Tag Archives: pedometer

More Steps Towards Awesomeness: Thanksgiving Edition

All that holiday activity makes me tired!

Well it seems I have the jump on the competition when it comes to holiday travel.  I’m flying out to New York City tomorrow for some super secret fabulousness.  I’ll tell you all about it as soon as I possibly can.  But as I frantically stuff things into a suitcase, I thought I’d give you just a few MORE ideas about how to rack up more steps on your pedometer–HOLIDAY STYLE!

1.  The Airport or Train Station: Is a great place to walk.  After you’ve spend endless hours snaking through lines, stripping nearly naked for security and dragging a metric ton of luggage on and off the shuttle bus, you may have some anxiety to walk off.  And given the delays so typical during this season, you will probably have a lot of time to kill.  So why not spend some time getting extra exercise trotting around the terminal?  You’ll have plenty of time to sit very still, nay crammed like a sardine when you get on the plane!  One thing I’ve started to do to ease this process is to always wear exercise clothes while I’m traveling.  If you want to walk down the jetway in 4-inch heels then I say get down with your bad self.  But I travel in a nice pair of athletic pants, a sweat wicking top, a sports bra, an athletic jacket and tennis shoes.  This way, I’m ready to bust a move whenever the urge strikes.  And given all the other ways travel is uncomfortable, I figure I can at least get around wearing comfortable clothes.

2. The Grocery Store: Thanksgiving is the mother of all grocery shopping holidays.  Unfortunately, everybody in the known universe seems to go there at the same time.  Why not do yourself a favor and stock up on groceries this week?  You might not have time to formalize your list, so grab a cart and go up and down all the aisles.  (Just be careful not to pick up too many impulse items!)  Grocery stores have gotten bigger and bigger.  So carefully carting down all the aisles can really add up to quite a distance.  Don’t forget to park further from the door for extra steps.  And for heaven’s sake, be polite and walk the ten extra steps to return the cart to the rack.  I’m talking to you.  Yes, you!  I can see you trying to cantilever that cart up to the light pole to save yourself 15 extra steps of walking.  I can see your cart rolling loose across the parking lot and terrorizing little old ladies and shiny cars and their new paint jobs.  Seriously.  Return your cart!  (Rant ends.)

3. At Home:  Okay, let’s be honest.  We are all frantically cleaning our houses right now, trying to convince our mother-in-law that their son did not marry a pathetic, housekeeping-challenged, slug.  It’s pathetic.  Around this time of year, I tend to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat murmuring things like, “Behind the fridge.  What if she looks behind the fridge?!”  I could tell you to just chill out.  But this is an awesome time for getting in extra steps.  Put on some cleaning music. (Acid Death Metal works well for this, and has the added bonus of being extremely annoying to any obnoxious neighbors.)  Clip on a pedometer, grab a broom and get to it!  One technique you can use to get in extra steps is to put things away precisely where they belong on the first trip.  Typically, I pile all the stuff that needs to get put away at the bottom of the stairs or perhaps in a large cardboard box that I will ultimately drag into the garage and try to forget.  But if you take each thing and put it away, not only will you have the satisfaction of someday being able to find that thing again, you will also get in some extra steps.  Plus you get the privilege of standing at the door, looking at your domain, and reciting that line from Poltergeist, “This house is clean!”

So that’s three extra sneaky ways to get some extra exercise in and add to your step count this Thanksgiving.  And maybe, just maybe, the walking will relieve enough stress to keep you from being homicidal by Black Friday.

Love,

The Fat Chick

P.S. Don’t forget to join my mailing list to get all the latest super secret announcements and of course to get FREE STUFF!  Just opt in RIGHT HERE!

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The True Virtue of the Turkey Trot and Other Tips for Holiday Fitness

Rockin' the turkey trot!

Rockin’ the turkey trot!

Thanksgiving will be here soon (at least if you live in the United States) and we’re swinging right into the major holiday season.  Between the holiday parties and the extra cooking and baking and gift shopping and family obligations, it can be especially difficult to keep fitness in your schedule.  Last week, I explained why the end of daylight savings time might be just the best excuse to start exercising EVER.  In theory, you’re getting an extra hour of sleep and thus, I reasoned, you could trick your body into getting up an hour earlier without too much pain.

