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10 Things to Stop Doing if You Want to Walk Off Weight

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Updated August 14, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

If you want to use walking to lose weight, you need to take several positive steps -- about 10,000 positive steps per day! But in addition to doing the positive here are 10 things to stop doing.

1. Stop Finding Excuses to Not Walk or Exercise

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You don't burn calories during the exercise you don't do. There are a million excuses for why you can skip your walking or exercise on any given day. If you plan to walk off weight, you must conquer those reasons why you didn't get in your walking steps. Every. Single. Day. Here are the most common excuses to skip exercise. You may want to bookmark them or print them out to keep these excuse busters handy. Keep an exercise log so you can be honest with yourself about how much exercise you actually got during the past week.

2. Stop Thinking You Burn More Calories Than You Really Do

Solo woman walking across bridge
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Brisk walking is an excellent fat-burning activity. But you need a reality check about how many additional calories you are burning. An hour of brisk walking will make your body dip into its fat reserves for energy. But it is very easy to over-replenish those calories with a post-workout snack. A typical full-size energy bar is 300 calories, or about your expected calorie burn for a one hour walk. Don't use your walking workouts to justify eating more calories.

3. Stop Forgetting to Wear a Pedometer

Fitbit One - 10000 Steps
Wendy Bumgardner ©
Nothing beats a pedometer as a reality check on how much you actually are moving throughout the day. For weight loss, first see how many steps you walk in a typical day. Then set a goal of 2,000 more steps per day than that average number. Check your pedometer frequently during the day to stay on target and look for opportunities to get in more steps. As you are able to achieve more steps consistently, increase your target goal by another 2,000 steps per day. Work your way up to 10,000 steps most days of the week.

4. Stop Thinking Breathing Harder and Sweating is Bad

Brisk walking woman with good walking form
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A good brisk walking workout will result in you breathing harder than usual. That is a good sign that you are getting into the fat-burning heart rate zone. Warm up at an easy pace, and then walk at a brisk pace for 30 to 60 minutes to get your body to burn some of the fat you want to lose.

5. Stop Doing the Same Walking Workout Every Day

Treadmill Walkers in Gym
© Deklofenak / Depositphotos.com
If your walking workouts are always on the same route, at the same pace, or with the same treadmill workout -- switch it up. Fast days, easy days, interval days, long slow days -- each has its own benefits. Change up your walking workouts to get your body to build muscle and burn calories.

6. Stop Assuming You Know How Much You Really Eat

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To lose weight, you need to be honest with yourself about how much you really eat. The best way to do that is by recording everything you eat for several days, and looking for ways to change your eating habits. You can simply log it on paper or with a phone app, or take photos of everything you eat with your cell phone. You can use our sister site, Calorie Count as a free online/phone app food diary, calorie and nutrient list, and for diet analysis.

7. Stop Eating Like You Just Walked a Marathon

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China News/Getty Images
Walking expert Rob Sweetgall often joked that too many walkers walk for 10K and eat for a marathon. You may fall into this trap with justifying adding french fries to your lunch or having a full-fat sweetened latte after your walk. If you walk with a partner or walking group, you might fall into social eating habits that encourage eating too much before, during, or after your walk. Know your basic calories-per-day metabolic rate and how many calories you burn while walking. To lose weight, even on an active day it's best not to exceed a 1,600-calorie diet. Save the blow-out for after you actually walk a full marathon!

8. Stop Drinking Calories

Hand Holding Water Bottle
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How many calories are in the sodas, fruit juices, coffee drinks and sports drinks that you drink each day? Can you get used to drinking water and black coffee instead? You need water during walking workouts of 30 minutes or more, and you probably need electrolyte (salt) replacement if you are sweating and walking for over 60 minutes. But you don't need to drink extra calories.

9. Stop Avoiding Hills and Stairs

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© duskbabe / Depositphotos.com
Adding bursts of intensity to your walking workout can help build your fitness and get your heart rate up. Hills and stairs are the easiest way to add these into your workout. You might even want to add a detour that specifically includes a hill climb or climbing stairs. On the treadmill, switch it up with hill intervals.

10. Stop Sitting Still

Sitting on the Couch
© Digital Vision / Photodisc / Getty
If you get in your walking workouts most days of the week, but you sit for most of the day at work or school, you may still have a slower metabolism and increased health risks. Find ways to break up sitting time with bouts of standing, pacing, or walking. This is one way to get to 10,000 steps per day. Every bit of movement and standing burns more calories than sitting still. This can add up to burning hundreds more calories per day.

11. More Things to Stop Doing if You Want Better Health

Stop Sign
Wendy Bumgardner © 2012
Dozens of our expert Health Guides share lists of 10 behaviors and attitudes to change if you want better physical and mental health.

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