Saturday, February 28, 2009

How It Feels To Find A Five Dollar Bill

After my last somewhat sanctimonious blog entry about the moral superiority of addressing diet and exercise tips to those of the more vulgar notion of writing about finding money, I must confess that it is finding money that provides the passion for this blog. Moreover, I think my readers agree that Bobby’s success or no-success is much more interesting stuff.

Well then, you will want to know that I found a five dollar bill out in the desolate woods of Folsom, LA. Dropped coins just lay there, but bills are found where the wind takes them. This five was near my bird feeder lodged in the fork of an exposed tree root. Given its faded condition, it had been there for some time. Since my nearest neighbors are hundreds of yards away, what is the history?

Concerning the MoneyWalker’s feelings about such a major find; upon reflection, first, there was unmitigated joy followed by disbelief. “Imagine, a five dollar bill out in the middle of these dense woods!” went the thinking. Then I felt territorial and suspicious. Looking over both shoulders then front and back, I quickly looked to see if anyone is watching as I pick it up. Shall I tell my neighbor, perhaps it blew out of his pocket, or he dropped it while reaching for his keys. “No, not likely, and all that bother for a five dollar bill.” As I reflect about other currency finds from past walks, these feelings are typical of past thoughts.

Eventually, The five spot, like all found money, must be dispensed with. Compared with the joy of the find, what value is a five dollar bill? It might buy a gallon of milk and a small loaf of bread. Yet money accumulates, and in a short time a serious MoneyWalker will have accumulated relatively large amounts. Thus, my last thought is that of charity. Soon, I will be placing that five with my other finds, and then identifying a cause worthy of donation. That is a good feeling.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Managing Expectations

I thought this year’s walk following Mardi Gras’s Endymion parade would yield the highest found-change amount ever. The great parade is so large and so popular, people camp-out 24 hours early so as to insure a front curb spot. Last year’s loot totaled more than two dollars, surely this year would be even better. Not so, I found a paltry 67¢, not even my daily average. I was very disappointed.

The episode is a timely reminder as to the purpose of this blog. It is a wellness and a weight control blog, not a how-to-find-money while walking blog. Money found is an output of the walk, an important motivational element for exercise continuance, but not the desired outcome. The outcome is the loss of unwanted and unhealthy body fat, not the gain of a few coins for the piggy bank. Thus, this is a good time to talk of the importance of managing expectations.

If the goal is to lose large amounts of weight quickly and dramatically, as was my goal to find a significant amount of money on my Mardi Gras walk, unfulfilled expectations can and often do lead to disillusionment. Constantly reaching for the stars will cause burnout, create frustration, and destroy our drive to obtain any goal including weight loss. In sports, high expectations add unproductive pressure and tension. It is the same with weight loss/maintenance goals. To manage our expectations, we must not lower the goal, but pursue it at a more reasonable pace. Set-backs are a natural part of the process. That is why charting our weight is important. By seeing the slippage on paper, the set-back is defined and acknowledged. Not logging our weight after a binge invites denial and even greater setbacks.

Moreover, we need the help of others as we manage our expectations. Weight loss is a calorie intake/calorie burn issue, not the type of diet issue. Any diet that is low in calories and saturated fats and high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will work so says a new study in the February 25, 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The bottom line, cut about 750 calories a day from what we normally eat. This brings us to the power of other peoples’ expectations. There are two culprits. One is the person that continually and with good intentions temps us with calorie loaded fatty or sweet foods even when they know we are trying to lose weight. We must say to them, “Mom (spouse, best friend, co-worker, etc.) please help me with my goal of losing weight by not tempting me with your wonderful food.”

The second is what Fhona S. Weinstein, Professor of Educational Psychology, Yale University, calls the “power of expectations” in schooling, also called the effects of self-fulfilling prophecies—teachers expect children to pass or fail. Some teach children to fail, some to succeed. Students regardless of their own self-efficacy tend to meet the expectations of their teachers. We are not managing our expectations if we allow others to dictate our success. We will address more of Albert Bandura’s self-efficacy and great social learning theory for weight loss in a later blog.

