Walking North America: How Weight Watchers and a pedometer changed our health and our travel

Nearly two years ago, my husband decided to lose weight. He was bordering 300 pounds at the time and his doctor was warning him of the oncoming signs of diabetes. He was already taking medication for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. So, when the conversation turned to preventative medication for diabetes, Hubby set his mind to make some major changes. And when my husband decides to do something, he jumps in with both feet and doesn’t look back. So, in October of 2010, we both went on Weight Watchers and started tracking how many steps we were taking each day with a FitBit pedometer.

Hubby and me in 2009.

Hubby lost nearly 120 pounds from October of 2010 to June of 2011. I lost 20 pounds total. Since then, he has been freed from all the medication he had been taking before for high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and he never had to take the diabetes preventative. There are no signs of diabetes anywhere.

Hubby wearing a pair of his old jeans in January of 2012.

As you can imagine, a great part of the change is owed to his weight loss and his food choices, but it also can’t be denied that walking has made a huge difference as well. It helps keep the weight off, it gives the heart a good workout, and it makes it so he can enjoy extras like beer and chocolate on a daily basis.

These days we walk at least 5 miles a day. Hubby usually walks more than that. He’s far more disciplined than I am. I peter out once I hit my step goal of 10,000 steps and some days I don’t even make it to that. Still, for both of us, walking has changed our lives and the way we travel.

Hubby and me in March of 2012.

Travel is now planned with walking in mind. We choose hotels and vacation rentals that are located in the heart of a walkable city or, as is the case with our home in suburban Phoenix, we figure out ways to incorporate walks into our lives without living life on a treadmill or circular track.¬†Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing where these walks have taken us, and how they’ve changed our lives, as we explore North America on foot.

Coming up: “Walking in suburban America”.