Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Joy of Christmas, The Joy of Walking

Feature: The Joy of Christmas, The Joy of Walking

One of the MoneyWalker’s followers sent an off-list link to an article from the current issue of the Economist, perhaps the world’s finest news/commentary magazine. The article, “The Joy of Walking," discusses the moral, legal, and financial aspects of Walking in England, Europe, and the U.S. A few quotes follow:

• From “Song of the Open Road”, Walt Whitman wrote:
Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

• The modern traveler will approach the bridge across the river Wharfe with a different purpose. A sign at its foot heralds the start of the Dales Way, a 76-mile (122-kilometre) trek through some of the prettiest parts of England.

• The joys of walking have long inspired poets and writers. Some have spoken of the sense of freedom that comes from leaving the city behind; the delicious choices offered by forked paths that lead through deep woods or over hilltops.

• Walking seems to set the mind free for contemplation. The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said that “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” The Welsh writer Lloyd Jones, who was inspired to produce his first novel by a 1,000-mile trek round his homeland, said that “The moving landscape provides an absorbing diversion which frees the mind and gives us a fresh viewpoint, and we’re most at ease with the world when we walk because everything is happening at a manageable pace.”

• Some politicians like the ability to ponder the great issues of state as they plod. William Gladstone, a Victorian prime minister and moralist, was an enthusiastic daily walker, opening a route up Mount Snowdon at the age of 83. While mired in the euro zone’s financial woes this year, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, chose to spend her summer holiday walking in the south Tyrol.

The MoneyWalker will allow the Economist’s commentary to speak for the “Joys of Walking.” He will comment on his own personal commentary on the “Joys of Christmas.”

• Sharing the food preparation with Ms. MoneyWalker on Christmas morning. Her roast turkey and pecan pie are unbelievably delicious. Ditto for her homemade cranberry sauce, cornbread dressing, and baked sweet potatoes. I pitch in with Paul Prudhome’s great Corn Maque Choux. It takes hours of prep time, but so worth it. The cooking is amplified with ample amounts of well “seasoned” eggnog and an appropriate amount of time under the mistletoe.

• Reading the Christmas story before blessing the food to the visiting MoneyWalker clan while keeping Christ in Christmas.

• Quality time with the grandchildren and watching them play with their toys.

• Listening to our church’s great choir and musicians perform the spiritual and classical songs of the season.

And then to combine the “Joys of Walking” with the “Joys of Christmas,” he will take a long walk at twilight to burn a few Christmas calories while enjoyed the neighborhood lights and decorations; and perhaps spotting a few loose coins.

Merry Christmas everyone! Keep Walking!


Today’s Weight = ????

Today’s Money find = $1.43

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dude, Don’t Stop Walking?

Dude, Don’t Stop Walking?
‘Dude’ is one of those ubiquitous universal words currently in vogue. It is used in every possible corner of the globe, in every possible situation. “I aced my exam, Dude!” “Did you get that raise you were looking for at work, Dude?” Or, maybe it’s your nickname as in Jeff Bridge’s Dude Lebowski from the 1998 cult bowling film.

However, there are limits to its use. The Moneywalker is as engaged as the next person in the cultural life of our times including the slang that we use. Still, sometimes the “great unwashed” go too far. On a recent wedding trip to honor our nephew, Ms MoneyWalker and I checked into a 3.5 star Ft. Worth, TX hotel. After settling in, I approached the twenty-something at the front desk with a routine issue. His greeting, “How can I help you Dude?”

I wanted to reply “Did you say ‘Dude’? I’m old enough to be your grandfather, Dude!” It would have been a waste of time; I can hear his smart-back answer, “Whatever, Dude!” Way too subtle for him to understand not to use slang terms in discourse with people of older age brackets, of higher social status, or of greater responsibility. I like my daughter-in-law’s restraint. She only uses the word when she needs a pejorative put-down such as: “Dude, the line forms at the rear!”

As we approach the holidays and then New Year’s resolution time, these psycholinguistics lessons lead back to walking and weight control, how about a few “dude” reminders, but just for your own self-talk.

"Dude, have you stopped weighing?”
“Dude, is that your fourth glass of nutmeg?”
“Dude, your waist line is losing the battle!”
“Dude, don’t stop walking!”


Today’s Weight = 175.6 lbs.

Today’s coinage = $1.26

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Game Day Walking

Free lancers in the Quarter

Game Day Walking

What can regular walkers do to avoid the staleness that comes from the routine of sameness? The MoneyWalker has been walking five or six times a week for several years. Even the enjoyment that comes from finding money along the walking paths can lead to melancholy thoughts of “is that all there is?” One boredom buster is the special event walk.

Today’s walk into the New Orleans’ French Quarter qualifies. A Sunday visit to the French Quarter is always dynamic, especially on an NFL Game Day. What a treat watching Saints and Detroit Lions fans partying with their pre-game optimism.

Today’s walk was a “Nazarite Walk” meaning that is was a long disciplined walk where finding money was secondary to physical fitness and viewing the sights of the Quarter. Even without an NFL game, the 75 degree clear skies and the usual treats of the historic streets of Royal, Bourbon, Decatur, and Chartres assured the walk’s success.

Visual and auditory delights were bountiful. One photo opt was a latticed iron balcony covered with tropical vegetation and Saints paraphernalia. Royal Street was a Carnegie Hall rival with excellent musicians playing their harmonic notes for dollar tips. One nonchalant Saints fan parking his white 30 year old Lincoln Continental on Bourbon Street for no apparent reason other than to show off his “over-the-top” Saints tuxedo with black and gold shimmering sequins. There was a momentary traffic jam but no one seemed to mind. Of course the watering holes on Bourbon Street were jamming with mind numbing versions of “When the Saints go marching in.”

Game time! Can someone help me with some musical notes… ♭♮ ♯...I can faintly hear “When the Saints go Marching in" from the Super Dome.


Today’s Weight = 175.8 lbs
Today’s money find = $.44

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What is a Walking Warrior?

Drew Brees image by Fansedge

Feature Entry: What is a Walking Warrior?

EtcWarrior is a frequent poster to the MoneyWalker’s blog. A recent post stimulated an idea for three blogs: a speculation of the motive for combining etcetera and warrior as a user name, high-tech walking, and this blog – what is a walking warrior? The first two ideas will be in future blogs.

Don Flanagan borrowing a description of the French soldier Pierre Terrail Le Vieus while writing about one of Anthony Trollope’s characters provided a high standard for one worthy of being described as a “warrior”: “a 'preux chevalier sans peur and sans reproche,' a gallant knight [warrior] without fear and beyond reproach.” As a New Orleans Saints National Football League fan, the Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees comes to mind as a consummate warrior. As a person he is a model of selflessness, but on the field he takes no prisoners. Then when the game is over, he is first to congratulate the players on the opposite team for their great performance.

As a metaphor for excellence, the thinking activity from today’s walk led to the consideration of “warriors” from other disciplines, art forms, and professions. As a politician Winston Churchill came to mind. How could beat down England hold off the German juggernaut? In industry, is there a better example than Andrew Carnegie? Today we have Carnegie Mellon university; the incomparable Carnegie Hall in New York; dozens of city libraries, both building and holdings around the country; and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Carnegie was a warrior in the Drew Brees mold.

For pop music, I like Elton John, Bono, and Billy Joel. Take your pick for the warrior award, the MoneyWalker likes Billy Joel. In religion, most agree that the blessed Pope John XXIII and his Vatican II accomplishment might be the greatest warrior. Then there is Gandy, Martin Luther King, Billy Sunday, Martin Luther, John Wesley, and legions more. The MoneyWalker likes the Reverend Billy Graham. In literature, everyone has a favorite, for serious literature that is as readable today as when it was written in Victorian England, the MoneyWalker reads Joseph Conrad.

So what is a walking warrior? The MoneyWalker’s criteria includes the following categories: He or she is consistent, motivated, is a pedestrian, makes a difference in terms of the culture of walking, is safe, and walks for fitness. Rain or shine, in heat or cold, on vacation or at work, the walking warrior finds time for the walk. The warrior seeks a way to stay motivated over the long term. He or she walks as a lifestyle. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow the walking warrior will find to take a long walk. The walking warrior is a pedestrian walker forsaking the automobile when shopping needs can be met with a walk rather than a ride. He or she is a reflective walker and adds to the culture of walking by encouraging others to be walkers. The warrior not only walks for fitness but he or she finds ways to tell others of the benefits of walking by writing and verbally telling others of the merits of walking. In so doing, the warrior adds to the culture of walking. The walking warrior is a safe and considerate walker. There will be no accident due to careless risk taking by the walker. Drivers of cars, bikes, and trucks as well as other walkers hold the walking warrior in esteem for the walking etiquette followed. And finally the walking warrior walks for physical fitness keeping the body weight low and the self esteem high. My vote for the top walking warrior goes to the great Mark Twain.

