I Tried Walking 10,000 Steps A Day To Lose Weight

For six looong weeks.
PHOTO: istockphoto

Like most women, I’ve tried countless ways to get my weight under control. I tried no-rice diets and calorie-counting. I’ve attempted to join several gyms and attended a bunch of fitness classes. Before, I shed pounds easily and looked slimmer after a couple of weeks, but it got harder when I got a job that required extended work hours where I relied on coffee to function, and rewarded myself with nice, big meals.

It wasn’t super obvious, but going by the body mass index or BMI standard, I was overweight. My 67.8-kilogram, five-foot-tall frame not only made dressing up a headache (my belly always seemed to be the highlight of every OOTD), it also made me feel sluggish. So for health and vanity reasons, I decided to try and walk 10,000 steps a day to reboot my body.

They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so I initially challenged myself to log 10,000 steps daily for three weeks. It wasn’t easy, so I was only able to meet the goal during the fourth week. In total, I challenged myself for six weeks. I used an app on my phone to track my steps and a digital bathroom scale to monitor my progress. Here’s how the six weeks went:

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Week One: The Trial Phase

My strategy was to walk around the mall and run several errands like going to the bank to pay bills. Coincidentally, I moved back to Bulacan (from Mandaluyong), so I took the MRT daily. These first attempts left me tired AF, especially since I only accomplished about 2,000 steps per day before (I have a desk job and I lived near the office then). Plus, there were three unforgettable nights when I woke up with a leg cramp that just made me want to die. I didn’t really have a balanced diet, but I had less binges. I was happy to see a little improvement on the scale after a week.

Average Daily Steps: 7,518

Weight Lost: 0.4 kg 

Weeks Two + Three: The ~Extra~ Challenging Days

To avoid cramps, I did full-body stretches in the morning after I woke up and then again right before bed, and that was effective. Unfortunately, I encountered a lot of stressful days at work during those weeks; my diet was poor and I wasn’t able to leave my desk much. There were days when I only walked 3,000 steps, and I made up for it by doing about 13,000 steps on other days.

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Average Daily Steps: 7,235 to 7,308

Weight Lost: 0.3 kg

Week Four: Success at Last!

Since I made very little progress, I added another change to my lifestyle. I signed up for a 1,200-calorie meal plan. I also became competitive since a friend did the challenge with me (we called it our #10KStepsToSexiness project). At one point, we even agreed to take the stairs up to our office, which is on the sixth floor of our building. And all these led to great results: weight loss + less bloating. YASSS!

Average Daily Steps: 10,360

Weight Lost: 1.2 kg

Weeks Five + Six: The Almost-Effortless Weeks

These two weeks were spent in Korea, and since I was on vacation, I ate as much as I wanted. But I still lost weight and looked less bloated! I was able to walk close to double my target, too, because of all the touring we did. My body was used to the activity, and I hated not getting that, “Target achieved!” notification on my phone. As a result, I consistently logged more than 10,000 steps even after my trip to Korea.

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Average Daily Steps: 14,202 to 19,095

Weight Lost: 1.5 kg

Total Weight Lost: 3.4 kg or about 7.5 lbs (from 67.8 kg to 64.4 kg)

Overall, I’m happy I found a new way to manage my weight. The results were gradual, and you had to make an effort, but it’s relatively easier (and definitely cheaper!) than committing to gym memberships and fitness classes. If you’re disciplined enough, you can truly achieve a healthier lifestyle with this habit. I’m still subscribing to a 1,200-calorie meal plan, and I’m considering body weight training at home, so I can ultimately reach the normal BMI. May the odds be in my favor.

Note: 1 kg = 2.2 pounds

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