You trudge up the stairs and can't remember why you're there.
I was always mad at myself for all this wasted time and effort. Not anymore. Now I just think of it as exercise.
For this, I thank Zonya Foco, a diet and exercise author and lecturer whose mantra is "Just move it!"
You don't need to go to a gym to exercise, Foco contends. Consider all the time you're not sitting as a workout — and maximize it.
"A year of 1-minute-a-day stair climbing will take off 5 pounds a year," she writes in her book, "Diet Free."
And she cites Dr. James Levine's Mayo Clinic study that says active day-to-day living (like pacing while on the phone) burns more calories in a year than working out for an hour at the gym three times a week (a 35-pound weight loss versus 20 at the gym).
Yeah, we've all heard (and ignored) "leave the car in the far corner of the parking lot" advice.
"We don't do it because we think, 'How does that really add up?'" says Foco. But Levine did the math and says everyday activity can lead to real weight loss.
"Once you're more active in your everyday life and you're thinking about exercise, it becomes your middle name," Foco says.
Now, when I find myself racing up the stairs to retrieve something I forgot, I focus on the calories I'm burning instead of the brain cells that seem to be eroding.
And the idea that exercise is my middle name? For now, it's still Anne.
Got a bite-size tip on diet, exercise, well-being? I want to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.