Join the MoneyWalker, become a walking warrior.


Weight report: 175.8 lbs.

Money found during the last four walks: $8.31, $.89, $1.01, and $4.10

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A New England Fall Foilage Walk

Feature Entry: A New England Fall Foilage Walk

Vacation is a good time to get away from routine. Earlier this month, the MoneyWalker took a break from money walking and focused on the beauty found during an extended New England fall scenery walk during a trip to visit family. I wanted to see the fall foliage viewed through a walker’s perspective.

The walk gave rise to a new walking strategy – Google Map Walking. From previous experience in the area, several potential walking destinations were determined. Then by placing in the address of the departure point and the destination point, Google provided a walking map complete with number of miles, estimated walking time, and the street names of the route. If the mile count was too great or small, a different destination was considered until a match was found between the desired walk length and the designation.

After considering destinations ( a waterfall in Cannondale, the Allen Meadows Park, or Friends of Ambler Farm,) I selected Weston Township Library. They were having a “Friends of the Library” book sale. The distance was 2.6 miles one-way and produced an amazing walk. Given that my usual walk is about four miles, and because I became lost a few times (next time I will download the map rather than rely upon sketchy notes), the actual walk was about 6.5 miles. A 6.5 mile walk is a great way to use walking as an antidote for vacation overeating.

During the walk, a quote from Richard Schmidt from his book Motor Control and Learning came to mind: “When stimulus contacts memory.” Wilton, Connecticut provides remarkable venues with rambling lanes, streams, waterfalls, craggy outcroppings of rocks, resplendent homes, and of course trees of every size, shape and color. As the multiple varieties of stimuli slowly connected with one memory source after another, what occurred was a smorgasbord of delightful recalls from the best of previous walks and of being in the “now.” Moreover, I cannot overstate the value of walking to enhance the experience of seeing beauty up-close in New England’s fall foliage season.

And once more, Marcel Proust’s involuntary memory theories came to mind. The synaptic connections triggered uncontested “unintentional thoughts.” With no distractions presented by the urgency of others, the mind was free to explore thoughts and ideas of far reaching dimensions. In a guilt free state of mind and in the midst of nature’s beauty, such thoughts produced an incredible sense of happiness.

As for the book sale, four bargains including two Nancy Drew novels for my granddaughter, hardly was a burden during the equally lovely walk home.


Current Weight = 176.2 lbs

Money found on today’s walk = $.86

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Walking in Paris and Walking Socks and Shoes

Walking in Paris and Walking Socks and Shoes

Photo credit to Bing Photographs

This brief blog is a testimonial reported by Pat Coil, of Mentor, Ohio as listed on Travelzine, an on-line travel interest group sponsored by Yahoo. com.

We walked to the Arts bridge and saw all the padlocks on the
fence. We walked, walked, sat and met some people from
Canada and then walked some more and finally got to the RER
stop. Kathie Ann thought that the Dorsey was closer than
going back to the Notre Dame stop. She was wrong and got
blisters on her feet from the long walk.

On the next blog, the MoneyWalker will report the results of his New England vacation six mile walk that turned into an eight mile walk due to a few mistakes in following a Google walking map. Fortunately he was wearing top-of-the-line walking socks and walking shoes, thus no blisters or foot fatigue. When on vacation, be sure to pack and remember to wear walking socks and walking shoes.


Last weigh-in: 175 lbs. The significance of this weigh-in is that the MoneyWalker has just returned from a three-week sojourn with ample temptations for over-eating and avoiding exercise. The 175lbs was a wash, no weight added.

Money Found on Current Walk: $3.18 amplified by a crisp one dollar bill near a diner.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Event Walking: The Volksmarsch

Event Walking: The Volksmarsch

There are many ways to provide motivation for the sustaining of the walking habit. Walking with friends, seeking novel walking routes, walking your dog, and waist-line watching are familiar examples. Another effective method is “event walking.” Dozens of charities sponsor walks for fund raising including AIDS, Alzheimer, Animal Welfare, Arthritis, Autism, and Birth Defects. Others include Blindness, Cancer, cystic Fibrosis, Diabetes, Heart Disease, MS, and Obesity.

A different example of event walking involves joining a group that sponsors events for the simple pleasure of walking. An interesting group is the American Volkssport Association (AVA). Their web-site identifies more than 1870 self-guided walking and biking trails throughout the USA. A few clicks will identify their great trails to do at your own pace, any day of the year. Using their research will enable a walker to enjoy walks and bikes in national, state, and local parks and forests; or take in lovely countryside or charming small towns in your area. AVA has an interesting incentive system incorporating decorative patches or pins for your walking attire.

Volksmarching (from German Volksmarsch meaning "peoples' march") is a form of non-competitive fitness walking that developed in Europe. Participants typically walk 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) on an outdoor path. Volkssport participants enjoy recording distances and event participation in international record books. More of a social event than a 'HEALTHY OUTING" Participants often bring along a Boda bag filled with wine or Apfelcorn. Less frequently used terms are Volkswanderung and Volkswalk.

Vell, vought are you vaiting for? Find an event and start walking.

Money Walker

Journal Update:

Today’s body weight: 175.6 lbs, up from last entry
Money Found from last five walks: $11.14, $2.23 a walk

Monday, October 10, 2011

Paris in 6 hours! Vacation Walking

Feature Entry: Six Hours in Paris and Vacation Walking

One of the MoneyWalker’s favorite internet groups is Travelzine sponsored by Yahoogroups. Members are travelers from all over the world and participate by posting and responding to questions by fellow travelers. Walking is often mentioned. One of my favorite threads dealt with the topic, “Paris in 6 hours!” The traveler is referring to a six hour layover and what can be done in the time frame. Of the several that responded, Sandy in Central Illinois, provided my favorite.

I know exactly what I'd do if I had only 6 hours in Paris.
I would head straight for the 6th arrondissement and have
lunch at the Cafe de Flore or Les Deux Magots, then a walk
in Jardin du Luxembourg, and back by way of Saint Sulpice
where I'd have a cup of tea or glass of wine at the Cafe de
la Marie, with a view of Saint Sulpice. Any leftover time I
would wander on the rue de Buci, maybe even walk or take Bus
#63 to Musee National du Moyen-Age (Musee Cluny).
Long vacation walks are a great way to experience a culture and combat the tendency to gain weight while travelling.


The Finifugal Walker and The Psychology of Finishing

Feature Entry: The Finifugal Walker and The Psychology of Finishing

This blog will explore reasons why people drop out of a walking fitness program before meeting their health and weight loss goals; but first a note about Ammon Shea and his book, Reading the Oxford English Dictionary, one man, one year, 21,730 pages. Shea’s goal was to read all 21 volumes of the OED, nearly 22,000 pages of definitions. Daunting! His book about the experience, in part, elaborated on words that he found especially interesting including the word finifugal, an adjective meaning “shunning the end of anything.”

A quick look in scientific psychology as well as Google entries will confirm that many people are what Jim Willis in his book Snap Shots and Visions calls “idea” people; people that are motivated by the excitement of conceptualization of an idea but not actualization the work to complete the project. They can get started, do the all the preparation, push forward into action, but then can’t finish the job. The finifugal walker is a person that wants to lose weight, experience the well-fit benefits, buy the apparel, read the literature, consult with a physician, plan a walking weekly/monthly/yearly calendar based on time and distance, initiate a walking program, maintain it for a significant period and begin to experience the success of weight loss and a healthier feeling, but then inexplicably discontinues walking without fully reaching the envisaged goals.

Why? One reason is a feeling of failure. The MoneyWalker’s last three blogs explored the “yo-yo” problems associated with exercise and diet. The early thrill of losing weight must confront the yo-yo reality. Like the stock market, losing weight is an up and down experience. We must learn to control the binges, not be discouraged by them. Finifugal walkers often have bad mental habits; they can’t balance the thrill of victory with the agony of defeat. Smart mental habits utilize self-talk and support groups to stay on task.

