Bad knees and arthritis in my back make for a slight difficulty in long walks. That is not an excuse. It is just a fact. That being said, I have begun walking more.
It started quite simply as a late night (12:30AM) walk one night when I had planned to take one earlier and forgot. I had decided to walk around my block. My wife told me she thought it was a quarter mile or so. I planned to do it shortly after dark to take advantage of the coolness of the evening. As I was preparing to go to bed (actually about to get into the bed) I realized I had forgotten the walk. So, I went back into the sitting room and gathered the necessary tools for my late night walk. As I was totally unaware as to how this was going to play out, I took a small flashlight, my cell phone, and my keys.
Out the door, quietly I went. I walked down the drive, up to the corner, up Queen, down Main, down MLK, up Locust, and back up the drive. Once inside, I locked the door and headed up the stairs. Mission accomplished. I was deeply re-oxygenating (breathing heavy) when I got to the bed. TJ asked what was wrong. I told her of my walk. She mumbled something and drifted back off to sleep. I fell asleep shortly thereafter.
The next day, I mapped it out and found that it was just over three/tenths of a mile around the block. I know to a professional walker or runner three tenths of a mile is nothing. However, to me it marked a new change. Yes, my back was very unhappy about it. That day, I did the walk three times. My back would not allow me to make three trips around the block at once, but I did so with a couple hours interval in between the walks. I walked almost a mile.
You have to understand (as I am sure some of you do) how weight can make you a prisoner. The idea of going out where you will have to walk and be in pain, and endure the glares and stares of judgmental society is, at times, unbearable, and at all times, uncomfortable. Perhaps this is why I originally chose to walk late in the evening. There would be much less society to encounter. The first night I walked, I encountered one man walking his dog across the street from where I was walking.
The pain part is much more bearable than the glares and stares part. I worked construction for nearly thirty years. I am used to working through pain. I am used to getting up and going when your body would much rather lay in bed for a few more hours or days. Of course, work is much different than the easily declined choice to be out and about. Work is necessary. Going shopping, walking around the block, and just going out in public in general are optional.
As to the glare and stare part, let me first say, “Yes, I know how much I weigh.” I do know the general societal stance is that a person is overweight because of laziness and controllable over eating. While these may be true in a percentage of those overweight, it is not a blanket reason. There are a many other reasons as there are overweight people. I could point my finger to my thyroid condition which was undiagnosed until I was already around 300 pounds. This weight contributed to the pain in my back and my knees. Less active me gained more weight.
Now, let me assure you that I do not blame all of this on my thyroid or inactivity. I did my part. I did overeat. I did eat the wrong things. So, I was in partnership with my thyroid and bad knees and back to keep me from losing any weight. It is this revelation (it did not just happen) that also gives me the hope of losing weight. I know that there are things that I can do to help me lose weight. I cannot cure my thyroid problems (although I am medicating as prescribed,) my hurting knees, or my arthritis. For now, those things will continue to work against me. I CAN, however, change my eating habits, control my intake, and exercise to the limit my body will allow.
Back to my ever growing walk.
This week I mapped out different routes to increase my per walk distance. The around-the-block walk entailed some semi-steep walks up and down. The up part was difficult on the back and the down part was difficult on the knees. I wanted a more level walking path. The new path did have a slight uphill and downhill part, but was much more manageable than the prior path. The new path was also .35 mile long. Then it was .4 mile long. Then yesterday it grew to a .53 mile long with a steep uphill walk in the middle.
The walks started out being about twelve minutes long. Then without increasing the distance, the time dropped to nine to ten minutes. Then the longer walks were still ten minutes. Yesterday’s longest walk of the ever growing walk was fifteen minutes. It was hot. It was painful. It was glorious. You may laugh at my jubilation over walking half a mile. That’s okay. I know things you don’t know. I know where I started. I know where I am. I know where I am going.
I have decided to no longer be a prisoner of my weight. I have lost nineteen pounds so far. That is almost fifteen percent of my desired weight loss and just over five percent of my total body weight. My BMI has gone from 53.2 to 50.3. I am breaking free, thanks to my changed eating habits and my ever increasing walks.
See you at the goal line.