you are burning calories woman! and i ALWAYS play beat the timer when i vacuum my car too, so i had to laugh out loud when i saw you did the same thing. and woowoo for cash – any amount in my mind is a winner!

    have a neat day mama – burn those cals!!!

  • Bernadette says:

    I think that’s pretty NEAT-O!!!
    I’m sure you’ll think of some cleaver use of the O I added at the end…

    You hit the nail on the head with the “beat the clock” comment! I always feel like I’m in such a rush when I use those vacuums and then in the end I go back over it because I still have time left over… geez.

    Have a wonderful friday!!

  • Whit says:

    NEAT indeed. If I did not know better, I’d think you were my neighbor. FreshNUps on every corner ’round here!

  • Julie says:

    I love the word yardio. I always take my time with things that would be concidered “neat” activities, but I think I need to step it up.

  • Love the fruit cereal action and of course the pink my little pony. That makes the post, right there :)

  • It’s very neat! :) I can really tell when I am less active during the day (because of a pesky little thing called work). While I now do longer, more intense cardio workouts at the gym than during the summer, I know that overall I’m getting a lot less exercise… I think it’s time to get moving a bit… :)

    P.S.: I like the little pink pony, but I would really love a barbie fix… 😉

  • Cindy says:

    What I find NEAT is that I always used to say I don’t need a gym…I had Kyle. And it was true. Kid was always on the move and my climber.
    Now I have stairs and a roamer. I have a new membership…baby #2. Mother hood is the BEST cardio (spoken like a true mediocre runner)

    And now that he’s sort of asleep, I get to clean. YAY for burning calories before we even get on the treadmill!

    I hate my car to be a mess. And even though it doesn’t get the royal treatment often..I am always trying to tidy it up… I think commuting makes me care more because I am in it so much.

    Happy Friday!

  • Lizzy says:

    so insightful i swear! i always loved when i would do laundry i would find money. its always the best when instead you find change you find paper money too!!! you totally cashed in today girl! :)


  • Christina says:

    not gonna lie alison im pretty jealous that you washed your car today haha ive been meaning to do that for ages- my car is in need of a bath!!! dont you love the feeling of a clean car? nothing beats it. actually tons of things beat it haha but its still a good feeling

  • Erin says:

    I so totally need to vacuum my car. My father would be so appalled by it’s state right now. So NEAT!

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