After Dinner, Rest a While …


… after supper, walk a mile.

(I have no idea where this proverb came from … anyone??)

Thanks to all of your for your excellent feedback on my last post about clinical dietetics. I’m thrilled that so many of you out there have met with or know a registered dietitian (or that you ARE an RD!). I’m excited to join the RD ranks this upcoming summer!

Before I get into this post, I want to answer a question my friend Sandy asked in response to my last post. Sandy writes:

“What sector do you want to work in?”

Great question, Sandy! I have successfully avoided this question on THIH thus far, because answering the question “what do you want to do with your life?” is a lot harder than typing up my latest recipe or trying to fit a picture of my dog into every post. In truth, I’m not 100% sure which area of dietetics I enjoy the most. As you may have gathered from my last post, dietetics is extremely diverse, and many registered dietitians move from one area to another over the course of their careers.

I will tell you this tidbit, dear reader: I love talking with people one-on-one about nutrition and connecting with them in a way I never did before studying dietetics (or before starting THIH!). Right now, I am having a blast working in nutrition counseling at my current rotation. I’ll be sure to share more details in a later post 🙂 Thanks for the question, Sandy!

Picture inserted to break up text. Here, I'm playing with a baby goat on my professor's goat farm.

On to today’s topic: In a recent nutrition class, we talked about how physical activity can contribute 15-30% of your total energy expenditure (including exercise and NEAT – nonexercise activity thermogenesis, e.g. fidgeting). The digestion and absorption of food (diet-induced thermogenesis) requires ~10% of your energy, while your basal metabolism requires 60-75%. Physical activity is the easiest energy expenditure you can change (you can change your metabolism and even your diet-induced thermogenesis; but, we won’t get into it now).

I’m sure many of you have heard that walking 10,000 steps per day (about 5 miles) can contribute to good health and prevent slow weight gain. A few months ago, I was curious about how many steps I was taking per day. For several non-consecutive days, I wore my pedometer from the moment I woke up to the well-earned moment when I hopped into bed for the night. I did not include daily exercise, as the 10,000 steps are to be taken BEYOND exercise.  So, what did you find out, Jessie?

(Disclaimer: My pedometer is a cheapo unit I picked up when I was working with a nutrition program and likely was not accurate – at least it was accurate to within an order of magnitude! 😀 Also, like a decent scientist, I tried not to let the fact that I was wearing a pedometer affect my actions or choices, e.g. taking the stairs instead of using the elevator to increase my total. My frequent peeks at the pedometer indicate I was not entirely successful.)

Like a sneaky scientist, I did not report all the data I gathered over several weeks.  That would be pretty boring, would it not?  A sampling, then, if you please:

4278?? This first day was a shocker. I consider myself an active person, choosing to walk instead of staying still and never passing up the opportunity for a good play session with the dogs.  Guess 10,000 steps per day isn’t a breeze.  Not impossible – achieving 10,000 steps just takes effort.

… oh, you want to know what I was doing during that day?  I was at the VA hospital, dashing around the hospital as a clinical dietetics student.  Guess I didn’t dash around as much as I’d thought.

My, oh my.  Jessie.  What were you doing, girl?  I have to confess to you guys: this was a weekend day.  A BUSY weekend day, yes … but, busy at my computer with schoolwork and internship projects.  After I saw this number, I told myself: Less computer time, more move-time.  Can you guys guess why I haven’t been blogging as much lately?

I decided not to change up my routine yet, and so came up with this remarkably similar number of steps to day one (4280 vs. 4278).  In fact, I walked these 4280 steps on another hospital day.  If I’m not prolific with my steps, at least I’m consistent.

Finally broke the 5000 steps mark! Surprisingly, I walked these steps on a day when I had classes all day.  I thought the steps total would be the lowest of them all, but it ended up being the highest.  Go figure.  … well, ok, I know why.  On this day, I had to dash out between classes to mail a package I had put off until the last minute and was literally running back and forth between buildings.  I guess procrastination paid off in this case.

My original plan was to continue wearing a pedometer and document how I worked my way up to 10,000 steps per day. However, my original cheapo pedometer broke after the 5000+ steps day and I have yet to get a new one. I would like to continue this experiment, so stay tuned for more!