The beginning walking/diet program nearly always results in dramatic weight loss especially for people highly overweight. But then even with fidelity to the walking/diet plan, a plateau occurs. The weight loss mysteriously stops. Moreover, the plateau often last for an extensive period of time. That is when disillusionment sets in and the walking and dieting are discontinued. The answer to disillusionment is perseverance. The performance curve for weight loss is nearly always follows an elongated reverse S shape; that is, rapid improvement at the beginning, followed by a lengthy plateau of no loss, but then with perseverance, the curve again reflects downward weight loss. To defeat the finifugal effect, persevere through the plateaus.

Another symptom of the finifugal walker is time management; we are just too busy to devote the time to extensive walking. We get started but then run out of time. Never mind that many of us find hours of time for leisure pursuits related to electronic devices. Related to time management is procrastination, we will get back to our walking tomorrow. Determination is intrinsic, but don’t be afraid to use both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation sources to stay on track.

The finifugal walker is sometimes a romantic. He or she sees the sculptured bodies on screen effortlessly working out sometimes with friends having a great time. They romanticize the walking bout and then realize that taking long walks is hard work and practicing smart eating habits require discipline. Well Yes! For a finifugal walker to become a lifelong walker, food denial and positive work habits must become a part of the psychic make-up.

Blogging about cardio vascular fitness and dieting can sometimes be such a bother. Who wants to read information that is counterpoint to the lovely sedentary strategies of leisure time? But the truth is that maintaining a healthy Body Mass Index requires coming to grips with the reality of the ultimate finifugal walking reality—We never finish! Yet in the end, when we all finish life’s timetable, those that suppressed their finifugal tendencies will have live longer and with a higher quality of life.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beating the "Yo-Yo Diet," Final of a Three-Part Series

Feature: Beating the "Yo-Yo Diet," Final of a Three-Part Series

In our series on how to win the “Yo-Yo Diet” phenomenon we have learned from the theories of Erik Erickson to reduce the high end gains while increasing the low end losses. Each win at the extremes will provide the courage and experience to yo-yo your weight to a manageable sustainable level. We have drawn from the experiences of Reverend Ray Cannata that we can eat every day in a fancy restaurant and still lose weight. Pastor Cannata simply manages portion control (smaller portions), eliminates soft drinks, and follows an aggressive walking program.

Today’s blog features renowned cardiologist Dr. William Davis’s and his thoughts from his New York Times bestselling book Wheat Belly. In his book Davis presents evidence, both case study and empirical, that by eliminating wheat from our diets we can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems including minor rashes and high blood sugar.

After witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat food products, Davis reached the disturbing conclusion that wheat is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic—and its elimination is key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health. Quoting Dr. Davis concerning what happens when people eliminate or radically reduce wheat from their diet:

Conservatively, I would estimate that 70% of people experience a substantial benefit beyond weight loss. It might be relief from a chronic rash like psoriasis, relief from struggles with airway and sinus health like asthma and chronic sinus infections, relief from gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux and irritable bowel syndrome, or it might be relief from run-of-the-mill arthritis or inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid. The range of conditions caused or worsened by this thing is nothing short of astounding.

To summarize, in order to win the “Yo-Yo” weight loss/weight regain cycle, the MoneyWalker’s plan is to win the "Yo-Yo Diet" downward cycle, engage a serious walking program, eliminate soft drinks, and radically reduce the amount of wheat products in your diet.


Weight Loss/gain from last blog = 174.6 lbs, no change

Money Found since last blog = $4.06 over 3 walks, $1.35 average

Friday, September 30, 2011

Eating in New Orleans and Beating the “Yo-Yo” Trap

Eating in New Orleans and Beating the “Yo-Yo” Trap

The last blog was the first of a series of how-to ideas related to defeating the Yo-Yo-like weight recycle problem. This blog will explain how Ray Cannata, a Presbyterian New Orleans minister broke the “Yo-Yo” cycle. Mr. Cannata accepted a call to move to New Orleans just after Hurricane Katrina.

Rather than leave, he led a movement to recruit volunteer ministers and their flocks to vacation in New Orleans and help with gutting houses. This led to an unlikely quest for a person that has pride in his BMI (body mass index).

As the visitors asked, “Where are the good eating spots?”; he began a list of his favorites. In turn, someone challenged him to eat in all the restaurants in New Orleans. He took the challenge and is 719 and counting. The newspaper account related the following:

“Too much high-calorie hospitality could be a waistline hazard, of course, so Cannata always leaves a bite or two behind. Though he initially gained weight as he checked restaurants off his list, he’s since dropped the extra pounds by abstaining from soft drinks and giving up his car. As if Cannata didn’t already have enough on his plate, so to speak, he’s become a champion of the pedestrian-friendly New Urbanist ideals.”

The take-away from Reverend Cannata is eating smaller portions, avoiding soft drinks, and starting a walking program.

In our next blog, the MoneyWalker will discuss another tip for beating the “Yo-Yo” trap—too radically reduce or totally eliminate hybrid wheat products.


Weight = 174.2 “-“
Money found on today’s walk = $.68

Thursday, September 29, 2011

“Yo-Yo” Dieting, Can This Cloud Have A Silver Lining


“Yo-Yo” Dieting, Can This Cloud Have A Silver Lining

The MoneyWalker is an NFL fan (professional football), specifically a New Orleans Saints fan. This past week-end watching the Saints defeat the Houston Texans was stressful. The final score, Saints 40, Texans 33 was a back and forth game with the Texans dominating for much of the game. Still Saints quarterback Drew Brees found a way to win. After the final knell down, the MoneyWalker went for a long walk.

Walking is great therapy for flushing out football-induced stress—win or lose.
During the walk, the success of Drew Brees reminded me of the developmental theories of Erik Erikson. Erikson believes that “crises” or “problems” play an important role in successful maturation and problem solving. Brees’s performance provide a “yo-yo” of emotions for Drew as well as his fans. His first interception was a “low” and then he threw a touchdown pass, a” high.” Then another interception, then a series of passes that resulted in several touchdowns and an eventual victory.

Erikson believes that Brees’s successful problem solving (touchdowns) could not have occurred without his negative past experiences. Brees like all of us learn to solve difficult problems with the successful solving of earlier less demanding problems. When we are successful, the event provides the courage and confidence to attempt even more difficult problems.

This brings us to “Yo-Yo” dieting or medically, “weight cycling.” Weight cycling is the repeated loss and regain of body weight. We diet, lose weight, and then gain it all back, often gaining back more than we lost.

Is there hope? Can we use the “Yo-Yo” concept to help resolve the goal of losing weight and keeping it off? The MoneyWalker thinks that we can use weight gain in an Erikson way. We can use the success of losing weight as a positive experience. Then when we regain weight we can teach ourselves to remember that we lost the weight once, we can do it again. The key is cognitive self-talk. Rather than succumb fully to binge eating, we can say “Slow down the eating. Go back to a strategy based on portion control and food choices. Get some exercise. Weight every day. Eat breakfast.” Make sure that each plateau of the Yo-Yo work for you, not against. On the next trip down, lose more weight than the last trip. On the next trip up, gain control so that the next weight gain is not as high as the previous gain. In this way, the success at both ends of the Yo-Yo trip will give you the courage and confidence to finally reach and maintain a healthy body weight. Yo-Yoing is not medically dangerous and the experience can provide a silver lining.

On our next blog we will present a case study of how a minister in New Orleans gained fame by eating at least one meal in more than 900 restaurants in New Orleans over a three year period and still lost weight. His tips will help you defeat the Yo-Yo effect.


Money found since last post = $6.02 over 4 walks, average $1.51 per walk

Weight since last report = 174.4 lbs, "-"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Celebrity walking

Feature Entry: Celebrity Walkers and Other Thoughts

The MoneyWalker is not heavy in philosophical walking, but many are. I find this thought worthy of repeating: “I'm a walker on the edge of my perception.” This could mean that walking is a good time to sort out one’s personal reality. The quote was found on an interesting UK walking forum.

What is good about walking forums is the opportunity to find inspiration from the walks of others and to record your own insights. Wendy Bumgardner, author of Walking sponsored by NYT sponsors a walking forum as one of her blog features.

