• Jill

My 10,000 step safety blanket

Can you relate? You have some sort of step tracker that you wear. Whether it is a pedometer or it is built into your watch. Every day you need to meet “X” amount of steps. For this purpose let’s say it is 10,000. Do you ever get frustrated if you don"t meet the required 10,000 steps for that day? If you are close do you go for a walk around the block or jog around the house until you meet that number?

I do all of the above if I don"t meet my steps (which is 10,000). It is rare that I don’t make it because I will jog around the house until my watch buzzes and shows fireworks congratulating me on my job well done that I have completed my step count. While this gives me a sense of happiness and gratification. It also makes me anxious. Those 10,000 steps have control over me and If I don’t make those steps I feel like a failure.

I find it funny that I rely on those steps because I usually workout 2 hours a day and it is mostly weight lifting that burns more calories throughout the day than doing cardio. You would think that would be enough but I still feel the need to meet those 10,000 steps.

I had a similar issue when I was counting macros (protein, fat, carbs). I was given a set of numbers had to meet everyday and if I didn’t fulfill those numbers (especially if I went over) I would feel like a failure. I became obsessed over everything I ate. Eventually, I was able to get over my macro number addiction and just eat the way my body needed to be fed. When I just listened to what my body wanted, it not only became freeing but I lost two pounds of body fat.

If I was able to kick my macro counting habit, would I be able to let go of my obsession with the numbers on my watch that told me how many steps I needed to walk a day to feel like I wasn't a failure. I am not going to lie the idea scares me, because for me it has become a safety blanket. While there is nothing wrong with a safety blanket sometimes we need to put them aside to get past our demons and realize things aren’t that bad. Well that is what I am telling myself.

I am currently in the process of changing my workout routine. It is good to do every once in awhile to keep things fresh and also so the body doesn’t plateau easily. I am going from a decent mix of cardio and weight lifting to primarily just weight lifting. I am looking to put more muscle on my body. I will still have cardio, just not as much. In addition I will also be cutting back on my carbs and eating more protein.

I am going to try and use the changes in my workout routine to slowly wean myself off the counting steps. Just writing that is making my skin crawl, but I need to give up this safety blanket. Mostly because the number 10,000 has a control over me. I shouldn’t look to it to gauge how active I have been. I know how active I am being simply by how my body feels. I need to set myself free.

I am sure there are people reading this thinking that I am crazy for letting the step and macro numbers control me. But you need to understand that I had a low self esteem for a long time and I looked to anything that would make me feel good about myself. And hitting those numbers made me feel good.

Now that my self esteem is ten times better than it used to be I don’t need those numbers to feel good about myself. I can be happy with lifting for 2 hours a day and leave it at that. And if I feel I need a little extra I will still jog around my house. I will write a follow up blog to this one in a few months so I can let you know how I am doing and if I got rid of my 10,000 step safety blanket.