The #1 BEST Thing
You Can Do For Your
Health & Weight Loss
Good News! The BEST thing is also the EASIEST thing!
I often have conversations that sound something like this:
"Tara - there's a lot of things I want to work on, a lot of things I want to change, but there's so much it just feels overwhelming. Where do I start? What's the one most important thing to work on?"
Sound familiar? Have you wondered this as well?
In this episode I'm going to tell you the one thing that will make the most impact on your health and weight loss goals and the good news is, you can start RIGHT NOW! No special equipment, training, or even preparation is required. What is this magical thing?
Yep, I told you it was the easiest thing!
As humans we ALWAYS tend to seek out the complicated stuff thinking it must be better, and we overlook the simple things that can be super impactful! Walking everyday can have a positive impact on EVERY health marker including your weight. And no, I'm not talking about running, jogging, speed walking, incline walking, etc. I'm just talking about calm walking, smelling the flowers, enjoying the scenery and chatting with a friend. Tune in to hear all about the benefits of walking to your physical health, mental health, and weight loss. I know some of them will surprise you!
To encourage your walking and get some accountability, join our 30 Day Movement Challenge starting April 18th! It's totally free, plus there will be prizes! Grab your friends and register HERE!
Full transcription available at the bottom of this post
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If you struggle with yo-yo dieting then you know how hard it is to make any real lasting change. Unfortunately most women get stuck in the belief that being on a diet is the only way to lose weight and get healthy, and when they inevitably fail they’ve destroyed their self esteem, destroyed their relationship with food, and get stuck in a guilt/shame spiral that starts the whole process over again.
If you don’t understand how reprogram your mind that is sabotaging you, and reprogram your body for health, you’ll never make lasting progress.
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Welcome back to the podcast. My friends. I'm so happy you're here. Today I am going to answer the question that I probably get asked most often. And that is something along the lines of Tara, there's a lot of things I want to change. There's a lot of improvements I want to make. There's a lot of things I want to work on. But I just don't know where to start. I feel kind of overwhelmed. Where is the place I should start? What's the number one thing I could work on that would make a difference? So today, I'm going to answer that question, the number one thing that would make the biggest difference to your health to your weight loss journey to your mental health, no matter who you are, no matter what you're dealing with this one single thing is super simple, but super impactful. What is it? You ask? Is it cutting carbs? Is it going on a diet? Is it eating less? Is it getting to the gym? Is it cutting sugar? All of those are good guesses, but they're not it. It's much easier than that. So stay tuned, I'll give you all the details. Let's go.
Welcome back to the no nonsense wellness podcast, the place for women who are trying to do all the things and stay healthy, sane and actually enjoy life in the process. Hey, I'm Tara, a trained therapist, a life coach, a nutrition coach and a fitness instructor. And I'm on a mission to help you take back control of your mind, health and life. Each week, I'll be cutting through the nonsense and getting real with you. I'll bring you the insight and information you need to take control of your weight and health. Find food freedom. And finally break free from the thoughts that are sabotaging you and holding you back. You, my friend, are powerful, and the world needs you to start showing up in a bigger way. It's time to get unstuck and start moving forward. So let's pop in those earbuds, tie up those shoes, let's walk and talk.
What's the one single most impactful thing that you could do to make a huge difference to your health and weight loss goals? No matter who you are, or no matter what you're trying to do or what your goals are? What is that thing? My friends, it is walking! Yeah, I told you it was simple. It's just simply taking a walk, not jogging, not speed walking, not hiking, not walking up a hill. I'm literally just talking about taking a walk. I'm going to give you the lowdown today on why that's so impactful for your health, mental health, physical health and your weight loss goals. And I was gonna save this till the end. But I'm really excited about it as I'm just going to talk about it now. Often things that I bring you are things that I'm bringing to you because I'm struggling with them. And people that I'm talking to are struggling with them. And so I want to offer a solution to that problem. The solution I'm bringing to you right now starting April 18 is a free movement challenge. It's going to be held in our community group. I'm super excited about it. So I'm going to give you lots of tools, lots of information, trackers, and coaching so that you can track your movement goals, stay committed, have some accountability, and there are going to be prizes along the way and at the end. So we're gonna really practice being consistent setting a goal achieving that goal, it's only 30 days, because I want you to grab your friends get signed up, hold each other accountable, get your butts moving, you just have to go to Tarafaulmann.com/movement to register and you'll have to register there. So even if you're already in the community group, go there and register. That's how you get the email so that you will get the trackers and all of the extra information that will only be through email, not in the group. So make sure that you get registered at Tarafaulmann.com/movement. I'm so excited. It's gonna be so much fun. It's gonna be super simple. The weather's getting nice, it's getting Sunny, we can go outside and take a walk. It'll be great. So let's do it together.
