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Is walking good for weight loss?

What is the foundational thought behind weight loss? ‘Calories in, calories out,’ right? So that means eating less and cutting back on portion sizes and snacking, so you are consuming fewer calories and then expending more calories by exercising. You eat less, move more, you create a calorie deficit. 

Let’s look at an example.

You reduce your caloric intake by 300 calories a day.

You walk 2 miles and burn 200 calories.

You are at a 500 calorie deficit. 

Okay–so wildly over-simplified. I know there is so much more, macros, eating the right foods, but a calorie deficit is foundational.

Looking for recipes? The cookbook “Instant Loss – eat real, lose weight” has some great low-calorie recipes with clean ingredients. 

I’m proof. I started using the Noom program about the second week of May and if we look at my weight when I started and where I’m now (July 29) I’ve lost 12 pounds, so a little over a pound a week.

Noom weight tracking app

Not out of this world. Certainly not an eye-catching number like you may see out there…30 pounds lost in 2 weeks — nothing crazy like that. But real sustainable weight loss from walking every day, okay close to every day and cutting back on calories consumed.

My Health app tells the true story.

MyHealth Apple app
My Health Apple App
My Health Apple App

Imagine if I walked every day and didn’t slip up on my food choices here and there, then I’d be closer to two pounds down a week. 

I can’t overstate enough the importance of eating healthy. Noom has been so helpful for me in staying accountable for what I’m putting in my body. They provide healthy recipes, like the Mediterranean Turkey Sandwich below. 

This post may contain affiliate links. I will make a small commission to help keep the lights on if you click on these links and make a purchase, at no cost to you. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Looking for other healthy recipes? Check out this Summer Zucchini Salad!

How to walk for weight loss
Walking for weight loss

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How much should I walk a day to lose a pound a week?

This depends on the calorie deficit you want to achieve and how much you are making changes with the calories you consume.

I walk just under 2 miles and aim to do so every day. For me, I burn an average of 308 calories just from my walk. The pace in which you walk, whether you run sprints, how high your heart rate is above your baseline all factor into how many calories you burn. 

Going back to our early formula. If you 

reduce your calorie intake by 300 calories 

and you 

burn 300 calories everyday

you are at a 600 calorie daily deficit, which is a 4,200 calorie deficit a week. 

To lose one pound per week, you need to reach a total calorie deficit of about 3500 calories per week or 500 calories per day, so a mile to two a day should allow you to lose one pound a week, combined with skipping that glass of soda and bag of popcorn.

Are 10,000 steps a day really necessary to lose weight?

I think you would have to be living under a rock to not hear the guidance of 10,000 steps a day. Perhaps this has stuck with us due to our fondness of numbers, 5 ways to lose fat, 10 books you must read. We love numbers! 

But how much weight does this hold?

A study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that those that take 4,400 steps a day were at 41% lower risk of dying than those in the same age range that took 2,500 steps or fewer. 

The moral of the story my friends is not that we should not walk 10,000 steps a day, but that movement, in general, is good, achieving a calorie deficit is good. Sometimes trying to live up to an expectation that seems overwhelming or unachievable can stop us dead in our tracks. If you can walk 3,000 steps, then walk those 3,000 steps, because it’s better than none.

What should my walking pace be to lose weight?

Faster than a turtle, slower than a rabbit. Okay — maybe way faster than a turtle, but I liked how it sounded in my head.

You want to get your heart rate 60-70% higher than your baseline. I always aim to ensure my average heart rate is at least 70% above my baseline. So if your baseline is usually 65 you want your average to be at 110. My average ranges from 120 to 150. 

If you can it’s recommended that you warm-up for 10 minutes. Do your Good Mornings while you are swishing around your mouthwash or do a few stretches before you set out for your walk. You want to warm up your muscles and increase your blood flow.

Vary your speed. Researchers have found that changing up your pace can burn 20 percent more calories vs. you staying at a steady pace. Add in some sprints or decrease your pace and speed back up to a faster pace. Try to change up your route as well, it will help you from getting bored and it will naturally change your pace. You will go faster downhill and slow as you go uphill. 

You can also use this tool to get a sense of calories burned with different pacing or difficulty. 

At my current weight, walking slowly for 30 minutes would burn 46 calories – walking fast burns 299. A big difference for a little bit of an increased pace. 

Everyone is different. Push yourself, but don’t overdo it and always connect with your doctor or health coach to talk through new workout regimens. I’ve learned that I cannot spike my heartbeat up too quickly. Since I have a low resting heartbeat it’s important that I don’t go into high gear too quickly, warming up is important for me.

Will only walking help me lose weight? 

No. Walking is not magic, it’s not a silver bullet.

If you walk for 30 minutes everyday and burn 300 calories a day and eat the same as you have been, you will likely not see a difference. This won’t meet the 3500 calorie deficit needed to lose weight. 

It’s important to commit to lifestyle changes that are sustainable. Eating healthy and clean, keeping track of portion size, and consistently being active.

