Walking Challenge 2012: April showers to bring May flowers?


March’s Challenge Entry | All Challenge Entries | May’s Challenge Entry

I’ve made it through another whole month of walking every day for at least 30 minutes.

I really struggled—both with my eating and with my walking—this month, mostly due to a setback in the recovery rate from my knee surgery, which I had in mid-March.

However, with a momentary lapse into metaphor, “I’m looking forward to April’s showers bringing May flowers.” Not that that “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” metaphor I used last month worked out all that well.

With that said, metaphor remains my friend.


Here are the numbers for April:

[Click to enlarge] Chart showing a walk every day of the month of April. My average walk was 34 minutes long.
Background photo: During an April walk near my work building, some flowers that I hope
will bloom right through May, and a reminder to vote against “Amendment One,”
coming up on the May 8 ballot.

You can see that I had a lot more walks at the 30-minute minimum duration than I’ve had in previous months, as my knee is still in a place that there’s not one minute when I’m walking that I’m not aware of it. And by aware of it, I mean it hurts.


Since eating is an emotional coping mechanism for me—as it is for a lot of people who have been overweight most of their lives—for many days of this month, I ate “at the higher end” of the range needed to continuing losing weight at a two-pound-per-week rate.

Witness my April food and exercise diary as recorded in dailyburn.com:

Dailyburn April calendar showing calories eaten and calories burned
The calories burned by walking are included in the "Cals Burned" amount, which also includes calories burned while doing ab crunches and my upper body strength training whenever I did that in addition to my walking for a particular day. I did virtually no lower body workouts this month, as they consist almost entirely of leg exercises.


To no one’s surprise—least of all mine—with the combination of reduced exercising and increased eating, my weight loss success this month was pretty much non-existent.

With that said, I will assert that while I didn’t eat little enough to lose weight, I know I didn’t overeat enough to gain the two pounds that showed up on my April 9th weigh-in.

I’m going to blame that blip exclusively on muscle-weight gain, hence the background photo I chose for this month’s chart of my weight loss progress—or lack thereof, as it were.

Chart showing a weight loss of a total of 30 pounds since starting in January through the last Monday in April.Background photo: See those extra-heavy muscles now in my arms? At least two pounds worth!
That’s my story and it’s sticking to me!


Here are some reflections about this month's experience:

  • Funny that I mentioned in last month’s reflections about not having had any back pain ever since I started doing crunches regularly over a year ago—”knock on wood.” Evidently I didn’t knock hard enough on wood when I said that.

    I started having back pain toward the end of this month, although it may be from the limping I’ve been doing as a result of my knee pain.

    This was another thing that added to the “downer” of a month this has been in terms of chronic pain and a slow recovery from my surgery.

  • On many of my 30-minute walks this month, especially toward the end of the month, my knee pain was what I would call severe, and a couple of times during lunch-time campus walks, I considered stopping where I was and catching one of the university buses back to my office. (I’m mentioning this, not for sympathy, but for posterity.)
  • On Monday, April 23, I had what was supposed to be my final post-surgery check-up with the surgeon who scoped my knee, and when I said, “I’m discouraged,” in response to his, “How are you doing” question, he reminded me of a few things:
    • “This is not your first time at the rodeo.” (referring to my previous surgery on this same knee back in December of 2008)
    • “You’re a little bit older this time around.”
    • “You have some arthritis in that knee now.”
    • “I can tell by your wound sites that your leg is still healing.”
    • “You need to be a little bit patient.”
  • This past weekend, I actually did my lower body workout (with reduced weights on most machines), which I had stopped since my surgery. 7 out of the 8 machines work some muscles in my legs, and the remaining machine works back muscles.

    The next day, my calves were hurting (from the calf raises), but my knee felt noticeably better, which I’m embracing as a good sign.

  • On a positive note, I like how in one month, I’ve gone from walking for every day (but one) for one-fourth of the year to walking every day (but one) for one-third of the year. Just like that.


While it was less than a stellar month for me in terms of the average duration of my walks and my weight fluctuation, unequivocally, I’m in a much better place than I was at the beginning of the year.

Other indications of success, such as yet one more notch in on my belt and moving into a smaller pants size in a pair of dress pants I recently had occasion to wear, tell me that progress is still taking place.

Here’s hoping that my knee continues to improve, my walks get longer again, and I get a little more rigorous about my eating again.

March’s Challenge Entry | All Challenge Entries | May’s Challenge Entry


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