Almost four weeks ago, I joined many of my friends in downtown Northport to celebrate Ryan's birthday. Much food and drink was consumed, stories shared, and general merriment had. But at one point during the evening, Ryan mentioned that his weight had come down by more than ten percent from its peak. On saying this, he had my attention. How did this happen? He said that it was a combination of an improved diet and going for a walk every day. My interest in this stemmed from the fact that although my weight has remained relatively steady for more than a year and half, it's still forty pounds higher than it was at the beginning of 2009. For the benefit of anyone who doesn't know me personally, and as a reminder to those who do, I'm five-foot-eight. That means that although the "body mass index" has its faults, mine is above thirty, and thus meets the clinical definition of "obese."
I decided to put any food-related changes on the back burner. For one, it might require the acquisition of skills that I don't presently have. And for two, I have largely the same diet as I did three and a half years ago, when my weight was at the top end of normal. So priority number one was to get back towards burning the same amount of calories as when I was in the Navy. Now, some of that is irreplaceable, because I can't replicate the consumption of energy via pure hatred of work. But I certainly can add physical activity. There are plenty of roads around here, right? And I've got sneakers! It was time to get walking, and I got started the very next day.
After just two-plus miles, a major snag appeared before me beneath me, so to speak. My body is... well, the distribution of weight... okay, screw it. I have fat thighs, and their insides were rubbing together at the top, causing chafing. That night, I searched the Internet for a solution. More than one source made the suggestion that losing weight was the way to correct the problem. Well, thank you very much! I was already well aware of that, and for me, it's the other way around - I need to correct this so that I can do something that will help me lose weight. Eventually, two seemingly magical words appeared before me: compression shorts. They're similar to the shorts worn by cyclists, and they would appear to place fabric in the places where I need it. But when I got to Sports Authority the next day, I was a bit put off by the price - almost thirty dollars. In my book, that's an awful lot for a single piece of clothing. But I still bought them. I figured that if I ever lost the resolve to keep walking, I could look at those compression shorts and be reminded that if I didn't keep it up, they would represent $30 down the drain.
Fortunately, the shorts work like a charm. For the first two and a half weeks, I did my walking within my neighborhood. The legs hurt on some days, but that has faded with acclimation to the distance and better hydration practices. After two consecutive days off last week (one forced by the weather), I elected to double up last Friday, so I needed a second course. Hence I started going outside the neighborhood and gradually upped the distance. I've been able to do it for seven days straight, the distance yesterday was about 4.8 miles, and there's no pain. But does that mean there's no gain? Not sure yet. I'm two pounds lower than sixteen days ago, but that could simply be random fluctuations. There's only one way to find out if the walking is working - and that would be to keep walking, something which is certain to happen.