Walking was not my exercise of choice, but a grudgingly excepted necessity. Considering that we live hours from urban gym offerings, walking was and is the most sensible way for me to lose or maintain weight and get in better shape overall. Sadly, my genome never expressed anything remotely related to athleticism. Only during my first quarter century, did I enjoy physical activity, starting out as a moderate tomboy with a penchant for climbing trees, rocks, anything presenting a challenge to balance and toeholds. That evolved to climbing on horses and trying mightily to stay seated, as well as fighting wind and currents in a sailboat. But then one grows up, goes to work every day while raising a family and should there be a free minute occasionally, I at least, always preferred the blessing of a nap.
Earlier this year my roly-poly appearance annoyed me sufficiently to begin a weight loss program, which consisted of these before mentioned stupid daily walks and some serious portion control. Everything I swallowed was first weighed and recorded to stay below a 1.2 Kcal intake allowance per day. To make such a tedious regiment more interesting, I pretended to be back in my lab, cooking up recipes for specimen preparation in super important experiments. Twelve hundred calories add up rather quickly, considering that a reasonably sized portion of oat flakes, honey, and kefir with a cup of coffee easily exceeds 300. Add a little granola for crunch and you hit 400+ before you can say fatty alert. My daily walks became very important positive reinforcement tools in this scheme. Every minute I spent out there working up a sweat earned precious calories to be added to the 1200 cal baseline. In practical terms, 150 calories ‘walked off’ translates into a glass of wine for dinner.
Two apps turned into very valuable instruments of control and encouragement to stay with this self-imposed program and actually make it work. I used ‘My Fitness Pal’ to record every morsel crossing my lips, home cooked or restaurant fare, thus letting it count the calories for me. And ‘NIKE+’ is my running, well, let’s not get carried away, my walking buddy. It keeps track of every step I take, measures pace, time elapsed and calories burned. It plays your music and even cheers you on if you like. I lost about 8.5 Kg in three months, gaining back two, while eating croissants and duck confit in France in April. But, as you know from my posts, I walked there as well, to be able to indulge in all that Frenchy deliciousness. In mountainous Costa Rica, I had to supplement my walking with laps in the pool, the darn country is just too steep for limping fuddy-duddies.
Now, in Vancouver-the-Gorgeous, I’ve landed in Walker’s Paradise. We’re directly at the pedestrian-only seawall, which rims most of the city. 22 Km of walking to the hypnotic rhythm of waves breaking over rocks and along beaches, where you can watch seagulls, herons & crows, as you breathe the bracing salty air. Additional entertainment presents itself through watercraft of all kinds, the contrast of clusters of high-rise buildings versus darkly looming forests reaching the ocean’s edge and impossibly high bridges spanning inlets and creeks. I love these walks, can you tell? Let me illustrate the point:
A funny thing happened on the way back to the house, actually while I was jogging (yes, jogging! I’ve improved my pace considerably these last two days) past a large public pool. The pool is fenced in and the morning sun threw the wrought iron fence pattern across my path. As you might remember from my post called A girl with kaleidoscope eyes, Part II, I have to wear glasses with prisms to reconcile my crooked visual input. Apparently, the fences’ shadow pattern was at a perfect angle to my prism lines, to create a funky personal disco strobe-light effect, as I was passing through. I’m sure, the Vancouver Tourism Board intended this solely for my jogging enjoyment!