I finished my Stepbet – a 6-week walking challenge that involved betting $40 on my ability to walk a specific number of steps (which varies by person depending on baseline walking habits) over a 6-week period. For me that number was an average of about 8,000 steps per day (7415 steps on “active” days and 9441 steps on “stretch” days), with one rest day. The money you bet is pooled with about 700 other people doing the same thing. The purpose of this is to gain incentive to move more. After betting the $40 I had to complete the 6 days of walking with my fitbit syncing to their system as evidence, or lose the money. Those who complete all of the walking during the challenge split the pot (after Stepbet takes their cut).
So I successfully completed my Stepbet challenge, which ended Sunday. Got my $40 back plus $7.92. Considering I spent about $5 on batteries for my fitbit, it was a wash financially. I’m glad I did it though because it helped me stick to a walking program and see what that could do for me.
And what did it do for me?
My weight is lower now than it was when I started the walking program, but it became a struggle over the last few weeks:
I found that overall my appetite increased from walking. I had a hard time some days managing this – I would walk 10,000 steps in a day and not plan adequately for the increase in appetite, and not bring enough food with me to work, and then be ravenous when I got home, and then overeat…this didn’t happen all the time, but enough that it destabilized my weight loss. I can’t completely blame the stepping – the cravings and shifts in appetite might also be the result of just being on a lower-calorie low-fat diet for several months. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next month, without the walking program.
The other thing I was hoping would improve from walking was my blood sugar numbers:
That didn’t improve. Just stayed about the same over the 6 weeks.
I did gain a new appreciation for walking as a stress-relieving activity though. I used to dislike walking because of the sausage-fingers factor, where blood pools in your fingers due to arm-swinging centrifugal force. I found during my Stepbet that that doesn’t really happen if I was just walking at a normal pace. After all, Stepbet rewarded me for total number of steps per day – not for getting my heart rate up or covering massive distance. So I learned to shorten my stride a little and walk at a pace that wasn’t very strenuous. Much more enjoyable than previous walking programs where I was out there pounding the pavement with great intention and exertion.
So overall a victory. Information is power. I’m going to take a break from the walking though.