I am not a thin person. Quite the opposite, actually. And we fat people tend to like to talk about weight loss the way thin people like to talk about fashion. If fat people are talking about fashion it is usually to gripe about how there isn't any for fat people.
Anyway, I was lamenting about my fatness with some girlfriends recently and one offered up her mom's advice that 10,000 steps a day is the key for weight management. This 'steps' goal appeals to me for two reasons.
But first let me give you a little history. I have had two periods of less fat in my adult life. For the record, I have never been thin. At birth I weighed almost 9 lbs. and it has pretty much been uphill ever since. When I talk about previous weight loss success, I’m referring to periods when I was able to move from being morbidly obese to just plain obese. At my thinnest, I’m simply overweight.
The first slimming down happened in my senior year of college when I was walking from my apartment to campus at least once a day. It was about a mile or two each way and it was very hilly. With graduation came new living arrangements and the weight came back.
The second time I lost a bunch of weight was when I was working in sales and went to the gym every day as an escape from making sales calls. I was also low carbing it at the time. When I left that job for a commuter cube job, the weight came back again.
Now my recent obsession with living ‘real life’ precludes me from going to the gym. The idea of going into a building to get on a machine so I can walk for an hour and not go anywhere just doesn’t appeal. I am not a hamster. I don’t think exercise should be so artificial. I want to accomplish something with my time or at the very least be out in the world. Plus gyms are humid and stinky.
The 10,000 steps for me is perfect because 1. I’ve lost weight in the past by walking and 2. I can incorporate it into my life by just moving more. Now I, like many perpetually fat people, tend to overestimate my activity and underestimate my food consumption. Vaguely increasing my activity isn’t likely to net me any results. I need the numbers. Once I spent two years graphing my weight every day to keep track of my progress. There was no progress. Then I got pregnant.
This is where the pedometer comes in. I wasn’t about to go out and buy one as they are always being given away. Proving my point curiously soon, there was a rep handing them out at work the very next day. That was Monday. I didn’t try the thing out until today because I didn’t want to take the time to figure out how to use it. Turns out, taking it out of the box was all the training I needed.
On my maiden voyage, I decided to work a little extra around the house to really pump up the numbers. I spent the morning weeding the garden then decluttering the kids’ art area. I was on the move, to the tune of a whopping 3,000 steps midday. Was that it? Yup. My big ‘incorporate activity into my regular life’ push netted me less than a third of my goal for the day. Once again, proof there is no mystery to fatness. Unfortunately, I accidentally reset the thing while putting my phone in my pocket at the grocery store. Since I was having a weak moment and bought a Twix bar, I’m not sure the rest of the day’s numbers are really relevant anyway.
Regardless, even with the obvious setbacks of my first day, I’m on a new mission. My goal: to be down to just overweight by the end of the summer. My two pronged approach is to eat real food (à la Michael Pollan’s advice) and reach 10,000 steps/day. Wish me luck.
I like to throw things.