I started walking back in September 2020 and am sharing my year walking journey along with what I am doing now.
THE START OF MY WALKING JOURNEY
“After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.” – G.M. Trevelyan
Back in September of 2020, I was working from home due to the pandemic. Of course, that left me open to snacking a bit more and putting on some additional weight. I don’t think I am alone on that front. Anyone else? But, the pandemic didn’t start it. The last few years have been really stressful and the extra pounds inched along.
Although I had no big plan when I started walking, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to lose weight. My clothes were tight, and I was determined NOT to go up a size. I also believe I was at my heaviest and knew that is not where I wanted to be…and don’t get me started on seeing myself in a picture. I felt I was constantly trying to dress a certain way, cut my hair just right, or apply my makeup to cover up how I was really feeling about myself. MASKING!
It should be mentioned, just prior to my start, one of my brothers, who was diabetic, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My mother passed away from cancer when I was 17. My father also passed away from cancer, much later. The realization that my health was important as I was approaching 50 was not to be missed here. It was a great concern and more of a push than I think anything else.
As I mentioned above, I had no plan of what I was doing. Here’s what I did know…I love to eat good food and enjoy cooking. Attempting a diet change only probably would not work for me.
I reflected back to past times when I felt better and remembered it always came back to some form of exercising…so I choose to walk every day. I knew that if I were to skip days I would get myself into trouble.
So it began. Since fall is my favorite time of the year, I strolled around the neighborhood. I took pictures, looked at houses, and enjoyed some of the crisp fall days. Generally lollygagging…almost!
There was no exercise watch monitoring my steps, heart rate, or calories burned. In fact, as I started walking I talked myself into needing more protein so I actually increased some food in the morning which of course counteracted anything I just did😂 .
Some may feel that this was totally unorganized…and they would be right! For me, I needed to figure this out. I needed a lifestyle change not a drop 10 pounds for an event change.
GETTING MORE SERIOUS
It didn’t take long for me to realize I wanted to up my game and take this lollygagging to another level.
About two months in, The Mister had an Apple Watch which was our oldest son’s old one (gotta love hand me down’s from your kids). I’ve heard 10k steps was the goal so I started working toward that and using the watch to check on progress. (I now have a new one that I got for Christmas. I got this new watch from Amazon which we are affiliates for.)
I went from lollygagging to one mile and then on to two. As I went to visit my brother, for the last time, at the end of October, I was walking 3-4 miles.
At first, I was attempting to get an average mile to 15 minutes…although counted it as 15 if I got 15:59!
Slow and steady was my mantra and yet at the same time, I saw all these older people walking/jogging and thought if they can so can I!
I did write another post midway through the year which you can read here: Will Walking Take Off Pounds? In that article, I also discussed my diet/foods which wasn’t a huge change for me. Yep, I still eat pizza and hamburgers and also plenty of good foods too.
One of the first questions I get asked is if I take any days off.
As I mentioned, when I originally started I knew I would be playing exercise day shuffle if I had days on and off. Walking just needed to be every day for me.
During this entire year, I missed a couple of days when I was sick- true skipped days. Other than that, I have been hoofing it!
I have walked in the smoke (we live in the west where we deal with fire smoke and our area was unfortunately hit with a devastating fire). BTW- Walking with a mask…not so fun!
I have also walked in the rain, after a fall, cold, dark, at the airport, every day visiting my brother, and when it’s just plain hot.
When it’s been too icy or traveling in an area where I didn’t have someplace to walk, I did stairs or some other activity to get me to my goals.
SUNDAYS- The only other change to my routine is Sundays. My goal for that day is 6 miles, but I do not push jogging, running, or an average mile. My main goal on this day is to just get out there and enjoy the walk.
ONE YEAR LATER
- Yes, I still walk every day!
- My walking goal is now 5-6 miles a day.
- I walk, jog, run.
- My average mile is 13 minutes and try to keep my average heart rate in the 130s.
- Step goals are 15k weekdays and 20k (ish) weekends
- My move goal is 740 calories but I almost always have around 850 each day.
- For apple fitness, I have a “stand” goal of 12 and an exercise goal of 60 minutes (usually hit 75).
- End of the week goals: 50 miles walked and 100k steps.
- I DON’T COUNT CALORIES or do any program…just walking and watching my food more.
- And yes, I did lose weight. I have lost just over 40 lbs.
I am super careful about adding too much to what I am already doing because I don’t want to burn out. Remember the hare?
The biggest goal I have right now is to make it to an average of 12 minutes per mile. So far, the quickest mile I have had is 11.09 and the average (for the 5+ miles) was 12:19.
At the end of the day, I want to keep plugging away with the routine that I have built and push myself just a little as I have continually done. All in all, the intent was for a lifestyle change which I feel I have accomplished.
There are many studies that show walking can indeed lead to a healthier lifestyle. Per Mayo Clinic, it can reduce stress, strengthen muscles and bones, reduce risks of diabetes, high book pressure, etc
Again, getting healthy was a big motivator for me as aging is getting real folks! Did I mention health care costs scare me?
Now, we all know some of the obvious benefits of walking but did you know these surprising ones from Harvard Health?
Whenever I share my year walking journey, I usually get lots of questions so lay them on me in the comments below.