Is Walking Good for Weight Loss?

Burning calories while walking sure helps to lose weight.

But for most people, just walking as a work out isn’t enough for sustainable weight loss. Let me tell you why.

Walking is excellent cardiovascular exercise, if done right

walking a stairway in sneakers

Brisk walking for half an hour is effectively burning around 150 calories, depending on your weight, your pace and the duration of the walk. The keyword here is brisk.

If you can still talk, but aren’t able to sing anymore, your pace is in the cardiovascular training zone*. Do this for at least 30 minutes and you start burning some stored fat while walking. During the first half hour you burn sugars, stored in your body, as fuel. If all the stored sugars are used up, your body starts to burn fat that is stored in your fat cells. That fat is what you want to lose, so the sooner you’re able to walk at least 45 minutes, the better 😉

*Of course this is an estimated way of measuring if you’re exercising in the right heart rate. For more accurate results you have to use a smart watch (Apple Watch or Fitbit both give you a great deal of information about your work out ) or a heart rate monitor with a band around your chest. But for most people the estimated guess is good enough.

Please be careful if you are currently a couch potato, inspiring to become fit. Jumping from a sedentary lifestyle into fifth gear could easily lead to injury. So, increase your steps and your work out time gradually. Experts advise aiming for increasing your daily steps with an extra 1000 every week. This way you can safely build a habit of walking.

For losing weight it is essential to create a calorie deficit

You have to consume less calories than you expend all day.

Walking for 45 minutes for 5 times a week makes you burn an extra 1000 to 2000 calories during the week, while at the same time improving your metabolism.

Great! Burning extra calories is losing weight. Or isn’t it?

Suppose you burn 200 calories extra daily, with your new walking regime. If you don’t add anything to your diet, you will slowly see your numbers on the scales dropping. But only if you don’t eat extra calories, to treat yourself because you’ve already worked out!

In most cases a 500-calorie deficit per day is sufficient to lose weight. You can burn around half of these calories by walking briskly for an hour every day.

It takes approximately 45 minutes to burn 200 calories, but you can consume these calories effortless in just 5 minutes time!

Look at the following list to get an idea of how easy it is, to destroy your calorie burning :

  • 40 grams of nuts equals 266 calories
  • 50 grams of 48+ cheese is around 180 calories
  • 1 tablespoon of peanutbutter equals around 100 calories
  • 35 grams of chocolate equals 196 calories
  • 1 glass of wine is around 125 calories
  • 1 slice of pizza is around 250 calories
  • 100 ml of Ben &Jerry;’s equals 200 to 300 calories

The list of possibilities to eat an estimate of 200 calories in less than 15 minutes time goes on and on and on…

So, yes, losing weight can be accomplished with only increasing your activity level. It requires a lot of walking together with being very conscious of your eating habits.

But there is a more effective way.

Best results : combining a healthy diet with daily walking

Nobody with expertise in weight loss will recommend you to follow a crash diet. In fact, you better stay away from these ‘quick fixes’ – research shows that strict dieting is almost always followed by… gaining more weight! 

Just start with making healthier food choices. Together with monitoring your portion size, this can bring excellent results.

To make matters just a tiny more complicated, what exactly is concidered healthy varies a lot from time to time, even from expert to expert. For example, both eggs and coffee had a bad reputation 30 years ago, while they are on many ‘goes with a healthy lifestyle’- lists right now. 

Carbs and gluten on the other hand are nowadays considered bad by a big part of the population. Keto and Paleo lifestyles have gained a lot of enthousiastic followers over the last 10 to 15 years.

I am not in a position to give you advise about your diet, especially not when it comes to specific diets or illnesses.

But I can share what works for me, to lose weight and get my vitality back.

My goals for a healthy diet are Variety, Non Processed Foods and Portion Control

It is really as simple as it sounds.

On some days these simple food guidelines are a challenge for me, but that has nothing to do with the rules being complex (because they aren’t) and everything with my cravings.