In the mean time, Mardi Gras is over and I am happy that I maintained my weight “setpoint” of 175/180 lbs. And about that King Cake, adult beverage and fried chicken—it was enjoyed but in moderation, the key to weight loss maintenance. Also, on my next walk following a parade, the MoneyWalker found a whopping $2.91 mopping up after King of Carnival, King Rex, and his crew rolled down historic St. Charles Ave. for another glorious year of Carnival. Hail Rex! Hail Mardi Gras!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Journal Entry: Addiction Out of Control

MoneyWalking is powerfully addicting. Yesterday, Feb. 19, the MoneyWalker was engaged in a serious handyman project involving a powerful table saw. An episode gave the word “pushback” a whole new meaning. While sawing a narrow strip, the saw balked and pushed the stock forcefully backward into my right thumb and index finger requiring 7 stitches from a friendly surgeon. Home alone and feeling the beginnings of shock, I drove to the hospital, parked, and walked two blocks to the hospital. Along the way were two newspaper stands and a phone booth, of course the MoneyWalker checked each one for change—shock or no shock--vigilance for dropped money must be honored.

As for journal entries, from Feb. 1, 2009 to Feb. 20, 15 walks were completed. Note that a walk was completed on the 20th, the day after surgery. Body weight on Feb 1 was 178.6, 3.6 lbs above my target 175. Body weight on Feb. 20, was 176.8 lbs—good news. Total money found, $12.52 for an average of 83¢ per walk. In the total were 3 one dollar bills found on three different occasions. During one walk, I thought of a future blog entry to be called “the soul of coins.” Continuing my behavior of good citizenship, I cleaned a phone booth which was thrashed with fast food containers—yuk. The Bean Gallery Coffee Shop continues to be a hot money spot. It will prompt a future blog entry to be called “caffeine deprivation.” Also, we will discuss if finding money during fitness walking is really an addiction, just a habit, or just bizarre? Contemplating themes for blog entries is one of the pleasures of the walk.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cool Clear Water: Hydration

As I walk using a brisk pace while looking for coins but still maintaining a target heart rate of 120 bpm, I practice good citizenship by picking up and disposing glass and plastic bottles. This morning I removed a bottle of “Penta.” Its label called it an ultra-purified energized water with these benefits: anti-aging, superior hydration, and a sense of well-being. Golly, what a beverage! Another bottle contained Aloe Vera Grape Drink called Aloevine; a “ready to drink beverage to make your body stronger,” so said the label. Artificial grape citric acid was the fifth listed ingredient after aloe powder, vera gel, fructose sugar, and water in that order.

The bottles raise the question, what should MoneyWalkers drink before, during, or after a brisk one hour walk? Replenishing the body’s lost fluid is called hydration and prevents the dangerous dehydration. symptoms are as follows:

Feeling dizzy and lightheaded
Having a dry or sticky mouth
Producing less urine and darker urine

While dehydration is an important consideration for lengthy sustained work bouts, the MoneyWalker is not overly concerned about dehydration that might occur from a one hour walk, even during the hot months of the year. It is true that water helps regulate the body’s temperature and reduces the risk for dehydration, but are special hydration precautions necessary for a one hour walk? The issue is debatable. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommend that a heavy exerciser should drink 20-40 ounces per hour of a non-carbonated beverage, about ½ cup for every 15 minutes of exercise. Yet, for a conditioned MoneyWalker, a one-hour walk, even a brisk one, is not that strenuous. I never "prehydrate" or carry a bulky water bottle. When I finish my early morning walk, I replenish with a good cup of fresh ground decaffeinated coffee and a glass of orange juice, and water if I feel thirsty. Forget about the myth that coffee causes dehydration. Not so says Ann Grandjean, EdD in a study published in the October 2000 Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Grandjean and her colleagues at the Center for Human Nutrition showed that it's pure fantasy. But what about those power drinks such as Aloevine. They will assist with hydration, but no more than regular cool clear water, and who needs the added sugar in drinks like Aloevine or the cost of Penta. (read more about water and hydration from Webmd:

Ooops, I gotta go. Sandra is here with a huge bottle of Gatorade reminding me that I promised to mow the grass before the big Mardi Gras party.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Out of the Easy Chair, a Testimonial

The MoneyWalker introduces a new feature, the MoneyWalker testimonial. This one is from Oriole Adams of Detroit and was found on Ask Meta Filter

"My dad survived a heart attack and bypass surgery when he was in his 70s, but still was reluctant to get out of his easy chair. My mom got the wake-up call from his illnesses and started walking daily without him, many times accompanied by her sister. They'd venture out in different directions, covering more distance every day. What always enriched their walks, though, was finding money on the ground. Whether it be a penny or dime or sometimes a Canadian loonie (we're not far from the Detroit/Windsor border), they pick up every coin and make something of a game of it - "Who can find the most money?" Well, eventually Dad saw the coins accumulating in Mom's jar and asked, incredulously, "You're just finding this money on the street??" So he started walking with Mom every day and collecting coins. Sure, walking while hunched over looking at the ground isn't tops for his posture, but at least it gets him out of his chair for 30 minutes a day."
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:14 AM on October 2, 2008

