I started writing this blog post back in August 2019 and then updated it. So it covers a period of 8 months. I’m actually surprised by the results…but not really.
So it’s been a while since I did a weight loss update on my Youtube channel (or anywhere).
Don’t worry, it’s not like I totally fell off the wagon or anything. I’ve just been stressed out a lot with a bunch of different things hammering me and my family this summer, and vlogging just kind of got pushed to the back burner.
Choosing My New Weight Loss Habit
Anyway, in my last weight loss vlog, I mentioned how my weight loss had leveled off, and I invited you guys to help me decide what new daily habit to introduce next to help me lose more weight…
And your answer was… WALKING.
There were some other responses, which I appreciate and will likely incorporate into my daily routine at some point.
But the clear winner this time around was to add more walking into my day.
So I added “walk” to my daily habit tracker app.
And I almost immediately hit a snag:
- How do I decide if I accomplished my daily goal of walking or not?
- Since I walk every day just to move my body around, does that count?
- At what point do I go from not having achieved my daily goal of “walking” to having achieved my daily goal of “walking”?
- Does walking while grocery shopping count?
Clearly, I needed this habit to be more specific.
Clear, Specific, Measurable Goals
Personal development blogger Steve Pavlina talks about this common problem people often encounter when creating goals. Unclear goals create confusion and frustration and often make it difficult to make consistent progress.
Your goal should be so specific and clear, that if you asked 10 people whether you achieved your goal for the day, they’d unanimously agree that you did (or didn’t).
I needed to set a clear walking goal, so that no matter how much walking I did that day, we could all agree whether I should check it off my list or not for the day.
So that got me thinking about “walking” as an exercise activity versus walking as basic everyday activity. And I thought it would be cool if I could just walk more for practical purposes and still lose weight – as opposed to adding a walking “exercise session” into my day.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy going for walks with no other purpose than to just get some exercise. Anf I find walking to be very relaxing – it gives me time to think and get some fresh air.
And walking is a great low-impact daily exercise for morbidly obese people like me to burn calories without overstressing joints and tendons.
I eventually plan to go for long walks on a daily basis too – just for exercise and relaxation.
But for now – for this new daily habit – I think I’m going to just add more walking into my everyday activities without it being a “WORKOUT”, if that makes sense.
Like, instead of driving around the parking lot for five minutes trying to find a parking spot 50 feet closer to the store entrance, I’ll just pull in and park right away and then walk a little further to the entrance.
Or instead of always taking the escalator or elevator, I could take the stairs.
I might even walk down to the market on the corner occasionally to pick up some groceries.
But how do I set this up so that it’s crystal clear whether I hit my walking goal for the day? At what point have I walked enough to call it “WALKING” and swipe it off my habit tracker as being completed for the day?
Then it dawned on me…
Duh…Use a Step Counter
My iphone has a step counter built in (the Apple Health app), but I almost never even think to look at it. But since I pretty much always have my phone on me, this would be the perfect way to track my new walking habit.
So I checked out my step counts over the last few months…
- In June I averaged 2,737 steps per day.
- In July I averaged 2,575 steps per day.
- And so far in August, I’ve averaged 3,519 steps per day (mostly due to walking around Downtown Disney last weekend and also parking far from the house at a party a couple weekends before that).
So if I minus out those two spikes from Disney and the party – since we don’t typically do things like that every week – then my walking average this summer has been less than 3,000 steps per day.
Walking 3,000 Steps a Day for Easy Weight Loss
So my new daily habit will be to walk at least 3,000 steps per day.
That’s actually not very much, but it’s more than I’ve been averaging so far this summer, and it might be enough to get my numbers on the scale gradually going down again by a pound or so per week (actually, it already seems to be helping).
And walking 3,000 steps is so easy even a fat caveman could do it.
So once I lock in 3,000 steps a day on a regular basis as a habitual behavior, I’ll then take it up to 4,000 steps a day and compare my results.Unclear goals create confusion and frustration and often make it difficult to make consistent progress. Click To Tweet
So that was way back on August 23, 2019 (it’s now April 2020…almost 8 months later).
At that time, I was slowly losing weight again and vlogging about it (see my Youtube playlist WEIGHT LOSS VLOG 2019), coming down from 314 lbs to 302 lbs in three weeks.
How did things go? Did I lose even more weight just by walking 3,000 steps a day? Or…did I even manage to walk 3,000 steps a day?
Well, I kinda sorta stuck with the walking thing. Here are my daily averages for the months since then…
- August 2019 – 3,600 steps a day
- September – 2,570
- October – 3,513
- November – 3,041
- December – 2,810
- January 2020 – 3,175
- February – 3,387
- March – 2,085
So over the last 8 months, I averaged 3,022 steps a day.
But guess what.
It didn’t really have much impact on my weight.
Looking back over the last couple years, 3,022 steps a day isn’t much more than what I was doing already. Here’s my daily average per year (for the data I have on my iphone, going back to July 2017.
- 2017 – 2,931 steps a day
- 2018 – 2,748 steps
- 2019 – 3,165 steps
- 2020 – 2,882 steps
See? Not much difference, really.
My Weight Loss Journey in 2019
From mid-2017 to early 2019, my weight was going up every month, from 285 lbs to 311 lbs. So I was gaining about 1-2 lbs a month on average.
Then in 2019, I managed to lose a few pounds in February-March, regain it in April, lose some again during my FAILED WEIGHT LOSS VLOG series (May 2019), and then gradually gain it back. Then I lost several pounds again during my WEIGHT LOSS VLOG 2019 series (August 2019) – and then gradually gained it back again over the next eight months while walking 3,022 steps a day.
In case you don’t know from personal experience – losing weight and keeping it off isn’t easy 😉
So I ended the year in December at the same weight I was at in January.
That, for me, was actually a small victory. Otherwise, I would have been at least 15 lbs heavier by the end of the year, had I continued on the trajectory I was on from July 2017 until January 2019.
Anyway, while I suppose the slight increase in my step count might have helped, it wasn’t a significant amount. If anything, judging by my results while doing my weight loss vlogs, limiting myself to 3 meals a day with 0 snacks in between made much more of a difference in my weight loss attempts than walking 3,000 steps a day.
So is 3,000 steps a day enough for weight loss?
I’m gonna have to say NO.
It didn’t help me because it turned out that I was already walking close to that amount in my daily activity. For someone who only walks a few hundred steps a day, it would probaby help. But for me it didn’t do much. Now that I look back at my numbers, it seems obvious that it wouldn’t do much.
What I’m doing now…
I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve gained like 12 lbs in 30 days while on lockdown, so at the beginning of April I began going for (almost) daily walks. So that is bringing my average daily step count up into the 4k-5k range on the days I walk.
I’m tracking my weight too, so I will do another update next month. And we’ll see if 4k-5k steps a day is enough to make a noticeable difference for me. I’m about a week in already…but you’ll have to wait til next month to see the results =D
[SUBSCRIBE to blog in sidebar or down below this blog post so you don’t miss it…]
I think adjusting my eating habits will make more of a difference, but I’m curious to see how much walking I need to do to lose weight. So I think I’ll just make one change at a time right now to isolate my variables bcuz I am SO FREAKING SCIENTIFIC RAWR!
COMING SOON: Walking 5,000 steps a day for weight loss in April…don’t forget to sub