As anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a gadget girl. My new best friend gadget is this pedometer, and I’ll tell you why: with it, I discovered how many steps it takes (for me) to balance some bad behavior at the buffet.
My family and I recently took a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. For weeks (okay, months) leading up to the trip, I was terrified. My parents wanted to spend most of their time gambling and sampling the culinary diversity of every buffet we could hit. I wanted to hide in my Weight Watchers cocoon with carefully measured PointsPlus at every meal. In each meeting leading up to the trip, I bugged my fellow WW members and our leader for tips, tricks, strategies and safe houses.
Props to Diane and Mike for the following winning suggestions.
- Walk. A lot.
- Take the stairs whenever you can.
In anticipation of the trip, I bought my handy-dandy pocket pedometer (see above) and set a goal of 5 miles per day. I picked that number because of an interesting, totally non-scientific, probably-bogus-pseudo-factoid: virtually of all of the runners I know (count them: 4) run five miles a day. If 5 miles a day is what works for runners, then I figured it would work for me in Vegas.
Because whatever happened at the buffet in Vegas needed to stay in Vegas.
Some days, I easily racked up that mileage during our treks from casino to casino. Other days, getting five miles meant spending a little time in the hotel gym in addition to our daily movement. Believe me, I was propelled into the gym each morning by whatever decadent desserts (yes, plural) that I had consumed the previous day. Fear is a great motivator.
So how did I do? I watched nervously at my next weigh in as Jo checked the scale.
“Very good,” she smiled. “You’re down 1.8 pounds.”
I should mention, in addition to tracking my mileage, I used the following survival strategies:
- Start Smart – I always started my meals with healthy, low-point choices then went back to get small servings of higher-point items to taste. For dinner, I generally went for broiled fish and vegetables first. At breakfast, I found egg white omeletes and fruit.
- If It’s Not Exquisite, Don’t Eat It – This is a big lesson from my WW leader. If the food wasn’t absolutely divine, I was not going to waste PointsPlus on it. I pushed that plate aside and found something else, or just stopped eating.
- Go Slow – One great thing about a buffet is the opportunity to get a little something, enjoy that, then think about what I might want next. This really worked to slow down my eating and give my body time to figure out whether or not it was full.
- Live a Little – Passing by every yummy-looking something on vacation would have become torturous for me and grueling for my traveling companions. While I didn’t engage in competitive eating, I did enjoy the company and get into the celebration spirit. I just didn’t cross over into the land of hedonistic abandon while in the land of… well, hedonistic abandon.
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Once I got home, it became clear that my office-home-work environment was not nearly as pedestrian-friendly as Las Vegas. A typical day could yield less than a mile’s worth of steps! Having the pedometer has been a great tool to motivate me to sneak in more activity during the day. Because I’m always aiming for that 5 miles, the pedometer helps me stay aware of how much I’m sitting vs. how much I’m moving.
Some things that I do to get in a few extra steps:
- Inefficiency at the Office – I take multiple trips from the office kitchen back to my desk with each item in my lunch. I might look a little silly to the people in the break room, but I can rack up a lot of extra steps this way.
- Walking Instead of Parking – Those extra 60 seconds or more that I might spend driving around a parking lot looking for a closer space are now spent walking from a spot further away.
- Browse Big Stores – Target, Costco, the grocery store… the more I push my cart, the more steps I’m taking. I just have to remind myself that the goal is extra steps, not extra shopping.
- Five Minutes Every Hour (or Two) – This is an important one. At least once every two hours, preferably every hour, I get up from my desk and walk around for five minutes. This stretches my legs, refreshes my brain and definitely puts some extra clicks on the pedometer.
- Walk Around (and Around and Around) the House – during television shows, commercials, telephone conversations, anything that I can walk-and-do, I try to do.
So that’s it – my daily drive for five. Here’s my question: is anyone using one of these, and if so, how do you type??
Best wishes for an awesomelicious day!