Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Me and My Pedometer - A Love Story

I am not ashamed to say it - I love my pedometer. While trying to figure out some way to be accountable for my eating and exercise habits I stumbled across articles about walking for fitness on Prevention Magazine's website. It seemed too good to be true. . . get a pedometer, walk 10,000 steps a day and lose weight. That's it? Wow - sign me up!

I had just been diagnosed with high blood pressure was put on medication. My doctor told me that if I exercised regularly, changed my eating habits, and lost some weight that there was a chance I could reverse the problem. I hated the blood pressure meds. They made me jumpy, gave me frequent panic attacks and if there was a chance that I could get off the stuff - I was going to try everything in my power to do it.

I bought a cheapie pedometer and I was off and walking. It didn't take long to figure out that my pedometer wasn't even close to being accurate. It would log over 100 steps just for using the restroom so I knew it wasn't a good indicator of my accomplishments. I was supposedly walking about 14,000 steps a day and it seemed to easy. I "googled" the name of my pedometer and found out that it was, well, crap. After some research I bought my Omron from It was highly rated by Consumer Reports and by Amazon's customers. Perfect!

The first day with my new pedometer was on a weekend and did my usual housekeeping and laundry routines so I could see how many steps I took in an average day at home. I barely clocked in with about 2,500 steps. That was a real eye opener. My standard day at work ended up being about double that number but no where near that 10,000 I should have been doing.

It took me about 2 weeks to work up to 10,000 steps a day. It was harder than I thought. I started at work by walking around my office complex during breaks and my lunch hour. The Omron pedometer has an aerobic function, so any brisk walking done for more than 10 minutes registers as aerobic walking.

I found that by going to work early and staying a few minutes late I could not only get all my steps in but I could do five-10 minute periods of aerobic walking per day in the air conditioned call center. Climate is a big consideration during the summer here in Arizona. Walking in 120 degree weather on hot asphalt is not my idea of fun.

My coworkers were very supportive and a few jumped on the bandwagon and also started walking. I kept a record of my progress with my weight and the total number of steps I took per day. Keeping a chart made my accountable for my progress. My goal was to walk the required steps on five out of seven days a week.

Walking at work was great but I still had to figure out what to do at home in my tiny house. Life in a 900 square foot home with a 6'6" husband and several pets underfoot is a challenge. Trying to walk 10,000 steps a day in such a small house was darn near impossible, or so I thought. All it really takes is some creativity and incorporating your walking into your regular routines.

Laundry, cleaning and shopping are 3 ways I added to my daily step count. When I do laundry I fold the clothes right out if the dryer and walk them back to the bedroom one item at a time. The same thing with the groceries - each item gets carried in a separate trip to the pantry. Time consuming? Sure! But what would I really be doing with that extra time? Probably sitting down in front of the TV. When the weather is nice I do a few laps around the block.

It was early March 2008 that I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and put on medication. In late April 2008 I was taken off the meds by my doctor and my blood pressure has been fine ever since. I get it checked every 4-6 weeks. My doctor said she'd never seen anyone as determined to get off that medication as I was. It took me seven weeks to do it.

Am I still fat? Absolutely - I started my journey towards fitness and weight loss at nearly 300 pounds in November 2007 and I still have a long way to go. But am I in better shape than I was a year ago? Yes! And I still wear my pedometer everyday!


NewMe said...

I'm with you! I adore my pedometer. We're joined at the waist!

Bravo and keep up the good work.

Stephanie Abney said...

Great info... I'm a little slow. Been so busy with school. I have tried MANY of the cheapie ones. I'll have to see about getting one of these. Take care, neighbor!!