Distance Walking for Health and Weightloss
Before I launch a bunch of numbers at you, let me start at the beginning.
Two months ago, in mid July, I started to walk.
It all started when I received my new smartphone (The Droid X) in the mail and began to discover all of the crazy things that it could do. I fumbled around with it for the first two weeks and then came across an app for my phone called “Noom.” Noom is a combination food logger (Calorific) and exercise logger (CardioTrainer), a powerful fat-fighting pair, indeed! I decided to give it a try.
The very first thing that Noom has you do is set goals. I decided that I would like to lose 7 pounds in order to attain what I considered my ideal weight in 6 months. Based on my Body Mass Index, Noom decided that my goal was not lofty enough. It suggested that I lose *12* pounds in that six months – a weight that I honestly have not seen the scale say since I was 15. I’m rather short and petite anyway, and I knew that peeling 12 pounds off of my already small frame would be quite a feat. Rather than starving myself like I did for my wedding, I made a promise to myself that I would use this program to achieve my new ideal weight the old fashioned way – with a good diet and exercise.
Noom made all the calculations for me:
- Eat 1500 calories per day
- Burn at least 300 calories per day
In the beginning this seemed especially tough. I thought that 2000 was the recommended calorie intake per day and back in my college days, I would have to run (and I mean RUN) on a treadmill for a solid 25 minutes or so to burn those kind of calories! I admit, I was nervous. I imagined days of going to bed hungry and tortuous workouts which would result, ultimately, in my abandonment of the program.
The truth of this program could not have been more different!
Noom breaks foods into 3 categories:
- Green (Healthy food, eat in abundance)
- Yellow (Healthy but fattening, eat in moderation)
- Red (Fattening food, eat only as a treat)
And Calorific (the food logger) also uses super vague and easy measurements for your meals (one handful, half a handful, half a glass) so I didn’t feel like the food Nazi was breathing down my neck checking everything I eat!
The program rates you on a 5 star scale on how close to the “ideal” food ratio you get everyday:
- 50% Green foods (veggies and fruits, fat free milk, cereal, whole wheat bread…)
- 35% Yellow foods (nuts, starchy foods, white breads and pastas…)
- 15% Red foods (ice cream, butter, whipped cream, sauces and jellies…)
That’s right, dieters, I am rewarded for stuffing 300 calories of pure sugar into my face every day!
In less than a week, I was delighting in achieving the perfect harmony of Green, Yellow, and Red daily and enjoying my sugary snack allowances even more than before because they were condoned by my diet program.
I found new things to buy at the grocery store to help achieve my daily diet Zen and even my husband has enjoyed the healthy detour our meals have taken (like, more fiber and nutrients!)
Anyway, I stumbled upon this “walking” thing almost accidentally.
Noom required that I burned 300 calories a day, and after a couple of tortuous treadmill runs I decided to just take a quick walk outside and see how many calories that burned.
Sadly, it wasn’t many.
“What if I walked a lot farther?” I thought, and made the long trek down our country road and back.
Voila! The calories I burned distance walking (even at a rather sluggish pace) for about an hour or so really added up. It didn’t feel like exercise at all. I ambled along down our road day after day enjoying the birds, squirrels, rabbits, cows, dragonflies and butterflies, and adding daily to an increasingly darker tan from all the sun I was getting. It hit me shortly after I started the program: I could really keep this up pretty easily.
Two months have gone by since I started “Nooming”, and here are my stats:
- Distance walked: 228 Miles
- Energy burned: 18,548 Calories
- Weight lost: 5 Pounds
Yep, just two months in and I’m already about halfway to my high school weight.
Did I mention that muscles are starting to pop up in places I’ve never noticed them before, as well? I always wondered what people were talking about when they mentioned their “hamstrings”, now I definitely know! My arm flab is slowly disappearing and I love asking my husband to squeeze my “guns”…! He’s full of compliments lately, too, even going so far as to call me “athletic” (a label I’ve never been able to wear before.)
Thanks to all this newfound energy, in January, 2012, I’ll be doing a half marathon in Phoenix, AZ with my sister-in-law: 13 miles in under 3.5 hours.
Today, I reached that goal!
This morning it took me exactly 3 Hours and 25 Minutes to walk 13 miles, and only required about 1 mile of (very light) jogging.
In two months (Nov 2011) I plan to walk this distance again and see if my time has improved.
The photo above is the end of the country road that I walk on, and I can’t stress enough how this beautiful country road has helped me to achieve my goal. I encounter wildlife daily: deer often cross the road in front of me, I see skunks and groundhogs ambling off into holes in the ground, lizards and skinks skitter across my path, and Mourning Doves line the powerlines, twittering away when I get close. When I’m feeling restless I adopt a brisk 3.5 mph pace, and if I’m feeling lazy I shuffle along at closer to 3 or 2.5.
Anymore, I can’t even start my day until I’ve covered 3 or 5 miles of country road.