If it's good enough for Stephen Fry… (The Diet, Day 29)

I spent some time on the treadmill today listening to Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About the Bike (co-authored by Sally Jenkins who has visited my school a couple of times). I thought it was a great treadmill book. It’s sportsy and motivational. You would feel like a real dog for getting off the treadmill too soon while listening to a book about a guy who had cancer and got back on his bike.

Recently, I’ve listened to other books I considered perfect treadmill books: Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, for example.

I got off the treadmill thinking I needed to find more books like that. Motivating books about physical challenges. Interesting enough to hold my attention. Not so deep that I forget to walk and listen at the same time or that I counteract all of the stress relief the treadmill can give me.

I googled “best audio books for treadmill” or something like that. I didn’t find any good suggestions for books, but I did find this article claiming that Stephen Fry credits audio books for helping him lose 80 lbs. He too used them to keep him on the treadmill.

The Step and Read Plan. I like it.

I especially like it because I only lost 1.5 lbs this week doing the Phase 1 of South Beach that claims people typically lose 4-6 lbs. I must not be doing it right, or it must not be doing me right. One or the other.

I’m sticking it out one more week to complete the full two weeks of the plan, though, because I just want to be able to say I stuck it out.

Meanwhile I’ve been reading about step counting as a diet plan. Remember, Mississippi, when Haley Barbour went around handing out pedometers and challenging people to walk 10,000 steps per day? There’s a whole official movement around this idea, it seems. Though there appears to be no real evidence that 10,000 is the be-all end-all magic number for everyone, it sounds good to say you walked 10,000 steps in a day.

I wore a pedometer today all day, and I walked a little over 10,000 steps. This came out to 8.45 kilometers or 5.2 miles, according to the pedometer.

I had to really work for it. I walked thirty minutes with Patricia in the morning before work and thirty minutes with Tammy during lunch. Then I walked 45 minutes on the treadmill after I came home.

I have to put that much time into deliberate exercise to work up to what “they” say is the minimal amount you should do just be a normal human being because in between the pre-work walk and the post-work walk, I sit at a desk. That’s all I do. I sit there.

The point of counting steps is not to force people into spending two hours a day on a treadmill. It’s to make them more aware of the number of steps they are taking throughout the day. Small changes like taking the stairs and walking to lunch and going to a bathroom on the other side of the building should accumulate through the day to help boost steps.

I have nowhere in particular to go inside my building, and there is a heat warning outside. I also stay busy the whole time I am sitting at my desk. I don’t really want to leave my desk.

But I need to. Spreading those 10,000 steps out through the day does more to boost metabolism (and therefore burn more calories) than working extra hard to fit them all in on the treadmill at the end of the day.

I don’t know how I will spread my steps out and keep up 10,000 a day, but I aim to try. I’m now on the South Beach Diet and the 10,000 Steps Challenge. If one diet is good, two must be great, right?

It’s not worth doing if it’s not worth overdoing. That’s what I always say.