No need to watch your steps!
I cut my steps by more than half and still lost weight.
Ever since I started this blog I’ve been banging on about why exercise though good for you for many reasons is not the key to successful weight loss. But in April I decided to try it out. Obviously this isn’t remotely scientific and I make no claims that it is. I just wanted to see if it was true. If I could still lose weight without banging out over 10,000 steps a day.
I stopped looking at the step counter on my phone. I’d become obsessive about ensuring I did at least 10,000 steps a day - often more. I felt panicky if it was raining - how would I get all those steps in? I felt heartsink when I woke up knowing I’d have to get out there and pound the pavements till my stepometer told me I’d done the right amount. It was ruling my life. And my phone kept giving me bossy messages: “You haven’t walked or run as many steps as yesterday!” So at the end of March I decided to stop counting. I would still walk every day, if I could get out. But only for about 20-30 minutes. Mainly because it’s nice to get out every day and I do enjoy walking. But I would no longer be a slave to the step counter.
I didn’t check my steps till April had gone. I guessed my average would be about 5,000 steps a day and indeed it was. Before that I’d averaged well over 10,000 a day. But the weight loss was the same. I lost two pounds in January, February and March while walking at least 10,000 steps a day. And I lost precisely the same amount in April while walking half that. Two pounds a month, half a pound a week, is my goal for this year. A small, slow, loss because I’m very close to goal weight and it gets harder the closer you get. So I’m being realistic.
It’s nice to have my instincts proved correct. There’s no need to obsess over steps. No need to panic if you can’t get out. There are many compelling reasons for taking some kind of regular exercise several times a week - doesn’t have to be every day. But diet makes the difference. If you want to lose weight you don’t have to watch your step - you have to watch what you eat.
And exercise may not be doing you that much good if you’re inactive the rest of your day. Once you’ve done your daily steps it can be used as an excuse just to flop. Better by far to be active throughout the day in many small ways. For example if you live in or access your home via stairs use them. Find reasons for going up and down them as much as you can. Don’t drive short journeys. Walk them. Get off the bus a stop earlier. Incorporate extra activity into your every day life. Losing weight should give you more energy so you may find you want to be more active. It’s all very well going for a half hour to an hour’s walk or run several times a week but it’s just as important to be active the rest of the day. It all counts.
You’ve got to move it move it!
So go for a walk around if you’ve been sat still for a while. Find excuses to move more. If you use a step calculator of some kind you may well find that simply moving about during the day can make the steps add up almost as much as going for a walk or run.
The main way to lose weight - and keep it off - is to eat less than you want to. Very hard to sustain. I know. But in time you’ll find you don’t want to eat as much as you once did. Every now and then I give myself a day or two off from assiduous calorie counting. I just let myself go and have whatever I want. Often given this licence I don’t want as much as I used to because I feel full a lot quicker. It’s become self regulating. And that for me is the ultimate goal. Get to the right weight and then stay there without having to obsess about calories, steps or even weighing in.
Before I go I’d like to say a warm welcome to my new subscribers. Thanks for signing up. This Substack is free and will remain so. I hope it helps you on your own weight loss journey.
Till next time.