how walking changed my life

A Personal Story of How Walking Changed My Life

Nothing fairer than starting the week with a motivational text that can inspire you to make drastic changes in your lifestyle – and in your life in general.
About six years ago, I weighed 15 kilos more and was lost in many aspects of my life – my health being the main one.

Deciding to change was not (and will never be) easy. Still, I am immensely proud of having faced all my fears and insecurities to transform my body – and more than that, my mental health, self-esteem, and confidence in my potential. The story I will tell you today is a personal report of how starting to walk started a sequence of factors that completely changed my life. Here, I will share all the obstacles, challenges and benefits I could observe over the last years.

If you want to change your life to achieve a healthier lifestyle, read this article until the end, as I will bring you exciting and genuine insights that can help you not only on your fitness journey but to seek and fight for your dreams above all else.

When I realized I needed to start exercising

Until I was 18, I always had an extremely active lifestyle. Although I still didn’t have such an athletic body, I’ve always been a thin person with good physical conditioning and the ability to perform any physical activity I wanted.

My overweight problem started when I entered college. I worked during the day, studied at night, and often went to the bar after class. In addition to this routine severely affecting my sleep and energy levels, I started to eat poorly and drink alcohol frequently. Imagine that in my first year of college – in 2012, when I was 20 years old – I weighed about 68 kg, and three years later, around 2015, I weighed approximately 85 kg. Unfortunately, none of this overweight had to do with mass muscle gain but increased body fat.

For the first time in my life, I found myself insecure about my body and, more than that, dissatisfied with the direction I had chosen to take my life. By this time, my best friends were already making fun of my overweight, which completely discouraged me from making any change in my life.

The watershed that made me decide to change

I remember to this day the exact moment I decided I would change my life – and challenge everyone who was making fun of my overweight. During a weekend in 2015, we travelled with several friends to a country house and spent three days having a great time – barbecuing, playing in the pool, playing football, drinking, and doing things that friends generally do.

To my surprise, a few days later, when we were already back to our routines, one of my friends shared a photo of me – shirtless – with another group of friends – who weren’t even on that trip. I couldn’t even tell when they took that photo, and unfortunately, it didn’t take long for this group to start making jokes about my belly and overall fitness.

I was extremely sad and upset – not to say worse – since, in my view, that had been a cowardly act in many ways. In addition to the fact that I would never do that to anyone, I was impressed with how the focus of the matter had not been that incredible trip we had taken – but how William had gained weight, among several other jokes I heard that day.

How I dealt with embarrassment and used it to my advantage

The most curious fact about this situation is that most people who made fun of me that day didn’t have a healthy lifestyle either. Most of them were also not at their best physiques. They faced overweight issues, and yet, they decided to use me as a scapegoat – probably to project their frustrations on someone who was going through a moment of vulnerability.

Fortunately, if there is one thing that always motivated me in my life, it is someone telling me that I can’t or won’t be able to do something. When I saw that group of 20 people making fun of me, I decided to show them – and myself – that I could change and do it immediately to stop all that hypocrisy.

Although I was using frustration with my friends as a motivation to start transforming my body, one thing that was always clear in my head was that I was doing this for myself – first and foremost. It was essential to understand this early on in my fitness journey since when you do something for yourself – and not just for others – it’s easier to stay consistent and keep going on the most challenging days.

If I can give you some advice for life, the most valuable would be: don’t live up to the expectations of others, and don’t expect recognition in everything you do. Sadly, most people will try to give you up rather than acknowledge your hard work – which is why your focus should always be on yourself!

How I started walking: The first steps to a healthier lifestyle

The timing was extremely important to start my fitness journey. I took advantage of the fact that I was feeling all that anger toward my friends and decided that I would start walking the following week. In 2015, I worked full-time, and since I lived in a large metropolis, I used to drive to work. My work was only 5 km from my house, but there was so much traffic in my city that it took me about 1 hour to go to work and another 1.5 hours to get home every day.

So I decided to go to work by public transport and walk home. To my surprise, both my outward and return journeys became faster. Also, on the way back, I used to walk by a beautiful park, and that made me feel good – even after a long day of work.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that this decision was a win-win situation. At the same time that I started to spend less time going to work, I started exercising in some way, and soon I could notice how I began to feel a little more confident and less stressed about work and life overall. It was definitely the best decision I could make in the short term!

How walking motivated me to progress on my fitness journey

The first few days of walking after work were exhausting, but I soon noticed that my body started to adapt, and the walks started to get easier. I was sweating less and could already see a slight weight loss.

That’s when I decided to start running. I’ve trained soccer my whole life and was relatively good at it, so why not try running? I called one of my best friends, who was also experiencing overweight issues, and we started running together. We decided it would be a commitment and that we would meet 2-3 times a week after work to run in that park I passed every day.

Seeing someone else going through the same difficulties and getting motivated to overcome those obstacles made me even more hungry to change!

We weren’t the best runners, but we were putting in the effort!

