Fit Five Friday – Is it all in the numbers?
Welcome to the Fit Five Friday
This week I was thinking about so many things that all have numbers involved. Last week I talked about numbers as well; my steps, my macros, etc. Then I started to wonder, where did all these numbers come from. Interesting how some things just kind of started without any scientific backup.
10,000 steps per day
I’ve been striving for 10K steps per day for many years, in fact, since I got my very first Fitbit in January 2013 (what?? 8 years ago!). While it wasn’t always a regular goal I do think it’s always been in the back of my mind. But, is there any science behind it?
According to several articles online, there’s not a lot of super-science behind it. This “goal” originated in Japan before the Tokyo Olympic Games of 1964 as a way to get the average Japanese person moving more. They marketed and sold a “manpo-kei” to the general population and a trend was born.
So do you need 10,000 steps per day? Well, it seems you do and you don’t. Here’s the thing; if you are not very active then 10K can seem like a lot. Maybe even unreachable. My personal opinion is, figure out what you actually do per day and then strive to expand on that. A more realistic goal for sedentary people could be 5000. And once you are able to hit that for a while you can always adjust. If it feels like work and it’s not bringing you joy, then adjust the daily steps goal to be more realistic for you.
1200 calories a day (for women) to lose weight
OK so I admit I am not a nutritionist or scientist but who came up with this utter bullshit anyway?? It’s January and everyone in the world has now started their diets again; I read all over message boards that their weight loss program is 1200 calories per day and I’m like … what???
First of all, this number is a total farce. It’s a lie. Whatever you’ve read in magazines that tell us how to look, feel and basically what society expects of us is a lie. 1200 calories is very low, you probably need even more than this just to lay around in bed all day.
It’s upsetting (ok, dramatic) that MyFitnessPal generally tells all women who want unrealistic weight loss (2lbs per week) that they should eat 1200 calories a day. This is diet culture, my friends. This is how you stay in the vicious cycle. This is why people scream and yell about “diets not working” in the long run. Well, of course if you starve yourself, you’re going to feel like diets don’t work! All diets pretty much “work”, but are they sustainable? A ha… the answer, in my opinion is no.
A better way to calculate what you should consume to lose weight would be to look at the total package, by using a TDEE calculator. You may find that 1700 calories per day is better for YOUR weight loss. Everyone is different. If you cut calories AND you exercise, you may also need to eat more to lose weight. It’s confusing, I know and takes time to figure out. Most people are not willing to invest the time though.
This article is already a couple of years old but I couldn’t agree MORE. 1200 calories is a sad, sad existence and not even meant for anyone over the age of 3.
Did you know that the Body Mass Index has been used over 100 years to calculate whether a person was overweight or not. Let me repeat that – OVER 100 YEARS yet medical professionals are still using this calculation to determine if we are healthy or not!
Personally I find this insane – so much has changed in the last 100 years and so much more knowledge has been gained regarding the human body. So WHY are they still using it?
There are other ways to measure if you are healthy – waist circumference, waist to height, measuring your actual body fat, muscle to fat ratio; in other words, BMI isn’t everything.
If you want MORE info about your body, you could go with a scale like the Nokia Withings Scale (not sponsored) for a different picture. But take it all with a grain of salt. How do you actually feel? Are you doing what you can each day to be healthy and fit? Do you practice “all things in moderation”? Then you are probably fine.
21 Days to make a Habit
Another “magic number”? Back in the day when I used to smoke cigarettes (I know! can you believe it? I’m already 11 years cancer-stick free) I remember someone told me that I only needed 21 days smoke-free and I was in the clear. Reality was a lot longer but I know psychologically once I hit 3 weeks that felt pretty good and made me want to continue.
Whether scientifically backed or not, it’s not the worst idea ever to give yourself a goal of doing something (or NOT doing something) for a certain period of time in order to make or break a habit. This article suggests with some scientific backups that it takes more like 2 months (66 Days). Some people just want to get through one day and then move on to the next and that’s ok too. Don’t overwhelm yourself and don’t sweat it if you need more than 21 days.
For me personally, making or breaking a habit and tracking it with an app like streaks really motivates me. For example, I *never* thought I could pre-plan my meals, not even one meal, daily until I actually gave it a go. As of today I’ve done it 43 days in a row (more than 3 weeks *wink*).
A “good” 5K is run in 25 min or less
Rubbish! A good 5KM run is the one you ran in the time you ran it. Need I say more?
I belong to a few running groups on Facebook and I see this constantly – runners who 1) won’t even call themselves runners and 2) who run/jog/walk/shuffle a 5KM in more than 30 minutes who feel bad about their pace.
Just don’t. Let’s celebrate all runners of all sizes, all ages and all paces who get out there and give it a go. And if you are one of those runners who think you are too slow please just let it go… unless you are striving to be a professional athlete, then I really wouldn’t worry about it. We are not all destined for Boston or the Olympics.
I have struggled with this concept for so long, SO MANY YEARS, and frankly, I’m over it. I’d rather be able to get out there and do my thing than be plagued with injuries or mental anguish over what I should be doing rather than what I am doing. (I once had a therapist who told me “The ‘shoulds’ in life are worse than the shits”. I remind myself of this constantly)
What do you think? Are there any “numbers” theories out there that you subscribe to?
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