I am prone to emotional eating. So in stressful or anxious times, chocolate and cake are calling my name.

On days that I manage to ignore their calling and walk an extra mile instead of giving in to snacking, I feel almost invincible! 😀

My personal weight loss friendly food list looks like this:

  • Plenty of fresh, preferably organic, fruits and vegetables
  • raw nuts and seeds, organic
  • whole grains, (organic, no GMO)
  • lentils, chick peas, beans, legumes (idem)
  • organic eggs from chickens that can go outside
  • organic coffee with barista oat milk 😉
  • once or twice a week greek yoghurt, or organic (goat) cheese
  • once or twice a week organic chicken / fish / meat
  • coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic butter
  • all sorts of organic herbs and spices

The amount of different, delicious meals I can create with these ingredients is stunning.

This way, my diet doesn’t feel like punishing myself, but rather as taking very good care of myself. Combined with my almost daily walking work out, I come closer to my goals (getting fit, obtaining a healthy weight) in a pleasant and sustainable way.

Now I am curious: Are you combining your work out with a healthy diet, or is exercising enough to reach your goals?

6 thoughts on “Is Walking Good for Weight Loss?”

  1. Unbelievable, your food list almost equals mine! The only differences are: we hardly eat lentils, chickpeas, beans, and legumes because of Tom’s purine-poor diet. And we have skipped dairy so no yoghurt, although I ‘sin’ a bit with goat’s cheese.

    Instead of beans and the like, I eat a lot of seeds and dried fruits, like berries.

    4 years ago we got a wake-up call when we for the first time had a blood analysis. Our cholesterol levels were too high. Because we didn’t want to take statins for the rest of our life we wanted to lose weight. Result of walking more and an (in our eyes) healthy diet after 2 years: minus 25 kilos for the both of us and lots of extra energy. 🙂

    What did the trick for me was not calling it ‘we were on a diet’, but calling it a change of lifestyle. And that lifestyle we still have momentarily. As well as the same healthy weight and the same energy level.

    So I can totally agree with your recommendations! I couldn’t recall the number of calories of the things I eat though. Do you count calories when you eat or was your list meant to give examples?

    Reply
    • Hi Hannie, dried fruits are excellent and tasty, I use them a lot too!

      What a great and inspiring results you have with your lifestyle change… (I agree with you , it isn’t dieting, but a healthy lifestyle ). For me it feels like a diet at this moment, because I am focusing on calories for the first time in my life right now. Not to be harsh on myself – I eat around 1800 to 2000 calories every day – but to get to know normal portion sizes by heart.

      For example , I love raw nuts and consider them very healthy. But I easily eat a 100 grams of them as a thoughtless snack. That’s around 650 calories. No problem, but if I also eat avocado, goat cheese and a delicious freshly baked French bread, I am not in calorie deficit anymore.

      It is vital that I lose weight, so I have to get used to delicious meals in normal portion sizes 😉

      Reply
  2. Walking is great for low impact cardio, I like lifting weights but I walk regularly for the cardio benefits and it helps you to maintain your bodyweight when combined with a healthy balanced diet. Plus another benefit of walking is the mental health benefit of being with nature if you are walking through a park.

    Reply
    • Yes, so true, it does a lot for mental health too.  Thanks for adding that missing part of information! For improving depression they used to recommend running, but they changed that to walking in nature a few year ago.

      Lifting weights and walking combined gives you an excellent work out! 

      Reply
  3. Walking is excellent for weight loss but as you said, it needs to be done right. I actually have a client that I train and I am always telling her that she needs to take on walking as a form of exercise seeing that she does not like running. I will be sure to share this article with her.

    Reply
    • Ah, I neither like running! I get all sweaty in no time, my knees start hurting after a few minutes (yess, I know, one of the many downsides of being overweight) and I hate to feel my heartbeat in my ears… walking is great, I was so happy when research showed me that I didn’t have to force myself to run.

      Thanks for sharing my blogpost!

      Reply

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