Have you gained weight during the pandemic? Are you looking to lose weight and get healthier? Unfortunately, walking and light exercise does very little for weight loss. If you want to lose weight, you must concentrate on reducing your caloric intake.
I consider myself a health conscience guy who plays tennis three times a week, watches what he eats, and goes on frequent hikes and bike rides. That said, I’ve definitely been overweight before. And each time I reflect on why I gained weight, it’s simply because my caloric intake was too high.
During the pandemic, we are mainly staying at home and not going to the gym. There’s food everywhere, so we snack and snack and snack. That’s no good if you want to get to the ideal weight for your height!
Good Reasons To Stay Fit And Healthy
* I don’t want to die before my time. Although we don’t know when we will die, we can at least try and reduce our chances of an early death by eating right and exercising regularly. The pandemic has shown that obese people suffer more greatly from COVID-19 as well.
* I don’t want to burden my family with unnecessary health complications. Being a burden to loved ones is a terrible, terrible thing. I would hate to see my wife, kids, or relatives have to constantly check in on me because I’ve received brain damage from a stroke, or can no longer go to the bathroom on my own due to some manly cancer.
* I don’t want to financially burden my fellow Americans who will have to subsidize my medical costs thanks to universal health care. As honorable citizens, we should try to give back more to our country more than we receive. This is the best way to ensure the health of our nation’s future.
* I don’t want to let my US Tennis Association teammates down when it’s time to battle other teams. We all train very hard in the off season so that come game time, we’re ready to compete. Being physically fit is standard, but can also be a huge edge as we battle less in shape competitors. Once we are fit, we can then concentrate on our skills and mental fitness which are crucial to winning matches.
* I’m frugal and don’t want to spend too much on new clothes. During the first year of college and the first year of work I had to buy new shirts and pants because I gained about 15 pounds. I’m not big into clothing in the first place, but when you’ve got to buy three new suits of different color, things add up! Dress shirts and jeans are easily $50-$200 each and higher. Imagine being able to fit in your jeans from 10-15 years ago, how much money you can save!
* I don’t want to ignore the plight of others. I grew up in several third world countries and I’ve witnessed immense poverty. When I know there are millions of people starving around the world, there’s no way I can overeat and not remember. America is a country of abundance and it’s easy to consume more than normal. We just have to remind ourselves how lucky we are, as we’re not even being asked to help others, only ourselves.
* I want to feel good. When I was heavier, I didn’t have as much energy and I didn’t feel as good about myself. I’d look at new pictures and come away shocked because they were so different from how I used to look. When you feel good, you look good. And when you look good, you have more confidence to succeed.
The Ideal Weight
Despite all these reasons, I still find it very tough to stay in ideal weight of 152-163 pounds for someone 5 feet 10 inches tall. 152 pounds sounds ridiculously light, but hey, that’s what the doctors and researchers say is ideal weight for a medium bodied person my height, so who am I to make excuses?
The problem is, when I see a batch of lemon meringue mini pastries, I cannot help but eat six of them at a time! When there is all you can eat BBQ ribs, the same thing happens. Tell me I’m not the only one!
Proof Walking And Light Exercise Does Little For Weight Loss
My friends and I walked on average four hours a day for 10 out of the 17 days we were in Europe. Our ship would dock by 8am, and we’d go from around 8:30am all the way to 5pm exploring every single city. That’s 8.5 hours off the boat at each port, with half the time walking.
Given it takes 16-20 minutes on average to walk a mile, we walked 12-15 miles a day for 10 days. We walked another three miles a day for the other seven days the rest of the time. If we add up everything, we averaged about 8-9 miles of walking a day for 17 days!
During long lines at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, or during down time at the gardens of Catherine’s Palace in St. Petersburg, we’d try and get at least 30 pushups and 50 sit-ups in as well. The reason being we knew that a dinner buffet or scrumptious meal high in butter and joy awaited us once we returned to the ship!
Furthermore, we’d all hit the swimming pool and gym at least twice a week to try and get at least a 30 minute sweat in.
Weight Loss Meal
* Breakfast: Omellette, bacon, sausage, a couple mini pastries, Norweigan fish, and OJ.
* Lunch: Local meal on land if at port, or another buffet meal on board while at sea. We’d generally eat a salad, piece of flank steak, shrimp cocktail and some juice.
* Dinner: Rib-eye, filet mignon, prime rib, rack of lamb, beef wellington, lobster, sushi, sashimi, chef salads, creme brulee, hot fudge sundae, apple cobbler, cheese platters and much, much more.