Many celebrities are avid walkers. A few quotes follow:

Who: Laura Leighton, star of Melrose PlaceWhy she walks: "When I hit a fitness rut, I call a friend to meet me for a walk. It always helps to make exercising a social opportunity!"

Who: Campbell Brown, CNN anchorWhy she walks: "I used to go to the gym, but now I put Eli, my son, in his stroller, and we go power walking for an hour. When I skip it, I'm dragging all day."

Who: Art Garfunkel, singer/songwriterWhy he walks: "Walking is very primal. You begin to see how it works the body. It's wonderful for breathing, and it tones up the physical self." Garfunkel actually walked across America in the '80s and '90s, though he did it in pieces that wound up totaling more than 4,000 miles. It took him 14 years and 40 separate trips!

Who: Sarah Chalke, star of ScrubsWhy she walks: "I've always loved being in the fresh air. It's so therapeutic and relaxing and healing being outside. I like to go hiking with my dog, Lola. I walk wherever I can. I'll take it over driving any day!"

Who: Brooke Shields, actress/model/mom of twoWhy she walks: To reenergize when the life of a working mom wipes her out. "When I'm exhausted, exercise is the only thing that reinvigorates me. I'll make appointments with people to go hiking and meet them at the base of a hill."

Social walking, dog walking, fitness walking, charity walking are all excellent sources of finding motivation to sustain a healthy walking habit. For the MoneyWalker, I use all of these methods but have found that the thrill of finding money during my walks works best for me.

Not a walker? Today is a good day to begin. Who knows, maybe you will rub shoulders with Brad Pitt.


Today’s weight = 175.8 lbs, +
Money Found since last post = $27.70 or average of $2.52 over eleven walks

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I’m a Supinator, What Are You?—Selecting the Walking Shoe


Feature Entry: I’m a Supinator, What Are You?—Selecting the Walking Shoe

The MoneyWalker logs about 25 miles a week which equates to 1300 miles a year. Even the best walking shoes need to be replaced ever 350 to 500 miles which means I change shoes after 4 months. Taking the shoes longer means that I am walking with “stretched” shoes that have lost their support and cushioning. I spend $100 for a jogging shoe, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS. These are top of the line and well worth the $300 a year expenditure. I tried less expensive models and experienced joint discomfort, ankle turns, poor balance, and occasional falls. When moving to my top line shoes, most of the problems disappeared and walking became more enjoyable.

Selecting the right shoes is an important consideration for the serious walker. Most experts on fitness and walking recommend shopping at specialty stores that cater to joggers and runners. The best running shoe is usually the best walking shoe. The specialty stores have experts that can help you determine the best shoe for your individual walking pattern.

When visiting the store, take a pair of your current walking shoes. More than price and comfort, selection decisions should be based on your walking pattern. Walkers will have one of three patterns—supination, pronation, or neutral. To determine my pattern, I examined the soles of my existing walking shoes. I noticed that the outside edge from heel to toe had excessive wear. Thus, I am a supinator which means that I underpronate and that I should buy “neutral” shoes with “curved lasts.” The shoe’s “last” refers to the form on which a shoe is constructed - resulting in the inside shape of the shoe. Lasts may be straight, curved or semi-curved.

If my shoe wear pattern had shown excessive wear on the inner side of the walking shoes, I would be considered an overpronator, or more simply a pronator. My shoes would tilt inward if I placed them on a flat surface. Pronators will require orthotic inserts or specially designed “motion control” shoes. The shoe last should be straight.

Finally, if my shoe soles revealed balanced wear, my gait category would have been considered neutral. To learn more about selecting the best fitting walking shoe for your gait category Google Wendy Bumgardner’s walking blog entitled “Walking Shoe Wear Patterns.


Found Money Update since last post = $8.50 over four walks for $2.13 average per walk

Weight Gain/loss since last post = 175.2 lbs, up from last post.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sugar, A Serotonin Buzz Killer

Feature Entry: Sugar, A Serotonin Buzz Killer

In our last blog the so-called serotonin buzz was linked to the pleasure we brisk walkers receive when the stimulation from hard work triggers the brain to produce increased amounts of the hormone serotonin. The free flowing serotonin stimulates the production of endorphins, drug-like brain chemicals that in turn trigger opioid receptors creating a sensation of happiness.

The careful reader might also recall our fear that sugar might possible be a spoiler in this natural fairy tale. As it turns out, sugar, especially granulated sugar creates the same brain scenario as exercise. Worse, granulated sugar is essentially an “invasive species” to the brain's anatomy and physiology. Not until modern times has sugar been plentiful enough and affordable enough to be an abundant staple of our diet.

Have there been unintended consequences to the invasion? Yes, biochemists report that granulated sugar creates an artificial increase in serotonin in a way that causes the body to “down-regulate” its natural production and release of serotonin. Since serotonin is responsible for controlling mood and appetite, without serotonin a person becomes depressed. As if a person’s self is independent of his/her brain, a SOS is sent to the brain for help. The brain, now lazy in terms of serotonin production, responds back, “Give me sugar!” Self pops in a candy bar and swigs down a cola, and eureka, everyone is happy.

Unfortunately for those wishing to maintain a healthy BMI (body mass index), the unconscious dialogue between self and brain forges an emotional bond between happiness and sugar. Some become “serotonin addicts” and develop a dependency on an ever increasing level of serotonin in order to gain tranquility even at the risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and socially unacceptable weight gain.

Is there an antidote? Yes, return to the basics. Retrain your brain to secrete serotonin using what nature intended—aerobic exercise which includes walking and other forms of aerobic exercise. Remember the MoneyWalker’s five keys to weight loss and weight loss maintenance:
Weight every day
Eat a high fiber breakfast (no orange juice)
Walk 45 minutes or more a day
Practice portion control (eat smaller amounts), and
Journal what you eat


Journal Entry

Today’s weight = 173.0

Money Finds since last entry = $5.77 over four walks for $1.44 average.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Calisthenical Walking: Achieving a Serotonin Buzz Naturally

Photo by Joe McGorty as depicted in a blog by

Feature Entry: Calisthenical Walking: Achieving a Serotonin Buzz Naturally

The MoneyWalker is having a great time reading Ammon Shea’s Reading the OED, one man, one year, 21,730 pages. Shea selects interesting words for brief comments. His selected word calisthenical is simply defined as “addicted to exercise.” Calisthenical walking is the second entry from Shea’s book.

Calisthenical walking can be likened to the so-called runner’s high or to achieving a “serotonin buzz.” Serotonin is the workhorse of a constellation of brain processes commonly known as the pleasure response. The short lesson--exercises such as running, jogging, and brisk walking trigger the secretion of serotonin which results in a feeling of euphoria.

now for the bad new, did someone whisper the word sugar? Yikes, could it be that sugar also stimulates the creation of a serotonin buzz? More about the interloper tomorrow?


Found Money Update since last post = $36.23 over 16 walks for average of $2.26 per walk

Average weight over the 16 walks = 173.3 lbs.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Take a Walk and Simplify Your Life

Photo by Travelzine

Feature Entry: Take a Walk and Simplify Your Life

The first week of August is “Simplify Your Life Week.” Sometimes we aggravate our stress level by making things too complicated. The MoneyWalker is feeling too much stress because of all the junk in his basement. It is time for his semi-annual Friendship House Charity Garage Sale. Simplify, get rid of that junk.

When I’m overstressed, my coping behavior is weak. Stress causes me to as Anita Brookner says, “waste my emotional energy.” It seems that we humans are always trying to shape our emotional energy with money and the things it buys. I have a closet full of clothes but now I want a new sport jacket.

There can be negative consequences when we attempt to manage our emotional energy with money. Moreover, with the current national debt crises, making needless purchases can greatly add to our stress rather than reduce it.

What can we do to simplify a strategy to better manage our emotional energy? Eat rich foods? Take expensive vacations? Self medicate with pills and alcohol? Not if we want to simplify our life. The correct answer in a word—walk! Simplify--who needs those expensive fitness club fees and the over-hyped pageantry and pretense of the gym.

Journal Entry:

Today’s weight = 174.8

Money finds since last entry = $13.60, $2.27 average per walk.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

If You’re 'Walk'en to New Orleans' You Need Walking Socks

Photo provided by Stock Photos and Images

Feature Entry: If You’re 'Walk'en to New Orleans' You Need Walking Socks

Walking while on vacation serves two historical antecedents. First, many vacationers want to sight see and walking is often the most convenient way to see the sights. Second, individuals tend to eat more while on vacation and walking is an important way to burn the extra calories.

