I hope you are doing well! I thought about you this week. It was our family vacation and we camped at Wilderness State Park which is about 10 miles west of Mackinaw City. It's a beautiful area, and I know that you will have a wonderful time when you walk across that bridge! And because it was our vacation, we had way too many treats, so I'm finding myself in a similar situation right now. Time to get back on track. Forget about what I did or didn't do while on vacation, and get back into my old routine. So here's to the start of a new week! Hope you have a great one! And you can do anything for two more minutes...
Thanks for the encouragement Cathy! Yes...we BOTH can get back on track today. That's just the reality of life...at least for me. Knowing that the "party" is over and just getting back on the routine. Sounds like you had a great time on vacation. I might just have to drive up there sometime... just to check it out. Might be a good gift to myself for making it 1/2 way to my goal. Hmm... reward system.. I like it!
Have a great week!
The most powerful part of exercise is having a goal and you have one. Go get a photo of a part of the bridge walk that will inspire you, cut out a picture of your face and paste onto the picture, you are there already. Put this picture somewhere you can see it everyday and it will maintain your motivation.
I am not sure how you feel about tracking things but when you are starting out it keeps it real. Then later if you feel you don't need it it will remind you how far you have come.
Another tip if you can only do 10-15 minutes, is to do them more often during the day. So a couple of days per week, do 2 sessions of 10-15 (morning and night maybe) and then other days add 2 minutes as per the previous advice.
Walk somewhere different occasionally as it adds to the interest of walking.
Bottom line, find things that motivate you, tracking, seeing your goal, increasing frequency, intensity and distance and you will conquer 5 miles no sweat. That is a super achievable goal, probably just seems a little far away right now.
By the way, I walked 100km walks twice in 2 years (2009, 2010) and had hardly walked a mile in the 4 months before my first race. Sure I maybe slimmer but it was still scratch to 100k.
Enjoy the journey! Angie
Thanks for the tips Angie! I do walk a few times a day now. Two of those times are shorter distance because I walk on my breaks at work. The evening walk is a little longer. I might need to start doing a short walk in the morning before work as well. I get your point though... add on to what I'm doing. I might start tracking a little better as well. I use the calender on here to schedule my walks. Maybe it's time to add something else as well. A little strength training? Perhaps. Thanks for giving me some things to think about and the encouragement to keep going!
Congratulations on your goal! You've taking the first step (pun intended) by simply starting to move. Walking is an excellent way to do this, and as you get more fit and add more mileage to your walks, little by little, you'll feel more like taking on and setting greater goals.
I found tracking and journaling my food intake/calories as well as my exercise every day has helped me tremendously. There are online sites that help you track your food intake (I use MyFitnessPal.com). Until I started recording everything I was eating, I didn't have a clue as to how many calories I needed to be eating daily (it was more than I thought it would be)--and organizing it all is bringing me results.
Give yourself short-term/interim as well as long-term goals and you'll find it easier to take it step-by-step. There are websites that let you map your neighborhood street in mileage (mapmyrun.com or mapmywalk.com or runningmap.com).
The idea of putting a picture up of the bridge and your final goal as a daily reminder is a terrific idea, as well.
You can do this!
C25K Graduate 10-30-10
"Do it now. You become successful the moment
you start moving toward a worthwhile goal."
Thanks for the encouragement Mythic! I agree I think tracking my calories is a fab idea. Also, putting up a picture to keep myself motivated.
I've been out of commision for almost two weeks and am just getting back into the swing of things. I don't wanna give up on this... thanks to everyone for their encouragement!
Oh Peg, YOU CAN DO THIS! You really can!
Let me tell you what my doctor told me a few years ago. Walk away from your house for 10 minutes. Then walk back. Do this for one month at least three times a week. Next month, walk away from your house 15 minutes and walk back. Do this four times a week. Don't worry about speed, Don't worry about distance. Just walk. The speed and the distance will come with time. The idea is to get out there and do this. Just do it faithfully.
Now let's think about the important part. Get good shoes!! Not just for the walk. Get them now. We are heavy and we need good support. Find a running store that will help fit your feet. Be honest with them about what you are doing and spend the money. Your body will thank you.
Do you have an iPod or a way to listen to music while you walk? It helps, but it's not for everyone.
I like to put stars on the calender for every day I walk. I also like to log my miles on the calender here as it is really encouraging.
YOU CAN DO THIS! Good job for thinking about it!
