A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Some day, I’ll step into a more Wonder Woman-like routine. For now, I’ll walk.
I have this goal. It’s small, really. I want to be a bad*ss like Wonder Woman or Katniss Everdeen or even like Clare, the character of my own novel, “The Girl Who Fell Into the Sky.” But I also know that if I truly want to exhibit that level of of bad*assery, I need to get back in shape. I recently became a mostly-raw vegan to help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and eczema: The diet change worked - more on that in another post - but it also drove home the fact that my health isn’t where I want it to be, especially from a physical strength perspective. So I also recently started walking to lose weight and to get my physical conditioning back up.
Exercise Reviews: Lose Weight and Your Insanity at the Same Time In this post, I’m going to talk about three books that have helped me get my walking program started. Each offers a little something different to the person who embarks on a walking plan to lose weight. As many of you know, much of the time when I write on this blog, it covers the stuff that I think about when I’m writing my novels. Everything is fair game, including exercise reviews and recipes. Aside from wanting to fuel my own writing, I also hope that I am empowering girls and women to be their best selves.
The three books I’m going to talk about in this post are:
(If you want to order the books, just click on the red links to be taken to Amazon.)
Exercise Reviews: So, I Didn't Turn Into Wonder Woman My First Day Out...
I’m not going to lie. On my first trek out, it felt like my rear end was dragging five feet behind me down the sidewalk. This awful and embarrassing feeling lasted several days.
But as the days stretched on, my walking changed. Somewhere along the way, it became a form of mindful walking. Pretty soon, I started having fantasies about slipping on my hiking boots and getting lost - figuratively speaking - in the woods somewhere. I even thought that a job that required me to walking lots of miles every day would be just about perfect... Where did that thought even come from?
But back to reality... It has long been my goal to eventually hike the Appalachian Trail, but the first part of that goal, walking and hiking, has been a little slow getting off the ground.
Anyway, as my walks have gotten progressively longer, I became intrigued by the idea of trying to make each walk a mindful walking meditation of sorts. An article on the Chopra Center website says that walking improves concentration, helps you to better connect with the environment and your own body, increases mindfulness, and helps you stay in the moment. As far as meditation methods go, this is the proverbial bomb.
(Can I say “bomb” and “meditation” in the same sentence and not break some spiritual rule…?)
Walking Meditation and Bilateral Stimulation
There is more to walking as a meditation. It also cures ailments like anxiety and forms the basis for some forms of therapy, including walk and talk therapy and therapies that use bilateral stimulation like EMDR. In fact, one of the books that I read for this exercise review, “Walking Your Blues Away” deals specifically with using walking as a means to overcome ailments like anxiety and PTSD.
One of the reasons why I chose this book was because of what this review on Goodreads by Kendra Edwards said about it:
To give a simple "take home message" on what bilaterality is: According to the book, using bilaterality means doing an activity, such as walking, which requires both the left and right hemispheres of the brain simultaneously being fully functional and communicating with each other, WHILE purposefully and systematically bringing thoughts regarding a traumatic event to the forefront to be worked through. In doing this, the person is better able to come up with better solutions and perspectives due to the entire brain being engaged in the problem at the same time.
I have found this to be true in my own experience. And wasn’t that also the premise, in part, behind the book “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail?” True enough, bilateral stimulation isn’t the subject of Cheryl Strayed’s book per se, but you can see the effects of it. Walking (and hiking in Strayed’s case) makes us courageous.
As one person on Amazon put said about hiking in the wilderness,
When you're out in the middle of nowhere and you'd like to just quit, you realize that you can't. No helicopter is going to swoop in and pluck you off the trail just because you're tired of doing it.
That is sometimes why I force myself to go farther than I had originally planned to walk. I have to walk all that way back home, no matter how long it takes. There's no pick-up or follow car. At that point, it becomes less about me being able to lose weight by walking as it is about me pushing past the point where I want to quit. In the process, I will lose weight, but that’s secondary.
But Can You Lose Weight By Walking, Seriously...? I realize for many of you, knowing that you’re going to be a little more mentally and spiritually sane may not be the reason you’re walking. You really do want to lose weight by walking. I do, too. (And to build a foundation of physical fitness so that I can take up martial arts and archery down the road…)
Dr. Kim highlights the physical ailments he overcame by walking, including diabetes, chronic fatigue, and hypertension to name but a few. His book takes you through setting goals for your walking program, plus it offers a series of checklists to help you determine the state of your health right now. Each new week gives you new activities to add to your routine.
I appreciated this because truthfully, I don’t always know how to proceed when it comes to this sort of thing. His book is really like getting an exercise coach in a book. It provides you with a good bridge between walking to lose weight and walking as a form of mediation.
Final Thoughts on Walking To Lose Weight and Gain Sanity I’m still at the beginning of my weight loss and fitness journey. I started my new vegan diet and eating program just a couple of weeks ago. I’m down about five pounds, with a long ways to go. Fortunately for me, this time around, I don’t care how long it takes. It’s truly about regaining my health in all aspects and becoming the strong warrior woman I want to be.
Thanks for taking this journey with me. Here are links to those books again in case you'd like to order them:
Click on the red links to be taken to Amazon to order the books.
Isn’t Gal Gadot awesome as Wonder Woman??
**Just a note...I use affiliate links from Amazon and other sites to help with some of the costs of maintaining this website. That said, I only review products that I can honestly rate at a “3” or above on a 5-point scale. These are products that I find empowering and that I want to share them with my readers to help them on their own journeys. I also don’t write negative reviews for products I don’t like: I choose not to review them at all. I decided upon this track because as a writer, I know how painful a negative review can be. I want my reviews to only be uplifting and helpful.