Saturday, April 5, 2014

Destination Walking and Goal Setting

Photo by MoneyWalker: A European coffee shop

Topic:  Destination Walking and Goal Setting

The MoneyWalker is meeting weight loss/maintenance goals this year.  Jan 1, weight was fluctuating between 179 and 180 lbs. Resolution was to have weight in the 173/174 range by April 1, 2014.  Done!  April 1 scale reading equaled 173.8 lbs.  Hope the readers are meeting their 2014 weight loss goals.
The problem of reaching a weight loss milestone is continuing the vigilance of caloric restraint and exercise continuance.  The MoneyWalker keeps his walking regiment refreshed by supplementing money-finding motivation with other sources. Recently he has been experimenting with “destination walking.”  The trick is to determine worthy destinations that are within walking distance from the home base. They can be a bank, the post-office, a coffee shop, a thrift store, Costco, etc.  One example that allows the MoneyWalker to combine hobbies is “Little Free Libraries.” These yard boxes with free or exchange books are cropping up in neighborhoods across the country.  There are several in mine.  The LFL’s homepage provides their addresses and with Google Maps, I plot my walk.  The motivation comes from gaining a free book while charting 4 or 5 miles on my walk journal. 
Four or five miles logged has another important reinforcement.  I need to limit daily caloric intake to about 2300 hundred calories.  But with 4 or 5 miles, I can bump that to 2800 calories, enough so that a modest sweet tooth can be honored without crashing the weight scales.
The base motivation system for the MoneyWalker will always be the Ventral Striatum Celebration that comes from finding coins-on-the-street.  The human brain loves money, but it also enjoys short term goals such as reaching worthy destinations; double the pleasure if the destination involves free books.
With “destination walking” the MoneyWalker might soon be pushing into the 170/171 weight zone.  Take away, if you want to lose more weight by exercise, find a way to tweak your motivation system.  When walking, as they said on Hill Street Blues, “Be careful out there.”

Saturday, January 18, 2014

'Money in the Bank"

Ms. S's incrediblly delicious Pecan Pie
Featured Topic: “Money in the Bank”
My diet management program is like one of my now grown children’s high school study habits—making an A on a quiz was just so much ‘money in the bank’ to be squandering by goof-off time before the next quiz.  This morning’s weight is an example.  At 176.2 lbs, the MoneyWalker is way ahead of his resolution to weight 174 lbs. by April.  Now comes the discipline, to avoid the pecan pies, cheese spreads, King Cakes, and other fats and sweets that comprise the NFL playoffs and the Mardi Gras season of New Orleans.  I can take one of two tacks—treat the better-than-expected weight loss as an excuse to splurge on calories, or remain vigilant and continue to practice portion control.  It is my call.  Ms. S's pecan pie is the 900 lb gorilla in the room.
As for those that read this blog, perhaps you also have a ‘money in the bank’ personality.  If so, you (and I) need to recognize it for what it is—self destructive behavior--a pattern or cycle of behaviors that has been learned.  As such, it can be untaught.  Most of the time negative behavior results in the need for short term gratification.  The solution begins with ‘cognitive override’—of substituting an immature behavior for a mature one; of letting the mature thoughts of the adult inside of you talk the child in there out of childish behavior.  Just say, “Self, put down that pint of Ben and Jerry and eat a few carrots, or just drink a glass of water.”  For me, cognitive override is to focus on how good those positive scale numbers look rather than how good the ice cream will taste.  The positive scale reading is reinforced with the pride of accomplishment is worthy of recalling the pride over and over; the ice cream with the associated guilt of succumbing to the briefest of a sensory pleasure just leads to more over eating and more guilt. 
Good luck with your child; I’m dealing with mine.
Journal Data:
Weight = 176.2 lbs, a four months low
Coinage = $2.69
GPS data = 4.36 miles walked, 472 calories burned, average pace 16.30 minutes per mile

Friday, January 17, 2014

Nuts to You!

