Saturday, April 1, 2017

Weight and Miles

When I first started walking in September 2012 I weighed about 190 lbs. I had pinched my Sciatic nerve the previous July which left me flat on my back for nearly a week and the advice from the back specialist, "Get you ass out there and walk, as far as you can, as often as you can, and add a backpack to add weight later."

It took awhile to get the miles up from a few miles to 6 miles and later 8 miles a day with the plan to walk 20-25 days a month. It took only a few months to get to 5-6 miles and a few more months to get to 8 miles, but it took a year to get to 20 or more days per month.

And it wasn't consistent over the years, there were setbacks from bacteria problems with my digestive system which took 4 years to resolve, no thanks to gastroenterologists who did all sorts of tests but nary an answer, and a naturopath specializing in digestive system to find the answer and presecribe two antibiotics.

For the last 2 1/2 years I dropped the walks to 6 miles during the worst of the digestive problems, which caused intermittent problems with the lower back and Sciatic nerve. The 6-mile distance helped keep the walking while minimizing the problems.

For the most part when I walked at least 15-20 days I lost weight and after the first few months the ratio was about 80 miles per pound of weight, meaning fat. This was due to the calories for the weight loss based on distance, walking pace, and weather and temperature (all walks outdoors along rural roads).

As the weight dropped, the total calories used also dropped, and as you might expect, the miles per pound increased for every 10 pounds lost, but not in a linear manner, eg. at 180-170 lbs it was about 90 miles, 170-160 lbs it was about 100 miles, and 160-150 lbs it was about 120 miles, and 150-140 lbs it increased from 120 to 150 miles.

As I approached 140 lbs I was below my genetic weight and fat, where the body fights losing and changes to add the weight and fat back to the genetic predisposition level. Below 140 lbs it's become even harder, taking over 300 miles to lose one pound, 140 to 139 lbs, and recently reached 138 lbs after over 500 miles.

This means the remaining weight, about a pound of fat, will take even longer, and the walks will be to keep the weight under 140 lbs than to lose anymore weight. I don't know how many days or miles this will require but for now the walks are for habit, to get up and out the door early in the morning.

I'll still walk 6 miles, maybe increasing to 7-8 miles later this spring or summer, and keep the 20-24 days per month simply for the routine. I'd like to change to or add running but that's still on the horizon when the body feels it's ok, because of the pounding the lower back takes with running

I've run short distances with no problems, so there's promise, but for now walking works, and I get to stop at a cafe at the turn-around place in town.

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