So as I write this blog post, I am a couple of days into my sponsored step challenge for Diabetes UK. Over the next 3 months, I will be walking a combined 1,700,000 steps in order to raise money for the charity. Which is approximately 18,000 steps a day. And 1,125 steps an hour (assuming I get 8 hours sleep a night and don't start sleep walking). Roughly, 7.6 miles a day or 55 miles a week. There, I have mathed. And to be honest, I am a little worried about those numbers.
Relatively speaking, that's not an awful lot of steps. But it does feel super daunting. I am, by nature, not an active person. I wouldn't say I am 'lazy'- I like to stay busy. But busy with things like gluing shoe clips together, crocheting, baking and making up daft songs about my child, dog or cat (which ever is nearest or has done something song-worthy most recently. None of them are every impressed and my talents remain wasted). I do not do sports, I do not run marathons and a Zumba class once made me cry. But I do find myself in a situation now where I do need to make lifestyle changes, which unfortunately includes becoming more active.
I decided to sign up for the sponsored walk on a whim after seeing it come up on a Facebook ad. Initially, I was going to sign up for the 1,000,000 step walk but at the time, I was managing 10,000 steps a day anyway so it didn't feel like enough of a challenge (not sure how I'm feeling about that decision now- ask me in three months, I guess). It's the first sponsored anything I've ever signed up for and I did it for a few reasons. First, it's certainly a worthwhile charity to support- diabetes is one of the biggest health crises facing the UK with 4.2 millions diabetics in the UK alone. A number which is on the increase. The more research that can be done into diabetes and the more support there is available for those with a diagnosis or who are at risk, the more normal a life those with diabetes can lead and the less pressure there will be on the NHS in the future.
I myself am type 2 diabetic and that brings me on nicely to my next reason for signing up for the sponsored walk. I know that my best bet get my blood sugar under control and to prevent long term complications from diabetes is to lose weight. I have been trying to lose weight for most of my late teens and adult life, long before I was diabetic. In doing so, I have followed a pattern all too familiar with a lot of people, women in particular. Bursts of determination and energy where I've tracked my (far too low) calories and ignored that knot in the pit of my stomach to drag myself to the gym every day, followed by a weekend of junk food and then the inevitable feelings of guilt and failure. Rinse and repeat for 12 years and here we are. I am sick of it. I want to love my body or at least feel I can accept it as it is, wobbly bits and all. I love the idea of body positivity but I find this almost impossible for myself while I'm also actively working to change it. When I see myself in the mirrors at the gym, all I can see are the bits of me I want to change. I'm hoping that taking up walking will improve my relationship with weight-loss. Yes, I still need to lose weight, but perhaps if I find a way of being active where weight-loss just ends up being a happy side effect, I can improve my relationship with my body. We are very lucky to live near lots of beautiful country walks, as well as the sea side, so I have lots of interesting places to wander. Plus, my son will be starting nursery in September, so it'll be great to have some extra encouragement to find some new adventures to go on with him. Yes, there will definitely be days where most of my 18,000 steps are walked in the living room (we need a new carpet in there anyway), but also lots of new places to explore.
So yeah... while I am nervous about the next 3 months, I am also excited about what it's going to bring. I get to raise money for a worthy charity, have daily adventures with my amazingly quirky son (and whichever toy dinosaur comes with us that day) and hopefully take some steps forward on my journey with body positivity.