Try to get in supplementary exercises during the day in addition to your walking. You could also switch days. One day you could do strength training and the next day cardio.

My bathroom workouts

This is going to sound silly to some, but lately I’ve have found moments of no activity and have put them to use. I do triceps dips, pushups, bicep curls sans weights, and Good Mornings before I leave the bathroom from my morning shower.

On the days I wash my hair (every other day typically) I will do twenty bicep curls sans weights while I let my conditioner set in, then twenty Good Mornings when I’m towel drying my hair (every time I bend I scrunch my hair with my towel). I do 20 tricep dips using my bathroom sink while I’m swishing around my mouth wash and 20 push-ups on the sink while I’m letting my serum dry.

On days I don’t wash my hair I use my charcoal mask (which is amazing) and since that takes 10 minutes to dry and 5 minutes for my cleansing balm to melt it away, I do 2 additional reps of both the sink push-ups and tricep dips. 

You read that right. I use my bathroom sink for my morning workouts. I decided to look this up while writing this post to see if I could point you to something demonstrating this and I was super stoked to find out this is an acutal thing. I did not invent sink tricep dips ?? Sink or counter-top push-ups are also a thing. 

If you want to see other ways you can burn calories and how many calories you will burn check out resources here and here

The moral of the story here is not that you have to use your bathroom sink. I mean it could be your kitchen sink when cooking dinner or your desk while on a call where it’s not critical for you to take notes. The intention is to find empty space and put it to use working towards your goals. Because you matter!

Also, consider ways to up your walking game. Find ways to push yourself. 

Two ways I’ve done this:

Use ankle weights. I just purchased 2lb ankle weights. They had excellent reviews and it’s helping me burn more calories and build more muscle tone. Warning, 2lbs is heavier than you think and you will feel like you are walking on clouds when you take them off. True story ?

Run short sprints in between your periods of walking. I will usually pick a street and commit to at least running the length of the street until I hit an intersection. If I can push beyond the intersection then great, but if I can’t I know I pushed myself beyond just walking. My heart rate typically jumps up to about 170 and it increases my overall average walking heart rate.  

When is the best time to walk to lose weight?

Believe it or not, there is a better time to walk if you are wanting to lose weight.

Since your body is already in a calorie deficit when you wake up, walking will ignite your body’s fat-burning ability and it will utilize your body fat as an energy source. 

Not to mention the sun is good for us in many ways. In the warmer months I feel so much better after my morning walks.

If that wasn’t enough reason, there is also research that shows that those who walk in the morning get a better night’s rest. Who doesn’t need a better night’s rest? As I sit here at 1:05 a.m. typing this ??‍♀️

How to find motivation to walk every day for weight loss
How to find your motivation

How do you find the motivation to walk every day?

There are many things about Noom that I love. I love most that it has psychology-oriented tasks and lessons that help change the way you think about weight loss. 

A few them are where I find motivation and you can to:

Affirm that you are capable and committed.  

I struggle with self-worth y’all, like true self-worth. All connected back to my childhood journey. This manifests itself in ways that impede me from taking action when I don’t see immediate results. So walking and cutting calories. These are lifestyle changes and it will take time and persistence to see true results. Sometimes I have bad days and feel like I’m failing, that I’m not seeing the results I hoped for. Affirmations–reminding myself of what my goals are and that I’m capable is important for me.

Write your own affirmation(s) that hit on where you want to be and how you are going to accomplish your goals. One of mine that I repeat on days when I’m feeling lackluster about life is:

I’m focused, I’m strong. I can meet my goals

Noom recommends you say it every morning. I don’t say mine every morning, but I do give myself pep talks when I need the extra motivation and it works!

Do you need help coming up with affirmations? Amazon has all kinds of affirmation card sets you can get to help out.

Pair your walking with something you love

What do you love to do? Listen to music? Learn another language? Talk with friends? 

Combine whatever it is with your walking. On most mornings I have a walking buddy and we talk. It’s therapeutic and mentally helpful, especially in these times. When I’m not talking to my walking buddy I listen to music. 

This goes for any healthy habit you want to form. 

Missed your walk one day, two days? That’s okay!

If I had a penny for every time I’ve fallen off track because I’m an extremist and struggle with all or nothing thinking. I’d miss a walk or two walks or eat crappy for a full day. Just the other night I must have had 20 + sweethearts and a handful of gummy nerds. Gummy nerds are so good by the way — is it bad I’m sharing a link to gummy nerds in a walking to lose weight post?

Anyway, this typically would have stopped me in my tracks. A slight misstep like this can be incredibly demotivating.

It’s important to let it go and keep moving forward. Repeat your affirmations. You will regret not letting go of your missteps. I’m sure you’ve been there before and wished you would have stuck it out.

Celebrate the wins – a reward system for reaching your goals

Another thing the Noom app teaches you is that rewards equal positive reinforcement. 

Rewards could be small, medium, or large. Some ideas for rewards could be:

✳️ A day at the spa

✳️ A full day to yourself. No interruptions, no responsibility. Just you focusing on you.