Blog Feature: "Nuts to you!"
Good Nuts!

Walking is an important component for those that plan for weight loss or weight maintenance once excessive weight is lost; but simply walking for weight management is not enough.  More of the variance is controlled by diet than exercise.  Now we find that eating nuts is important variable for weight loss.

A study out of Loma Linda University tracked the diet behaviors of over 800 adults.  Of those that ate at least a handful of nuts each week, the authors found that the nut group were less likely to be overweight than controls.  Moreover, these nut eaters experienced the thralls of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) to a 7% less degree than the non tree kernel eaters.  MetS is defined as a cluster of conditions including a large waistline; and high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar that increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and death.  Healthy tree nuts include — almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts. 

However, I harbor a bit of skepticism of the Loma Linda study.  Without having looked at the actual study, the NewsMaxHealth summary gave hints that it was a correlational study rather than a causality study.   Correlational studies work well for predicting but are not reliable for determining cause and effect. For example, it is not for nothing that more and more of us Boomers are eating our daily dose of tree nuts. We’ve read the excerpts from NEJM and other scholarly sources touting the importance of nuts in the daily diet. The same ones of us that eat nuts for our health might also exercise more, eat less fatty food and more fiber rich foods, see our doctor more regularly, and sleep more soundly than those less inclined to follow MetS healthy daily regiments. Thus the correlation might be caused one or a combination of these behaviors rather than just eating nuts.

Still, Ms S and I keep a large container of these nuts in the freezer, and a smaller plastic container in the pantry.  We limit ourselves to five or six nuts a day, about 15 to 20 calories. See the link below for more details of the nut study.

Read Latest Breaking News from

Journal Data:

Weight = 176.8 lbs, going down .2 lbs a weigh-in since posting my weight loss resolution.

Coinage = $2.41 including five quarters but gave four of them to one of the “kings and princes” of Midcity who “just wanted some change to get something to eat.”  I never question and never scold, but do require an introduction and eye contact—the transaction of humanity.

GPS Tracking Data = 5.10 miles walked at average of 16.37 minutes per mile; calories burned equaled 537.

Recycled = two sweat shirts

Happy walking!
The MoneyWalker

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Keeping A Journal and What Might Happen If You Recycle

Topic:  Keeping a Journal and Recycling, See photo below to speculate what caused Ms S's ire. is a large network of bloggers that until recently worked under the commission of the New York Times (now IAC/InterActiveCorp.  The MoneyWalker reservedly follows Paige-Waehner’s and Wendy-Bumgardner’s, both advocate keeping a journal to assist with motivation and sustaining an active exercise regiment.  The MoneyWalker’s blog represents his journal.  Although journals require another layering of the pesky tasks necessary for using exercise as an active component of weight loss management, the MoneyWalker finds the journal a useful tool.  For example, last night I conducted a five year inventory of weight gains and losses.  I found that my current weight of 177.2 lbs has hardly fluctuated during the five year period.  But then my waist line has been telling me that all alone.  The links for are listed below.

Weight = 177.2 lbs.  Another record low for 2014

Coinage = $.36. Another 2014 low, but not a good one.

GPS Data = 3.11 miles, 345 calories burned

Recycle/Reuse/repurpose = a warm-up hood update.  Yesterday’s entry indicated a warm-up and two t-shirts had been recovered from the street.  As procedure dictates, last night they were washed in preparation for recycling.  While retrieving from the washing machine, these two bags were spotted.  I have no idea what they might be, but they have been laundried.  Did see a car with a Colorado license plate nearby.  Whatever it is, brings a whole new perspective to sources of motivation. 