The MoneyWalker follows several blogs and on-line interest groups, one being A recent thread allowed discussion of the importance of good walking shoes including walking socks. Wrote Stef from Chicago:

Hello Gail and Fellow Walking Ziners:

Gail is correct, socks are “extremely” important. I have worn Thorlo's for at least 20 years. They come in many versions for all activities: walking, running, hiking, Tennis, etc. Thorlos may be a bit expensive, but boy are they fabulous! Once you
examine them for each sport you will understand the science behind the design
and structure each sock has for each exact sport or exercise.They are made in
Statesville, NC, and dedicated to the science of socks.

Walk on!

Stef, in sunny sweltering Chicago

ChicagoAs it turns out, the MoneyWalker owns a pair of Thorlos and they are expensive. I found them to provide very good comfort but no more so than my Wigwams or high end Nikes. Still the resistance was too much, I opened Thorlo’s website to have a peek. I found a treasure of an information piece called “Why Walking Thorlos? More Protection…More Walking!” A few of the highlights follow, the MoneyWalker's comments are in parentheses:

  • “More walking for us is more life.” (The more we walk, the longer we live.)

  • “Walking is not only the best exercise you can do, it’s what our bodies were ‘designed’ to do.” (Walking is a safe natural exercise.)

  • “Walking Thorlos (or any high end brand of walking socks) are designed to help protect your feet from the damaging forces of impact, shear and blistering when exercise walking.” (Quality walking socks helps protect joints.”

  • “During heel strike, when the heel makes contact with the ground the outer edge touches first. The muscles, tendons and ligaments of the foot relax, allowing the foot to flatten, to adapt itself to non-uniform surfaces, and to absorb the body's impact which is as much as 1-1/2 times the body's weight at normal walking speed.” (A proper functioning foot that fully relaxes at heel contact is important to prevent falls.)

  • “Given the significant range of motion through which the foot goes during walking and running, it is understandable that placing this dynamic appendage in the static environment of a shoe inherently limits the foot's functionality.” (Speaks to the importance of well engineered walking shoes and socks to mitigate the modern practice of wearing shoes rather than walking barefoot.)

  • Shearing, “Shearing forces occur when the metatarsal bones glide over layers of the plantar fat pads and skin that are not moving in the same direction as the bones. This creates a situation in which the fat pads become inflamed, and over time, degenerate.” (Well designed padded socks help prevent shearing, blistering, and fat pad degeneration.)

  • Moisture, “Moisture retained by socks inside the shoe softens the skin of the foot and makes it more vulnerable to blistering.” (A well engineered walking sock wicks moisture away from the foot.), and finally,

  • Plantar fat pad protection, “After the age of about 40, many people experience a loss of as much as 50% of the plantar fat pads that protect the bottom of the feet. This fat pad degradation is primarily the result of shearing forces from walking on smooth, unyielding man-made surfaces, and is exacerbated by poorly designed and poorly fitted shoes.” (Walking socks should provide textured padding to support the foot because of the wearing away effect of the aging process.)

    As Stef said, “Walk on!” And if you are walking in the humidity of New Orleans, select a well padded socks that wick the moisture.

    Journal Entry: Current weight and money found.

    Current Weight = 174.2 lbs

    Money found since last posting = $7.19, $1.44 average for five walks.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Corporate Walking Program With Promise

Joan Lunden a member of the Walgreen's Walking Program Board of Consultants.

Feature Entry: A Corporate Walking Program With Promise

One of the MoneyWalker’s blessings is the freedom of non-dependence on prescription drugs, perhaps the result of a lifelong fitness program. But a minor skin cancer flare-up sent me to a neighborhood Walgreen prescription counter. While waiting, I noticed an announcement of a new program, “Walk with Walgreens.” It is a program that rewards you for walking. It allows the walker to log his/her progress and provides financial incentives for the bother. The program has a fun centered and goal setting focus.

Walgreen’s goal for the program is relatively simple: “To get more of us walking more steps, in more places than ever before.” Their corporate altruistic incentive is to help American to achieve a higher level of health and happiness and improve the environment in the process. Walgreen has put together an impressive list of advisors and not surprising goal setting is high on the list of their recommended motivation plan. Here is their basic instruction:”Just set a goal, then log your daily steps here (meaning your on-line Walgreen space). In no time at all, you’ll be receiving rewards and coupons from our partners for doing what you already do.” Their comprehensive motivation system also includes testimonials and walking tips from fellow walkers including celebrities.

The MoneyWalker has joined the Walgreen’s walking program and will provide updates in future blogs. Find out more by following

Journal Entry: Current weight and money found

Current Weight = 173.2 lbs

Money found since last blog =$17.26 from nine walks, an average of $1.92 a walk


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Phone APPS and Weight Loss

The Iphone

Feature Entry: Phone Apps and Weight Loss

To understand this blog entry, you may need a brief crash course in social networking terminology. A smartphone is a personal computer that is contained in what formerly was a cell phone. An app is an application that you can download to your smartphone for a nominal amount of money and are often free. Since the smartphone was invented a couple of years ago, there are apps for everything imaginable including weight loss/weight maintenance assistance.

The National Weight Loss Control Registry of Brown University is making good use of the app for food tracking. The Registry has already established that by keeping a personal food consumption journal, your chances are doubled for weight-loss success.

Here is the rub. As my Anthony Trollope friend Dolly Longestaffe likes to say, “It is such a bother.” But food journaling need not be that difficult. It seems the behavior need not be connected to counting calories—just a quick notation of what has been consumed seems to do the trick.

However, with smartphone apps, you can have it all and avoid the excessive “bother.” Just download an app and it allows quick and painless logging of food and exercise information. A bonus of the app is that it also counts the calories and exercise expenditure. Moreover, the selected app gives immediate feedback as to your weight loss and calorie goals. Available apps include Lose It!, My fitness Pal, My Net Diary, Daily Burn, Calorie Counter by Fat Secret, and SparkPeoples app.

Most of these are free are cost just a few dollars a month. They are customizable and some will establish a daily calorie budget for you—how cool is that? Also, the apps help you establish a community forum for support and questions and most provide motivational testimonials (social networking.) My blogs are filled with comments concerning the value of “personal accountability.” The app lets you know if you are meeting your goals, and if not, why not.

It turns out that we lose weight differently. We all have a nutrient specific RDA—computer speak for recommended daily allowance. For those that like competition for motivation, the app provides an internal motivation device which helps the weight loser/weight maintainer focus on “beating” a personalized daily calorie goal or “outscoring” one’s RDA.

Apps have built-in help for setting your RDA. A general rule is to multiply your goal body weight by 10 for sedentary folks and by 12 if you exercise regularly (exercise 3 times a week); or by 14 if you exercise moderately three to five days a week; and by 16 if you exercise intensely five to seven days a week. Most apps help you with this by asking a series of intensity/frequency/intensity questions. Caution, many of the programs overestimate the calories burned, so experiment with your own exercise routine.

My factor is 16; thus my caloric goal is 2310 calories per day. So why was my morning weigh-in five pounds heavier than my weight goal? Simple according to the app, I am consuming more than my allotted RDA. Solution, up the exercise regiment or cut back on the calories. I guess this is bad news for those late evening raids of the ice cream bucket.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Advesperate Walking

Credit photo to Markdanielowen.

Advesperate Walking

The MoneyWalker had just started reading Ammon Shea’s Reading the OED, one man, one, year, 21,730 pages. He has reduced the 1989 20 volumes Oxford English Dictionary to 250 pages of wit and intellectual wizardry. The first chapter appropriately enough is called “A.” Obviously to reduce 21,000+ OED pages into 250 pages requires careful selectivity. Shea features words that connected with his highly imaginative personality. In turn, the first of his words to connect with me was the word Advesperate (v)-- to approach evening. States Shea, “…when I am walking down the street and the light of day is about to change to the light of early evening, the word will flit through my mind, and I have a rush of joy from knowing how to name such an ephemeral moment."

Incidentally, Shea thinks we should enjoy knowing these words but does not necessarily recommend that we use them with our friends.

For the money walker, advesperate walking is just that, walking during that magical part of the day when the last light of daytime is giving over to the blue shades of evening. There is no better time to enjoy the dynamics of your neighborhood than in that special time between afternoon and evening. The commuter traffic is over, children are playing, neighbors are visiting on their front porches, and in the summer, mild breezes bring cooling comfort.

Advesperate walking is not a time for money searches, but it is a time for reflecting and just enjoying being outside. The MoneyWalker uses advesperate walking as a change of pace from his usual early morning stealth walks.

Give it a try.

Money found on this morning’s walk--$1.60


Monday, July 4, 2011

What's A Farthering?

Portrait of the late Anna Massey, the British actress that recently died. Ms. Massey played Edith Hope from Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac. Massey also was featured in a BBC production of Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now. Both Brookner and Trollope are in the MoneyWalker's Hall of Fame for their frequent reference to characters that take long meaningful walks.

Featured Entry: What's A Farthering?

Next to super finds (fifty cents are more in one location); the Moneywalker enjoys finding ecological ground scores. Ecological ground scores are any item that has been thrown away or hopelessly lost but has value. If it can be recycled, repaired, or repurposed the item is lugged home, cleaned, repaired, and prepared for the MoneyWalkers’s semi-annual charity yard sale.

With admiring interest the MoneyWalker is happy to pass along the story of Kemila Slade of the New Bern, N.C. Pink Sapphire Ladies Club. While walking with fourteen other members of the Club for the purpose of picking up trash along Neuse Boulevard in New Bern, Slade spotted a farthing. A farthing is a now obsolete British coin, their lowest denomination and worth .25 of an old British penny. In the 13th century, a farthing had the strength to purchase a 2 pound loaf of bread. But due to 20th century inflation, the farthing became worthless and was officially declared no longer legal tender as of Dec. 31, 1960.

Ms. Slade’s farthing was minted in 1730. The farthing was not “uncirculated” but was in good condition. Experts speculate that someone accidently threw it away. It took Ms. Slade’s careful observation to resurrect the farthing from permanent obscurity. A non-profit North Carolina organization called Keep NC Beautiful sponsors a semi-annual “most unusual litter” contest. The Slade farthing won first place which included a $250 prize. Numismatists indicate that the coin is worth about ten bucks.

The take away is that walking is not only great for maintaining and building good health, by adding ecological walking to our motivation scheme; we can help our world be a better place.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No Fond Return of Love

Feature Entry: "No Fond Return of Love!"

Gretchen Rubin in her Happiness Project blog ask a relevant question for those of us that walk in order to avoid gaining weight. Her question, “Are you a moderator or an abstainer?” Think chocolate chip cookies. She provides a simple test:

You’re a moderator if you…
-- find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure – and strengthens your resolve
-- get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something

You’re an abstainer if you…
-- have trouble stopping something once you’ve started
-- aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits

The MoneyWalker is a moderator. Offer him a plate of chocolate chip cookies and he can easily eat only one. One of his best friends is an abstainer. If he has vowed off of sweets, he can say no to the chocolate chip cookies. But if he eats one, he will not stop until the plate is finished.

For me, I need a little something sweet after each meal. Gretchen believes that people losing weight or maintaining weight loss should be attuned to their own moderator/abstainer style. She quotes Dr. Samuel Johnson: “Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.” Johnson is an abstainer.

Rubin’s point is directed toward the person that is trying to give up some specific item—ice cream for example. She encourages us to be true to our personality type and not be drawn into someone else’s. If you know your style to be an abstainer and know that eating just one bite will lead to the devouring of the entire container—just abstain from ice cream. But if you know that you are a moderator and fear that you will be miserable without an occasional taste, then follow that style.

Either way, remember the big five secrets to weight loss/maintenance—weigh ever day, eat breakfast, exercise, journal your food, and practice portion control. If you are trying to lose weight, Barbara Pym is a prophet: neither ice cream or chocolate chip cookies will return you love.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Torpor Walking

Feature Entry: Torpor Walking

First a comment about torpor and its companion word sloth. Sloth and torpor are forces in the mind that drain vitality and limit effort. Synonyms include laziness, idleness, sluggishness, inactivity, indolence, apathy, and inertia. An antonym is liveliness. Sloth and torpor resembles mental and physical fatigue. The symptoms of each include discouragement, frustration, boredom, indifference, giving up hopelessness, and resistance for taking responsibility. What is different, sloth and torpor arise from a psychological attitude rather than physical or mental fatigue.

Torpor walking is an antidote for a torpor frame of mind. If you are listlessness and feel fatigued, you should practice torpor walking. If you feel sluggish and apathetic, a good brisk walk can assist you in breaking out of your sloth and torpor quandary. Seasoned walkers know that even when we are tired there is wisdom in pushing forward with the walk. That "pushing forward" even when you do not feel mentally or physically up to a walk is torpor walking. Experienced walkers know that a good brisk walk can help eliminate the effects of sloth and torpor mindfulness.

Ms MoneyWalker and I just returned from a 12 day vacation which included a seven day cruise. The vacation was preceded by several days of intense mental activity but little or no walking or exercising. The cruise featured formal dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with food choices that made portion control and calorie vigilance essentially impossible. As a result both of us returned to our home physically and psychologically exhausted and somewhat over weight.

Vacations and travel result in acute excitement and tension which is often expressed through the muscles. As a result, the traveler upon returning feels exhausted. Because the excitement masks the weariness, travelers are not aware of their weariness until they get home. For the MoneyWalker, the first morning involved a crisis encounter. Do I get up, put on the walking attire, and hit the streets; or, do I rationalize and declare a recovery period? The problem with resting involves habit strength. I feared the habit of inactivity.

The MoneyWalker returned to walking the first day. The muscles were stiff, there was no zoom in the stride, and the mind was it total rebellion. Those first two walks left me feeling anything but refurbished and rejuvenated. But after three days, the joys of the morning walk started to return. The walking was assisting me to renew a healthy state of energy and alertness. These first few walks were torpor walks—walks to restore vitality. The crisis was averted, the walking habit was reestablished.

As for the fatigue that comes from psychological sources such as discouragement, self-pity, complacency, and ideas of futility, the MoneyWalker is not immune. In fact, just before the vacation, the Moneywalkers lost a valued family member to diabetes. But when he experiences negative feelings, the antidote is the same; maintain a brisk walking regiment. From experience he knows that a torpor walk will help him to rediscover the wonderful sensation of liveliness.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Will Walking Make You Smart?

Diane Keaton's Personal Library

Feature Entry: Will Walking Make You Smart?

It is probably true that bloggers enjoy reading the blogs of others. One of my favorites is Their recent entry was “7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Memory Without Any Training” The key word is simple because most memory enhancers required quite amount of mental energy. We will not bore by describing the seven ways but a few of their labels include:

Write about your problems
Look at a natural scene
Say words aloud
Predict that you will remember
Use your hands or other gestures while trying to remember something
Move your body up when recalling a positive thought and down for a negative

Now here is a clincher for improving your memory. According to Psyblog,”Probably the best way of improving your overall cognitive health is exercise. Studies regularly find that increasing aerobic fitness is particularly good for executive function and working memory.

Randomized controlled trials in Neuromolecular Medicine have shown that exercise improves cognitive function across the board and is superior to computer programs designed for brain training, drugs, nutritional supplements and meditation. Walking and other aerobic forms of exercise have been found to be particularly good at enhancing executive control processes including planning, recall, and working memory.

Psyblog also said that “Exercise is also thought to encourage the growth of new brain cells. In the past scientists always thought that neurogenesis - growing new brain cells - was impossible in humans. New studies, though, have shown that we can grow new brain cells.”

How about just resting on the couch—not good. Sedentary living leads to cognitive deterioration. So, want to live longer with a higher quality of life, start a walking program.

Now what was I saying?


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Onus Is On Walkers

May 10, 2011
Journal Entry: Weight = 171.0 pounds; Coinage = $1.91 (19 decas) 31 pennies, 1 nickel, 3 dimes, 5 quarters (two super finds defined as fifty cents or more in one location); Glass bottles = 4; Ground scores = 3.

Feature Entry: The Onus is on walkers (with apologies to Barry Pless, MD for stealing his title)On this afternoon’s walk, just in front of me, a pedestrian was screaming at a driver coming out of a drive-through of a Burger King. The driver ran over the pedestrian’s foot. The poor pedestrian was walking on a public sidewalk and the driver looking to dart into traffic never saw the poor fellow and ran over his foot. No serious damage was done so the screaming and naming calling was humorous.