So how did that work out for you?  Did you do it?  If not, don’t feel bad.  I’m not judging you.  But if you feel sad that you missed it, guess what: you get another chance!  Today is Veteran’s Day and many people (at least in the U.S.) have the day off.  It’s a perfect day to slide on those tennis shoes and get in a little exercise.  And if you are really especially clever, you can exercise your body and exercise your compassion at the same time by honoring a vet.  You could walk out and participate in a Veteran’s Day event in your area.  You could volunteer at a local Veteran’s Hospital.  You could take a walk and explore a nearby battleground.  You could even walk out to or march in a local Veteran’s Day parade.

You could even use today  an excuse to start training.  I’m training for an event which has become an annual tradition for yours truly–the Turkey Trot.  I usually participate in a 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day that raises money for my local YMCA.  The course is short, fast and easy.  There are plenty of aid stations, and a large percentage of the participants are walkers like me.  I can take my time and have lots and lots of fun!

Participating in the Turkey Trot does mean that I have to amend the rules of 1-hour pants day.  I now have to add about an hour of sweat pants to the mix.  But I have found that this is one race that is scheduled on a day that I am not expected to speak or teach or have any professional obligations.  PLUS, I get to go right home, take a shower and a looooong Thanksgiving day nap right after.  Awesome!

And if a Turkey Trot isn’t right for you, how about a postprandial stroll to check out the early birds who manage to get holiday lights up by Thanksgiving Day?  You could honor their industry while strolling by on your way to a post dinner hot chocolate, or antacid.

Or you could always go out with your cousins and play a little football.  Although I should mention that activity is not without risk.

I don’t want to give you the impression that you have to exercise during the holidays or any other times.  That’s up to you.  You are the President and CEO of your own corpus!  But I am suggesting that if you’ve been looking for another little incentive or boost to get your fitness efforts going, you can honor the holidays and give an extra special gift to your body as well in the form of exercise (or the form of chocolate, ‘cuz chocolate is awesome too…)

And speaking of gifts, I’m pleased to announce that the third winner of The Fat Chick’s Great Pedometer Giveaway is Megan Page Montgomery!  Hey Megan, just drop me an email at jeanette at the fat chick dot com with your mailing address so I can ship your pedometer on out to you!  Yet another great excuse for getting started with a fabulous, shiny, new fitness program.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick

P.S. Want to get access to FREE STUFF?  Just opt in RIGHT HERE!

Overcoming Parking Karma and Adding More Steps to your Life

Earlier this week, I wrote a post all about using the pedometer to gradually add to  your fitness level.  It’s easy to use.  It’s safe.  And it’s cheap!  All you need is a pedometer.  And this week, you could even be one of five lucky people to win a free pedometer from The Fat Chick!  In that post I gave you a lot of advice about how to calculate your average daily step count, and how to figure out how much to ramp your step count from week to week.  Today, I’d like to give you five steps to quickly and easily work more steps into your life.  Here you go:

1.  Park further away.  Actually, this simple tool can actually allow you to exercise while SAVING TIME.  My husband has terrible, terrible parking karma.  It doesn’t matter where we are going–be it the the mall, the movie theater, the grocery store, but this guy is terrible at finding good parking.  I used to comment on this fact all the time.  And when I would, not so politely ask, “Could you have parked any further away?” my husband would look at me calmly and say, “Yes.”  He would then proceed to park in the spot furthest possible from our end destination.  Over time, he has stopped even trying to find the closest spot.  And you know what?  I’m pretty sure we get where we want to go even faster.  Rather than circling the lot like a brain-dead vulture for endless minutes, we just park and walk a little further.  We get more exercise, we skip the frustration of arguing with people who “steal our spots” and ultimately we get there quicker.  Win. Win. Win.

2.  Stop doing everything online.  When I work freelance in an office, I add a lot of steps to my day and get stuff done faster by simply getting up from my desk and walking over to the person I want to talk to.  They aren’t ignoring me to check out their stats on Facebook or Instagram because I can see them and talk to their faces.  I found that I got people’s attention by talking to them directly and people were a lot less likely to procrastinate on stuff that I asked them to do if they realized I was likely to actually knock on their door and, you know, ask them to do the stuff. While online shopping is extremely convenient, all that gets exercise is  your fingers.  So I get up early and head over to the mall every once and a while to get some holiday shopping and some extra exercise into my  life.

3.  Get off the bus a little sooner.  For those of you who take public transportation, this is easy.  You just get off one stop before your final destination and walk the rest of the way.  But there are opportunities for all of us to use this technique.  How about the shuttle bus at the airport, can you get off one terminal sooner and walk a little further?  Or the bus or tram that takes you to the parking lot, can you get off the shuttle a bit further from your car?