✳️ A massage

✳️ Beauty products. Part of feeling confident for me is doing my makeup and hair – even when there is nowhere to go.

✳️ A meal subscription service or ordering out your favorite meal

Want to keep a reminder of where you are going and see when you are about to hit your next reward? Consider creating a progress board. I have one planned with a picture of me at the start and a picture of what I use to look like when I was 40 pounds lighter. Every 5 pounds I plan to map out a reward for myself. In the interim my reward has been subscription clothes boxes. FabFitFun Style Box and a Stitch Fix box. 

You can see the confidence losing just 12 pounds has given me. How much thinner my face is. Y’all the work is worth the reward in so many more ways than just lost inches and pounds.

Me before I started walking
March
Me after I started walking
July
me before I started walking
April

Form your walking habit

In Noom they also talk about keystone habits. Keystone habits are those habits that are necessary for other things to fall into place, for you to be successful. 

They describe meal prepping as a keystone habit – which I’m still working on. Any tips are appreciated?

Walking every morning is my keystone habit. It is needed for everything else to fall into place. I feel more energy, I feel accomplished and positive and I make better choices throughout the day. It creates a positive chain reaction.

What are you waiting for? Get to walking.

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26 Comments

    1. That is so amazing! Are you kidding me!? I think you could teach me. I’m inspired – such a huge accomplishment. It’s pouring outside this morning, so I cycled and did floor exercises instead. It reminded me of why I love walking so much ? Thank you!

  1. I have heard so much about Noom diet program but never read about it. Sound like a genuine program not something that is quick fix. I like slow and steady weight loss without starving myself to death. Pound a week is not bad atall. Will certainly look into this diet program. Th am you for sharing your experience.

    1. Yes! I’ve done Weight Watchers on and off and also Lady Boss before my 5th and last baby. I had good result with Lady Boss as well. Noom really gets at the thought process and psychology of losing weight while give you the tools and approaches to put it into action. You can also contact me here if you have any questions. I would be happy to share more.

    1. Thank you! Yes, that would be awesome if all 1.9M people that were overweight found this post and it was helpful. That would make my day or actually my year ? I find that walking has been so good for my mental health too. I feel like I take on the day in so much more of a positive way when I’ve walked.

    1. Yes, you can! It’s taken me a long time to get there, but I’m big fan too. I’m going to my first Orange Theory class tomorrow morning, but I’m scheduling them early so that I can still take my daily walk before work starts.

  2. This is amazing! I’ve been trying to walk a lot more lately and want to shed some pounds! Having baby #2 has weakened my pelvic floor and cant really do a lot of high intensity workouts I love! I just do pelvic floor exercises and yoga or pillates. Walking with my kiddoes has been my go to lately!

    1. I totally understand. I have 5 kids and I too have that problem. My youngest is 2. I need to look up some good pelvic floor exercises. Let me know if you have any you’d recommend? A while back I got a kegel weight exercise system. I haven’t used it in some time, but have been thinking about starting to use the weights to do daily exercises.

  3. I love walking, agree too with changing lifestyle 🙂 Your article is very informative. I always thought it should be 10k steps a day thanks for the insights.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I remember seeing something come out on CNN a couple of months ago and researched it more for this post. I feel like those types of requirements or expectations hold us back at times. We feel like if we can’t get in 10K steps a day than it’s not worth it. It must have started as a marketing piece I would guess.

    1. Thank you! ☺️ So I looked at Noom quite a few times before I took the leap. A year ago, two years ago I felt like it was too much. Now, I look at things differently and my health is worth the investment and I pull from other places. I did the annual subscription and I’m not sure that is necessary – I feel like I would have gotten all of the foundational elements in 6-months. I didn’t really use the coaches much or the group within the app. Though they are there and I’m sure helpful for many. What was/is most meaningful for me is the lessons they teach you and the behaviors or steps they ask you to take. It changed the way I thought about weight loss, exercise, eating, and really extended to other areas of my life. It was foundational for me. I paid $160 for a year – that’s $13 a month. I did use a discount code I believe and received a discount because I signed up for a year. There is a Facebook group too. It’s not run by Noom, but that group is super inspiring and there are so many amazing success stories. This is the group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/316063085812799) they may let you join without being a member of Noom so you can see some of the success others have had. Also, the link in this blog post should get you a 14-day trial, plus 20% off if you decide to stay on. Happy to chat anytime ?

  4. Awesome post! Thank you for sharing. Walking really does help when done consistently. It has helped me maintain weight loss and I love how I feel after a good walk!!

  5. You have fitness ingenuity, good for you in finding new ways to get active. Admittedly I did laugh a little imagining doing curls in the bathroom but whatever works right?!? If nothing else that is incredible time management! Great post, and your website is beautiful. Best of luck to you!

    1. It is somewhat comical. So I recorded myself doing my bathroom workouts. i thought about posting here, but decided to share in my group first (which has 60 some people) vs. publically on my blog ? Thank you for the compliment ?

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