Susan in CA
Brazen Racing Bear Creek 10k Aug 09
Brazen Racing Rocky Ridge 10k Oct 09
Brazen's Turkey Trot 10k Nov 09
Walked the Golden Gate Bridge - too cool!
Monterey Big Sur Internationl Half Marathon.(10mile walk)
Brazen's New Years 10k Jan 10
Brazen's Bear Creek 10k MUD FEST Jan 10
Finally, back out on the trails!
Blossom Trail 10k March 2011
Miracle Miles for Kids - May 2011
Brian Waterbury Memorial Rock to the Pier 10k - July 2011 Happy Birthday to me!
So many miles...so little time...
I did it - I signed up for Big Sur - April 2012
Unless you faint, puke or die...keep walking - Jillian Michaels
I can't come in last because I am ahead of those who didn't start!
?Having walked the bridge several times since I was young, you CAN do it. I am 270 and my dad is probably a little more than that, but we had a great time doing it. It is not only the 5 miles you walk, but the walking before you get to the actual bridge then the walking after. Take you time, if you go early, you will be so crowded, you will not enjoy it. We have always tried to go late, so we can take our time and enjoy it. It is always nice to see the National Guard walk off the bridge with you at the end. They will not leave you and the National Guard protects the walkers from the road, so if there was ever any problems they could help you. Just remember there are NO restrooms except at the beginning and at the end then so keep hydrated, but not too much!
Yes you can do this! The first time I got on a treadmill, I walked for 10 minutes and ran to the shower. Within two years I walked my first marathon- at 45 years old and 100 pounds overweight. It felt so good that I walked another one three years later. Now at 54 I am going to be attending a world class racewalking clinic and planning on training for another marathon. I am still 80 pounds overweight. Nothing stops me because I won't let it.
Well Peg, it turns out the track record for mild aerobic activity like walking for weight loss is not that impressive. It will make you more fit, but the more of it you do, the hungrier you will get, and just cutting back on food is not helpful either. You need to move in a different direction. It's about the potential value of anaerobic exercise, versus a program of 100% aerobic.
Normally, a person who carries a lot of excess poundage feels cut off from the world of anaerobic training. Obviously, it wouldn't be healthy to try to push 350 pounds around the local track, or even to pound out some quarters on the treadmill. The muscles and tendons of your body are not equipped to recover from that much pressure. But there is another way.
I've run and jogged in a park for several years, where I've been able to see the effects of different kinds of exercise on others who train there. As a general rule, those who only walk seem to maintain pretty much the same weight level over the years, although I can say they look healthier for the effort. The ones I've watched who engage in more vigorous exercise undergo a more dramatic transformation. Not only do their excess pounds melt off, but their muscle mass is visibly increased. Weight loss experts have known for some time that increased muscle mass is the key to burning more of the calories you consume. But how can you increase muscle mass without the kind of vigorous activity that might injure someone of 350 pounds?
Simple. Go low impact, or no impact. There are fitness strategies ranging from pool running to guided trampoline (eg:Rebounder), to ellipticals, to stationary bikes, that can allow you to push yourself beyond the ability to breathe fast enough (which is into anaerobic territory) for several seconds at a time, after which you recover and repeat. When you do this, two important things happen: (1) Your body will begin burning fat at an accelerated level well past your workout, sometimes 24 hours a day. (2) Coupled with the proper diet, your hormonal levels will change to reflect the challenge of your workouts - to build more muscle, something that does not happen when the exertion level is too low. Namely, HGH production will increase, which has the added benefit of shedding excess pounds.
