A few weeks back, I met one of my acquaintances at a Boulder trailhead. Although we have known one another for years, we rarely find time to meet. It must have been at least 1 1/2 years since we last took time to catch up.
As we walked uphill, she adjusted a monitor that calibrated the distance she was traveling as well as the elapsed time. I quickly learned that my friend had become an avid hiker. At least once a week she hiked for 2 hours. The rest of the week she devoted an hour or more a day to walking in her neighborhood.
What had spurred her to commit to such a healthy routine?
Over a year ago, she had become aggravated with a work situation and simply didn’t feel quite right. Looking in the mirror, she was continually reminded of the bulges that oftentimes plague the middle aged . At a routine doctor’s appointment, she sought the advice of her internist. “Can you recommend a way to lose these unwanted pounds?” A simple response, “walking” is what she heard.
It sounds so simple. Could this basic movement really shed unwanted pounds? How many minutes and how often?
Within no time, she had become committed to a daily walk. Having a dog was part of her plan. Instead of taking minimal walks with her dog, she extended her time outdoors. She monitored the time spent walking and determined a daily goal of at least 30 minutes. Her persistence led to results. Each week, her weight gradually diminished. When she eventually reached a plateau, she upped the time spent walking. An aggregate of 60 minutes was her new daily goal. The distance monitor and a scale became focal points as she continually tracked her progress. A weekly hike up a Boulder foothill trail became an added bonus. The time spent on the path increased as she chose to take steeper and longer routes.
After a year of dedication, she had lost more than 30 pounds. Wow. Her tale highlights how a daily walking initiative can lead to long term weight loss.
I wish that a simple walking routine could promote weight loss for everyone. I realize that what worked for my friend may not be as effective for everyone else. Not everyone enjoys walking, has a safe and convenient place to walk, or is willing to commit to 7+ hours of activity per week. With only minimal diet adjustments, she was able to lose weight by merely increasing her activity level. Oftentimes, a change in diet and a robust strength training program are also required in order to promote significant changes.
My friend is noticeably leaner and more physically fit than before. Her story highlights 5 underlying principles that can spur an effective weight loss program.
- Admit your unhappiness. It’s not possible to change behavior until you acknowledge that you want to be more physically fit.
- Create a plan of action. Ideally the strategy needs to be both reasonable and enjoyable. If the intended approach is too cumbersome, you’ll be less likely to follow through. If the new routine doesn’t increase your activity level enough, it will fail to show any noticeable results.
- Remain committed. A positive attitude and patience are essential. A healthy lifestyle is a lifelong endeavor.
- Monitor your progress. Seeing positive changes will encourage you to continue. Tracking performance as well as weight loss will enable you to see if you are reaching your long term goals.
- Reward your accomplishments. An occasional treat may motivate you to continue. A new outfit in a smaller size will remind you of your progress.
Standing on the sidelines and remaining idle will do nothing to remove the undesirable fat. Could walking be your answer to shedding extra pounds?
Without any further delay, try it. Let me know in a month, two months, or 6 months if it works for you. Please consider sharing your walking and weight loss story.
My memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, and the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards.