I did a potentially foolish thing. A week before Thanksgiving, I decided I needed to lose 15-20 pounds. No specific "due date", it just needed doing. The timing was not ideal, but this was not a rash decision. Somewhere in my mind I'd been been aware that clothes didn't fit the way they used to and smaller clothes had even slowly made their way into separate piles that I'd stopped looking through. The final straw however was seeing a photo that someone had taken of me at a Meetup event. I thought to myself "So that's what I really look like". Gulp.
Since then I have certainly enjoyed the tastes of the season (exhibit A - the Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion Galette I made for Thanksgiving), but I've tried to adhere to two tenets of healthy living: moderation in all things and do more of what's good and less of what's bad. In short consume more water and veggies, do less mindless eating and get back into a walking habit. The last one is the one that I want to talk about here.
Have you heard of gmap? Apparently the website has been around for years, but I just learned about it from a friend who uses it and I'm Christmas-morning kind of excited. The site uses Google Maps to let you plot your walk/run/ride. It can then tell you (depending on how much information you type in) how far you went, estimated calories burned and your pace. I'm most excited about the distance since I can't tell you how many times I've had to retrace my steps to find my pedometer on the ground. I remember years ago my mother started on a walking regimen for health reasons and wanted to track her distance. She bought a map of our town, and after each walk colored in her route with red pen, measured it with a piece of string and then using the key, converted it to miles. She was fastidious with her measurements, and often looked at her red veined map with pride. She would have loved gmap.
Another benefit of gmap, especially for someone like me who is trying to (re)create a daily walking habit, you can enter your excursions on a calendar. This makes it easy to keep track of how often (or rarely) you're getting out on the road. I've found this visual helpful when my motivation is lacking.
Last but not least, each trip gets a unique URL, so you can share routes with friends (or blog readers). Time to lace up those shoes and layer on the woolens; this is going to be the Winter of Walking!