If you have a testimonial to share, please contact me at

The MoneyWalker

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ethical Issues About Finding Money

The MoneyWalker feels glee when finding a coin or paper currency. The size of the glee is proportionate to the amount found. But is it ethical or moral to take pleasure at another’s loss? That is a question that each MoneyWalker must answer for him or her self. In my house are seven vats of money found from walks. I will count it soon, but the last time I counted, it totaled $84.43 for six months walking. My granddaughters, then aged 12, 9, and 6 sorted it by coin and currency using frequency distributions. Then we all went on a candy-store buying frenzy. A MoneyWalker friend saves his loot for a go at Texas Hold ‘em at the Casino. At the University of Idaho, their alumni association has a found money fund created by a UI Vandal MoneyWalker. Now Vandals from all over the world send their found money to the fund:

The interest is used for scholarships and other worthy projects. A family in New York, while not walkers collect found money, and then donate their findings to their favorite charity:

As of now, my feelings are not set about how to dispose of the found money. Also, there are other issues. In future posts we will explore several including when and if we should attempt to return lost money.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Mardi Gras and Weight Loss

In New Orleans, it is Mardi Gras season, two weeks of parties, parades, and Mardi Gras balls. What a festival. We live on the parade route of Endymion, Mardi Gras’s largest and most brilliant. We annually host a gigantic party, six hours of catching throws and screaming “throw me something mister!” The food table will be filled with Popeye’s Chicken, red beans and rice, king cake, and huge portions of parade foods brought by our guests. And then there are the beverages. Wow, what temptation for the MoneyWalker.

Moreover, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Eat three ounces of those treats each day for a year and you will gain 50 additional lbs. Then Easter and more chocolate; and don’t forget the just completed the Super Bowl and Christmas holiday feasts. How can we MoneyWalkers fight such temptations?

Why not the YoYo diet! Binge eat, add lbs, then go on a bout of starvation, and lose it all back. Unfortunately two bad things happen. First, the body adapts and shifts into survival mode. The body assumes a starvation metabolism and slows in order to preserve the body’s fat stores. After a few quick loss of lbs, weight loss slows, plateaus, and then stops. Then depression and food hunger sets in. We give in to cravings for sweets and high carb favorites—the YoYo’s disastrous up cycle that results in even higher weight gains than when the YoYo diet began.

What can the MoneyWalker do? First, stay true to the big three—unfailingly continue daily weighing and logging the results, walk, and eat a healthy breakfast. The rigor of the walk and the cold reality of the logged weight data will give you the psychological power to eat and drink moderately. A MoneyWalker can’t waste all that effort and achievement on King Cake. For more information on the YoYo diet visit the link:

Happy Mardi Gras, ya’ll!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Journal Entry 2/11/09

Weight: 178.6; Money Found, $1.06; Residual finds $1.04 from yesterday’s mid-day walk to the drug store; total find $2.10. Specific locations included 18¢ at Rouses Grocery Parking lot, 50¢ at Bean Gallery coffee house USA Newspaper stand (two quarters), one dime at street crossing near Delgado Community College, a dime and six pennies at Burger King drive through, and a dime at drop-off zone in front of Marshall Elementary School. I also found an unused Times Picayune Newspaper on the median of Canal Street, another 75¢ savings. Total value of the morning walk, yesterday’s residual walk, and the newspaper savings, $2.85. Note: I always buy a newspaper on my walk to enjoy during morning breakfast. This morning Sandy and I shared the paper over breakfast on our balcony overlooking the patio now blooming with bright orange spring flowers.

Comment: It is not the amount of money that provides motivation, just the excitement of finding money. On 2/3/09, I registered 8¢; on 2/6/09, a mere 22¢. Not much money, but when asked, “How was your walk!” Each day, the answer is the same, “Great Walk!” Don’t forget the big three for maintaining weight loss—healthy breakfast, daily weighing, and exercise.
The MoneyWalker

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Green Gods Are Pleased!

