Every January, then sometime in spring, and again in fall, we attempt to get back on track. You know, making changes “for a better me.” Well, one of the ways to accomplish that is walking 10,000 steps a day. Or is it?
One fitness product starts you off with a minimum goal of 10,000 steps a day. For most people, that is about five miles each day. The app says that includes about 30 minutes of exercise, thus satisfying the CDC’s recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That, to me, is misleading.
I know people who stand in front of the TV, march and call that exercise. Yet researchers say everything from walking to cleaning the house is exercise. I know for a fact I’ve never lost a pound mopping the floor.
According to my tracker, a study published in 2014 shows logging 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity (the World Health Organization’s current recommendation) could prevent 1 in 12 deaths and 1 in 20 cases of cardiovascular disease worldwide. Did you catch that? The minutes are categorized as moderate-intense activity. For many, dieting seems to be a better route. But is it?
I like author Gebeen Roth’s concept of intuitive eating. The word “diet” does not exist. Intuitive eating teaches you to listen to your body, rather than telling it what it wants. It doesn’t, however, clear the way to eat everything in sight.
Roth suggests several steps to making the change. One is, when you eat, do so with no distractions - no books, TV, etc. Also, learn the difference between emotional and physical hunger. Other guidelines sound like common sense but I still find myself a victim. Eat only when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. But stopping can be tricky. It takes the brain 20 minutes to register the chemicals released from our food to message the stomach it is full. So, if I’m super hungry and eat fast, I will eat too much. I’ve found taking breaks during a meal works wonders in getting those messages out before I’m stuffed and ready for a long nap.
As Roth says I have to approach my eating habits without judgment and be more aware of what I put into my body, does that mean I’m allowed Dove Dark chocolate, my favorite thing in the whole wide world? Because that’s what my mind and body are calling for, as a matter of fact, right now.
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