Then just last week the Moneywalker saw this bumper sticker: “How is my walking?” At first I didn’t get it. Then when I saw the slogan was flanked by two mugs of beer I realized that it was satire poking fun at the ubiquitous signs on commercial carries that ask, “How is my Driving? Call 1-800-555-5555.”

Both episodes lead me to present the MoneyWalker’s guide to pedestrian safety. Good walkers are safe walkers. The list makes more sense if you remember that the driver of cars and trucks will always “blame the victim, the walker” if an accident happens. The list follows:
1. Prepare for the unexpected, only drivers have the right to assumptions.
2. Cars have the right of way at red lights and turning right on a red light even without stopping is their full privilege even if pedestrians are crossing the street.
3. Pedestrians must establish eye contact with drivers at intersections or when crossing the street; drivers need not be bothered.
4. Car drivers have the AT&T if not God given right to cell phone and text while driving.
5. Pedestrians must be mind readers; drivers are not required to think while driving.
6. Drivers have the right to drive with "declining eyesight, mobility, attention and reflexes"; pedestrians with the same maladies must stay home.
7. Drivers have a right to speed; pedestrians do not have the right to jay walk.
8. Pedestrians must hustle to cross the streets; cars are not expected to slow down.

The take away from this list is that drivers are equipped with a two thousand pound machine while pedestrians have only their fragile frame of delicate sinew and bones. It is not fair, but might makes right. Pedestrians cannot expect the law or common courtesy to provide protection. So, unless you are built like an elephant, you must utilize rely upon a super sensitive vigilance when walking the highways and byways of our cities, towns, and county lanes.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Walker Faces Six Life-Style Health Tests

Photo by Walgreens

Feature Entry: A Walker Faces Six Life-Style Health Tests

In New Orleans, Walgreens drug stores dominate Rite Aid and CVS. On today’s walk, the MoneyWalker was greeted with a red and white motor van at the Walgreens across the street from his midcity home. Over the months, the Walgreen parking lot has provided countless coins. The sign read “Wellness Tour: Free screenings.”

It turns out, the van is part of a nationwide tour that features nine customized buses that travel across 48 states, visiting more than 3,000 communities. The 2011 tour is co-sponsored by the National Urban League. Find a tour near you by typing

The NUL/Walgreens Wellness Tour is delivering free health tests and health education to communities across the country with a special emphasis on diverse and underserved areas. Available free tests are worth over $100 per person, and no appointment is necessary. Tests include:

• Total Cholesterol Levels
• Blood Pressure
• Bone Density
• Glucose Levels
• Waist Circumference
• Body Mass Index

With the test being free, the MoneyWalker walked right in. After just a few minutes an agent reviewed the results. The MoneyWalker’s scores are on the left and his grade on the right.

• BP 115/79 mmHg Grade = Excellent
• Glucose 95 mg/dl Grade = Excellent
• Cholesterol 210 mg/dl Grade = Good
• Body Comp 29.0 % Grade = Good
• BMI 25.3 Grade = Good
• Waist 34” Grade = Excellent (but I inhaled)

Overall the MoneyWalker was proud of his results. Got to get that pesky BMI under control. What about you? Do you have the courage to take the tests; if so, what are you waiting for? Take the tests! They may save your life.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Discipline and Losing Weight

Photos from the blog of Henry James, March 31, 2010

Discipline and Losing Weight

The last blog featured the role of external motivation systems for weight loss. This blog demonstrates how intrinsic motivation can be used as a basis for losing weight.

Recently, Harry Chapman of Dallas, Texas was featured in the Times-Picayune, the MoneyWalker’s daily newspaper. Harry, always fitness conscious throughout his 30s, was shocked to realize by his late forties he had a 44 inch waist line. With the stress and responsibilities of his job, he lost time for exercise and was overeating. Moreover, all his life quality indicators were trending in the wrong direction.

First he determined to change his behavior by focusing on health rather than losing pounds. He opted for intrinsic motivation to develop a plan of action. He also sought encouragement from significant others. The plan was to exercise six days a week and follow a calorie restricted diet. Two years later he had lost 100 pounds.

Harry’s advice to is to take action with what you can do. For him it was swimming. He supports small realistic goals. Harry’s first goal was to move from lane 1 to lane 2. Lane 1 of his 50 meter pool was for the really slow swimmers. Harry could just make one length of the 50 meter pool when he started. With discipline and consistency he slowly moved up lanes until he reached lane five, the lane reserved for his club’s fastest swimmers. He now belongs to the Dallas Aquatic Masters Swim Club and competes with other masters. Says Harry, “Find a regiment and stick with it.”

Now the bad news, Harry warns that just because you are running, or walking, going to the gym, or swimming; and you are doing everything right in terms of exercise, there is no guarantee that you will lose weight. It is the “eating aspect” that is the most important, not the exercise he cautions. Harry’s final advice is biting but true: “The battle is at the table.” “You cannot work out enough to overcome overeating.“


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Developing a Motivation System for Weight Loss and Exercise Continuance

Is this you on December 31, “I am going to lose 30 pounds next year and look great for my 25th high school reunion?” January 1, you make the resolution. On February 1 you lose five pounds, but on March 1, you have gained back seven.

If so, you need to examine your motivation system. Motivation to achieve difficult goals usually requires a “system” of reinforcement behaviors rather than just one end-all be-all motivation device. There are two sources of motivation—intrinsic and extrinsic. The drive connected to intrinsic motivation is “to be a better healthier person;” or, “responsible people keep their weight under control so as to look their best and avoid lifestyle diseases that come with being overweight, and I am a responsible person.” Examples of extrinsic drives are money, rewards, recognition, power, and even tokens.

When possible, we want to be motivated by intrinsic (internal rather than external) motivation, but it's not always possible to be internally motivated about everything. This is where extrinsic motivation becomes valuable. Good behaviors are often in competition with bad behavior. I can take my 4 mile walk or I can read on the couch. At the party, I can make healthy food choices or I can overeat foods with high sugar, salt, starch, or fat content. Motivation drives all those choices, both the good ones and bad ones. Also, good and bad motives are in competition for your will.

Motivation to behave a certain way is driven by how past behaviors have been reinforced. The reinforcement to overeat chocolate candy is because it tastes great. The reinforcement to restrict chocolate in your diet might come from wanting to maintain a recently gained weight loss goal. Or, by approving comments made by a significant other.

Motivation systems require a specific goal. The goal must be defined and what behaviors will be used to reach the goal. After the goal is set and the enabling behaviors determined, a series of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation schemes must be determined and linked together or nested. Also, the schemes will range from elaborate to simple. Especially the extrinsic rewards should be definable and tangible.

The MoneyWalker will illustrate how a motivation system works by using his own system as a working example. My new year’s goal was to be within what the American College of Sports Medicine defines as normal weight. My current weight is 173 pounds. For me, a normal weight is between 129 and 169 lbs. This number range was calculated using my height, weight, age, and gender and then placing the data into a Body Mass Index formula (BMI). My recommended BMI is between 19 and 25. Mine was 25.5 just into the “overweight” category. Thus, my specific goal is to lose four pounds.

Now that I have a specific goal, what set of behaviors am I going to use to lose the weight. The answer is to exercise regularly and practice portion control. My exercise of choice is one guaranteed to burn calories, a daily walk of four or five miles. Every mile burns 100 calories. Portion control means to eat smaller amount of foods known to cause fat storage—sugars, starches, and fats. I try to limit myself to 2200 hundred calories daily. With the exercise program, my net calorie for daily metabolism is between 1700 and 1800 calories. I should lose weight with that amount. I also will weight daily and record the weight in a journal. Although weight fluctuation is normal, upward trends aren’t. Daily weighing provides important trend data. Another behavior is to eat breakfast every day.

I have found that intrinsic motivation does not provide enough reinforcement to sustain my habit of daily walking. Also, feel-good strategies weren't helpful. Beautiful scenery didn’t work, variety of walks didn’t work, and walking with friends didn’t work--for me it was MoneyWalking. MoneyWalking is my name for finding money and other “valuable” objects while walking. Finding a piece of money on the ground is very powerful reinforcement. It supplies classic behavioral random variable reinforcement schedules. One never knows when, where, or how much money will be found during the walks. Also, MoneyWalking involves learning, the more you walk the more money you find. It is a matter of learning where people lose money.

