How I Lost 50lbs By Walking
Let me start off by saying that I was always an active person. I started Tae Kwon Do at age four and managed to win silver and bronze medals at a state championship before I finished elementary school. I was also enrolled in swim lessons, skate lessons, I made my high school's drill team, and eventually passed instructor training for Les Mills Body Combat. That being said, I STILL LOST WEIGHT BY WALKING.
I've heard many people say that walking is "too easy" for their athletic ability, but if you think about, walking still burns Calories, and essentially that's how you lose weight.
In the spring of 2013, I moved to South Korea to teach English. At that point, it had been almost a year since I graduated from college and I had made a little progress in my weight loss journey; I had lost about 25 pounds and was determined to make sure I did not gain the weight back when I moved overseas.
I made a very small mental list of rules that I would refer to, but keep in mind, my intention was to prevent gaining the weight that I had lost, not lose more. This was my list:
- Don't get carried away eating rice at every meal
- Not only rice, but try not to eat tons of noodle dishes and bread
- Explore your neighborhood
An English teacher in Korea is often provided a furnished apartment "within walking distance" to the school they have been contracted to teach at. I put it in quotations because the definition of walking distance may vary from person to person. My apartment ended up being around two miles away, and included a walk across a highway overpass that crossed a river. The walk typically took between 30-40 minutes, and I would do that twice a day - to go to work, and to come home.
The river that cut through the neighborhood also had plenty of trails, fields, and pathways for the active person, and I started to add walks along the river on top of my walks to and from work. In my mind at the time, I didn't consider walking to be a sufficient form of exercise, so I considered my walks to be a way to explore the neighborhood.
If you're familiar with the geography of the capital of South Korea, Seoul, then you'll know that there is a massive river (The Han River) that divides the city in half horizontally. The smaller river that was near my apartment actually connected with the Han, about three miles up (or down) stream. It took me about two hours to walk the six mile loop from my apartment to the Han River. Within my first month of moving to South Korea, I was walking to and from work, and walking an additional two hours after work to explore the many paths along the river.
I was walking 10 miles per day, at least 5 days a week. On weekends I would go on longer walks, and eventually purchased a bicycle so I could travel even farther. I know this sounds excessive. It is, and I'm not saying that you have to walk 10 miles a day or ride your bike 15 miles every weekend to lose weight.
A quick Google search told me that a general rule of thumb is that a person can burn around 100 Calories per mile that they walk. If you apply it to just the 10 miles per day I was walking, that's 1,000 Calories burned per day. So my "exploration" eventually led to lost weight. And I wasn't even trying.
After about four or five months, I finally noticed that I had lost weight, and then the scale in the basement gym of my apartment told me that my weight was over 50lbs lower than what it was when I first moved there.
Now, I know not everyone has the time to spend walking 10 miles a day (I definitely do not have over 3 hours of time to dedicate to walking), but I think walking is a very beneficial form of exercise that doesn't always feel like exercise.
Some ways I incorporate more walking into my daily life, is parking farther away from the entrance of a building (I also do this to lower the chance of getting dents in my car), walking to and from work (if you're within "walking distance"), and maybe even using the restroom on a different floor than the one you're on.
Have you lost weight by walking? Have you incorporated more walking into your daily life? Let me know in the comment section!