4.  Find opportunities for “Spontaneous Boogie-down Sessions”.  Sure you can get up from your computer and simply stretch or walk towards the coffee machine, but what fun is that?  Why not set a boogie alarm?  Set an alarm on your cell phone or computer to go off every so often and take a “Boogie Break”.  Pick and awesome song, grab your air guitar and just go to it.  Extra points for getting everybody in the office involved in spontaneous flash mob awesomeness.  Extra EXTRA points if you get it on camera and send me a link!

5.  Go walk around somewhere awesome!  Even in the depth of winter there are fabulous places to go walking.  Go walking outside and look at holiday decorations.  Go walking at an amazing museum or park or zoo.  Check out a botanical garden or pumpkin farm.  There are so many fun things you can do while walking around.  Go do some of them!

Also, please let me offer this note for people who don’t walk so well.  All of these suggestions can be tailored for people who are less mobile.  It’s all a matter of scale.  Maybe you can’t walk from the furthest reaches of the parking lot.  That’s okay!  Maybe pick a spot that is one slot further away from the front door.  Maybe park your scooter just a few feet  further away from your destination.  You can totally do a chair boogie if a standing boogie isn’t really in the cards for you.  The point here is to do something a teensy, teeny, weenie bit more than you did yesterday.  But only if you want to.  There’s no rules here–only options and opportunities.  You are in charge of you.  So only do what feels right for you in your body.

Also, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Do you have a special technique that you use to get extra steps into your day?  How about sharing them in the comments section?  And don’t forget to follow the directions below to become eligible to win a free pedometer.

WIN A PEDOMETER FROM THE FAT CHICK!

All you have to do is click this link The Fat Chick Pedometer Giveaway  and then follow the directions!  Once you get there, you can like my Facebook page or put a comment on the blog or write a tweet.  It’s easy and fun.  Just remember to click this link first: The Fat Chick Pedometer Giveaway 

Good luck!

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

AKA The Fat Chick

Only Fat People Need to Walk: As Indicated by Blue Cross Program

Study showing healthy habits most important for health outcomes.

Study showing healthy habits most important for health outcomes in ALL weight categories.

Oh dear.  I think it’s going to be hard to keep up with all of the discriminatory practices being rolled out by insurance companies to punish those who are fat.  But this new announcement from Blue Cross Network is really above and beyond.

Blue Cross recently announced that its program, offering cash discounts to obese members who agreed to add 5,000 steps a day and be measured via a pedometer was a “success”.  Discounts were significant–representing a cost savings of up to $2,000 per year per family.  Apparently these “discounts” were not offered to anybody who was not obese.  But Blue Cross is claiming success, due to the fact that most of those who enrolled in the program were still walking one year later.

I particularly love the fact that despite the fact that Blue Cross of Minnesota cites this press release as its source, the headline for their online blurb reads, “Money Motivates Weight Loss, One Step at a Time”.  I went back to the original press release.  I read it twice. Not one word is said in that press release about weight loss.  NOT ONE SINGLE WORD.  Holy “make it up as you go” reporting, Batman!  It is possible that there is some mention of the press release in the study announcing the findings.  But there is absolutely no mention of weight loss in the abstract.  And in my experience, were weight loss found in the study, it would be in the title of the study and the first sentence of the abstract.  If anybody has access to the full study, I’d love to know if this holds true.  But in any case, the piece on the Blue Cross webpage did not cite the study but rather the press release as its source.

Now, all of this leaves me with a few key questions.  First and foremost, is walking only beneficial to fat people?  Why in the world are they only offering this incentive to people qualified as “obese”?  There are so many studies that show that modest exercise is beneficial to everybody’s health.  And there’s plenty of evidence showing that healthy habits and not weight loss is what is needed to improve health outcomes?  So why are only fat people singled out for this treatment?  And are these actually “discounts” or are we really talking about being rescued from “fat penalties” not being faced by other insurance network members?

It’s also interesting to note that obese members were allowed to choose between this walking program (created by online biometric site, Walking Spree) or Weight Watchers.  Look, I would clearly pick a walking program over Weight Watchers any day of the week, but I wonder if these “obese persons” were interviewed to see if they had been exercising before this incentive was offered.  Were these people actually sedentary?  What about fit fatties like me who already exercise nearly every day?  Were we offered the same price increases/incentives?  Would I be expected to add this onto my already active exercise program?  Do I have to exercise three times as much as a thin person in order for my exercise incentives to “count” and my discounts to kick in?

