Stepping Up To The Plate

I am step-obsessed.

It all started when I got a new cell phone a few months after moving to Florida.  My cell phone was almost five years old, which is apparently unheard of in the modern world.  I never replaced the phone for two main reasons:

a)    I understood my phone and didn’t want to learn how to operate a new one.

b)    It was pink and I love pink.

Right after we moved, the old cell phone revolted.  I could hear the other person, but they often could not hear me.  I would have to traverse the outer limits of the front yard to try to find a small cell phone sweet spot.  Then, I would have to stand very still and scream into the phone to be heard.   It was incredibly annoying and drove me to tears of frustration more than once, especially before we had the land line installed.  You try calling the electric company to figure out why the power was not on in the house (despite said electric company’s insistence that it was) when they can only hear about every fourth word you say.  I’m sure I’m not the only one reduced to tears by the experience.

Because the problem occurred right after we moved, I blamed Florida for the reception of my cell company in our new area.  Since Max was getting decent reception and could be heard just fine with his cheapy prepaid cell phone, I realized I was paying a premium for not being heard on my considerably more expensive smart phone.  I decided I had to either go visit the cell phone company or become a hermit and cease contacting the outside world.

When I went to the phone company office, they explained to me that a five-year-old cell phone is basically a paperweight with a keypad.  Apparently, after some random period of time, the battery actually fails to charge.  The battery icon on the phone will look charged, but it doesn’t ever actually hold a charge.  The result is that you are always trying to make calls with a battery that is the rough equivalent of a phone you have after being lost in the woods for a few days.  Who knew?  Those of you who knew that cell phone batteries basically stop working after a couple of years, despite all appearances to the contrary, raise your hands.  So it is just me that didn’t know?  Okay, I can live with that, but why do they even have a little battery icon that looks charged if it is going to lie like a rug?

At any rate, I ended up buying a new cell phone and the kind man at the store made it work all nice and easy.  I immediately noticed how much better the new phone was.  Besides the fact that people could, you know, HEAR me when I called them, I now actually had great internet access.  I could easily and quickly connect to websites (don’t even get me started on the day I tried to buy Sea World tickets on the old phone as we stood outside the park- I ended up paying $50 more for the tickets than I had to because the stupid phone would not stay connected long enough for me to put in a credit card).  Email was fast and I could forward pictures by text or email without having to take a nap while I waited for them to send. I could check IMBD whenever I was at a movie or watching a tv show to figure out just where I had seen that familiar-looking guy before.  Any time anyone asked a random question, I pulled out my phone and googled.  I’ve always laughed at friends who seem addicted to their phones, but I was beginning to understand the appeal.

Then, I discovered apps.  To be honest, I had access to apps on my old phone.  I just never really figured out what my password was or how to add apps.  Now, with the nice man in the phone company office to help me, I was off to the races.  That is where the step obsession started.  It all started with a pedometer app. 

I’ve tried pedometers before without much success.  I’ve either forgotten to wear them or they looked ugly or they didn’t seem to monitor the steps correctly.  I’d seen commercials for the new breed of electronic pedometers, but they were fairly pricey and I wasn’t convinced that either the pedometer or I would work consistently enough to merit the cost.  I thought that perhaps the pedometer app, which was free, was worth a try. 

I’ve read that a good goal for walking is 10,000 steps per day.  When I first started using the pedometer app, I was somewhat demoralized to discover that a good day for me was about 2,000 steps.  Fortunately, before quitting in despair, I saw an article on the internet that said most people think they walk far more than they actually do.  It turns out that 2,000 steps are pretty typical for someone who isn’t necessarily trying to hit a particular goal.  I started working purposefully each day to increase my steps.  I began hitting the 10,000 fairly regularly quite soon.  After a few weeks of that, I read that the 10,000 step goal wasn’t exactly the gold standard of walking.  Because different people have different strides, 10,000 steps isn’t really any actual measure of anything.  I found that many articles recommended 5 miles a day as the goal, as opposed to 10,000 steps. 

Now, for many people, the 10,000 steps and the 5 miles are pretty much the same thing.  I, however, have very short legs and walk mostly inside the house in front of the television set (which necessitates shorter steps than walking over a long, uninterrupted stretch of road unless I wish to bump into walls and furniture).  For me 5 miles is usually around 11,000 steps.  What a rip-off.  Here I had been walking 10,000 steps a day in good faith for weeks, but was still a fitness failure!  I did not lose heart, though.  I increased my goal to 5 miles a day and found myself successful with little extra effort.  In fact, there were days when I was walking much more.  When we were on vacation, it was not unusual for me to walk 7-10 miles a day. 

Another really interesting thing about the pedometer app is that it measures the number of flights of stairs I climb in addition to the steps.  I don’t climb a lot of stairs.  After all, I live in a one-story house and Florida is the flattest state in the union.  I wasn’t even aware of the stair climber feature until one day, after walking around a mall for a little while, I noticed that the pedometer was showing that I had climbed a staircase.  I was shocked and suspicious.  HOW DID IT KNOW?!!!  I didn’t even remember any stairs until I carefully reviewed my actions during the day.  Although I had not ascended any significant flight of stairs, I had been up and down a few steps numerous times on my walk.  That was just freaky.