* Evening snack and beverages: The restaurants would open up at 10pm again until midnight where you could eat the same food that they served during lunch. Every other night there would be some type of dessert extravaganza, and of course, if you are like me, you enjoy the cocktail at a ship bar or while you’re playing poker until 2am!
Despite the availability of food, I did my best to eat until slightly full and not pig out until I felt sick. I went for quality food items instead of quantity. But, when you are eating such treats every single day, it is hard not to put on some weight.
You Will Gain Weight Even If You Exercise More
Now that you know my daily exercise routine and meal itinerary, guess how much weight I gained in just seventeen days? Remember, I walked 8-9 miles on average, put in the occasional work out, and tried to eat in moderation.
I went from 160 pounds to 170 pounds in two and a half weeks! To compare apples to apples, 10 pounds is a whopping 6% increase in body weight in such a short time.
I knew I was gaining weight because my jeans felt tighter each day that passed by, but I didn’t realize how much I gained until I got back to San Francisco.
I was shocked after spending the first 3-4 months of the year trying to lose 8-10 pounds, I had gained it all back in just a matter of weeks.
The Workout Action Plan For Weight Loss
The ideal body weight of 152-163 for someone 5′ 10″ pisses me off. As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I have many reasons why I want to stay in shape, and I’m assuming that many of you guys have similar reasoning.
My exercise routine for weight loss will be as follows:
* Three sets of 20 push-ups for a total of 60 a day
* Three sets of 50 sit-ups for a total of 150 a day
* Five hours of tennis a week
* One hour of biking a week
* One hour of hiking a week
The goal is to burn about 500 calories a day beyond normal activity.
As for food, I plan to go back to my normal eating habits of fruit and barley green in the morning, a regular lunch under 700 calories, and dinner under 1,000 calories for a total of 2,200 calories or less.
If I can consume a net 1,700 calories a day, I’m pretty sure that within a couple months I’ll be able to get back down to 160 lbs and hopefully down to 155 lbs, the weight I was back in high school.
It’s too bad walking and light exercise does nothing for weight loss. However, walking and light exercise has been great for one’s mental health. Therefore, continue to get out there and move! Just don’t expect to lose any weight if you don’t reduce your caloric intake.
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Lol…. You were eating 4 times a day and wondering why you weren’t losing weight walking. An 8 mile walk will burn approx 700-1000 cals a day depending on weight. If you were eating 4 times a day, and by the sounds of it carby stodgy food, you would be eating 4000-5000 calories a day at least. Hence you put on weight. Nothing to do with the walking not working.
This a very bizarre article. He’s giving arbitrary numbers to whether diet or exercise is better for weight loss. 80% diet 20% exercise means nothing.
If your normal diet is 2000 calories & then you start walking 10 miles a day burning 1000 calories, then the walking is 100% the factor causing the calorie deficit.
Financial Samurai says
Good point. But it really is focusing 80% of your effort on a good diet that will provide more weight loss than 80% of your effort on great exercise.
Shasta Lightfoot says
I just got back from a 16 day trip to Disney World where I walked an average of 8 miles per day. I did eat whatever I wanted, although we were so busy there wasn’t any excess eating. Just stops when we were absolutely hungry, but I did eat pizza, bacon cheeseburgers, chicken strips, pie, ice cream, ect. I lost 9 pounds and 2 inches off my waist. I don’t really think you prooved much of anything other than maybe you were already fit enough that the walking had little impact and that you ate enough to outpace your walking.
Daniel Kulkarni says
Damn, you eat a lot. Of course if you shovel that much food down your throat, light walking won’t do much. It should be common sense.
Had to leave a comment. 6’0’’ male here, was 260 pounds in February now I’m 175 pounds in October. All I did was change my diet and started walking at least 20,000 steps every single day, no gym membership, no running. So it’s definitely false saying walking doesn’t help you lose weight.
Financial Samurai says
Excellent! And congrats! I have to believe the weight loss was mostly a better diet no?
NYB Dude says
sounds like ya should blame WHAT you ate, the alcohol, and probably your genetics to a point, rather than being critical of the merit in walking and light exercise.
Things like desserts, pastries, and most sauce for steaks are just bullshit sweet food.
Paternally i descend from indigenous farmers in japan and Guam, and maternally my moms side moved from Europe in the 19th century and were mostly mill workers on the male side.
I lose weight if I eat like shit and walk around as much as you walked each day at a day job.
Is this article supposed to be making the point that diet is more important than exercise, or is this a serious article?
