Mum credits 8st weight loss to walking 10,000 steps per day

Dee Ucuncu lost six stone in six months after walking 10,000 steps a day. (SWNS)
Dee Ucuncu lost six stone in six months after walking 10,000 steps a day. (SWNS)

A woman who says she struggled with her weight all of her life has lost eight stone after deciding to walk 10,000 steps per day.

Dee Ucuncu, 42, weighed 17st at her heaviest and wore size 26 clothing after falling into a cycle of endless kebab and pizza takeaways.

However, after suffering an embarrassing moment on a plane when a fellow passenger claimed they did not want to sit next to 'a fat person', Ucuncu decided to make a change.

"I went on holiday and someone fat shamed me in front of everyone in the plane," the volunteer from Cambridge explains. "We got onto the airplane on the way home. I was in the middle and this person came along and sat down next to the window.

"He called the air hostess over and he said: 'this fat person is overflowing my seat and I don't want to be sat next to a fat person'. In the end she moved him. I was devastated. It was the most embarrassing thing in my entire life. No one had ever made a comment on my weight before, even though inside I knew I had an issue."

Dee says she feels 'amazing'. (SWNS)
Dee says she feels 'amazing'. (SWNS)

As nasty as the comment was, and it's never okay to comment on someone else's body in this way, for Ucuncu, she says this is what she needed to give her the boost to make lifestyle changes and, along with her steps, she decided to start incorporating more home cooking into her diet too.

"Walking is seen as the most basic thing. It's the most fantastic exercise you can do. It's so underestimated," she says. "The most amazing moment was when I got into size eight. I feel fantastic. I don't worry about anything."

To reach the goal of 10,000 steps, Ucuncu first set herself a goal to walk to the end of the road, approximately half a mile. She slowly built this up over five months until she could walk 10,000 steps a day, five days a week – and lost six stone in six months.

"Because you're eating less calories it flies off," she adds. "I felt so amazing. I was so motivated."

First thing’s first, the 10,000 steps a day number actually originated in Japan in the 1960s as a marketing strategy for a pedometer company – but numerous studies have lauded its health benefits ever since.

"Walking itself, and especially reaching numbers such as 10,000 steps a day, can have numerous health benefits, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get to 10,000; 7,000 or 8,000 will still give you ample health benefits," Rhodri Williams, active lifestyle manager at Cardiff Metropolitan University tells Yahoo UK.

"Physical activity of any form, walking included, releases endorphins which boosts mood and reduces feelings of anxiety and stress. Pair this with the effects of vitamin D if walking outside, which can reduce inflammation, and support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity, then you’re already on to a winner. All of this can also lead to better sleep quality, which again helps general mental and physical wellbeing."

Along with mental health benefits, Williams adds that walking can benefit your cardiovascular health as it can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels which can reduce the risk of heart disease.

view of feet of sporty woman walking, copy space, unfocused view
Walking can offer a slew of mental and physical health benefits. (Getty Images) (Jorge Alcazar Narvaez via Getty Images)

"Walking 10,000 steps a day can support weight loss or maintenance of healthy weight by creating a calorie deficit," Williams explains. "A very important point to remember is any form of exercise cannot out train a bad diet, and if the individual is consuming more calories than they are burning, then weight loss is impossible."

One of the hardest things about hitting that 10,000 step target is having the time to actually do so. On average, it takes around one hour and 40 minutes of constant walking to reach 10,000 steps, which is a lot to fit in especially when you have an office job and other commitments.

If you do struggle to hit that step count, Williams suggests a few solutions:

Take the stairs: "This might seem like an obvious one, but how many people take a lift if working on the second, third, fourth floor? Substituting this for the stairs will quickly add up the steps."

Park further away: "Parking at the furthest point in the car park can add a good number of steps to your day."

Walking meetings: "Walking meetings are fantastic to add some physical activity to the workforce, resulting in a healthier and happier team. This can also be used when working from home, when taking a call; walk around the house whilst doing it, and watch the steps add up."

If 10,000 steps a day seems like an unachievable number, Williams recommends starting small and gradually working your way up to it.

"One of the main reasons people fail whilst starting new exercise programmes is that they set the goal too big, too soon," he says.

Close up of running shoes and women feet when warming up activity before running.
When it comes to your step count, start small and build it up from there. (Getty Images) (Sorrasak Jar Tinyo via Getty Images)

"Start small and aim for regular and realistic increases. If 1,000 steps a day seems hard to begin with, then this is your starting point. Aim to do this every day for a week and aim to increase this by 500 or 1,000 each week. Do this every week until you reach the target.

"The beauty of walking is that it’s a very low impact activity compared to running, so making the increments won’t feel too taxing. This can also help bone strength, by increasing bone density from the weight-bearing activity, resulting in a reduced risk of osteoporosis in later life."

Additional reporting by SWNS.