Thus, MoneyWalking is the base of my motivation system, but many other types of motivation schemes are nested within the system. For example, I name the various types of money finds. My ventral striatum really fires hot and heavy when finding a scatter of pennies that someone just dumped on the ground. I call it a penny dump or a Benjamin dump (my son Benjamin tells me he just dumps his pennies on the curb when they accumulate in the console of his car).

Another technique is to count the money as it is found. My goal for each walk is to find one dollar are more. In the metric system “deci” means 1/10th. As I walk and find money, I keep count of the number of decis that are found. At the end of a walk, if I have found $1.29, I record 12 decis, one for every 1/10 of a dollar. While walking I am very aware of the number of decis and the fraction needed to make the next highest deci. In the above example I require just one more penny to earn another deci. Sometimes, I am tempted to add a few blocks to my walk just trying to close out the next higher deci level. Decis are like intermediate goals and serve as "tokens" I earn along the walk.

As mentioned above, daily weighing and recording the weight is nested into the system. I hate myself when today’s weight is higher than yesterday’s. Daily weighing is a great for self transparency. I weigh every morning, regardless of what splurge might have occurred the day before. A trending upward scale pattern is a grating reminder to cut back on the portions and monitor the choices.

Giving back to society is another form of external motivation nested into my system. I rehab, reuse, or repurpose hundreds of objects found during my walks. Then, ever six months, I conduct a MoneyWalker yard sale with all proceeds going to one of my favorite charities, the Baptist Friendship House for Abused Women and their Children or the University of New Orleans Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Lecture Series. Also, all the money found by the MoneyWalker is divided between these two charitable causes. There is nothing more rewarding than helping a worthy cause (and for some, the recognition that such giving bestows on the donor). “I can’t stop walking now, all those battered women and their children are counting on me.” is powerful self-talk.

In summary, if you are not meeting your weight loss goals, you might need to recalibrate your motivation system. Define your weight loss goal very specifically. Determine what behaviors you need to follow in order to reach your goal. Select a powerful base extrinsic motivation reward system, one that has the passion to sustain your behaviors. Combine your base motivator with secondary motivators to amplify the reinforcement. Be sure to include intrinsic motivation as a critical part of your system. Effective motivation systems are not easy to establish or follow. And worse, there are counterproductive motivation systems operating within you that compete for your willpower. Yet, a well conceived motivation system is a critical part of your weight loss and exercise program.

Remember, a happy walker is a regular walker.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Is Walking A Key To Happiness?

Who knew, the Pope is a walker. Photo taken by Sammy Sabine at 2011 New Orleans Mardi Gras.

Feature Entry: Is Walking A Key To Happiness?

The MoneyWalker, like most bloggers, follows the blogs of others. This morning I tuned into Gretchen Rubin’s award winning “The Happiness Project.” Today she interviewed Piers Steel author of the book, The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done. Steel opines that “procrastination isn't tied to perfectionism or laziness, as many people believe, but rather to impulsivity. Impulsive people have trouble getting themselves to do things they don't want to do.” I suppose I can add impulsivity to initiative disorder as a reason to put off my morning walk.

Steel also promotes walking as a source of happiness. Gretchen asked Steel: “If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost?" Responds Steel: “
My strategy isn’t to pursue happiness as directly as others often do. It doesn’t work, at least for me, quite as well as I would wish. I’m more of an Aldous Huxley adherent, “Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.” So I seek accomplishment and meaning and through these activities I find satisfaction with my life. In a pinch, however, a really vigorous exercise routine dependably burns away gloom; sore muscles reacquaint you with your body and get you out of your head.”
Thus, to use Pers Steel’s strategy to experience happiness we should focus on tasks that involve accomplishment, meaning, satisfaction, and exercise.

Steel also shares the MoneyWalker’s propensity to repurpose, recycle, and rebuild objects that are broken or discarded. Rubin asked Steel: “What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier? Steel:
“Fixing or building things. I’m the type of guy who likes assembling IKEA furniture. Perhaps it acts as a counterpoint to the writing [one’s regular work] I do, but there is something wonderful about holding something physical in your hands and feeling the steady progress as an object reaches completion. Even better, when my five year old son’s Christmas gift, a train he adored, broke within a few weeks, he held back a tear as he placed his toy confidently in my hands. I’ve fixed so many over-loved toys in the past. A little disassembly, a bolt to keep the piston in place, and “good as new,” as he likes say when he gets it back."

So is walking a source of happiness? It is for the MoneyWalker. He is happy when the scales report a downward trend. He is happy when he experiences the sounds, sights, smells, and social flavors of his Mid-City neighborhood. He is happy by the maintenance of a relatively thin waist line. He is happy when finding loose change or objects discarded that are then repaired and recycled. He is happy when the physician announces glowing and positive results of the latest physical check-up.

But don't take the word of the MoneyWalker, ask the Pope, his photo says it all!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Walking and Barbara Pym--Journal Entries March 2 through March 7, 2011

Photo features Barbara Pym from Goodreads

Walking and Barbara Pym--Journal Entries March 2 through March 7, 2011

: Some time ago, the MoneyWalker’s blogs changed formats so as to seperate "feature entries" from "journal entries." To add interest to the journal entries, I will now add walking quotes from my favorite authors. This one features the late Barbara Pym.

"The small things of life were often so much bigger than the great things . . . the trivial pleasure like cooking, one's home, little poems especially sad ones, solitary walks, funny things seen and overheard." from Less Than Angels


”Dulcie comes to the rescue with smelling salts. Dulcie becomes intrigued by the gorgeous, shaggy Aylwin. She researches him in the library, walks through his neighborhood, and goes so far as to attend a jumble sale at his mother-in-law’s house.” From No Fond Return of Love

March 2: Weight = 172.2 lbs.; Coinage = $2.42, 47 pennies, 8 nickels, 8 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles = 4; Ground Scores = 8.

March 3: Weight = 172.0 lbs.; Coinage = $1.07, 42 pennies, 1 nickel, 6 dimes; Glass bottles = 2; Ground scores = 3.

March 5: Weight = 172.2 lbs.; Coinage = $3.59, 159 pennies, 4 nickels, 8 dimes, 4 quarters; Glass bottles = 3.

March 6: Weight = 172.6 lbs.; Coinage = $4.07, 82 pennies, 12 nickels, 19 dimes, 3 quarters; Glass bottles = 3; Ground scores = 6.

March 7: Weight = 172.8 lbs.; Coinage = $2.02, 97 pennies, 7 nickels, 7 dimes; Glass bottles = 14; Ground scores = 3.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Initiation Impairment

Feature Entry: Initiation Impairment

Surely it is not the lack of motivation or my higher desire for sweet and fattening foods that is keeping me from reaching my Body Mass Index goal of 168 pounds. With great fanfare the MoneyWalker announced to the world on January 1st that he was going to lose 8 pounds and reach the elusive goal of a normal BMI for his height, age, and weight. But after two months, he still has a long way to go. I tell myself that I am adequately motivated to lose those last few pounds, but they won’t go away.

Now I am thinking I might have a medical disorder. While preparing for a blog on my anticipated “nested motivation systems” I found the existence of a new medical condition—initiation impairment. I think that is me. When I begin a carefully conceived intervention plan including the creation of a food journal, practicing portion control, selecting large portions of fruits and vegetables while avoiding starchy, sweet, and fatty foods, exercising daily using American College of Sports Medicine guideline; I just can’t seem to get started. So that must be it, I have Initiation impairment.

It must have happened that day many years ago when I knocked myself unconscious going for a spectacular racquet ball play. Instead, I tripped and suffered a concussion by hitting my head against the concrete wall. It must be a case of delayed onset of TBI or traumatic brain injury that is causing my problem. These days, all the former NFL football players seem to be talking about their TBIs with all their negative consequences. We can't blame them, they have initiation impairment.

Isn’t modern medicine wonderful! Until reading about Initiation impairment, I thought it was just my lazy attitude that was preventing me from reaching my weight loss goal. But not to worry, I am still going to write that blog about how to lose weight using nested motivation systems just as soon as I recover from this dreaded case of initiation impairment.

What excuse are you giving yourself for not keeping your New Year’s resolution to lose weight?

And what was the tip from the photo? Stop using excuses like initiation impairment and start consuming less calories than you are burning. It will cut a little of the belly fat away everyday.