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One of my goals for September and October was to better my health by walking 30 minutes a day. I got a Fitbit Flex to help me with my goal and a few people have asked me about it so I thought I’d start a new series – Weigh-in Wednesday: Sharing Health Goals.
Now, to my friends reading this who run marathons and look great in your skinny little yoga pants, you can skip this post.
I want to talk to the women who spends more time in front of the computer looking for health tips than actually exercising and the mom who only runs to chase her naked toddler down the hallway and to the fellow husky mama who doesn’t want to get OUT of a size 18 but INTO a size 18. Yeah, this is for you, baby.
Okay, some background first. I have always been overweight. Like forever. I wore Sears’ Pretty Plus until I graduated to Lane Bryant. I hated it then but I got to a point in my life after I married and has a few kids where I made peace with it. This is just who I am – a plus size mama. That’s good…and bad. Good that I am comfortable in my own skin but bad in that I know I am not as healthy as I should be.
When Brian got sick with cancer, we made healthy changes in our lives but to be honest, although I was feeding him better, I would still stress snacking and eating foods and sweets that were no bueno. In September, I wasn’t feeling well myself. I was sluggish, was getting light headed and feeling slight numbness in my legs. Scary. In general, I was not feeling good. I decided it was time for a full physical and for me to get serious about my health. Besides doing it for myself, I’ve got four young kids and a husband that needs me to stick around for awhile!
After all the tests, I found that in almost every aspect – blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol – I was on the fence, border-lining between normal and too high. Some of my hormones (like progesterone) were off but that has always been the case and I was deficient in some vitamins, particularly iron and D3. So the doc has me on multiple supplements, I am walking at least 30 minutes a day and I’ve cut out white flour (and for the most part) processed sugar and sweets and eating a lot more veggies.
For this post, I am focusing on the walking.
It is recommended that every person take 10,000 steps a day for optimal health. I knew I probably wasn’t at that level but assumed I was not too far off. I would take random walks here and there and I felt like I was always running around but I wanted to know for certain how much I was moving each day. I read a lot of positive reviews of the Fitbit Flex so I decided to give it a try. I liked that fact that I could wear it all day, every day without giving it much thought. (Technically you can also wear it in the shower, but I take it off.)
The first day I wore the Fitbit, it was a leisurely Sunday and as the sun set I checked my numbers and was surprised to see I had only logged in 3,500 steps. I figured that was a fluke because it was Sunday. Surely during a busy week I’d be logging in closer to 10,000. Well, I was barely getting over 4,000. Ouch. That was eye opening. So for the next two weeks my goal was to add an extra 1,000. I worked on it and got up to a 5,500 average. The next two weeks I upped it another 1,000. Then another 1,000. Right now I am averaging between 8,500 – 9,000.
Some days I kick it and log over my 10,000 goal.
My problem is consistency. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays when all the kids are in school, I have time alone where I can walk 2 miles on my favorite trails like this one.
But the other days of the week I am usually running around or taking care of kids or the household and the day speeds by without me strapping on my walking shoes. On those evenings, I walk for 30 minutes doing laps up and down my driveway after the kids go to sleep.
Other days, I am draaaaaagging. There’s no pretty ocean to motivate me, just the asphalt and shadows amongst the trees and the chilly wind nipping at my face. There were plenty of days I was ready to say, “Forget it!” but looking at my Fitbit steps in black and white motivated me to get outside and bring that number a just a little higher.
Another great features of the Fitbit is the calorie log. The same way I would over estimate my steps I would also under estimate how much food I was eating. Once I started tapping in my meals into my Fitbit app, I could see that all those little nibbles here and there added up quickly. On the plus side, on the days I did extra walking I was allowed extra calories in.
The Fitbit also has a sleeping mode which will tell you how many times you wake up in the night or are restless. I don’t use this all the time but it is interesting to monitor now that the kids pretty much sleep the night through. (Heavenly.)
I also recently started adding friends to my profile. We are able to set a daily challenge and “compete” or offer support to one another. And I can use all the support I can get!
I will add, however, that the one negative I have heard about the Fitbit is that it does not do well tracking your steps when you are pushing a stroller. Apparently, it likes when you move your arm back and forth as you walk/run. It’s not really an issue for me since I walk alone now, but it may be something to look into if it’s a concern. That aside, I love my Fitbit and I know it has helped me stay motivated.
My goal now is to be more consistent with my 10,000 steps a day. Perhaps, going out early in the morning on the weekends when Brian is home with the kids or bringing Matthew with me on a walk on Mondays and Fridays. (I hesitate with that one because I feel like one of those people who walk with their dogs and they have to stop every five minutes so their pooch can sniff around and do their business. Picture the pre schooler version of that.)
So what are the results from the last two month of walking and eating better? All the crazy symptoms are gone. My blood sugar and blood pressure are normal and I’ve lost ten pounds. That’s just a small portion of what I need to lose but it is a heck of a lot better than two months ago. I don’t think I’ll ever be “thin” but I certainly don’t mind being a healthier version of myself. And for that , I am truly thankful!!
What about you? Are you working on health goals? Or do you have exercising advice (like how to keep at it!) or healthier eating advice (like how to not fall off the wagon??) Spill, por favor!
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