Okay, so now onto the benefits of walking. Why is this so important? And why are we doing it? I divided the benefits into three main categories: physical, mental and weight loss because isn't that what we're here for? I want to be super super clear, though about what I mean by walking because we have a real tendency to focus on workouts right? I got a workout. I got a workout. I gotta run. I gotta jog. I gotta speed walk. And I'm not talking about those things. I'm talking about just literally taking a walk like a comfortable borderline leisurely walk. I'm not talking about getting out of breath, I'm not talking about You know, really raising your heart rate. I'm not talking about intentional exercise, walk, I'm talking about a comfortable walk, enjoying the scenery, and smelling the flowers, right? Have a conversation. on a treadmill, if you're at a gym, this is somewhere, like around a three on the treadmill, like, I'm not talking fast here. I'm talking comfortable, you can still hold a conversation. We're always talking about working out and getting to the gym. But there are some really, really important benefits that come from comfortable pace walking, instead of working out walking, and the idea of getting your steps in.
So when we talk about steps, 10,000 steps, right? Isn't that the thing that we're all shooting for? 10,000 steps, that's what your fitness tracker says you're supposed to do. As everyone says 10,000 steps 10,000 steps, I started wondering why 10,000 steps? Well, there's actually a really funny answer for this 10,000 steps a day, this thing that we all think we're supposed to hit is not actually a thing. And it's not based on any science. It's literally a number that's just been passed on through the decades, this 10,000 Steps idea actually started as a Japanese marketing campaign for a pedometer way back in 1964. They put on the pedometer 10,000 steps for whatever reason, and it's stuck. And it's been 10,000 Steps ever since then. So marketing, you guys is pretty powerful. More recent studies, though, have shown that somewhere between five to 8000 steps a day is enough to make a real impact. And of course, you can get the 10,000. But what they found is that, again, depending on your age, so the older you are, the bigger difference this is but anything above 8000, you still will have a positive impact for sure. But the positive impact is less dramatic than if you hit that 5000 8000 range. So for example, most humans at this point are pretty sedentary. So if you increase your steps from say 1000 to 5000, or 1000 to 8000, that's going to make a huge difference. That 8000 to 10,000, then isn't going to make as huge of a difference. Does that make sense? Still as you can shoot for 10 If you want to that's great, nothing negative will happen for sure. But that 5000 to 8000 is kind of that sweet spot with the most dramatic results. Okay, so let's talk about what those results are.
First, the physical benefits of just taking a walk studies have found that you will reduce the risk for especially people 60 or older, reducing the risk of early death by 54%. You are cutting in half your risk of early death just by taking a walk again, getting those five to 8000 steps, walking improves your fitness, your cardiovascular health, it creates less stress on your joints and reduces pain. So it's something that everyone can do. It can prevent weight gain, it can reduce your risk for cancers and chronic diseases. It improves endurance circulation, posture, I mean, the list goes on and on. And the cool thing is pretty much everyone can put some shoes on and go take a walk. An interesting study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that people who adhered to a walking program showed significant improvements in blood pressure, slowing of resting heart rate, reduction of body fat and body weight, reduced cholesterol, improved depression scores, and better quality of life and increased measures of endurance you guys, this is just from taking a walk like I'm talking around your block. I'm talking like through the woods and smelling the flowers and enjoying the scenery and having a chat with your spouse, like just a lot did all of those things. The important thing, of course, is that we're doing that all the time, like every day.
Another interesting study compared to things a national runner's health study and a national Walker's health study. And the researchers found that the energy used for moderate intensity walking and vigorous intensity running resulted in similar reductions in the risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease. And that was a six year study. So they tracked walkers and they tracked runners over a six year period. And they found that the results in reducing the risk for High Blood Pressure Reducing the Risk for high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease was the same. It was just about the same. I find that so interesting, right? Because you've always thought like, You gotta work hard, you gotta work hard, you gotta run hard, you gotta run hard to get these results. You don't! You can take a walk and get the same results. I think that is amazing. Now, of course, there's a caveat to that, right. If you are a runner, then you're probably also doing things that maybe just a walker isn't doing. And yes, you may have even more significantly improved health markers than a runner but it's very dependent and it's dependent on a couple things. And I'm going to talk about that in our last section we talk about weight loss.