The MoneyWalker walks for fitness, but he also walks to please the green gods. Each day is filled with a need to run errands. The choice is to drive or to walk. More and more I am choosing to walk. Here are typical distances measured in blocks--drug store, 12 blks; post office, 10 blks; grocery store, 4 blks, bank, 3 blks; newspaper stand, 2blks; hardware/lumber store, 5 blks; neighborhood restaurants, two to ten blks. All are doable walks. Today was a good example. One of us needed cold medicine, off I went walking the 24 blks (down and back). Environmentalists call this going green. By walking, not driving, I reduced the pollutions and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the American Public Transportation, gas burning vehicles contribute 30% to carbon dioxide emissions. To learn more of the ABCs of “going green,” take a look at this website:

But for the MoneyWalker, it was all about making the green gods happy. There it was, in the curb in front of RiteAid, a one dollar bill. I also found four pennies during the trek. The green gods got what they wanted and I got what I wanted.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Dopamine Release: A MoneyWalker High

When we engage in aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, the brain releases chemicals that help us to feel good. These chemicals are neurotransmitters and include dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and norepinephrine. During brisk walking the chemicals are released throughout our brain and nervous system with the result is that we feel good—anxiety, stress, and depression are reduced. The MoneyWalker has more good news. Finding money also causes these chemical releases, thus a double positive.

On a recent walk, a chronic back condition flared and the associated pain was causing me to want to cut the walk short. By chance, I suddenly found a dollar bill in a parking lot. I quickly pocketed the bill and continued looking for more finds. A few minutes later, I became conscious of something, I was pain free. What is going on here? I suspect that my body had given me a huge dopamine release. Given that dopamine is a natural pain killer, it is a good scientific bet that it was the dopamine that completely relieved the back pain. I was pain free for the rest of the walk and for the rest of the day. Would a penny find have done it, probably not. I suspect it was the strength of the dollar that triggered the "huge" dopamine release. We will call this phenomenon a MoneyWalker high. Careful out there, MoneyWalking can be addicting, a topic for another post.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

walking blues

What follows are three consecutive journal entries that have given the MoneyWalker the MoneyWalker blues. 2/1/09;178.4 lbs; 47 cents; S. Carrollton; found bunches of pennies, a working lighter, and several pieces of interesting hardware. Journal entry 2/2/09; 179.4 lbs; 18 cents; 15cents found at Rouses Grocery parking following Super Bowl Sunday; [note to self]"two bad money days in a row. Journal entry 2/3/09; 179.4 lbs; 8 cents; destination--Delgado Community College/bus turn-around; "bad trend."

If searching and finding money is a primary source of motivation to walk for exercise and to derive the benefits (internal motivation), then slow money days can give you the blues. For me, keeping a journal is one way to combat the slow money blues. I look back over the journal and notice the many days that registered exceedingly large finds. I know that if I keep walking and checking my money spots, the rewarding currency will be found. I also note that my weight is staying in my target area, another good reason for keeping a journal.


Monday, February 2, 2009


A MoneyWalker is a good citizen. My walks are brisk and focused. I want to maintain my target heart rate while being ever vigilant for those elusive coins that temporarily reside in curbs, parking lots, and return slots. So, during yesterday’s week-end walk, in the middle of a sometimes busy intersection, two stylish women in a new SUV, called out for my attention. “Can you help us; we are looking for so and so breakfast cafe?” “First, can we please move to the curb out of the intersection?” “Do you know the name or the address?” “No, we think it starts with an F.” “Could you be talking about The Ruby Slipper, it was recently featured as a trendy breakfast café?” “Yes, that was it, The Ruby Slipper.” I gave directions and off they went, while I strived to recapture my MoneyWalker mojo. Yet, I took some degree of pleasure knowing that I had helped these two damsels complete their quest for a pleasurable outing. It is what a good citizen does.

As a MoneyWalker I experience frequent opportunities to demonstrate good citizenship. Recently I found a cell phone, hopelessly lost in a remote parking lot. Still charged, I went to their directory, located Pawpaw’s number, and gave it a ring. Bingo, it was his daughter-in-law’s business phone, and she had spent hours looking for it. Another time, it was a lost driver’s license. Our state requires a residential address, so 44¢ later, off it went (no return address on my envelope provided.) Still another time, a lost jacket contained a worker’s visa from one or our Katrina heroes from Honduras. No address, but it did contain a business card of a Honduran business man. Another 44¢ with a brief note of explanation and my phone if someone wants to call for the jacket.

Then there is eye contact and speaking to your neighbor as your paths cross on the streets. It breaks focus, but it is worthy behavior of a good citizen. I sometimes remove dangerous objects from the street such as nails or tree limbs. Citizenship opportunities are infrequent and ad hoc, but very soul stimulating when they occur. It is a residual benefit of the MoneyWalker experience. When you walk, practice good citizenship as it presents itself.