Photo taken by owners iPhone.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Being a Friend

Topic:  Being a Friend
WWW friends (World Wide Web) are the greatest to borrow from Jackie Gleason.  They have helped me be a better communicator.  Without benefit of facial and body nuance they give my often irreverent comments the benefit of the doubt.  In turn, I have learned to be more careful with alpha communicating.  And they give my efforts at weight loss/maintenance full encouragement.  Also, since I am a walker, they recommend books for the walking section of my library.  They care about me!
So, as a considerate person, encourage people that are dieting or on a maintenance program.  It takes gumption to watch calories and stay physically active.  For some reason, some people tempt the dieter with fatty foods, or invitations to eat at restaurants that serve big portions.  Others diminish the efforts to stay active by making subtle but derogatory comments. 
Be a friend, encourage your friends and family members that are dieting and exercising.  They will love you for it.
Weight = 177.4 lbs. lowest in several months
Coinage found = $1.74 mostly found after it had rained all day
GPS data = 2.54 miles, 278 calories consumed (made up for the small McDonald’s Frappe).
Recycles found = one hooded sweat shirt, one two t-shirts, all being washed as I type. 
James Carville and Mary Matalan, best friends who could have predicted.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Power and Perniciousness of Routines

Alligator spotted on one of the sloughs of Big Lake in City Park New Orleans
(SCROLL DOWN FOR COMMENTARY on how to combat boredom during walks)
Weight = 178.0 lbs, 4 lbs under my goal weight of 174 lbs.  The criteria is 174.0 lbs or lower for three consecutive days.

Coinage Found = $4.08—Quarters everywhere today.  A few of my hot money spots today included 1) street curbs, 2) parking lots, 3) newspaper vending machines, 4) fast-food drive throughs, 5) boutique car wash grounds, 5) cross walk coins in the street, and 6) Mr Jason’s can wash vacuums.

Nike GPS Data = fastest mile 16 min, slowest mile 17.21 min; 486 calories burned; 4.59 mi walked

Recycled clothes/garments found on walks = one Ralph Laurent silk sweater and one back pack—all washed and sanitized.

Blog Feature: The Power and Perniciousness of Routines

Recently Google improved their blog structure, the one used by the Moneywalker.  I liked the old structure better; I understood the commands, the guiding logos made sense, and the directions were straight forward and intuitive.  In short, the so called improved and stronger new version just about drove me away from posting.  I missed the old routine. 

Same with walking.  My routine is an early morning walk, it bookends my day’s beginning just as reading classical literature bookend’s my days ending. My walks follow a set general pattern with built in flexibility to adapt the route to impulses and circumstances. Having set routes reduces “decision fatigue.”  My routine is firm, it begins each morning at 6 a.m.; the decision is easy, it is not will I walk or not but which of my three predetermined walk courses will I take.  Such is the power of routines.

But routines can cause harm, in a word routines become boring; the death knell of many a walker’s good intentions.  Combat walker’s boredom by walking different routes--of doing a familiar task in an unfamiliar way.  In my neighborhood, there are thousands of different ways to get from here to there.  One of my neighbors has a “little free library” in their yard where books are free with the exchange of another book (Google little free library for details).  The walk is a two miler one way, perfect for my 4 mile goal.  And I get a new book.  This also changes my external motivation for the walk.  Finding money is exciting but I’ve done it so long, I grow weary of the process of “scan and search.”  Walking to obtain a new book gives my brain’s reward center something new to look forward to. 

Thus, periodically changing one’s motivation system is an important way of combating the boredom of routine.  Other ways include “walking meditation.”  Rather than “scan and search,” I walk and meditate.  This blog’s topic came in such a way.  I meditate about faith, self-improvement, making the world a better place; family relationships….the topics are endless.  Sometimes on walks I take the perspective of a scientist and study closely the cultural aspects of the neighborhoods.  Sometimes I do something irrational for my walk, like accompany Ms S on her City Park walk.  She follows a ¾ mile asphalt trail that circles “Big Lake.”  Round, round, and round she goes.  But Ms S is great company, a fine conversationalist, and a superb teacher as she adroitly names the dozens of birds and plants that thrive around the lake.  Nature walking is a great diversion from neighborhood walking but I can take just so many bird stories.

