The Saturday Skinny: Dispelling myths of weight loss and exercise

From trails to streets, walking is a great way to drop pounds
By: Don Chaddock, Gold Country News Service
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For those with a significant amount of weight to drop, any movement, particularly walking, is a great way to get your body moving on the right path. During a recent conversation, someone made the statement, "You can't lose weight by just walking, right?" As another person at the table pointed out, "Look at Don. He's lost over 100 pounds, most of it from walking." That's true. I didn't join a gym, get a personal trainer, purchase the latest fad exercise doohickey, take supplements or get surgery. I'm not knocking those who do, but none of that is for me. As a busy dad with two small children, and older kids from a previous marriage, it wasn't in the cards. I didn't have time for any of that so I got in exercise when I could and made sure to involve my kids whenever possible. Whether it was walking up and down a hill near our home while pushing strollers, or hitting nature trails for a hike, the key was to get my body moving. GET MOVING Get off the couch and do some squats or step exercises while watching TV. If in ill health, simply walking around your recliner a few times is better than doing nothing. Maybe moving your arms is all you can do -- so move them. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can't. Making the healthy choice to move, rather than opting to sit and stuff your face with potato chips, is crucial. Without that choice, weight loss isn't going to happen. I walking around blocks, up and down stairs, parked at the far end of the parking lot when grocery shopping -- all to help lose weight and get in some exercise. THE PAY OFF It isn't easy to lose weight. Fast food is convenient, filling and cheap, but is packed with unhealthy calories. Many reach for soda rather than water. Sugar-filled treats and salty snacks are the downfall of many. With the holidays rapidly approaching, temptation is everywhere. The pay off is better health, more energy and a brighter outlook. All that weight just weighed me down, and not just in a physical sense. People started to notice changes when I lost about 30 pounds. Of course, I had a lot to lose. I was at 303 pounds when the journey began and I now weigh 190. FOOD IS A FACTOR I heard a very wise saying: You can't exercise away an unhealthy diet. When eating right and exercise, the weight will come off. I will admit that I'm human and not perfect. There are times I will eat a cupcake, doughnut or a bowl of ice cream, but they aren't a regular part of my diet. I have only on special occasions (or during extreme bouts of weakness). Make healthy choices whether they regard food or exercise and the rest will fall into place. Follow us at or e-mail me at