Regarding diet, the best tips I can give you are (1) to avoid simple starches and sugars, which are concentrated forms of energy derived from more complex forms stored by plants for their own needs They quickly become fat if we eat them when we are not actually burning the equivalent amount of energy. (2) Cut back on grain products, particularly high-gluten grains, even if they are "whole grain" products. While these are lower-glycemic than simple starches and sugars, they still release the energy stored in the endosperm of the plants that produce them, which also becomes fat. When you do eat grains, choose low-gluten forms like unhulled brown rice, or steel-cut Irish oatmeal. Both are chewy, low-glycemic, and low in gluten. Gluten, in many people, adheres to the intestinal villi that absorb nutrients from your food, in many cases slowing or preventing absorption. When nutrients aren't being absorbed, hunger increases, and in many cases, causes the bowels to increase in size. (3) Choose foods for their overall nutrient levels, so you will be satisfied with less. Make sure they are fresh, so the enzymes can contribute to proper digestion. (4) Eat protein after your vigorous workouts, and last thing in the evening, not carbs. You can get to them later. Carb metabolism interferes with beneficial hormone production when it is needed most, which is after stress and during sleep. Your ancestors did not run to catch plants. Save the starches for the productive parts of your day that are not anaerobic. (5) Increase your ability to digest nutrients by ingesting probiotic bacteria. Most of our food supply is sterilized or pasteurized , which removes this benefit. Several pounds of your intestinal bulk are going to be bacteria anyway. You might as well choose the known beneficial strains to be among them. (6) As a general rule, don't starve yourself. The more meals you skip, the better you will become at storing and keeping fat, which is accomplished by losing muscle mass. Since muscle weighs more than fat, people think they are losing weight when this happens, but they are setting themselves up for more weight gain. This advice does not exclude an occasional "fast," which has been shown to be helpful.
I've never weighed anything near 350 pounds, but when I hit 40 I was overweight, as many in my family have been. I now weigh what I did in high school, and never go hungry. Yesterday I jogged 30 miles in about 5-1/2 hours (yes eat carbs after something like that), and lately have been running half-miles in well under 3 minutes despite pushing 60. If there is one tip to remember from all the above, it is the value of a couple sessions of vigorous activity a week. Mine usually last a little over 20 minutes, most of which is easy jogging between anaerobic bursts of 30 seconds or less (whey protein after these). The rest of my mileage is easy, low heart-rate stuff, and I rarely exceed 20 total in a week. Still compete in the occasional marathon, though.
We all have our goals, and I think yours are attainable. You could walk for hours reading a book like I've seen some do, getting little results, but you could do that with the body you have. If you want your body to change, it has to be challenged so it can adapt its form. Rather than simply walking, which is still good maintenance, I advise mixing it up (in a safe way) to bring about the changes you seek. I realize that many will not agree with all I've written here, but they may not have studied health for over 40 years either. Much has been learned the hard way, and I've had to function as a walking laboratory. The truth is out there, but remember there is always a lot more money to be made by suppressing it.
It is wrong to discourage someone who is trying to do the right thing, James. Peg, you CAN lose weight by walking. Don't listen to someone who bases their conclusions on casual observations at the park. Keep doing what you are doing, Peg, and don't listen to anyone who tells you that it won't work- especially someone who has not been where you have been.
I don't think encouraging Peg to do the best thing is the same as discouraging her from doing the right thing, Nora, but I appreciate your desire to help, as I'm sure Peg does too. We are all here to help. If you read my whole post, it was about more than observations in the park. If I wanted to discourage someone, I would not waste years of research and 7 paragraphs of explanation doing it. I'm not a touch typist, and writing takes me a long, long, time. Is it too much for someone who wishes to dismiss my views as "wrong," to engage in more than a casual reading of my response? I realize your heart is in the right place, but so is mine. I'm just trying to update the science.
There is nothing wrong with walking, although when I walked extensively I lost no pounds, even gained a few. If Peg weighs 350 and adjusts her weight loss goals to roughly 150 pounds, considering her height and your account of your own experience, would you consider a drop to 320 to be enough progress after 5 years? That is exactly my point. Your new goal of race-walking is another matter, which is also my point. It's the intensity that counts, not just the time or the miles.
Every year of morbid obesity can be a year off one's life, and I think that's the most important issue here. The inability to exercise briskly at this time is understandable, and must be handled carefully, but not coddled. Peg is 48, and there isn't a whole lot of time to waste before improving her health. When I was her age, I could not run a 12 minute mile, even "running" just. one. mile. Almost a year of exercise later, I entered a 10k, and a race-walker passed me at mile 5. In fact, I'll bet you could have dusted me too, Nora. Just like Peg, I had led a relatively sedentary life up to that point, so I do understand what she is going through. While all of us may not have started in exactly the same place as Peg is in now, we are all moving toward the same goals!
One advantage she has over me, is that her heart has had to pump well enough to power her through daily activities, which is roughly the equivalent of the future Peg carrying 100 pounds of gear on her back around the house - quite a workout, which has probably kept her heart strong. Statistically, it is more often the underweight who have weak hearts. If she can pass a physical stress test, I am willing to bet Peg is capable of much more than simply walking. The problem is how to avoid the destructive impact she is not yet conditioned for, which is what keeps the overweight from exercising in the first place. Surprisingly, walking is still an impact sport, and can contribute to injuries just like some more vigorous exercises. I remember hurting for a week after an 8 mile walk, not many years ago when I was very fit.