In summary, we need routines to sustain and anchor our healthy habits of exercise and diet management.  But routines can become boring.  Monitor your routines and alter them from time to time to keep your routine fresh.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Bobby’s Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance Strategy for 2014 with Three New Tips


Today’s Weight = 177.6 lbs., down from 180 at New Years Day.  Hope it is not a rhythmic fluctuation which can be caused by water retention, or waste products that might have been temporarily in my system.  ;

Today’s Coinage found = $1.62 well down from the super find at 6:30 a.m. on January 1.  Right next to the burned-out canisters of celebration fireworks was a scatter of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies totaling over eight dollars.  Did someone suggest alcohol consumption?  Their loss is charities gain.

Nike’s GPS data = 5.14 mile walk today; walked 269.3 miles since beginning the app over 83 walks; burn about 105 calories per mile of walking; average pace is 18 minutes a mile while money searching, about 15.5 minutes a mile with straight walking; activity in addition to today’s walk 4.04 mi Thursday, 3.52 mi Wednesday, 4.08 mi Tuesday, 2.15 mi on Monday, and 5.70 miles on Sunday.

New Year’s Resolution Weight Loss Goal = 174 lbs obtained by May 1, 2014 and maintained for the rest of the year.  Also, to eat less sugar and processed food.  Plan to eat foods high in fiber, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals: Beans, Dark Green Leafy Vegetables, Citrus Fruit, Sweet Potatoes, Berries, Tomatoes, Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Whole Grains, Nuts, and Low-fat Milk and Yogurt.

Blog Feature: Bobby’s Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance Strategy for 2014 with three new tips, the tips first:

Tip One, break the sugar crave with a three day fast from processed sugar.  Some studies have found that after three days of fasting, the intensity craving for processed sugar is greatly reduced.

Tip Two, begin eating unsalted five nuts a day.  We purchase the giant mixed nut box from one of the membership warehouse clubs, place a small sealed container of nuts in our pantry, and freeze the rest.  Five unsalted cashews, almonds, pistachios, and pecans yield only 20 calories.  Why unsalted, to avoid the addiction to the taste of salted nuts.

Tip Three, as a rule of thumb, you can count on burning  100 calories per mile regardless of the modality—walking, jogging, or dancing.

The following strategy has been featured in earlier blogs.  It is taken from The National Weight Control Registry housed in Brown University Hospital.  The Registry tracks thousands of subjects that have lost 30 or more pounds and maintained their weight loss over several years.  What the subjects have in common has been my strategy for weight loss and weight maintenance for the last five years and I still use them now.

Trait one: Weigh every day.  Why weigh every day?  Accountability and SOS signaling.  There are cautions about every day weighing (see above), I have found that trends are best established by close monitoring of weight.  When I see an upward trend of weight gain, the scales send my brain a SOS to go back to portion control and exercise.

Trait Two: Diet using a restricted caloric strategy, a diet with low-fat/high carbohydrate properties, about 1800 calories for women and 2200 for men.  See New Year’s resolution above, the data are clear, cut the processed sugar, fat, and starching foods and eat balanced meals high in fiber, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Trait Three: Eat breakfast every day.  Most find that eating a healthy breakfast reduces hunger throughout the day.  Also breakfast eaters usually eat smaller lunches and make better food choices. 

Trait Four: Perform 60-90 minutes per day of moderate to heavy aerobic exercise per day (walking).  This means walking, jogging, biking, dancing, swimming and other tasks that elevates and sustains heart rate.  This is a time commitment that requires me to start early, usually 6 to 6:30 a.m. and to have a strong motivation system—thus my money walking system.

Let me know what you think and share your success story.  Good luck with your own New Year’s resolution if it is to lose weight and sustain the loss.

The Moneywalker