As a yoga teacher, I stay tuned into the latest fitness trends. I've seen countless dieting fads come and go. Before I began teaching yoga, I was 30 pounds overweight. In those days I was tied to a desk where I snacked all day. After work I headed to Happy Hour for more calories, then home for a late dinner. Weight loss, exercise, and good nutrition were not priorities.
Yoga helped shift my priorities toward getting healthier and losing weight. Losing those extra pounds proved challenging though. None of the fad diets worked. Since I enjoy walking so much, I successfully tied my joy of walking to the pursuit of a slimmer, healthier body. Here are the steps I took to permanently shed those unhealthy pounds and inches:
Walk away from it
When I worked in an office I had to avoid the break room, knowing treats and sweets awaited me there. If co-workers invited me out for lunch, I declined and took a walk around the parking lot or neighborhood instead. Dining out is part of office culture. I had to become somewhat reclusive during the work day to achieve my weight loss goals. As I trained myself to avoid restaurant food and unhealthy snacks, those empty calories began to lose their appeal.
Walk around it
The perimeter of the grocery store is where I find my healthiest choices such as fresh produce, seafood, and whole grains. The middle aisles are stocked with high calorie, processed foods. I've learned to do most of my shopping on the outer edges of the store.
Walk to it
If I can walk to my destination, I do. Work, school, store, wherever I am going, I always consider walking. I make the extra time to walk instead of driving. If a safe practical walking route does not exist, I take public transportation when available. By walking to the bus stop or light rail station, I still wind up walking a few blocks and burning some calories.
When I have no choice but to drive, I park as far away from my destination as possible. I choose the parking spot furthest away from the door. At night though I make sure the spot is safe and well lit.
Walk it off
I always made bad food choices when I was stressed. To be honest, that behavior still resurfaces when conditions are ripe. When I am feeling physical or emotional stress for whatever reason, I take a walk around the block and feel better instantly. Burning off a few calories at the same time is a bonus.
I view walking as an active meditation. The result is I feel calmer and more centered. In this state, I make better food and lifestyle choices. These choices have helped me to lose all of the extra pounds in a healthful, sustainable, and enjoyable way.