In the meantime, how can I increase my steps? Like with many lifestyle changes, starting slow is the way to go. Exempli gratia: if you enjoy a sport, get out there and play instead of sitting on the sidelines! Do more of this:

And less of this:

If you have a pet, do more of this:

And less of this:

(Yes, I know they’re cute, but they need exercise, too! Save the pet cuddle sessions for the couch. Also, I got TWO pictures of Maddie in this post! Bwah ha ha ha!)

Working your way up to 10,000 steps per day doesn’t have to be boring. Take a walk after dinner (a mile will add 2000 steps to your total!). If it’s dark after dinner, take your walk after lunch (and save the siesta for later). With warm weather appearing with every step, take your walks outside and welcome Spring!

I’m off to toss a tennis ball with the dogs. Catch ya later!

Q: What are your tricks for moving around more during the day? Do you wear a pedometer?


  1. i hope this last minute package you were mailing off was to yours truly!
    perhaps a pedometer.
    what about cycling!? I cycle for about 1+ hours a day.

    1. Keep your eyes out for something in the near future (I hope!) 😉 And cycling counts, too, of course.

      I’m not sending you my pedometer! Mine, I tell you! Mine! 😀

  2. Try working at my job, I clocked in 11,450 the other day. Seriously, the place is HUGE and I am sure there are days when I walk even more than that (and certainly there are days when I walk less). The corporation I work for has provided all it’s employees with pedometers (cheap as well) and I think it’s helping get the employees motivated to walk more. I love hearing people tell me how many steps they take each day. Just the fact that they are thinking about it really makes me happy!

  3. Hi Jessie!
    I’ve never tried using a pedometer before but I’m really curious about how many steps I usually take per day. Since coming to Korea, I haven’t done any deliberate exercise but I walk a lot and I’ve been running around my classroom nonstop 🙂 I’m planning on getting a yoga mat and going hiking in the mountains soon 🙂 Oh, I’m also curious about whether hula hoops are good for exercising. My apartment is tiny but hula hooping sounds like a fun way to exercise at home 🙂

    I’ve heard that some ways to boost your metabolism include eating breakfast, eating regular meals, and having muscle mass. If you have other secret knowledge maybe you could share it with us in the future 😉

    I think you would make a fantastic nutrition counselor! You are so knowledgeable, diligent, and great with people – and your positive attitude would really inspire your patients!

    All the best, Lucy 🙂

    1. I’m sure you’ve been running around, Lucy! 🙂 Hiking in the mountains sounds spectacular, and hula hooping, especially if you have a tiny space, is a great way to get exercise (not to mention good for your abs 😉 ).

      Thanks for the kind words, Lucy! I hope everything is going well for you!

  4. Hey Jessie!!!! How’s my favorite RD to be? Looks like you’ve been keeping busy on your feet. I really need to do that more. I used to be super athletic, but since the kiddies, I haven’t been doing any kind of sport at all 🙁 If you call house cleaning and cooking sports though, then heck I’ve been doing a never ending marathon :-D. Sorry I’m a bit late, the MIL is in town this weekend and things are busy busy as usual when she stays.

    I used to have a pedometer. We got some to give away to our students for participating in some kind of health program. I don’t remember what it was called though (I know, so bad of me). Something like Skip for Heart or something along those lines. To my defense though, you gotta admit there are lots of those health programs out there.
    Loved how you called yours a cheapo one, made me lol when you said it broke. Sorry about that though. Sounds like you got a new better one now (from your reply). Can’t wait to see how accurate the cheapo one really was :-). When I got my cheapo one, I cheated and started running on the spot. I know, depleted the whole purpose, but I’m a dork like that :-D. I wonder if it works on dogs. And if it works double since they have 4 legs. Hmmm. No, I obviously haven’t grown out of my dork phase yet. Hope your newer better pedometer lasts a lot longer for you sweetie.
    Great skiing pic! Looks like somebody is a pro skier! It’s been so long since I’ve skied. Love the second ski picture. Can’t forget to take a break from having fun also. Haha. And yes, more doggie pics please. Maybe even one with a pedometer? 😉
    My tricks for moving around these days is to leave hubby with the kids for half an hour. When I get home, the house needs cleaning and it’s back to work for me ;-). I don’t recommend this trick though. It brings out the b*tchyness in me. Badminton would be my choice, if I ever do get to have one again. Lol. I don’t wear a pedometer anymore. Running too much on the spot broke my cheapo one. Haha. Have a great week deary! All is well in the luvtoeat household. Thank you for your email, always great to hear from one of my fave bloggers :-D. Hope all is well in THIH household also.

