10 Things to Stop Doing If You Want to Walk Off Weight

If you want to use walking to lose weight, you need to take several positive steps—about 10,000 positive steps per day or more. But, in addition to doing the positive, here are 10 things to stop doing.


Stop Forgetting to Check Your Pedometer


Watch Now: 5 Ways To Increase Your Daily Step Count

Use a pedometer, fitness band, or pedometer app as a reality check on how much you actually are moving throughout the day. For weight loss, first see how many steps you walk in a typical day.

Then set a goal of 2,000 more steps per day than that average number. Check your pedometer frequently during the day to stay on target and look for opportunities to get in more steps. As you are able to achieve more steps consistently, continue to increase your target goal by another 2,000 steps per day.

Keep in mind, that the 10,000 steps per day target is just a guideline. Some people (such as those who are on their feet all day for work) may notice that their starting step count is near, at, or even above 10,000. Those people should increase by 2,000 steps as needed to see a result.


Stop Finding Excuses

There are a million excuses for why you can skip your walking or exercise on any given day. If you plan to walk off weight, you must conquer those reasons why you didn't get in your walking steps. Every. Single. Day.

Here are the most common excuses to skip exercise. Keep an exercise log so you can be honest with yourself about how much exercise you actually got during the past week.


Stop Thinking You're Burning More Calories

Brisk walking is an excellent fat-burning activity. But you need a reality check about how many additional calories you are burning. An hour of brisk walking will make your body dip into its fat reserves for energy.

But it is very easy to over-replenish those calories with a post-workout snack. A typical full-size energy bar is 300 calories, or about your expected calorie burn for a one-hour walk.

Don't use your walking workouts to justify eating more calories. See the facts about how many calories you burn walking different distances.


Stop Thinking Breathing Hard Is Bad

A good brisk walking workout will result in you breathing harder than usual. That is a good sign that you are getting into the fat-burning heart rate zone.

Warm up at an easy pace. Then walk at a brisk pace for 30 to 60 minutes to get your body to burn some of the fat you want to lose.


Stop Doing the Same Workout Every Day

If your walking workouts are always on the same route, at the same pace, or with the same treadmill workout—switch it up. Fast days, easy days, interval days, long slow days—each has its own benefits. Change up your walking workouts to get your body to build muscle and burn calories.


Stop Assuming You Know How Much You Eat

To lose weight, you need to be honest with yourself about how much you really eat. The best way to do that is by recording everything you eat for several days, and looking for ways to change your eating habits. You can simply log it on paper or with a mobile app, or take photos of everything you eat with your cell phone.

Many fitness bands, such as Fitbit, include or link to a food-logging app that will also help analyze your nutrition and show your progress towards your goals. You can use this recipe analysis tool to find the calories and nutrients in your favorite recipes.


Stop Eating Like You Walked a Marathon

Walking expert Rob Sweetgall often joked that too many walkers walk for 10K and eat for a marathon. You may fall into this trap with justifying adding French fries to your lunch or having a full-fat sweetened latte after your walk.

To lose weight, even on an active day, it's best not to exceed a 1,600-calorie-per-day diet.

If you walk with a partner or walking group, you might fall into social eating habits that encourage eating too much before, during, or after your walk.

Know your basic calories-per-day metabolic rate and how many calories you burn while walking. Then reward yourself with a healthy, non-food treat such as a massage, new shoes, or tickets to a special event.


Stop Drinking Calories

How many calories are in the sodas, fruit juices, coffee drinks, and sports drinks that you drink each day? Can you get used to drinking water and black coffee instead?

You need water during walking workouts of 30 minutes or more, and you probably need electrolyte (salt) replacement if you are sweating and walking for over 60 minutes. But you don't need to drink extra calories.


Stop Avoiding Hills and Stairs

Adding bursts of intensity to your walking workout can help build your fitness and get your heart rate up. Hills and stairs are the easiest way to add these into your workout. You might even want to add a detour that specifically includes a hill climb or climbing stairs. On the treadmill, switch it up with hill intervals.


Stop Sitting Still

If you get in your walking workouts most days of the week, but you sit for most of the day at work or school, you may still have a slower metabolism and increased health risks.

Find ways to break up sitting time with bouts of standing, pacing, or walking. This is one way to get to 10,000 steps per day.

Every bit of movement and standing burns more calories than sitting still. This can add up to burning hundreds more calories per day.

A Word From Verywell

You can change your attitudes and habits to support your goals for losing excess weight and improving your fitness. At times it seems like two steps forward and one step back, but that's still one step in the right direction.

Even if the scale doesn't seem to budge, you are still reducing your health risks by being more physically active. Keep taking healthy steps and keep a positive attitude.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Yuenyongchaiwat K. Effects of 10,000 steps a day on physical and mental health in overweight participants in a community setting: a preliminary study. Braz J Phys Ther. 2016;20(4):367-73. doi:10.1590/bjpt-rbf.2014.0160

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