Taste of Home is sponsoring a company weight loss program based on our new cookbook, The Comfort Food Diet. I asked one of the participants, Associate Web Editor Heather Gergen, to share with us her journey to a healthier lifestyle.
Bright red, shiny pedometers were passed out at one of our first Comfort Food Diet meetings. Best of all, they were free.
The leaders of our group wanted to stress the importance of trying to get in 10,000 steps a day. According to our Comfort Food Diet book, researchers at Arizona State University found that most people cover 7,499 steps a day, even without a formal sports or exercise program. Personally, I think they were testing college students walking around campus.
According to About.com, most people achieve 10,000 steps by one or more sustained walks or runs, equivalent to 30-60 minutes or more of walking per day. The CDC recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of walking or other aerobic activity a week.
Until this diet challenge, I haven’t had much experience with pedometers. The first time that I ever wore one was at a family fitness night at my kids’ school. As soon as we walked in the door, our group was handed pedometers and told to start walking laps around the school. The group with the most laps would win. Luckily, I brought our whole Brownie troop and their families.
At first, I couldn’t quite figure out how the thing worked. The pedometer had a cover that I quickly broke as I was trying to figure out how to open it to see the numbers. (Many pedometers have covers to prevent people from brushing against the buttons and accidentally resetting their pedometer.) Luckily, the gym teacher was there. She fixed the cover, gave me a quick rundown and then I was ready to go.
A school is actually a great place to walk in the winter. My kids’ school is a big rectangle which serves as a perfect walking track. I would think that it could be possible for teachers to get in a mile or two on their lunch break or after school.
Quickly, the kids started lapping us as they ran around the school. Our group got in several laps before we were told via the PA system to return the pedometers and move on to the next station. No prize, but our group was happy to win the challenge.
The new free red pedometers our company gave us didn’t work so well. As I was sitting at my desk, the pedometer was still counting off steps. So, I decided to go buy one for myself. I bought a bright yellow one with a cover to protect the buttons for $11.99 at a sporting goods store.
Last week, our Comfort Food Diet group had a walking challenge. If you missed last week’s blog, we are separated into two different groups – Team A and Team B. The team that walked the most won points towards the catered lunch using recipes from Healthy Cooking magazine.
I have been averaging anywhere from 3,500-5,000 steps a day, including walking a mile on our office track. But last week, our family went to Disney World on vacation. I knew I was going to rack up a lot of steps for my team that week. I made sure to wear my pedometer from start to finish.
The first day was great. Not only did I walk around Disney World, but I also walked around the airport. Airport walking racks up a lot of steps. Those long stretches in between gates and baggage claim add up fast. It was easy exercise.
Once we made it to the park, there were no shortages of opportunities for exercise. Simply walking from the bus stop into the park is quite a trek, not to mention walking between Adventureland, Tomorrowland and beyond.
Here are my totals for the week:
Tuesday – 3,580
Wednesday – 16,902 (Day 1 of our Disney World trip)
Thursday – 13,008
Friday – 10,858
Saturday – 9,378
Sunday – 17,809
Monday – 3,080
74, 615 – Total
My numbers on Friday and Saturday were a little low. We had some down time due to a family emergency, but I made up the numbers on Sunday, when we left.
A little advice for taking your pedometer on amusement park rides – make sure to hold on to them while getting on and off. My little yellow pedometer was eaten by the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios. After a fast ride in the “Aerosmith limo,” I jumped out of the seat and my pedometer did, too. On Thursday night, it fell right onto the tracks, never to be seen again, so I might have had even higher numbers. I picked up a nice pink one at the drug store the next day.
You’ll notice a big difference between my vacation step totals and my regular workday step totals. Guess I have to go to Disney World to get in the required 10,000 steps a day! My job is pretty sedentary. I basically sit in a cube all day and drive to and from work. I have to make a real effort to get in the extra steps. Even when I walk a mile on the track at work, I am only at around 5,000 steps a day. I think it might be easier for people who live in a city and walk to and from work.
Do you walk 10,000 steps a day? How do you do it?
What I Made This Week:
During winter in Wisconsin, traditional comfort food like this My Take on Mom’s Meat Loaf recipe is filling and delicious. When served with a small baked potato and salad, you can have a whole meat-and-potatoes meal for under 500 calories. Just watch the baked potato toppings–those calories add up fast!
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