How Many Steps a Day to Lose Weight?


"This is crazy," I said to myself as I stepped off the scale, "I have to lose weight!"

Two years into my current job (in an office) I had managed to gain 12 pounds. Before I started this full time position, I had transitioned back into the workforce with a part-time job when my son started preschool. Working part-time hours had given me the flexibility to work out every day and stay in great shape. In my new job I was working really long hours...sometimes more than 60 hours a week sitting in front of my computer screen for six to eight hours straight. On cold days, I didn't even take a break to pick up lunch instead opting to use Spoonrocket, a delivery service that brought lunch right to my office door.

Those poor choices showed in the black pants that once hung loose but now strained to cover my out-of-shape thighs. On a trip to Sports Authority I browsed the fitness tracker display and thought to myself, "should I get a Fitbit?" I liked the Surge but, being cheap, didn't really want to spend the money. My husband solved that problem by surprising me with one on my birthday. 

I was so excited to get started. I faithfully entered my starting weight and goal weight into the Fitbit app I had downloaded onto my iPhone, trying to ignore the bright blue scale that reminded me how many pounds I had to go.The first day that I wore it to work made me realize how I had completely lost touch with what my body was doing all day. With the walk from my house to the car, from the car to my job, up and down the stairs to the third-floor copy room, from the car to pick up the kids from their after-school program, around the house fixing dinner, and getting the kids to bed I walked a measly total of a little over 5,000 steps. "How many steps a day to lose weight?" I wondered.

I decided to start with the default setting of 10,000 steps per day and see how that would go. I quickly learned that at 10,000 steps a day I wasn't going to lose any weight. If I watched what I ate I could maintain my current weight, but not lose any. I needed to step up my game. I changed my daily goal from the default to 15,000 steps per day and started to see some minor weight loss. To really facilitate pound shedding, I had to average 18,000 to 20,000 steps per day. Losing weight wasn't this hard when i was 25! But the closer you get to 40, the harder you have to push. 

I'm a person who needs accountability. I thrive on weight loss challenges and buddy competitions. Having a Fitbit provides me with that accountability. The minute I see someone who has a Fitbit, I add them to my friend list. I challenge friends in the daily showdown, weekend warrior and workweek hustle and check my friend list often to see whose "out-stepping" me. Yeah, I could probably lose the weight without the Fitbit, but having a Fitbit makes it more fun. I'm enjoying the community, the sense of accomplishment when I exceed my goals, and the way that just having it on my wrist encourages me to be more active.

I love my Fitbit so much that for Mother's Day this year, I bought my 70-year old mother her own. I had plateaued a little on the weight loss and thought some friendly competition would do us both some good. When she clocked in at close to 30,000 steps on her first day, I seriously considered removing her from my friend list. I wanted friendly competition, not competition that was going to embarass me! In the end I kept her as a friend and made a decision. It was time to up my game one more time! 

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