1. Use your shoes to curb a craving.
When all you can think of is chocolate, or you're salivating over the thought of a salty snack, get up and take a walk (but not to the convenience store!). Chocoholics experience a major dip in cravings just 15 minutes after a walk, unlike people who don't get up and move around.
2. Start small.
Shorter sojourns could be all you need to do to lose weight by walking during your first 3 months. In a 12-week study of significantly overweight women, those who walked for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, lost weight at a rate similar to women who walked twice as long -- 60 minutes, 5 days a week
3. Get speedy every now and then.
When you’re walking to lose weight, alternate your regular walking pace with intense 1- to 3-minute intervals -- "intense" meaning conversation is tricky but not so hard that you want to stop talking altogether. Then, dial back to your regular pace for a minute or more to recover. Repeat as often as you can for as long as you want. "This isn't an exact science, so don't worry about a magic formula," says Gregory Florez, an American Council on Exercise spokesperson in Salt Lake City. "Play around with it. Walk fast toward the next stop sign, then slow down, repeat. However you do it, varying your intensity and exertion will dramatically increase the calorie burn during your walks."
4. Other times, don't worry about speed.
If you just can't go any faster, Florez recommends these other tools to help you lose weight by walking:
- Frequency: When you think you're not losing, add another session of walking to your week.
- Intensity: When you've done that, add some hills to make your walk a little harder. You want to be between 12 and 15 on the Borg Perceived Exertion Scale (0 on the scale is sleeping, and 20 is a full-out sprint where you are panting and feel ready to faint). "You should be able to carry on a conversation, but every other sentence you should have to take a deep breath."
- Time: Just walk a little longer each session. Add 10 minutes to your walk every day and you'll have amassed an extra 70 minutes that week. Easy, no?