I don’t own a Fitbit but I am interested in the number of steps I take daily. The powers that be suggest a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Depending where you live that could be a daunting number or your mid-day count. I moved from the remote little town of Saint Mary’s GA to the pedestrian friendly city of Charleston SC. I worked out and ran while in Saint Mary’s GA and usually hit 9,000 steps give or take 1,000. Now, living in an urban area within walking distance of all things I need, I am hitting about 20,000 steps per day. I walk to the grocery store, the yoga studio, restaurants in the area on top of runs or other workouts I complete in a day.
It is said that European women are often thinner due to their activity levels. But I think this is really comparing city living to suburban living. When I visited London and Paris recently, my husband and I averaged about 20,000 steps a day. We walked everywhere, toured museums, historical sites, etc. It was great exercise. I would imagine if we visited more remote towns we would have driven more and walked less. I really think this is a city vs suburban living issue. When I lived in a suburban area, all I could do in my neighborhood was walk for exercise on the paths near my house or walk the dogs. The neighborhood clubhouse (pool and gym) was 2 ½ miles away and the grocery store was a 10-minute drive. It would take me 90 minutes round trip to walk to the gym. I can’t imagine how many hours it would take walking to the grocery store and back.
Living in such a remote area left us thirsty for pedestrian friendly living. We are very excited that we can walk wherever we want and driving is only for getting to work or running errands outside the area. I’m very thankful for this change in activity. I know that not everyone can change where they live. I also believe that there is an unfair advantage for those who cannot walk to all their daily activities. It’s so easy to get in my steps and multiply it by 2 and that is all due to living in a pedestrian friendly area. So what do you do to get in your steps???
Long long ago the word diet referred to what your dietary intake consisted of. Now it pertains primarily to what you limit your intake to. So when people ask me about what I think of ‘this diet’ or ‘that diet’ I often ask why they want to consider it and for how long will they be on it. Because if the ‘diet’ in question is only temporary, then I suggest you don’t waste your time or energy. Whatever gains or losses you make on this temporary way of eating will be lost when you return to your normal way of eating…thus your regular diet. Because your way of eating greatly supports your current health. But if you wish to make permanent changes to the way you eat, I am in full support. Because permanent changes in diet make for permanent changes in health. Temporary changes will get you just that…temporary changes.
When deciding what changes or ‘diet’ to implement, make sure they are lifelong options. If you wish to give up dairy, can you do this on a long term basis? If not, you may need to consider how much you can realistically reduce if that is the direction you wish to go. Same can be said for giving up meat, sugar and gluten. Decide what is realistic and make that small change part of your ‘diet’.
The real reason for my discussion on diet is because this world is obsessed with diets. Not what you eat but what magic diet of restriction and excess is in fashion. I recently got asked about the wisdom of the Paleo diet and the Ketone diet. Both will have a positive impact on weight or they wouldn’t be so popular. But can you live on it? From here on out? For many, that is a yes. But if not, what do you expect to happen to your body when you go back to your preferred way of eating?
What I would like people to consider is to learn about what changes their preferred diet suggests and make those changes to their current way of eating with the idea that this will be how they eat from here on out. With any diet or way of eating there will be moments where you stray but they should be so incredibly rare. Because this new way of eating is your lifestyle. So if you decided sugar was no longer in your plan, then what can you do to provide a delicious treat for your birthday bash? It will likely be something not traditional and more in line with your diet aka new lifestyle. Also can be said for those who gave up meat and went plant based. Your idea of barbequing is now likely to be veggies on the grill and not a burger. Your choices in restaurants will be reduced and going out or grilling are not excuses to revert to prior eating. Because you made these changes to your diet for a reason and those reasons still exists and are valid and worth staying true to.
So when you think the word diet, I want you to think of it as how you eat. Your food choices, your way of life from here on out.