S2-E5 – The Tools I Used To Lose 40 Pounds In 16 Weeks

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Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.
-Thomas Jefferson

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This is an appropriate quote for today’s show. Thomas Jefferson, a great American founding father, Vice President, President and Statesman shared this great quote about the benefits of walking. Walking is the best possible exercise. It can be done by just about anyone that has the ability to walk, as exercise. The most important part of what he says in the the second half of his quote.

Habituate yourself to walk very far. Habituate — I like that word. One of the keys to developing a great #WorkOnWellness program is to make what you do a habit. Habituating activities that burn calories will make it easier to complete them. When you habituate these activities, your mind doesn’t have to think about should I do this. It is conditioned and primed to start as soon as you think it.


I started getting up at 4:00 a.m. a year ago when I started my podcast. I needed the extra time to be able to write up my show notes, record episodes. When I started interviewing my expert guests, I had to have a couple hours in the morning to be able to talk with people on the east coast. My 5 a.m. is there 8 a.m.  Now, I wake up almost every morning at 4 a.m. without my alarm clock. I, unfortunately, wake up about 10-15 minutes before the alarm goes off….Even on the Weekends when I can sleep in.  So there’s power in Habituating your activities. We’ll cover habits more in a later episode in more depth, because habits can help you develop the right routines to achieve your #WorkOnWellness goals.

Tool 1 – The Gym

Back to Jefferson’s quote. He says you should habituate yourself to walk very far. Walking long distance is an exercise I used frequently when I was working on losing 40 pounds in 16 weeks. I would spend a lot of time in the gym. I like going to the gym. I am a member of Planet Fitness. I have tried other gyms in my area where I live, but keep coming back to Planet Fitness. The main things I like about Planet Fitness are:

  • Great Equipment – new or in good shape – I prefer the models they use over the ones at other gyms
  • Friendly staff
  • Clean locker rooms and facilities
  • Prices – great options from $10 – $25 per month. I have a Black Card which allows me to use any Planet Fitness facility, anywhere.

I started going to the one near my office. It’s a five minute walk. I would leave work and be there 5 minutes later. If I waited to get on BART for my commute home, I could think of a million things I could be doing better than going to the gym.

Tool 2 – The Elliptical

I still haven’t finished my thoughts on Jefferson’s quote about habituating yourself to walk very far. That’s where the elliptical comes in. Using the elliptical is like walking. I have a “bad” knee. I had my meniscus removed when I ripped in playing tennis a few years ago. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it doesn’t. It isn’t anything that stops me from doing any running. I still run some but I like using the elliptical. It’s easier on the knees and I can adjust the levels to make it a little harder workout.  So back to Jefferson and walking far. I started doing 1 hour on the elliptical. I worked my way up to doing 5 miles in an hour. That burns about 700 calories with my weight (at the time) and the levels I used. 5 miles is far. It’s recommended that you walk at least 10,000 steps per day.

10,000 steps is about 5 miles. After I hit that goal, I started trying to go for 2 hours. I wanted to get in at least 1200 calories burned in that work out. Remember, I was consuming 1200 calories per day on my eating plan. I had to burn more calories than I was eating. I was burning additional calories with the other walking I was doing throughout the day along with the other activities I did.  If I could burn 1200 calories in my workouts, that meant I would have a calorie deficit. The more days of deficit, the more weight lost.

I worked up to 2 hours and burning over 1400 calories on the elliptical each day. That’s 10 Miles on the elliptical, 4 days per week.

Tool 3 – Map My Walk

I usually only went to the gym when it was winter. That’s our “bad season” in San Francisco. No mind you, it’s not Minnesota, Boston, or even cold. But it does rain from November through April some (not enough) in San Francisco. As the time changed and the sun was out later, I would go to the gym to change clothes and then head out to Walk The Streets of San Francisco.

I work in the downtown San Francisco, one of the top tourist destinations IN THE WORLD. There’s a reason it is. The scenery is beautiful, the weather is usually nice. This is where I took Jefferson’s quote to heart. There is so many great places to walk in the city. I work about 2 blocks from The Ferry Building, which is on The Embarcadero. It a great road that runs along the San Francisco Bay and wharfs. It goes from Fisherman’s Wharf all the way past AT&T Park, where the Giants play.

On nice days when the sun was up until 7:30 – 8:00 p.m., I would leave the gym and walk down Sansome Street towards Fisherman’s Wharf.  Before I left the gym I would plug in my headphones to my iPhone, crank up my playlist and then Start My Workout on my Map My Walk app.  Map My Walk is one of my favorite apps. It uses GPS to track your location and measures the distance you walk, the elevation and many other great things. It integrates into the iPhone health app, as well as fitness appliances like FitBit.

I would head out down to Fisherman’s Wharf. At the Wharf, I would get on The Embarcadero and start walking south. The scenery is great. When you are at Fisherman’s Wharf, you have the tourists, Alcatraz island, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge, as you walk the Embarcadero, the people watching is great. You walk past Coit Tower on the right. There is a great hill and steps you can walk up to get a good burn on your walk. I do that when I want to get some extra calories burned.

As you pass the Ferry Building, you can now see the Bay Bridge. There is a beautiful light show on the bridge after dark if you walk at night. Oh, and did I say you walking along The Bay the entire time?  What a view.

Well, Jefferson would be very proud of me for habituating myself to walk far. I continued on to AT&T Park where I would turn onto 2nd or 3rd Street and head back into the city. I would head back up to Market Street and then onto Sansome and back to the gym. It usually took me about 90 minutes to complete that walk. It is about 8 Miles.

Map My Walk would track my journey, alerting me to each mile as I passed it. I also use it on the weekends when I take my far walks along the waterfront and hills near my house. I would walk 10 – 15 miles on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Thanks Thomas Jefferson. I did what you said.

Tool 4 – My Fitness Pal

Another one of my favorite tools that keep me honest and up to speed on my calorie consumption was the My Fitness Pal app. With My Fitness Pal, I can enter and track everything I eat. You can scan bar codes on the food you eat and it will pull the calories and other values from the manufacturer. You can set goals and keep track of your weight as well as your exercise. When you enter all of your meals, your exercise and close out at the end of the day, it will give you a total of what you did and an estimate of how much you will weigh in 1-2 weeks if you keep eating the way you are going. This is great inspiration. I would see that “If you keep eating this way, you will weigh 220 pounds in 5 days. Whoo Hoo!

These are the top tools that I used to lose 40 Pounds in 16 Weeks. I’ve provided links to the websites on our show notes page at Goal Getting Podcast dot com / s2e5  but you can just switch over to the app store on your smartphone and download them. They are both free.

I hope this helps you take Thomas Jefferson’s quote to heart and Habituate Yourself to walking far as one of your exercises in your #WorkOnWellness journey. If I can work up to it and get to walking 8-10 miles around the city or on the elliptical, you can, too.

Go Out Today, #WorkOnWellness with me and Let’s Lose 40 Pounds in 16 Weeks, like I did.


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About the author, Tony

I am the founder and host of Goal Getting™ Podcast. GGP was launched February 25, 2015.
I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am a professional speaker and you can find out more about what I speak about and hire me to speak to your organization by visiting www.TonyWoodall.com

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