Walking Helped Me Quit Smoking and Lose Weight

Walking itself is a reward -- but so is losing 60 pounds

Female feet in pink and blue sneakers standing on the rocky stones in the morning sun.

I started walking . . . simply to take my mind off of smoking and distract myself from the cravings. I weighed 200 pounds and was also worried that quitting smoking would make me gain weight. So I started taking daily walks.

I was very challenged . . . at first. My community is very hilly, and I found 10 minutes of walking uphill really hard. I honestly don't know what kept me at it. But after a while, I realized that when I was walking, I wasn't craving a cigarette. That motivated me to keep at it.

Walking became a reward . . . especially in the evening. It gave me time for myself at the end of a busy day. At the time, I had four children who were 12 to 17, and our home is in a remote area. I carpooled and was always involved in the kids' activities -- except when I walked. That became a beautiful and peaceful time for me.

Walking helped me realize . . . that I wanted to embrace other healthy habits. I got immense satisfaction out of knowing I was forming a good habit instead of just worrying about my health but doing nothing about it or making it worse. After I lost 10 pounds by walking, I joined a weight loss program and began to walk even more.

After 1 year of walking and watching what I ate . . . I had not only stayed off the cigarettes but also lost 60 pounds. I've spent every day since then looking after my body and maintaining the healthy lifestyle that walking got me started on.

Now, more than a decade later . . . I'm still walking -- and running, too. After years of walking, I wanted to set a new goal and decided to run a 5K by my 50th birthday. I did that and am now getting ready to run my first 10K race in Ottawa. But walking is still part of me. A long walk always puts life in perspective!

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