Today was such a gorgeous day that I was able to get outside for a nice long walk. I enjoy the time alone with my thoughts. It is a chance to just let my mind wander or to think about a problem or concern. Sometimes I have wonderfully creative ideas and other times I may only be thinking about the grocery list. It doesn’t really matter too much.
I am not someone who has a fabulously healthy diet and lifestyle. I admit to eating the wrong things sometimes, and enjoying it too. I don’t belong to a health club and I don’t play sports. I am just like a lot of you. But I know what I should be doing and I make an effort to do things correctly, and I try not to beat myself up too badly when I eat pizza or cookies or lounge around like a couch potato.
Last January 2010 I started the year weighing 163.5 lbs. YIKES. That was the heaviest I had ever been in my life, including both pregnancies (and believe me I put on a lot of weight when I was pregnant). I was mortified by the number. And vowed to do something about it. I have never been very active. I don’t do sports. I like sports and enjoy watching, but I’m not good at participating. In school I was the kid that always got picked last for gym class or intramural sports. I was awkward and uncoordinated and small. If there was a way to do it wrong, I would figure that out. Gym class was the only class in school that I didn’t enjoy and that I didn’t get good grades in. None of that changed as an adult. I am not the person that you want on your team. Not if you want to be any good anyway. Ha Ha. I am willing to try of course, but knowing what you are supposed to do and actually doing it are two different things.
But I can walk. It requires no extra skills. No extra equipment other than a good pair of shoes. And other than occasionally stumbling over a curb or a crack in the sidewalk, I can do it without worrying about how coordinated I really am. I can walk the dogs every day, and they don’t care about my skill level.
The thing that really helped me walk more often and farther was signing up and participating in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk for the Cure last year. My sister Teresa and I signed up to do it together. First of all, it is a great cause to be involved with and the organization and the volunteers that helped, as well as all the other walkers, all made the event memorable. Since I had to make a committment to do it and to fundraise for the event, it forced me to work hard at training. I started walking a little bit every day and I started using a pedometer to keep track of steps. I also started doing Yoga a couple times a week and trying to eat a little bit better. I admit it was hard at first. I really wasn’t able to walk very far before being exhausted, and I worried about being able to complete the Walk. But each week I worked a little bit harder and slowly built up my stamina. The Avon Walk was the end of June in the Colorado Rockies (we walked from Frisco to Breckenridge over 2 days time).
I am proud to say that we walked a little over 26 miles in 2 days, and at altitude. That is a LOT of STEPS. But the weather was beautiful and the Colorado scenery was gorgeous and I truly was inspired by the whole experience. It was such a wonderful experience that I highly recommend it to everyone.
I now weigh 145 lbs, so I have lost nearly 20 lbs in the past year. I have to admit I don’t get out and walk as much when the weather is not nice. I would prefer to hibernate this time of year. I don’t like the cold or the wind or the snow or ice that you have to deal with during a good part of the year. But I try to get out there and at least walk the dogs most days. And add in some extra steps whenever I can.
Each week I will try to add a little helpful hint to aid you in getting out there and doing something and being more health conscious. I am not an expert but I know some things I have tried that have helped me, and maybe they will help you too. We all just need to help each other stay on course.
Your hint for this week is to get a pedometer and use it every day. There are a lot of different kinds of pedometers to buy. You don’t need anything fancy. Just a way to count your steps each day. I prefer one with a cover that closes as some of the others are very sensitive and easy to reset accidentally. If it resets every time you bend over or lean up against the kitchen counter, or if your kids hug you and it resets, then you will just be frustrated because it won’t really give you accurate numbers. I put mine on when I get out of bed in the morning and don’t take it off til I go to bed at night. I write down the total number of steps each morning for the previous day, and then reset it. It doesn’t really matter when you write down your numbers, just try to make it the same time each day. I do keep a log of the steps taken, so I can see how I am doing, and chart my progress.
Obviously sometimes you won’t be able to wear a pedometer. That’s OK, just wear it whenever you are able. Make it a habit. And soon you will find yourself looking for ways to add extra steps to your day. Now go out there and WALK!