I also find it extremely instructive that the first line of the press release reads as follows:

It was a controversial move when a health insurer began requiring people who were obese to literally pay the price of not doing anything about their weight – but it worked, a new study finds.

Okay.  First let’s look at the “not doing anything about their weight” line.  How do we know they weren’t doing anything about their weight?  We know that diet and weight loss attempts fail most of the time in the long term.  Some suggest they fail over 90 percent of the time.  So by “not doing anything about their weight” do we mean that people refused to engage in the dangerous practice of weight cycling? Do we know that people weren’t eating well or exercising before and that they are doing those things now?  Do we know that they were sedentary before and are now active?  Or were some of these people active before and have simply shifted to a less rigorous form of exercise (walking) than before in order to receive a discount on their health insurance?

It’s also interesting to note how the release defines “success”.  Again, nowhere in the release does it state that people lost weight.  Nowhere in the release does it state that there were positive health outcomes or lower healthcare costs.  In fact the final line of the release states:

“Comprehensive evaluations are needed to determine whether participation in these programs translates to meaningful changes in health and costs of health care.”

Overall, I have to state that this press release, issued by the University of Michigan Health System is astonishingly devoid of detail, definition or real facts.  While positively gleeful about the fact that most of the people who elected to participate in this program remained participants for over a year, it really leaves us with more questions than answers.  Did people who didn’t like the coercive nature of the program leave the network for a different insurer?  What were the changes in attitude towards exercise among participants?  Did they grow to like exercise more or see it as a punishment?  What are the long term effects on attitudes towards exercise?  And finally, why are we singling out fat people for this program?  Don’t thin people need to exercise too?

Aaaaaargh!

I guess I’m pretty worked up here.  Maybe I’d better go for a walk to blow off some steam.  Because some of us fat people go for walks even without “finger-wagging”, “pedometer-wielding”, “biometric-tracking” moralists telling us to do so.

Love,

The Fat Chick

P.S. If you’re looking for a form of exercise that doesn’t come with doom and gloom weight loss messages or any finger wagging whatsoever, you might enjoy buying a copy of my DVD.  And if you are a member of the Fit Fatties Forum, you’ll receive a special discount.  Just click here to order and type FFBL in the discount code box!

Shoppercize

If you’re like me, you’ve got a fair amount of pre-holiday shopping to do.  While I don’t typically participate in the Black Friday shopping insanity, I do have to hit the grocery stores to buy a few supplies for our Thanksgiving day and I will need to shop for baking and craft supplies soon.  Some people love shopping during the holidays–the excitement, the decorations, the crowds and the bargains really appeal to them.  Other people (like me) hate shopping during the holidays–the tension, the incessant holiday music, the noise, and the crowds make me nuts.  But love it or hate it, holiday shopping is a great time to get in a little fitness during a very hectic time of the year.

I have found that if I think of shopping as a sort of annual, extreme sports, fitness project it’s a little easier to get through it.  I call it “shoppercize”.    As with any fitness event or sport, preparation is key.  I make sure to wear the right gear (good sturdy athletic shoes, clothing in layers that breathe well), to warm up (doing some stretches before I get in the car) and and hydrate (with non-alcoholic beverages) before I begin.

I like to put on a pedometer or step counter when I shoppercize.  It helps me deal with the intensely stressed out crowds if I can foster a sense of accomplishment.  I set a goal for distance or number of steps before I head off for my shopping trip.  Then whenever I get to the store, I plan to park as far away as possible.  This way I can properly managing my expectations (since the darn lot will probably be full anyways), manage stress (since I’m not circling around the lot like a wheeled vulture spending thirty minutes to beat the other vultures to the one close parking spot) and I get in a little extra fitness (which is registered and logged on my handy pedometer).  Cool.

If I’m headed off to the mall, I try to shop early in the morning.  I usually arrive before the stores open and get in a mall lap or two and have a nice calm cup of coffee before the stores even open.  Usually the mall is less crowded first thing in the morning.  And if it gets too crowded to deal with, I just leave.  At least I got some exercise and a nice cup of coffee before it all went pear-shaped.  I can still feel a sense of accomplishment.

I doubt I will ever love holiday shopping–at least among LA crowds.  But love it or hate it, shoppercize is a great way to add a little fitness to your holiday while removing just a little of your holiday stress.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and happy shoppercizing!

Love,

The Fat Chick