I would be lying if I said that the first few days of running were easy. We were both considerably overweight, and our physical conditioning was still quite limited. I remember to this day that, in our first running workouts, we could barely run 100 meters without stopping. It was even funny because we would run about 50 meters and walk for a few minutes to catch our breath.

Our strategy was to run as far as we could, walk to catch our breath and run again – until we completed something around 4 or 5 km. Our pace was terrible, but we had fun with our limitations. We knew that we were beginners at running but that we would inevitably get better with time and consistency.

As expected, In a matter of weeks, we could run longer, and a few months later, we were running slightly shorter runs – but without stopping to rest. We were not the fastest runners, but now we could run the entire course.

The benefits I could notice in the first few months

It was terrific how around four months after that incident with my colleague sharing my photo, I could already see considerable changes in my body and health. The first and most notable was weight loss. I weighed myself daily and took weekly pictures of my body, and I could clearly see how walking was helping to reduce my waist circumference. The weight loss process improved when I added running to my routine. I lost around 6 kg in 4 months, which motivated me even more.

In addition to weight loss, I noticed that exercise improved my life in many other ways. I wouldn’t get so stressed at work anymore because I knew that at the end of that day, I would exercise – which would give me an incredible feeling of well-being.

I also started to sleep better, as the exercise made me tired, and I was no longer in the mood to go out for drinks after class. I began to sleep more and no longer had insomnia problems – I wasn’t waking up several times during the night either! I felt that the quality of my sleep had improved considerably, even on days when I didn’t get 8 hours of sleep.

I felt more energy and desire to do things, and I noticed a massive improvement in my mood. I didn’t get stressed so easily anymore, which improved my performance at work and my relationships with people, family and friends. I felt happier, more confident, and more willing, which changed my perspective and the environment around me.

How walking started a sequence of events that changed my life

One of the first actions I took when I began to walk was to get rid of some harmful habits since I knew that would help me perform better and speed up my body transformation. I stopped drinking (alcohol) every day and started occasionally drinking on weekends only. I began to control my food intake better too. I didn’t know much about nutrition then, but I knew I couldn’t keep eating junk food 3 or 4 times a week.

In addition to getting rid of these bad habits, I also began to understand that no matter how hard it was to exercise on certain days, it would have to be a lifelong commitment. I couldn’t give up all the benefits I was getting from exercising since it was doing so much good for my body and mind.

Because of that, I came to enjoy exercising and – more than that – challenging the limits of my body. If, at first, I couldn’t even run 50 meters, and six months later, I was running 5 km non-stop, how far could I get? This curiosity and interest in constant development is something that guides me to this day.

That simple walk after work changed my life in so many ways. Those first steps freed me from my insecurities, rekindled my self-esteem, and made me a physically and mentally stronger person over the years. Deciding to walk made me interested in running, and running made me join the gym – approximately six months after the first walk after work. All of these aroused a feeling of achievement so great that today, seven years later, I continue to work out consistently – even on my worst days.

I still marvel at the complexity of the human body and how we can adapt to do virtually anything. In less than one year, I managed to lose 15 kilos, in addition to gaining muscle mass – so my physical conditioning has improved tremendously in just 12 months.

Final thoughts: How important it is to believe in yourself

While this story is about my fitness journey, there are many valuable lessons you can learn for your overall life. Even in the most challenging times, I always believed in my potential. Like anyone else, I’ve felt less confident and faced many self-esteem issues, but I never let anyone tell me what I would become. You must understand that you are the master of your destiny and that only you can change the course of your life. No one has the power to do that for you – whether for good or ill.

You must eliminate toxic people and ignore mediocre opinions – just like I did with those people who made fun of my overweight. Always remember that even if you have strayed from your path, there is always time to change!

It is also important that you accept that, unfortunately, most people – and that can include your family and friends – will not believe in your dreams. On the contrary, they may try to demotivate you when they see that you are taking a different direction in your life. Unfortunately, many people don’t face their demons, and this causes them to project their fears and frustrations onto others. Few people will motivate and believe in you during your journey, so you must train your mind to keep going no matter what they say.

The biggest irony is that today I am in much better health, with a better physique, and most people who made fun of me are still precisely the same!

Worse than that, some of these people still try to belittle my achievements – as if the changes I made in my life were easy or that I only achieved them because I am privileged in some way. They’ll tell you you can’t and try to lessen your achievement when you get there. Never forget that you’ve already started winning simply by trying – no matter how far you are from your goals.

Remember that you will only win if you try and that no one will do it for you. You are the only representative of your dreams, and haste is the enemy of victory! The best things in life will take time, so try to stay positive and enjoy the ride – regardless of the obstacles that life presents you. I promise you that the taste of victory will be indescribable!

Keep moving, and don’t be afraid of the unknown. Every success story starts with small steps, so put on your armor and don’t be scared to get your plans off the ground. Remember that it will be difficult initially, but the journey will get easier with time! Don’t settle for the present, don’t be imprisoned by your past, and focus on moving forward, always!

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