Of course walking will help someone lose weight, IF the walking leads to a calorie deficit. As long as there is a consistent calorie deficit (through diet or exercise or both), someone will lose weight. 1lb lost for every 3,500 calories burnt off or cut out.
If you walk 10 miles a day, and you burn around 100 calories per mile, you burn about 1,000 calories per day. Max, maybe 1,500. Cocktails can contain as much as 500 calories. So drink a few of those in an evening and it cancels out the calories burned through walking. Add all the extra stuff, and there’s your weight gain.
Financial Samurai says
Bingo. Diet is 80% for being able to lose weight. Focus on the diet folks b/c exercise is overrated and may cause you to eat more.
Jarrod Clay Wells says
Absolute lies. I can’t believe anyone falls for this. You burn calories when you walk or do light exercise. It may not be as many calories as when you jog or lift heavy weights, but you do burn calories. A five mile walk at slow speed will burn 400 calories, as opposed to burning 800 calories if you jog five miles.
The author does not realize that his vacation eating was probably 2000 calories a day above what he is used to eating and you aren’t burning that off even with 8 miles of walking.
And he is stopping a lot while walking. I doubt he actually walked 8 hours a day.
ginger snaps says
I have lost almost 20 pounds in one month walking, and watching what i eat. When you start adding calories… you will be suprised at how much you eat. You can pig out somedays.. but not everyday, and not expect to gakn wait. Not to mention… walking isnt really putting on muscles as a push up would. Muscle weighs more than fat. I suggest dont put as much food in your mouth, and walk… and youll be amazed :)
Ridiculous! So much rubbish on the internet. Walking (at a decent pace) is GREAT for weight loss when your diet is in check!
“I burned about 1k calorie a day walking and only ate 4 thousand, pft, that proves walking doesn’t help weight loss”
Oh my. You ate so much, I’m not surprised at the weight you gained. And the walking? No. It didn’t help you lose weight but it does really work. You say this is proof? It isn’t. And 2200 calories per day is too much even if you’re doing that exercise. Someone 5 foot 10 doesn’t need that much.
To put this into perspective, you ate way too much food. That’s okay on a cruise/holiday but you shouldn’t have been surprised you gained that much.
Let me tell you my diet and exercise regime, as evidence (not PROOF, that’s a very strong word which you grossly misused) that walking and light exercise work.
I am 5 foot 9 and 120 lbs. Yes, 120 lbs. 152 lbs for a male of my height seems ridiculously high to me. I do ZERO sports, no intense exercise and don’t work out.
My diet is this exactly, every single day for the past year.
Breakfast: eaten 4 out of 7 days a week. Three days per week I have no breakfast. On the days I do, I have coffee (56 calories) and 1/2 of a brioche (80 calories).
Lunch: I drink 1 coffee a day for lunch every day (56 calories). However, lunch is only eaten 2 out of 7 days per week. For the 5 I don’t I just have coffee. On the days I do it’s usually noodles (75 calories) or a sandwich (300-ish calories).
Dinner: eaten every day. Usually consisting of chicken, a small amount of rice and salad. (Under 700 calories). In total I consume around 1,100 calories each day.
My average walking distance (since 2018 began) is 7 Miles. Highest is 12.6 Miles, lowest is 0.001. I do NO other exercise.
Financial Samurai says
You probably need to gain 30 lbs of muscle. It will probably help with self-confidence, sports, work, and finding a partner. But of course, every person and society is different.
