How Walking To Work Changed Me
It has been over 4 months since I started my walking to work project.
Before that, I had spent a month or so biking, but the dark mornings started to get me. The roads would be icy soon, and I had left my bike lights in London. My knee had been hurting as well, unhappy with the strain from my hilly commute.
Excuses galore. So as the days grew steadily darker, I parked my bike in the shed and donned my reflective vest and some good walking shoes instead.
It does take more than twice as long, but I have learned to enjoy it. On my bike, the commute to work was less than 15 minutes downhill. Too short for me to really consider plugging in podcasts or other knowledge enhancing activities. Too short to properly decompress and unplug between home and work. For me, anyway.
So I started walking.
Or about 2.3 miles. Just a wee bit longer than the distance from the primary school I attended and home. It takes me about 45 minutes at a reasonable pace that does not leave me sweaty and smelly for work.
To be honest, I had not expected much in terms of change. I had already been biking daily to my job in London for over a year. A commute that took me 45 minutes by bike, and estimated at over 2 hours to walk.
But, and there is research to support this, intensity wins over time.
My commute in London had one small hill, the rest was flat. It was a leisurely route which barely made be break a sweat either way. In terms of how strenuous it was, I might just as well have been walking.
Plus, our lifestyle in London was not the healthiest.
This hilly beast, on the other hand, is a different game. It turns out walking for 1.5 hours each weekday can leave you with other changes. Not just a heavier purse.
I do not have the exact numbers of how much I lost as I started walking. I had already started to loose some, simply from coming back to Norway and getting back to a healthier lifestyle.
Depending on when I count from, either from my heaviest in London or from the day I started walking, I guesstimate that I lost between 5 and 10 kg (11-22 lbs).
As someone who has tried to get to the point I am currently at ever since before I was a teen, let me tell you, it was surprisingly jarring.
Weight loss was not something I had planned for or expected. I was simply choosing to walk because I wanted to save money on a bus pass and enjoy nature in the morning instead of a buss full of students.
Because it was not on the radar, it was something I denied at first. I would notice my trousers getting looser, but not a lot, as it was around the same time I started wearing woollen tights underneath. My belt does not have holes, so I didn’t notice it there either.
M. and Mr. E. made a comment or two about it. Nothing obnoxious. I waved it off and kept denying it. It was not that much, it did not make that much of a difference.
Realisation hit me when I was catsitting M’s cat one weekend. She had gotten a used scale somewhere. Being curious to a fault, I checked.
Numbers don’t lie, or do they?
“Hah!” I texted Mr. E. “M’s got an old scale, but it’s pretty off-kilter. It claims I lost over 5kg.”
“That sounds about right.” Was the level-headed response I got. I grumbled, still not willing to believe it, and still not quite comfortable with the thought?
Why was I resisting?
Well, as I mentioned a little higher up, I felt as if I had lost control. And I did not like that one bit. If I was loosing weight east and west simply walking to and from work, when would it stop? How would I know it had stopped? Was I getting enough nutrition?
I felt as if I had lost control over my own body, and a part of me was panicking. I have always been a pretty stable weight. A little bit on the curvy/chubby side, but stable. Ever since junior high. I still wore the same trousers in university as my mother got me for 9th grade until they pretty much fell apart.
Now though? The old jeans M. had given me because they had grown too big for her, were getting loose on me too. Jeans that only a few months ago had been tight! When would it stop?
Relax, your body has you covered
As it turns out, I was stopping around the time I checked my weight while catsitting. As I am writing this, I have been at this new stable for over 2 months. I am getting used to it, though a part of me still refuses to believe M’s scale is entirely correct.
We still focus on eating plenty of fresh produce, which I figure is one of the more important things.
A healthier body is not to be sniffed at, but it hasn’t been the only benefit from walking to work. With the time it takes to walk, I have had plenty of time to listen to podcasts to expand my horizon. ChooseFI, The Mad Fientist, FIRE Drill Podcast, The Fairer Cents and Writing Excuses are all staples in my audio diet. I also listened to an episode of Lore once, which was thoroughly enjoyable. It’s on my list, but I need to catch up to all these other ones first…
Another benefit is watching the seasons change. Leaves turning and the crisp, crackling sound of snow underfoot. It is one of the best mood-boosters I know. Plus, I know exactly when the wild raspberries are ripening, or when the meadowsweet blooms.
Once spring and summer is well underway, I will probably dig the bike out of the shed again. It is nice with a bit of variety, and to feel the wind rush through my hair.
For autumn and winter though? Walking is the thing for me.
Do you walk to work?
Or rather, can you walk to work? I know plenty of people live too far away to manage without loosing most of their day. There is also safety to take into consideration. In London, my commute was along bike superhighways and perfectly safe, while Mr. E. tried the same to his university and got into far too many dangerous situations. Make sure you stay safe!