That's why I recommend other forms of exercise to Peg, other than simply walking or running. Low and No-impact exercises can allow a more vigorous workout, with less wear and tear. The strain on her tendons and joints during walking is probably greater than what I experience during competitive running, if my math is correct. Each step Peg takes can yield approximately 700+ pounds of combined G-forces, way more than I experience by tripling and quadrupling my impact load during a hard run. All this to yield a minimal metabolic increase, hence less burning of fat. The article from the Mayo Clinic linked below includes a useful table, and here is another contained in the first link, from which I extract the following:
Table 1: Calories Burned during Popular Activities
Calories from Fat
Watching TV for 20 minutes
Walking for 20 minutes
Jogging & sprinting for 20 minutes
From this (and other links above) we see it's true that while walking is said to burn a high proportion of fat to carbs, it is also at little volume, and I will add (since these articles neglected to note) with little residual metabolic afterburn during the day. In other words, if one's goal is to burn fat, it's how much one burns in an entire day that is important. In light of this, Peg's time is not very well spent walking, especially if she can only manage 15 minutes or so. Burning 150 calories in 15 minutes is nothing compared to burning three times that with more vigorous exercise, plus what she could burn throughout the day when her metabolism stays elevated as a result. In fact, intense exercise often curbs appetite!
On the other side of the health spectrum, there is legitimate concern about the relationship between exercise intensity and heart health. Again, with rare exceptions, even for post-op heart patients, the nod is toward higher intensity exercise than walking. It not only exercises the heart better, but improves cholesterol ratios, something mild exercise does little for.
Once again, I don't make this stuff up, but it is the result of years of study, as well as staying current. Walking, as an ideal exercise for fat burning, is old science. It's a good start, but as you too have found, it's only a start. If anyone wants to really lose weight and live a quality life, it's time to really get moving.
Don't take my word for it; the above posts will get you started with some easy reading. The more recent studies, going back at least a few years, have reversed much of the thinking about exercise intensity that still exists in the backwaters of medicine. One caveat that I must note is that very recent research also shows that too much exercise is bad for your heart, which means there is a happy middle where we all belong. In all things, moderation.. Not too hard, but not long or too easy either.
To summarize for Peg, it is important to see what you are safely capable of, with a medical stress test, if possible. Start easy, as I did. I started jogging on a mini-trampoline, but you can find another low or no-impact method since these have limited capacity. While the Mackinac is a worthy goal for now, your health and weight are even more important going forward. Buy a heart monitor, the type you can read with a touch of your fingers (20 bucks at Wal-Mart). The strapped types won't fit out of the box, and will be a waste of money right now. Choose your equipment for working out. May I suggest a stationary bicycle, which often has a suitable seat, or an eliptical trainer for better body mechanics. Gyms are loaded with them, and you can buy them used.
Start setting intensity goals above the level of walking as soon as you feel up to it. You do not need to spend even minutes sweating it out in the beginning. Warm up with easy activity first, as I and everyone else should do. Then up your intensity for 30 seconds only, until you start to breath deeply. Back down to low intensity for the remainder of your 15-20 minute workout, as the increased metabolic activity continues. Each week, add another 30 second higher intensity segment, followed by a 90 second low intensity recovery, until your 20 minute workout has up to 8 of these interval combos in the middle. Don't exceed your maximum heart rate (approx 170) during the short but intense portion of these sessions, and make sure to spend the last couple minutes at low intensity to cool down, just as your warm up.
What you will notice, if you follow the above workout twice a week, is increased heart rate and metabolic activity during the day, even into the evening, deepening your sleep later. Better rest will lead to more weight loss, which is another item uncovered by recent research. Make sure you sleep with no light other than perhaps a red LED in the room, to avoid stimulating the Pineal gland and altering hormone production. Don't eat within hours of bed time for the same reason.
Each day you should experience renewed energy, after the increased intensity of your workouts stimulates the production of human growth hormone after exercise and during sleep, which will increase muscle mass and burn even more fat. The rest of your week, mild exercise like a little walking, coupled with resistance weight training can enhance these effects. You don't need to follow the recommended 30 minute guidelines when your intensity increases, for two reasons: (1) Higher intensity burns more fat during, as well as much more after exercise, and (2) because you will need to reduce total exercise time to improve recovery at night. Loss of sleep can also come from too much exercise.
