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Walking: Its Never Too Late to Lose Weight!

How did a thin person like me become overweight? My mother had probable Alzheimer's disease and I was her caregiver for nine years. During this time she lost the ability to read, understand television, converse with others, and the ability to speak. Eating was the only thing that gave her pleasure.

To give her some quality of life I took her out to lunch every Wednesday and cooked a gourmet meal for her every Sunday. Slowly but surely, I put on extra pounds. Though I had to buy larger clothes, I wasn't aware of my weight gain, and continued to think of myself as thin.

Looking back, I realize I was so busy caring for my mother that I forgot to take care of myself. After she died I still didn't take care of myself because I was grieving. But the day came when I stepped out of the shower, looked in the mirror, and gasped.

Who was this person?

When I went for my annual physical exam my doctor told me that tests showed a slight increase in my blood sugar level. She cautioned me about becoming a late onset diabetic and said I could avoid this by shedding a few pounds. "The next time you see me I'll be thinner," I declared.

I bought some walking shoes, a pedometer, and jined a health club. In the evenings I walked in my neighborhood. A year and a half later I was back to my college weight and clothing size. My blood sugar was normal, I had renewed energy, and could out-walk people half my age. Now my goal is to maintain a healthy weight.

I walk 10,000 steps a day, which is about fve miles. On snowy or rainy days I walk around the center island in my kitchen, inside at a local mall, or every grocery store aisle. Instead of piling thngs on the bottom step to take upstairs, I look for excuses to climb stairs.

Sometimes I don't get in 10,000 steps a day and when this happens I don't punish myself. I just walk more the next day.

In addition to my daily walking. I cut my protein intake, ate more fruit, vegetables, and fiber, and cut portion sizes. I'm 5' 5 1/2" inches tall, flucuate between 115-117 pounds, and have a Body Mass Index (weight adjusted for sex, height, and age) of 19 - an excellent number.

Daily walks help me to prevent diabetes, maintain a normal blood pressure, reduce the risks of heart attack and colon cancer, and slow bone loss. Walking can do the same for you. If you haven't been physically active lately, get a medical checkup before you start walking. No matter how old you are, it's never too late to lose the weight!

Copyright 2005 by Harriet Hodgson. To learn more about her work go to

Harriet Hodgson has been a nonfiction writer for 26 years and is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. A member of Mayo Clinic's Action on Obestity Task Force, she continues to write health recourses for chidlren and adults. Her latest book, Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief, co-authored by Dr. Lois Krahn, is available on by entering the title or her name. Hodgson is hard at work on her next book, Doctor in the House: An Inside Look at Medical Marriage.


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