Id have to agree. Im pretty much exactly 5’10” and weighed today 158 lbs ( we have a big floor scale at work). This fluctuates a bit and as work has gotten busier this spring im losing about a lb a week the last two months. Im not on a diet but im a light eater these days for my energy level/calories burned. I eat a lot of fruit and vegan foods though im not a vegan. I walk an avg 8 miles a day according to my apple health app and i consistently lift 50-70 lbs from many positions including crouched to above my shoulders (when im feeling extra spunky ill curl or wrist roll whatever im moving while working. I also lift a lot of light stuff prob an avg of 30 lbs. 30 mins or so a day i push 1500-2200 lbs of weight (on wheels) and this is 30 mins cumulative. I purposely work fast enough that im sweating almost all 8-9 hours at work. I do spend a bit of time on Reach lifts, fork lifts, Genie lifts, and standing motorized pallet jacks (these are actually a pretty nifty semi light core work out if you use them aggresively) but im rarely sedentary longer than 10 mins at a time. Three years ago I was 210-215 lbs and felt like shit. Was doing the same work but living in an unhappy relationship and eating my feelings and out of boredom. I am definitely more heavily muscled than avg but not grossly so. Think construction worker/truck driver/shipping receiving blue collar build. At 210 i was absolutely fat though. Changing my diet made all the difference ( not only in weight but in feeling better physically and mentally i truely believe that cutting garbage carbs and bad fats and CORN SYRUP aka poison from your diet makes your mind sharper obviously an opinion and not science). After ditching the bad relationship and drastically changing my caloric intake and quality of food the weight melted so fast that my arm and belly skin was actually a bit loose for a bit until muscle replaced fat and toned me out. It was such an abrupt weight loss though it left stretch marks on my biceps amd abs/hips. In about 6 months i lost approx 35-40 lbs it slowed down and the last 12-20 or so pounds came off gradually until i guess my body hit its stasis with the new diet and now ill lose a few lbs if im very busy and gain a few if i eat a pizza or two for a treat! After that long introduction though my point is that i agree with him probably feeling better and more confident gaining about 30 in muscle. Im his height basically and feel like id look like a concentration camp refugee if i weighed 120. Honestly. Im wearing size 28-30 skinny fit jeans and i wear a belt even with size 28 though at 28 its a good fit. Not snug not overly loose. So from shoulders to hips its basically an upside down triangle aka my waist looks quite slim compared to my upper body and thats at near 160 lbs. P.S. love skiing hiking etc but envy your coordination to excel at tennis.
Brian Hayslett says
You are 100% wrong concerning walking not helping to loose weightx or increase fitness. I am also 5’10 and I’ve gone from 203 to 164 pounds since September 2016, and the only exercise I do is walking. You were walking very slow. A 16-20 minute mile isn’t going to do anything. I walk a 12 minute on average, about 10 miles a day, 5 days a week, with a modest diet. You can walk fast, and get great results. My blood pressure has also normalized, and my resting heart rate has dropped significantly. Science, and common sense proove that walking can and does get results.
Financial Samurai says
Congratulations for the weight-loss! What do you think are the reasons why you got up to over 200 pounds in the first place?
Kurt Wetzel says
I disagree that walking won’t help with your weight. Walking burns calories which can help you maintain or loose some weight.
Lets say you walk 3 miles a day 5 days a week which is 15 miles a week. You burn extra calories which helps you maintain your weight or even loose a little but not a lot. That is if you eat a sensible diet and amount of food. Lets say you stop walking and are sedentary most of the time. You don’t burn many calories being sedentary so those calories not burned can turn to weight gain but if you walk that is enough to maintain your weight.
The ideal body weight for someone 152-163 and 5 feet 10 inches is irrelevant and unimportant. What counts is your body fat percentage. That depends on your sex and age. Two people with the same height and sex could have the same weight – and one could be considered healthy and the other unhealthy – one may have higher percentage of muscle weight than the other. BMI is garbage. Body fat percentage is the important metric. You may not have lost weight or even gained weight, but perhaps you have more muscle weight now. Here is a body fat percentage chart you can look at to see Forget tracking your weight, track your body fat percentage
The reason you didn’t lose weight is because of your diet. The only way to lose weight and then maintain it is to exercise daily and find a diet that’s right for you. Moderation is probably one of the worst ways to monitor a diet simply we tend to err on the side of massively over-eating. Cutting out dairy and processed foods would probably do the trick, and it would work quickly. As someone who has lost a lot of weight, I know that I can’t slack in either area. But light exercise is most definitely beneficial. Especially if it’s done with extreme consistency.
You gained weight because you ate at a caloric surplus. Those pancake breakfasts and buffets were filled with poor nutrition choices and an ob seen amount of calories. Even with the walking. Pay more attention to your nutrition and you can loose a crap ton of weight. I once lost 5 pounds in a weekend walking 8 miles each day and eating 3 protein bars and 4 strips of grilled chicken each day. It’s possible.
Financial Samurai says
I absolutely agree!
Check out this post: https://www.financialsamurai.com/almost-everyone-is-overweight-obese-or-borderline/
I’ve walked between 10-20 miles a day, 3 times a week for the last 10 months and I’ve lost 2 stone! I’m now 8st 11lb, I don’t think I even weighed under 9st when I was born ha.
I still eat all the same foods, but my portion size is much smaller.
So in my opinion, walking is great for loosing weight.
Hope it goes well for you, good luck.
I’ve been a postman (mailman) for 3 months now, walking on average 8 miles per day, 5 days per week. I haven’t really changed my diet, except I eat a little more because I’m hungry after my shift. I’ve lost 28 pounds since I started. Walking does work. Apart from the weight loss, my fitness has improved dramatically.