Holiday Help: Start The 10,000 Steps Program Today
A few days ago this blog discussed the impact that exercise has on waist circumference, with or without weight loss, which is why staying physically active through the holidays is the best way to beat the battle of the bulge.
The blogosphere is loaded with diets and recipes to help people stay within a very modest 500 calorie range for Thanksgiving dinner. If you have the willpower, go for it. I’m not sure that would be a realistic goal for me to set for myself. That doesn’t mean that we should just ignore calories, fat and sugar intake and portion control during the holidays. We definitely want to set goals to keep us from overindulging at every meal, company pot luck, holiday party or shopping trip.
But trying to limit the Thanksgiving feast to 500 calories may set us up for failure. We all know what failure does. It makes up feel bad, we hate ourselves for eating too much and often times we end up throwing the baby out with the bath water. We figure since we didn’t stay within our calorie range on Thanksgiving we probably won’t be able to do anything right so might as well forget it until after Christmas. This is where setting lofty goals like ‘I’m only eating 500 calories at Thanksgiving dinner’ can get us.
What if instead of concentrating solely on what not to eat, we turned our attention to staying physically active everyday through the holiday season? What if our goal was to take 10,000 steps a day? Taking 10,000 steps a day, in itself, will burn approximately 300 – 400 calories. This is not a scientific calculation; it is merely an estimate, plus we’ll be focused on something that we are doing rather than something we shouldn’t do.
If we burn an extra 350 calories a day, within 10 days we will have burned enough calories to prevent one pound of weight gain. Keep it up for the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years and we may be able to keep the average five to eight pound holiday weight gain in check if we don’t totally overdo it on every sugary, high fat, super calorie-loaded food that comes our way.
For about $10 you can purchase a decent pedometer at Wal Mart. I hesitate to recommend purchasing one under the $10 range because it may not be durable enough, or it may reset whenever it’s bumped. If you want to make more of an investment and have a pedometer that multi-tasks, The Polar Activity Monitor tracks all movement, energy expenditure, has a clock with an alarm and stores exercise files. It costs around $80. Omron has a mid-range pedometer for around that has received good review in Google Products search.
Maybe you’ll decide to track minutes walked rather than wear a pedometer or use the walking tacker on your iPod. Whatever you decide, a sit-less-move-more strategy is the first step to keeping the holiday pounds off.