Now I’m Obsessed with Walking 10,000 Steps a Day

June 27, 2013 | By | Comments (38)

up-wristbandThe UP wristband that each of us on the Cooking Light Food Lover’s Social Diet is wearing is basically a fancy, diabolical pedometer that jacks into your smartphone and downloads your day’s exercise. The default goal is 10,000 steps a day, which, according to a walking website, is about 5 miles.

As soon as I put the UP band on, I saw the scale of the problem. When I moved from Brooklyn to Birmingham, my daily walking average plummeted because I substituted a two-floor elevator ride to my car for a 20-block (round-trip) subway walk. In Brooklyn I used my car once a week; daily shopping trips were expeditions on foot. In the hot South, where I need a car to find a Starbucks or buy a loaf of bread, there just isn’t much walking going on.

On days when I wasn’t doing my standard 3-mile jog, I found myself logging a pathetic, walrus-like 2,000 steps (actually that would be a lot of steps for a walrus). When the UP band began talking to the other members of the Board of Advisors, most of whom live in NYC and are exercisers on top of that, I was looking at folks who were logging 13,000 and even 24,000 steps!

The UP band was calling me a sloth. So I’ve taken to walking around the local public golf course some evenings after dinner—9,700 steps—or running halfway and back in the morning, and finishing at night with, say, 5,000 more: That gets me over 10,000. (Admittedly, all this footwork is a giant time-suck.)

It’s true that stepping out this much leads UP to “credit” my food journal with an extra 250 calories of eating, but that’s not the motivation. Apps like UP demonstrate that I’m a puppy, a baby, a Boy Scout when it comes to feedback: Give me a reward, a virtual badge, and I’ll work harder. That’s the power of social media.

How do you stay motivated to keep moving? Comment here, email, and tweet @ScottMowb or @Cooking_Light using #SocialDiet.


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  19. How Your Diet Can Sabotage Your Exercise | Cooking Light

    […] not sure about the 80/20 rule—it must vary with each person—but using fitness devices like the UP band and calorie-tracking apps like MyFitnessPal revealed this truth on day one: My 10,000 daily steps, […]

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  21. I Made My 20-Week Weight-Loss Goal: Now What? | Wonderful Tips

    […] because of the social aspect. We on the team simply bore everyone else around us by yakking about 10K step goals, “expecting more from our food,” motivation versus willpower, and other topics that […]

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  22. I Made My 20-Week Weight-Loss Goal: Now What? | Cooking Light

    […] because of the social aspect. We on the team simply bore everyone else around us by yakking about 10K step goals, “expecting more from our food,” motivation versus willpower, and other topics that have been […]

    October 15, 2013 at 3:43 pm
  23. Vicki

    I am an addict too. I can’t not walk one day a week because I have competition. I have to get up to the 10,000. I made it to 20,000 one day on a weekend. I have lost 46 pounds in 4 1/2 months but I also drink Optifast for breakfast everyday and for half of my lunches. I have 57 more to go.

    August 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm
  24. Half way to my weight goal, I’m getting afraid of reaching it – Simmer and Boil | Cooking Light

    […] with adjusting the calorie in/calorie out dials in order to lose weight (that’s all apps, bracelets, and scales do, they help with the numbers in the […]

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  25. Social Diet Update: Down 13 pounds after 13 weeks – Simmer and Boil | Cooking Light

    […] the group dynamic of using the UP bands and MyFitnessPal is really working. Several members have had slumps and plateaus, but there is […]

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  26. Five Reasons the Social Diet Helped Me Lose the First 10 Pounds – Simmer and Boil | Cooking Light

    […] To deny the competitive element would be to lie. The combination of MyFitnessPal and the UP fitness monitor means everyone on our team sees how many steps everyone else has walked, how much […]

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  27. Unrealistic Expectations for Losing the Baby Weight: Give Yourself a Break, New Moms! – Simmer and Boil | Cooking Light

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    July 31, 2013 at 4:16 pm
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    […] Lover’s Social Diet, as I’m pompously calling this little effort, is that the MyFitnessPal and UP apps share progress with friends (or, in my case, with the Board of Advisors). At least they do if you […]

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  30. Kathie Swanson

    Hmm…I may have to give one of these gizmos a try! More accountability, fantastic!

    July 2, 2013 at 10:18 am
  31. Jack Morris (@jack_morris)

    Between Jawbone UP and MyFitnessPal, I am achieving my weight loss goal. Since Jan down 55 lbs. I am consistently averaging 14K steps per day. I agree it very hard to find time to insure you get that in on workdays but moremsomon travel days. Like anything, if you want it you have make the time for it. Also wanted to thank Cooking Light for great recipes to help with my goals.

    July 2, 2013 at 12:33 am
  32. Carol Klener Jablonski

    I’m using the Omron Walking Style pedometer. Clips to the waistband. I bought the model that you download the steps. This model was about $60 at REI. Your wristband model looks interesting.

    July 1, 2013 at 7:40 am
  33. Beth

    $129 for the aqua colour Fitbit shown in the photo is a tad steep. Simply knowing how many half miles are in the area I am walking be it outdoors, stairs, halls etc is easier for me.

    And let’s not forget one still has to burn more calories than they are taking in to lose weight or eat only enough calories to stay at a given weight.

    If you walk 10k steps and then come home and drink beer, eat junk food/snacks it means little has been accomplished.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:44 pm
  34. Dorothy Hall

    I love my fitibit.The joke in our house is that someday I will rise from the grave in zombie form only to get my 10.000. When I last had the flu my hubby forced me to go to bed in spite of my sad weak feverish pleading “But I need 2000 more steps!” Quantification is pwerful.

    June 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm
  35. Lindi Maichrye

    where do I find that wristband?

    June 30, 2013 at 9:55 am
  36. jayhawkinva

    I love my Fitbit! 10,000 steps per day is difficult when you work in an office 8-9 hours a day, but this little device keeps me honest and motivated! Best $100 I have spent.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:27 am
  37. Andrea Montague

    I’m using a pedometer provided by my employer through Virgin Health Miles. I’ve been doing at least 12,000 steps a day. One motivation is money, I’ve earned $500 in the past year. But it’s not the only motivation, I earned the $500 limit a few months ago and I’m still getting in the 12,000 steps a day. Starting in January 2011, I lost 35 pounds (I went from 150 to 115, it took about 9 months). I’ve kept the weight off since then, partly through making sure I get enough steps in per day. I’m lucky enough to be able to walk to work. Although the walk is only a mile, I actually (literally) walk around in circles to get extra steps in (I walk to work through a cemetery which has lots of twisty winding paths). Another motivation is that I listen to audiobooks while walking, and I make sure I walk long enough to listen to several chapters of the book each day.

    June 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm
    • Scott Mowbray

      It’s funny, everyone I know who has gotten into the pedometer system feels compelled to meet their goal. Lately I’ve been averaging well north of 10,000.

      Sent from my iPhone

      June 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm

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