Saturday, February 28, 2009

Walking To Lose Weight - A Tale Of Two Bodies

They had a fat man on the TV here the other day. The item was trailed as “Walking the nation to lose weight”. What has happened to our language? I thought it was going to be about encouraging people to walk. A nation is comprised of people, a country is made up of land, and a state is a political entity. Anyway, this man, who had started off at 130 kgs, was walking the length of the country as part of his campaign to lose 50 kgs – he had already lost some of his body before he started the walk.

When breakfast TV caught him, he had walked from Auckland to Wellington. Despite all we hear of the wonderful research that backs up television interviewers, they were unable to tell us how much weight he had lost, because they did not have an adequate set of scales in the studio.
So we were left none the wiser, and neither was he, I suspect. But I have some bad news for him.

Just before Christmas, I was asked, by a friend, how much weight I was losing with all the walking I have been doing. He was taken aback when I said I had lost not an ounce. The distance the fat man had walked, from Auckland to Wellington, is 658 kms, which is coincidentally almost exactly how far I have walked since arriving in New Zealand 5 weeks ago (not bad considering the hiatus with a chest infection). During that same time, I have lost 1 kilogram, which is about what I had put on during the previous two weeks of travelling and little exercise – the usual redundancy principle of last in, first out.

So, one kilo lost in over 650 kms. The fat man has 915 kms of walking left to do, from Picton to Invercargill in South Island. This means he has done two fifths of his distance. If he loses weight at the same rate as me, he will lose a total of 2.5 kgs in his total walk, which is probably rather less than he is hoping for.

Of course I hope he will lose considerably more, and he probably will, but I can not understand what my own body is up to. Losing weight is not my objective, but one would expect it as a by-product when covering this sort of distance. I am honestly not eating any more than I would without the walking. Today, so far, my pedometer tells me I have walked 32,650 steps, a distance of 26.75 kms, and I have used 1677 calories. It seems to me that my output is exceeding input, or is at least giving it a run for its money. And I normally do lose a few kilos while charging around New Zealand like this. Answers on a postcard, please.

I am happy to report not only that I have walked more than 180 kms this week, which is what I shall have to sustain for 10 weeks during VBW, but that Gay is back in action. Sensibly, she has not leapt straight into that sort of distance, but for the last few mornings she has walked for 90 minutes without mishap

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