So let's move to the mental benefits of just taking a walk. Taking a walk, again, is the best place to start getting into fitness and exercise. So a lot of times, remember we always talk about trying to go from A to Z, we try to go zero to 60, we try to go couch potato to gym five days a week that never lasts, it never works. It's too much too soon. So walking is like the perfect middle ground, that thing that we can all do, it doesn't feel like too much, I don't have to have a fancy outfit, I don't have to have a gym membership, right? I just have to have some good shoes, and get out the door. It's easy to do. It's an easy commitment to make walking. And committing to doing that and then actually doing it will increase your confidence in large part because you're teaching yourself that you can make a commitment and keep a commitment to yourself, right? So many times, we try to make these big commitments, I'm going to go to the gym five days a week, I'm going to cut out sugar, I'm going to you know, only eat this and not eat that whatever, we make these huge commitments, and then we inevitably break them, because they were too big, too much too soon. And then we start to learn about ourselves that we don't keep commitments to ourselves. That's what our brain starts understanding Oh, well, she says she's gonna do those pushing and gonna do it. Walking is one of those things where I can make that commitment, and I can keep that commitment. And so mentally that's doing a lot for me, it's proving to my brain that oh, well, she said she was gonna do it. And now she's doing it. And look, she's done it for 30 days in a row, like look at her go. Okay, what else can we commit to? It completely changes your perspective, it completely changes how you think about yourself, how and how you are understanding how you're able to honor the commitments that you make to yourself.
Of course, walking is an amazing stress relief. This is what I do to like, clear the cobwebs, clear the brain. If I get stressed out, I just need to go outside and take a walk. And I sometimes have an agenda. Sometimes I listen to a podcast, sometimes I really want to think about things or kind of maybe talk to God about some things. I do that often when I'm taking a walk. And that's how I work through stuff, right. That's one of the ways that I work through stress. It's one of the ways that I work through overwhelm and things that are getting me down. And because of that, walking is super effective at alleviating depression and fatigue and improving mood. In fact, one study found that just 12 minutes of walking a day resulted in increase joviality increased vigor, increased attentiveness and self confidence, versus the same time 12 minutes a day they spent sitting walking in nature, they found specifically was found to reduce the rumination, those surface circular thoughts that we get over negative experiences, how we just relive it and relive it and relive it walking for 12 minutes, reduced that significantly for people 12 minutes, you guys and we had increased happiness increase attentiveness, increased self confidence.
That's amazing. Here's something else I found really interesting. There was a Stanford study done and they found they studied graduate students. And they found that walking increased creative output by an average of 60%. So what they did is they tested these graduate students through some cognitive tests that measured creativity. They were doing things like making analogies or coming up with different ideas. And then they had them do it and then they have been walking regularly and the walking group increase their ability to come up with unique solutions to problems by 60%. So when I say that I take a walk to work stuff out in my brain that is real. And that Stanford study proves it, you have a 60% increased chance of coming up with creative solutions to your problems. Isn't that awesome? Just by taking a walk, this is so cool, and so important for all of us.
Now, let's talk about weight loss, because I know this is something that you guys, most of you are pretty interested in. There are some really important distinctions to make here between walking and jogging. So let me give you an example. There was a study published in the journal called “Chest” in 2005. So “Chest” is a cardiovascular centered journal. And what they found was that from a weight loss perspective, jogging for 12 miles per week was not that much different than walking for 12 miles per week. So they compared 12 miles per week, jogging or walking. And they found that from a weight loss perspective, there really wasn't much difference in terms of how much weight people lost or kept off. Now this brings up a super important distinction because our conventional wisdom would say, Well, of course, I would lose more weight or burn more calories if I was jogging than if I was walking.
But there's a little piece of something really super important that happens between jogging and walking and that is the cortisol piece, the stress hormone. This is a really important distinction, more intense jogging activity can for you have two unintended consequences. It may increase hunger and cravings that lead to eating more or eating too much as a result of that more vigorous exercise, the jogging and increased intensity means increased cortisol levels, which could be very bad for your fat loss. So here's what happens when you do more intense exercise. Again, I do intense exercise like you should be doing this, this is good. However, too much is too much. And when you have too much intense exercise, you are releasing too much cortisol, you are under constant stress. Because remember, any kind of intense exercise is creating a stress response. That's the intention, that's what you're trying to do. The stress response creates change, unless it's too much. And then you are creating a chronic stress situation where you are chronically releasing cortisol, what happens when you are in that chronic stress situation, the cortisol is causing your body to burn less fat and store more fat. So you are now working against what you're trying to do. So this is really individual to each person, right? A more highly trained person who trains all the time can do more intense exercise than someone who hasn't had all that training.
