There’s nothing I love more in a movie than a good epiphany scene. And by that, I mean the scene in Legally Blonde where Elle comes to the realisation about Warner: “I’m never going to be good enough for you, am I?” She then proceeds to kick ass for the remainder of the movie and proves all the naysayers wrong.
I had such an epiphany – with an infinitely less exciting montage scene – at a Harry Styles concert. Weird place for an epiphany, I know. I was watching him sing his heart out, and it struck me that he’s younger than me, and is infinitely more successful than me. And, he seems to have his life together! It struck me then that I needed to get my life, and more specifically my health, together. How does this relate to ways to walk your way to weight loss? I’m getting there, I swear.
So, that’s what I did – all thanks to some brown, curly haired singer. I’ve cut down on alcohol intake and began meal prepping (Pinterest is a constant marvel!). I can’t afford to attend a gym right now andI struggle to exercise in my flat. So I reached out to an old personal trainer of mine, Leanne. In 2016, she helped me lose 10 kilograms in eight weeks. She knows what the London lifestyle is like, so I knew she’d be the perfect person to help. She recommended I begin walking to work three times a week and change a few eating habits up. Within three weeks, I found that I’d already dropped four kilograms by adding these simple steps in; I’d walked my way to weight loss.
National Walking Month is this month, and the days are getting longer and the temperature is (sometimes) rising. So, why not lace up those sneakers and head outside? Leanne dished out some professional advice on the benefits of walking, and how to walk your way to weight loss.
What are the benefits of walking?
Walking not only helps with mental clarity and stress reduction and regulating blood pressure – it helps your body releases chemicals called endorphins. And as the wise Elle Woods said: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t!” But, on a scientific level, these endorphins interact with receptors in the brain that both reduce pain and improve mood. Walking also increases serotonin levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter that influences mood and these will also help you have a better nights sleep. While all this is happening, on the physical side you will notice weight and fat loss if done for 3 or more times per week of 45-60 minutes minimum. It only takes three times a week to walk your way to weight loss!
How much walking should you be aiming for weekly?
Aiming to walk at least three times a week for 45-60 minutes minimum is best, especially if you want to see the fat burning effect. For mental clarity and stress reduction, you should walk every day. On the days you do go for a walk, your food choices will automatically be healthier ones. Leanne suggests trying to reach 5000 steps on a day you don’t walk, and 10,000 a day for a full day on the days you add the walks in.
How can you incorporate more walking in when you have a busy lifestyle?
With a busy lifestyle, and if you don’t live too far from work, you should try to walk to and from work as much as you can. Which just means going to bed slightly earlier, so you can get up earlier. Once you make this a habit for at least a month, you will stick to it. For those who don’t have that option and have to commit further, walking can be done during lunch breaks – or you can walk to a further tube stop or bus station than usual.
How can you make walking more of a challenge?
Stairs – find a good set of stairs and include these into a walk. Start with 5 sets of stairs and work your way up from that depending on the time you have left – it’s also a great way to get your heart up.
Organise a friend to join you on weekends, as you will have more time to go longer. Look up scenic routes – we all know London is full of parks in show-off mode – or go on hiking tours to make it more interesting and keep you involved. A lot of large parks in London host weekly runs, where you can go at a slower pace.
My tips on how to walk your way to weight loss
Personally, I find a kick-ass playlist helps me walk daily. I also try and change up my route so I don’t get bored of seeing the same thing daily. Sometimes I’ll walk alone; sometimes I’ll walk with my roommate. I also FaceTime my parents – with the time difference, it’s the perfect time to call them. There’s always the option to download a podcast, or even listen to an audiobook. My work provides makeup wipes, deodorant and hairbrushes in the bathroom – but if yours doesn’t, just leave them at work in your desk drawer. No one’s going to get mad at you for taking care of your hygiene – they’ll appreciate the lack of smell.
Using the excuse of exploring is another way to get your steps up. Pick a place you’ve never gone before, and spend time going round shops, exploring alleyways. Go to an exhibition you haven’t seen – the Tate offers a Tate collective card for people aged between 16-25, where you can gain entry to any exhibition for £5.
Hopefully, this article leads to an epiphany that then inspires you to walk your way to weight loss – I hope you have a much better montage scene than I did. Preferably one on par with Elle Woods’.