Putting one foot in front of another for Diabetes UK and me – by Pam Lake
I live a happy and full life with my lovely husband in a small market town in Derbyshire. My working life was spent with teenagers as I was a youth worker for over 25 years. Since leaving full time work I have had time to spend doing things I like with people I love including my darling granddaughter.
I am writing this just over a month into my Million Step Challenge. Prior to beginning the challenge, the furthest I walked was from the house to the car and back again. I have suffered poor health for several years. Often I was unable to move about a lot and sometimes I was barely able to cross the room. As I enjoy eating, this lack of mobility had, inevitably, resulted in weight gain. This in turn restricted movement. Something had to change, and that something had to be me.
I began slowly, adjusting my diet to reduce my weight. I cut out all the bad stuff and packed meals with healthy options. So far, so good. I then realised I would have to start to exercise because one way or another I needed to move more than I ate. So at the beginning of June I began by walking around a playing field in front of my house. I felt self-conscious, plodding my way through the grass, it was anything but comfortable. My legs felt heavy, the ground was uneven and I wasn’t even sure if walking would help, was it really exercising at all?
The next day I was chatting to my sister and she suggested I ordered a pedometer, which I did and it was the breakthrough I was looking for. Seeing the actual steps register became something amazing. Soon I was walking 7,000 steps in a day and feeling very proud.
Then I came across the Million Step Challenge for Diabetes UK. Due to begin in July this was perfect timing to keep me motivated and keep me moving. I registered immediately and upped my step count in readiness. I left the playing field and walked down a road or two, the joy of seeing the step count grow was the reward I needed to keep going.
The first of July dawned and I stepped out proudly. I had moved on from the playing field and I was now walking for up to an hour a day around the town. I had started slowly and gradually I was able to do more and more. My weight was falling as my energy increased. My first full week of the challenge I had walked over 70,000 steps. This was amazing, I was doing it and doing it well.
I am now now into the fifth week of the challenge and have gone passed the 400,000 step mark, I am almost half way to a million! The woman who never walked anywhere has walked the distance between home and London in a matter of weeks. I am confident I will achieve the challenge and hopefully will have raised funds for the cause along the way.
So, here I am, slimmer, fitter and happier, but most of all I feel a sense of well-being I have never known. I always thought exercise was for other people. I was often uneasy about trying and if I am honest I was fearful of failing.
Now I walk with confidence, I rarely use my car and have discovered a whole new world. I notice things more, walking through the streets I become part of the picture, no longer seeing the world through the glass of my windscreen. I walk every morning, early, and enjoy the peace as the town is beginning to wake up. People are noticing the difference in me, asking me what I am doing and I am telling people how I started from nought to 10,000 steps in a day, and now at least four friends are walking too. They tell me I am an inspiration; I know what they mean. If I can do it, truly anyone can.
A million steps are a long, long way, but it starts with the first step, then the next. I shall keep putting one foot in front of another and watch as the miles are disappearing beneath my feet.
Find out more about Pam’s million step journey on her personal blog site Nettymeade.