I began carrying my phone with me everywhere.  I didn’t get out of the car at the mailbox without clutching it to me, so that the few steps I had to travel to get the mail would be captured.  When I go from the front of the house to the back to go to the bathroom, the phone comes along.  I get really annoyed when I realized I have been doing housework without the phone in my pocket or stuffed in my bra.  At one meeting of the book club, I couldn’t find my phone and got panicky because I must have walked at least 50 steps without it.  I was distracted through the whole meeting.  The other day, I almost cooked my phone when it came loose from its hiding place next to my bosom while I was taking a turkey out of the oven.

People laugh at my obsession with counting the steps.  However, it is working.  After a month or so of compulsive stepping, I began to notice that my clothes were getting too big.  At first, I thought it was my imagination, but when I could feel my shorts slipping down below my hips on a regular basis, I knew it was really happening.  When I had to hitch up almost everything I wore every time I moved, I knew I was on to something.  I had not consciously changed my diet or anything, but I was definitely losing weight.  In all, I’ve lost about 30 pounds since I became step obsessed.

After a few months on my 5-mile-a-day plan, I decided to up the ante. I confess my motivation for doing so was less than pure.  Right around the same time Starbuck’s started selling their seasonal gingerbread for the holidays, I decided I had better walk more.  I decided that my new goal would be to walk over 5 miles every day and to average at least 6 miles a day on a weekly basis.  I’ve been managing an average of about 6.5 miles a day.

Now the holidays are over and more than one or two pieces of gingerbread have found their way into my tummy, but I haven’t gained any weight and my clothes actually feel a bit looser than they did in November.  It must have been a step in time.

Have you ever “stepped up to the plate” with some activity and set a goal?  Did you become compulsive about whatever the activity was?  What was the result?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at 

Have a great day!

Terri 🙂

8 thoughts on “Stepping Up To The Plate”

  1. Thanks for a very interesting blog….I still have the folding phone, although my kids updated it to help me keep in touch with people better. I still have problems when they leave messages and I have to figure out how to respond or not….I have lots of issues with electronics sp am much slower than you in understanding cell phones.

    Now to how to lose weight, I am on quite a diet by not eating breads of any sort, no milk products, no sweets, no soda pop or diet drinks, and no grains. I say I cannot eat foods!!! I go to a natural doctor so she keeps up on what I am doing. So I guess I am obsessed with foods for the time being. Or lack of foods, as it seems. I can eat all the eggs, meats, and vegetables I want.

    This will be a short response, since I am on a program where I do in home aerobics as well, and must get busy doing that. Your blogs are so interesting and since we are at an elevation of just below 5,000 feet, maybe I am walking steps and don’t know it! Ha ha also the temp is 5 degrees this morning! And a snow storm is due today of possibly up to a foot of snow or more!!


    1. Wow, Lois! That is dedication. I’m not sure if the pedometer would count more steps or stairs in your high altitude, but I know you must work harder for those 10,000 steps a day!

  2. what pedometer app do you use? i’d love to try it. last year I did the Map My Walk app; which I set up when I do a “real walk” – with the dog, thru the park, on the beach. I haven’t done an app that just “watches me all day” although I contemplated getting a fitBit. Map My walk was fun – it told me my regular park walk on Mondays is a 4.38 loop (with hills, but it doesn’t know that)! And my normal afternoon dog walk in Florida is 1.25 miles. I’m guessing however, my regular days are close to the 2000 steps right now. P.S. I didn’t know that about cell phone battery either…my smartphone is 5 years old… and yeah it’s pink too.

    1. That battery thing is really annoying!

      I use Pedometer++ from the App Store on my iPhone. It is free, but there is a virtual “tip jar” that let’s you pay the developers what you feel is appropriate. You don’t have to pay anything, but I’ve found the app so helpful, I’ve tossed in a few bucks every now and then. Over time, I’m sure I’ve contributed more than they would have asked if they were selling the app.

      The Map My Walk sounds fun, too. One of the first fun facts I learned with my pedometer app is that it is just a mile from my house to the mailbox at our community center. I don’t know why, but I just like knowing that! Your walk on Mondays sounds great!

  3. Ok I’ve been contemplating what my New Year’s weight loss plan would be, so maybe I’ll try the step counting thing!! How do we count our pool steps? We’ll have to work on this together!

    1. It is just not right that the pedometer app doesn’t count those pool steps. That really messes with my step obsessed head! I guess, short of strapping my phone to my waist like a fanny pack and submerging it in water, I’m just going to have to live with the agony of the unknown. Come to think of it, even if I did wear the phone in the pool, it probably would stop counting the steps- anywhere, wet or dry- within just a few minutes!😉

      1. I use the Health App, which came on my iPhone. It will count steps and you can also keep track of other things. The other advantage, activity-wise, is that you can select and add in things such as bicycling. I think you could probably record your water steps there and it would also bring in the steps from the other pedometer app to give you a picture of overall activity. There’s a bunch of stuff you can do with it. I’m going to try and be more mindful to have it with me. If I don’t have a pocket or I’m not dressed, I don’t usually carry it with me. It was good to hear how creative you’ve been in carrying it with you 🙂

        1. Well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!😀 Thanks for the tip, Chris! Welcome. It is good to have you with us!

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