By Dr. Paula Bloom
I’ve been getting a lot of comments about my weight loss lately. It’s a strange thing. On one hand, it feels good to have people notice all my hard work, but on the other hand, it means that they all noticed how heavy I was. This makes me feel a little vulnerable.
When we gain weight we often go through a bit of a denial process. I know that I do. Photos seem to be the only place where I can see a realistic snapshot of where my body is at. The mirror, for some reason, doesn’t seem to tell me the truth. It could be that when we look in a mirror the reflection is more susceptible to subjectivity.
The first question people ask me is, “How did you lose weight?” It feels like they want me to give them some answer that includes some magic bullet they aren’t aware of. They sometimes seem disappointed with my response. Unfortunately, the answer is quite cliché:
- I’ve been eating less.
- I work out 4-5 days a week at a high intensity.
- Now that my commute is only 8 blocks, I try to walk to work as much as possible.
I live in a very walkable town. I have my doctors, pharmacy, office, restaurants, bank, my kid’s school and even the county courthouse where I’ve had jury duty, within a few block radius. Whenever I go to the airport, I hop on the subway (the station is 4 blocks from our home).
While working out intensely is important for my own weight loss, it isn’t the only physical activity which has led to a healthier body. This is where comfortable shoes come in. When my dress shoes are comfortable I tend to walk everywhere. More steps in a day means more calories burned. I don’t do the walk-to-work-in-sneakers-and-carry-the-dress-shoes-and-change-them-at-work thing. With all the comfort shoes that fit with my style and lifestyle, I don’t need to be carrying extra shoes. I like to be able to travel light.
I’ve worked with many clients who believe that exercise can only happen in a gym while wearing workout clothes and sneakers. I ask them to reconsider their definition of exercise.
Walking is a great way to begin. It’s free, most people can do it and guess what, it counts. Wearing comfortable shoes anywhere you go will make it more likely that you’ll park further away and walk. It will make it easier to choose to climb the stairs instead of riding the elevator. Small changes in behavior can lead to big changes in your body and health.
What small changes have you made in your life that have eventually led to big results?