Yes, you can do this, and it requires more effort, but less time, for faster results. Sounds like a deal to me! Barring any medical contraindications, I'm sure anybody reading this can do it... Are you in?
Hi Peg, a year ago I was where you are now.
I made a New Years resolution to exercise a minimum of half hour each day, every day. A year later I had only missed 2 days and I lost 85 pounds. I started close to 400 lbs. Now I am 315, and if there is such a thing as a "lean, fit and healthy 315 pounds" I am it.
You have to build up your conditioning and your muscles. But you can get there. I would even dare say that you can do it by Labor Day THIS YEAR, 2012!
A year ago, I struggled to walk upstairs to my own bedroom. Today I took a 7 mile walk. I am certain you can do it!
It won't be easy, but it can be done!
Peg, it can totally be done!
I've walked the bridge about 10 times. I'm 28 and haven't lived in Michigan for a bit over 5 years, having moved to Utah when I was 23. I'm a Yooper born and raised! I'm currently living in Spain and feeling the inkling to get on board with a vigorous walking program again! Anyway...the point is, YES, you can! I've been heavy all my life. Last time I walked the bridge I was probably 320lbs. I have no idea what I am now, but I imagine 330ish (my scale is in kg and it ERRs out before it weighs me). The only thing that made me have a hard time walking the bridge was that I felt like I had to keep up with my fast-walking friends. The most fun I had? When it started POURING and a friend of mine had a guitar and played it while walking. Right there on the top of the bridge in a dark, thunderous downpour, we starting singing 'Here Comes the Sun' by the Beatles, at the top of our lungs. I found that the times I enjoyed the walk the most were when I didn't pay attention to the fact that I was walking or that I was heavy. One year, my dad - who was about 460 lbs. at that point - walked it with us, too. I felt terrible because I knew his feet hurt so badly, but what an accomplishment for him! Your feet may hurt a bit at the end, but it is so, so worth it.
I lost about 80lbs. without trying to write down a structured plan with numbers of stretches and minutes of walking and such. How I did it? I just enjoyed my life. It was so weird to weigh in one day and see how much I had lost (40 at that point) without even noticing or trying to! I tried belly dancing (now I perform), I went to some yoga classes, and I just took leisurely walks. When you're bigger like us, it doesn't take much. I find that when I write down these strict adherences to start with, I end up getting discouraged and failing. You need to stick to something, but stick to it for your own enjoyment. Do it because Michigan is GORGEOUS and you love looking at the tree trunks or the leaves, or love the smell of the earth. You will see that you will be losing weight left and right!
I bet you can walk that bridge in 2012, young lady! Don't be afraid to do it...it's so peaceful and you'll be so glad you did!
Chin up, and congrats in advance!
I do agree that getting into aerobic vs. anaerobic is necessary at some point. Trying to wrap your head around it will be crazy, so if you're just starting, just MOVE and ENJOY moving. Soon you'll be hungry for more challenges, and then you can push yourself to this.
The BEST thing I did - at 330-325lbs. - was take a spin class these past 6 months. I got ADDICTED. Your bum hurts like crazy the first two weeks, but then it's smooth sailing (additionally, I bought plus-size cycle shorts on a website online...I can recommend if you want!). DON'T GIVE UP. It was the most amazing thing I did. I didn't lose many pounds and I was pretty teed off...because usually I lose a lot when I start working out. BUT! I have such great cardio endurance. I was spinning twice a week (1 hour classes), swimming twice a week (1 hour classes), and doing yoga and walking. I'm still in the 300s. But, I went on this crazy hike in the mountains that was a death wish, and I made it. It was a triumph! I felt SO proud of my THICK, STRONG legs and my heart for pumping through it all. Spin was AMAZING, and my instructor brought our workouts into aerobic and anaerobic zones, and taught us about it. Best thing I ever did. Seriously. If you have it available, it's worth every penny of a membership or pay-per-class. (And a tip: best spin music to change your workout zones? Riverdance. LOVE it!)
ACTIVE is the leader in online event registrations from 5k running races and marathons to softball leagues and local events. ACTIVE also makes it easy to learn and prepare for all the things you love to do with expert resources, training plans and fitness calculators.