## Wednesday, January 4, 2012

### The Principle of Summation

What you hear the word summation, what do you think of? If you go back to the basic math that you learned in Elementary, you'll remember that it is the sum of something. Try to guess how this plays into our wellness.

Let's say you are walking down the street and see a bright, shiney penny. Do you pick it up? I do! Why? Because if I pick up 100 of them, I have myself a dollar! :)

This is called the principle of summation. It can be good or bad. First let's loog at a good example:
If you want to increase the calories you burn, just increase the amount of work you do. You can do various things throughout the day to do so--walk briskly to class or down the hallway, park far away from the front doors of the store, use the stairs instead of the elevator.

Now to the bad example. Think about those crunchy, crisp triscuts. I personally like the Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil ones, but for this example I will stick with the original. 5 crackers equal 80 calories. If you do the math, each cracker comes out to be 16 calories.

Let's say that you are on a 2000 calorie diet and you aren't doing any exercise. Everyday you eat your 2000 calories but decide you want just one triscuit. This puts you at 2016 calories that day. You may think it's not that big of a deal, but it will be...

Since you are not exercising, you don't burn off that extra 16 calories. If you continue this for 10 years--eating an extra 16 calories a day and not exercising-- you will gain nearly 17 pounds! So those extra calories really do add up:

1 pound of fat=3500 calories
(16 extra calories x 365 days x 10 years)/3500 calories per pound= 16.7 pounds

I don't want to scare you, I just want you to be aware of this principle. And remember, the principle of summation works both ways!

Challenge: Each day think about how much you are doing. Make a list of the good and bad ways of how the Principle of Summation may be affecting your life. Hopefully it will open your eye and you can make goals on what you want to improve on! Good luck!