The first time I went on a hike, I really wasn’t excited about it. In fact, I didn’t want to go at all! In my mind I had confused hiking with rappelling, and immediately said no when my girlfriend Kristina made the suggestion. She explained that mixing up my regular exercise routine (in essence, coming out of my comfort zone) would give my weight loss the jump start I needed. I’d lost 60 pounds, hit a plateau and frankly I was pissed off! Getting off that last ten pounds was the second hardest part of the weight loss process for me. The hardest part was actually DECIDING to put in the work without making excuses. For me, excuses are the steps that failures are built upon. I had the same 24 hours in a day as everyone else. Just like everyone else, I could prioritize what needed to be done in order to reach my goals. I just hadn’t ever done it so the real question became, how bad did I want it? Instead of focusing on how far I’d come in my weight loss journey as I should have, I was frustrated with the plateau. I ‘d already made a lot of hard sacrifices to get to that point, and felt like those should have been enough. Apparently my body didn’t think so, and I needed to do more. Complaining wasn’t getting me anywhere so I decided to put in the work required in order to reach my goal.
Once Kristina explained that I didn’t need ropes and other equipment to hike, I finally agreed to go with her. My first hike was Piestawa Peak, which I completed in two hours and 45 minutes! To put that time frame into the proper perspective, I’ll add that she can actually hike that mountain in 26 minutes, lol. It was HARD, and after the first ten minutes I thought I was having a heart attack! She assured me that I wasn’t although I wasn’t sure I believed her, lol. One characteristic that helps my success is that I don’t like to waste time. As I made my way up the mountain, people congratulated me on sticking with it until I made it to the top. I asked what the average person did and was told they just kept coming back to the mountain, making several attempts until they finally made it to the top. There was nothing wrong with that but in my mind if I took the time to make that long drive, I wasn’t going home until I made it to the top, no matter how long it took. I finally made it, literally hating EVERY step of the way. It was hot, I was sweating from EVERY orifice, and once I made it home I was exhausted and sore for three days. I vowed I would NEVER hike again!
I became an immediate fan of hiking, however, after weighing in on that following Wednesday! I had lost two pounds!!!! WHAT!!!! In an instant I had a new outlook on hiking! It allowed me to continue eating my favorite foods in moderation, cheeseburgers from In N Out and pancakes from anywhere, and still lose weight! Hiking Saturday and Sunday mornings became a new way of life for me and a priority, simply because it allowed me to eat more, lol. I’m not ashamed to say that I never became an exercise lover, but I am a huge fan of being able to eat whatever I want (in moderation). I’m a food addict, and cutting out foods completely (the definition of a diet in my mind) simply didn’t work for me, which is why I love the Weight Watchers program. It really was a lifestyle change for me, not a diet. I started hiking other mountains for a change in scenery, and over time I began to appreciate the other benefits of hiking. Other than eating, lol. Hiking lowers your risk of heart disease, improves blood pressure and blood sugar levels, boosts bone density since walking is a weight-bearing exercise, and even more importantly for me, it became a stress reliever! I actually started enjoying the early morning hikes and the time it gave me to just think without interruption! ! I also saw a lot of firsts on my hikes. My first rattlesnake, coyote, and sunrise, just to name a few! I definitely appreciated the first sunrise more than the other two, lol..