How Walking Helped Me Lose over 200 Pounds

·4 min read
Photo credit: Shawn Eckert
Photo credit: Shawn Eckert

Today, I run 100 mile races—but I didn’t used to be this way. About five years ago I started a simple walking journey that completely changed my life. I used to weigh 446 lbs and I began walking with the goal of losing weight, and I have since lost over 200 lbs. Eventually my walking journey led to running, but I have walking to thank for so many amazing changes in my life.

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Photo credit: Shawn Eckert
Photo credit: Shawn Eckert

It began with bending down to tie my shoes. I remember one day specifically when I noticed how difficult this simple task had become: I would have to hold my breath because I was so big. I decided I couldn’t do it anymore—I had to make a change. And it was unbelievable how quickly daily walks helped me feel better. With every walk I could feel the difference and the progress almost instantaneously, and sure enough, one week I’d only be able to walk under a half mile, but the next week I’d complete that half mile, and the next week I could reach a full mile. It was very satisfying to be able to see such a big change in such a short period of time, and I became hooked.

My favorite thing about walking is that it helps me to clear my mind while I’m out there—I’m really an outdoors person, so it’s great to have time outdoors on foot strolling around and seeing new things. It’s definitely not just a weight-loss thing for me—it’s almost like a form of counseling, just a very relaxing, all-around healthy habit.

It’s really amazing to now be able to walk with my son and my wife because it was something that when I was really big, I couldn’t do. Now that I can go for these walks, I just want to walk all the time! When I was big, my heels would hurt and I couldn’t really go too far. So when I was able to walk it became really exciting. Something so simple that most people don’t think about became so important. It almost became addicting, to be able to do simple things like walking.

When I walk with my family we like to stroll through various parks and trails, and it’s great to be able to talk about what we see around us and about our days. We can chat about what’s on our minds and how school is going, and really just everything you usually don’t discuss when sitting around inside the house because the television or the phone is distracting you. I also enjoy taking solo walks either on the beach or in the city. I could easily walk for hours through the city streets because there's so many different things to see, and each time you take a different route, you'll see something new that you normally wouldn't see if you were driving.

Overall, it’s just very satisfying to be able to change for the better, and walking helped with so many things in my life aside from my mental and physical health, and my relationship with my family. Walking also helped me to stop drinking. It just completely changed my life. There was one walk I had with my wife when I was on my journey to becoming sober and it really helped to put things in perspective and keep me motivated to be the person I know I can be. If it wasn’t for these walks that had become such an integral part of my routine, that likely wouldn’t have been a conversation.

When I have days where I struggle with staying motivated, I just remember where I came from and that always reminds me to keep active even when I don’t want to. Staying engaged on social media helps a lot too, because it makes me feel so great to know that I can help inspire others to change for the better just like I have.

It's crazy how one simple thing like walking can change the outcome of something so big. My advice to others would simply be to just not over-complicate it: Don’t worry about how far you’re going or for how long, just go outside and enjoy whatever you’re able to do. You never know what walking can do for you. It’s amazing where it got me: I lost 200 pounds, got sober, and improved my relationship with my family.

Walking is easily taken for granted, but it can change big things in your life.

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