So I can't tell you individually, what the breaking point is for you what the too much point is for you, you have to learn that for yourself, you have to start understanding what's going on in your body, how it's making you feel, and start playing with that that's something we do a lot in the Healthy Mind Healthy Body program, I'll coach you through how to understand that for yourself. So here's the thing you really need to understand: walking will not raise the cortisol levels, in fact, it will lower them. So here's a pro tip. If you've done really vigorous exercise, try taking a nice slow walk after that exercise. So you do your hiit workout or your weight workout or whatever it is, try taking a nice slow walk after that to bring down your cortisol levels. We don't want chronically high cortisol levels. And if you're an over workout, or a runner, is someone who often especially someone who is starting from zero and trying to be a runner, often that is a long term, a prolonged high cortisol level, which is causing your body to hold on to the weight. There's a lot of physiology behind that that I'm not going to go into detail on. But just know that you can do too much. So they're running actually might be hurting you more than helping you and walking studies have found can be just as effective for the things you're trying to do. Right lower blood pressure, lower cardiovascular risk, lower cancer risk, increase health markers, lose weight and keep it off walking can be just as effective. So I really want to make sure that you notice that difference. That what the thing that you're doing, is it raising cortisol levels? Or is it helping to lower cortisol levels. That's why walking is so so effective for weight loss and stress reduction and all the things that we've already talked about, because it does help reduce cortisol levels. Okay, super cool and super important.
So no matter what your workout regimen is, if you are already a regular worker router, however that looks for you add walking, right make sure that you're still doing the walking the slow, calm, comfortable walking, I don't want to say leisurely some of the articles and studies say leisurely. I don't like that word, even though it kind of is. I like to say comfortable. Because the leisurely feels real slow and sluggish. To me the word I don't know up to you, you can call it whatever you want. So not only does this comfortable walking have tons of benefits, but you can also work up to stepping it up a notch and making it into a workout, you could walk a bit faster, you could do some intervals of like fast walk, slow walk, you can add some incline, right, you can do all of these all kinds of different things to turn you're walking into a workout, if you're not a worker out or right, it's a great easy thing to progress. But even if you're doing that, make sure if you're doing it specifically for exercise, just make sure you're doing some slow walking. Even if you regularly workout, again, adding this consistent daily movement is essential to your health and weight loss and weight maintenance over time. And so all those reasons are why we are doing the 30 Day movement challenge, we're going to get those five to 10,000 steps, whatever your goal is, and we're gonna work on being consistent. So the trick is going to be even if you keep that goal really small, maybe it's only 4000 Because you do no steps now, right you do 200 steps today, we're gonna move to do 1000 steps a day, you're gonna pick your goal, and you're going to decide what that looks like to be consistent with it and we're gonna cheer you on. We're gonna have trackers and workbooks and lots of things to help you on your way and lots of coaching and getting your questions answered and lots of community and cheering each other on, this is something that we're all doing together, we are all part of this together because we can all improve our health. And this is something so simple, and so easy and so easy to commit to that, I know that we can all do it. So go to tarafaulmann.com/movement, get yourself registered. Again, even if you're already in the community group, that's where we're going to be meeting. But even if you're already in there, you need to get yourself registered so that you get the trackers and the emails and the updates and all that stuff. So make sure you get yourself registered for that.
I can't wait to do this with you guys. It's going to be super fun. And we're going to do it together and it's going to be simple. You can do it no matter where in the world you are. I know there's a lot of listeners from other countries, shout out to Australia. You guys are really representing. Thank you ladies. You're awesome. So Australia, ladies, let's do this. Let's all do this together. All right, get yourself registered, get signed up there. And just in the meantime, put on some shoes and go take a walk. Okay, grab your kids, grab your dog, grab your spouse, grab your girlfriend, or just grab your headphones. lace them up, get out there take a walk. Alright, until we talk again, my friends
Hey, friends, thanks so much for being here. If you found value in today's episode, will you do me a favor and head over to iTunes? Find the no nonsense wellness podcast and subscribe and leave me a review. It would mean the world to me and it helps other people find the show. And I'd love to connect with you more. So find me on Instagram I'm @tarafaulmann. Take a screenshot of this episode and share it in your stories and tag me. I'll see you over there.