  5. Gosh, i would be curious to see how many steps I actually get. My job is pretty sedentary and I am sitting a lot of the day. I take the stairs (6 flights) but that’s about it.
    I have started doing runs with my coworker at lunch. We went on friday and it felt great to move around.

  6. 10000 steps??? I need to test mine given your stats!! Although I feel the same way, I try to walk more instead of sitting there, it seems no way I can get 100000. Since spring is coming, I need to take it up a notch!!! let’s all walk a bit more every day!

  7. I have a Gruve which basically tells me that when I work (5 days per week) I move about as much as a potato.
    It doesn’t count steps but rather calories burned and without exercise I burn pretty much nothing. Just one of the reasons I dislike my job.

  8. I am constantly restless so I have a feeling I clock close to 10k steps a day. My biggest trick is to walk around while on the phone…if it’s work related or personal, I like to move around and get things done. I also read and walk, I know that’s probably nuts but it makes me feel so energized!

    In addition, I do 1 hour of exercise a day minimum! That helps too.

  9. Oh jessie I’m sure you’ll do fabulously whatever sector of RD-ness you decide to pursue! Who knows, we could be working in a hospital together someday! (A girl can dream.)

    Well, I’m pretty sure I don’t walk enough steps in the day since I spend way too much time sitting on my butt studying…but occasionally I do pace around my room while studying. So I suppose that helps?

  10. Those goats are too cute Jessie…and of course…Maddie is certainly the cutest of them all ;o)

    A few years ago, I was curious to how many steps I did in a day and I remember being stunned at the fact that from 4A.M. to 8P.M…I had actually clocked a little more than 8500 steps. I was so impressed that I kept finding ways to top it.
    I always wondered…Do walking steps towards a pastry shop count? LOL

    Jessie…you seem to be in excellent shape…what an example you are to all ;o)

    Have a great week,

  11. Haha, that is interesting…I would have thought you would hit 10,000 no prob! I run 2-3 miles a day so I think that should at least contribute to half of the 5 miles…but then, most of the other time I’m sitting at my desk, too.

    I can’t wait to hear about your choice, Jessie! Is it fair to say that my selfish wish is for you to work in an ED department if there is any…hehe, I just think you have a wonderful, highly likeable personality that would certainly help the patients!

  12. I always used to get more steps in each day because I had multiple offices all over the hospital campus and then I waited tables at night and taught, standing up and pacing…but now I work from home and barely stand up all day long any more. But, I do move around, and I go to the gym for about 1 hour 5 days a week, which I didn’t have time to do before because I was so busy. I think in the end I win both ways.

  13. I am ashamed to admit that I thought 10,000 steps was 3 miles, not 5. OOOOOPS. Learn something new every day! I would’ve guessed that it’s hard to NOT meet 10,000 but clearly not! You’ve got me all sorts of interested now. I know I walk a lot when I teach because I purposely don’t use a clicker…I walk back to the computer to click. That sounds crazy, but it keeps me moving and causes me to slow down talking…and also gives me a second to gather my thoughts on the next slide before starting to lecture again. 2 1/2 hour lectures and 100+ slides adds up the steps, I’m sure! I’ll bet I’m close to 10,000 on days I exercise and run 3+ miles, even though my job is pretty sedentary.

    And as far as what arena of dietetics you go into…well, I can’t wait to see! I’ve been in out-patient and renal and private practice and education and uh, I’ve only been an RD for just over 2 years! So many avenues to take, it’s so exciting! Best profession everrr 🙂

  14. You would be so ashamed of me 🙁 This is a fantastic post and very important.
    I not too long ago walked 3-5 miles every morning…have to get my blogging to fit me I guess, but you have reminded me to do this NOW 🙂

  15. 10,000 steps?? omg i don’t think i would get to that number! I have a friend who’s carrying a pedometer to reach his target. I could walk more (shopping), play more with bella, and hmm..maybe walk to get coffee haha. I was more active than I am now. When I walk or jog with Bella recently I’m so tired! First I thought I was getting old but the hubs said I was out of shape. He;s probably right! dang.

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