So how did I go from doing no walking (and in fact not a lot of exercise full stop) to walking 12 miles most days? Well, to explain I may need to take you back to the beginning....
Logically, many people would think that if you’re overweight and you want to lose weight then you’ll get out and exercise. The problem for me was that I was so self-conscious about my weight and my ability to exercise that I found it really difficult and embarrassing to do so.
From speaking to other people about it, I get the impression that this is pretty common and those kinds of feelings really aren’t great motivators to keep you exercising.
With a busy lifestyle where I was often out after work or working late, I was rarely free to go to the gym. This just left me feeling guilty and disheartened and my dedication would soon peter out.
The turning point
After yet another lapse in going to the gym and having put on more weight, I knew I needed to make a change. In my lunch break at work one day I made a very snap decision and signed up to WeightWatchers - it was probably one of best decisions I’ve ever made.
I have to say, without wanting to sound like I’m plugging, that I bloody love WeightWatchers! This post isn’t about the diet side of my weight loss - I’ll look at this another time - but it has to be said if I hadn’t joined WeightWatchers, lost some initial pounds and gained some confidence I may never have taken my first steps towards walking.
In fact, it was actually an email from WeightWatchers about adding activity to your weight loss plan that first got me thinking about giving walking a go.
Walking to work - the perfect solution
Soon after this, my sister suggested taking part in a charity walking challenge, and that was the final catalyst. The challenge was an overnight walking marathon (yep, 26.2
miles) and being somewhat foolhardy we decided to go for the full marathon rather than the half.
At the time, I was working about 3 miles from my flat. I’d been commuting by bus every day and hadn’t ever considered an alternative until that point. I decided that to train for the event I would start walking to work - little did I know what an amazing impact that decision would have on my life!
So I started and, you know what, at first it was bloody hard work. Going from doing nothing to walking between 3 and 6 miles a day (depending on whether I did there and back) was tough and pretty tiring too. That said, it didn’t take long before it started getting easier and having the event as a goal to aim for was a great motivator to keep going.
What really spurred me on though was that I started to lose weight very quickly. It really was unbelievable to me what a difference it made. I’d already lost weight through diet changes, but no one had noticed it much as yet - after starting my walking regime the positive comments came flying in. It was a bit of a revelation!
More than that, I started to find that walking in the morning gave me time to wake up and get my brain in gear, whilst walking home gave me the chance to unwind, particularly after stressful days. I found the exercise relaxing and this, combined with the positive feelings I had about the weight loss, lifted my mood and my confidence no end.
I soon began to feel fitter, thinner and so much happier. Within the space of the 4 months, between starting to walk and the marathon event, I had lost a stone and a half in weight, on top of what I’d already lost through WeightWatchers alone. It really was fantastic that something which seemed so simple - walking to and from work - could have such dramatic effects.
Cultivating an obsession
So that’s how it all started, and with such great
results it’s little surprise that I haven’t looked back since. After the marathon event, which we managed to complete (phew!), I carried on walking to and from work and eventually began walking pretty much everywhere else as
well - to meet friends after work, into central London at the weekend, for a walk along the river...I even started going on walking holidays.
I’ve lost more weight - over 3 stone in all - and through walking and keeping up the changes I've made to my diet have been able to maintain that now for nearly a year. I’m in the best shape of my life and that’s given me the confidence I never had before to take up a team sport and start running as well.
I now work 6 miles away from my flat and when I moved jobs, everyone assumed I would stop walking to work and told me as much. I think they’d underestimated just how much I value my walking time - especially when the alternative is being squashed up with a load of strangers on the tube!
So that’s why I now walk 12 miles a day on most days - it’s sometimes a challenge, but I always feel better for doing it and I could never give it up now, I’m 100% hooked. I’ve learnt a lot along the way - which I intend to share as this blog develops - but the main thing I would want anyone to take away from this is that walking is easy, it’s free, you can fit it around your life and it makes you feel amazing.
Ta ta for now and happy walking!
Walking Girl :)