Apparently, I am not capable of counting more than one thing at once. You probably aren't either. QUICK! Count the keys on the piano while counting the kids in your daughter's class. Can't do it, can you? But that's all too literal. I just wanted to count calories and count the number of steps I took each day. And the step counting part didn't involve my fingers and an abacus; it just involved a pedometer. I'm pretty good at remembering to clip it to my waistband each morning. But apparently the counting energy, or the counting brain cells, or whatever bit of me is supposed to be responsible for keeping track of some number of things in my life cannot possibly both remember to attach the pedometer AND muster the energy to log onto my-calorie-counter dot com and enter the day's food intake.
So I'm giving up on the calories part. I've been counting them since January 1. I currently weigh 7.2 pounds less than I did on New Year's Day. I still have a few more to lose, but I think I've figured out the whole stop eating the kids' leftovers thing and the candy isn't a meal thing and the my 200+ pound husband should eat more than me, so why am I so anxious that he got more of that tasty chicken dish than I did (gimme' some back, it's MINE) thing... I get that I need to hover in the 1400 calorie range to lose weight gradually; I'm pretty good now at stopping the eating when I'm not longer hungry. -gasp!- What a concept! I have a decent sense of what I can eat and stay within my range. And, frankly, counting calories is a really boring way to spend 20 minutes. So as long as I continue to lay off the chocolate bars and refrain from eating thirds at Mexican restaurants, I think I can keep up my good habits.
And I'm turning my attention now to steps. Which is a baby step (ha ha) on the way to actual exercise of a kind that results in sweat and sports bras. Don't worry, I'm taking this nice and slow. So I've been tracking my steps for the last eight days, and here are the stats. Not too exciting, I know, but there's a point to all this, so quickly skim your eyes past these numbers, and move on...: 3609, 3451, 4478, 2588, 2970, 2187, 4164, 3825, 3600. The average of these number is 3430. Their standard deviation is... just kidding. Are your eyebrows raised? Just wondered if you were still with me.
Anyway. (By the way, that pedometer over there totally rocks the house for accuracy and all the stuff you want it to do, and if you want one you can buy it here. I'm not related to their company in any way, just a fan. Though I can't swear it can actually count to 10,258, as you'll see below.) More to the point, here's the thing about my stats.
A few days ago I did seven loads of laundry, including folding them and shuttling them around the house to put them all away. I tidied the downstairs of the house. I vacuumed the whole place. I thoroughly cleaned the kitchen and put away loads of clean dishes. I played with the kids all day long (admittedly this did involve sitting and reading books for a while). I did not have time to blog. I had, in short, a pretty active day. Know how many steps I logged? 4,478.
Know how many steps the professionals (professional whats? you might ask. I don’t know) recommend logging daily? 10,000! Based on the other day, I can safely say that I would only log 10,000 steps per day if I were a kindergarten teacher, a doctor on rounds at a hospital, a construction worker, or an aerobics instructor. I am none of these things. If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing you aren’t either.
So how am I supposed to set a reasonable step-walking goal for myself?
Creative accounting did come to mind. Do steps logged while carrying something count as more than one step? For example: one load of laundry = about 20 pounds. Perhaps that’s really 1.5 steps per step. One toddler = 31 pounds. Perhaps that’s really 2 steps per step. But then, how do I program the pedometer to track that? And how do I push the button to shift to the other step counting mode when my hands are full of 20 pounds of laundry and a toddler?
Or am I supposed to walk for three miles after the kids are asleep to get up to 10,000 steps? If so, how many laps of my house kitchen-dining room-living room-hall-kitchen make a mile, if one lap is 60 steps? (Because it’s dark here, and 11 degrees after 8:30pm, so I’m not really doing that walking outdoors.) Actually, I'm such a dork that I did that math. It's 44 laps. So three miles is 132 laps. So here's what I want to know: how in the world do normal people with day jobs and kids to chase after log 10,000 steps per day? Seriously. And, secondly, if I die of boredom from walking those laps past my kitchen counters every night, will I at least die healthier from having walked so much?