Photowalking is a fantastic way to lose weight, so here’s how I did it and how I’ve been keeping the weight off.
One of the best things about being a photographer is photowalking. Folks combine it with street photography and make it into something that’s much more active. But the more passive approach to photo walking and randomly discovering photogenic things is holistically healthy for you. Better yet, it’s a great way to lose weight. I used to be slightly obese at 197lbs. Now I am down to 165 lbs, and part of how I’ve kept it off is photowalking. During the summer days, there’s little better than the short period of time where I can go outside. It’s chilly outside in the early morning, and I can Photowalk with relatively little disturbances. Best of all, you can make this work around your schedule. But like anything else in life, you have to really want it.
The Mental Distraction: Commit to It
Photowalking is not only a fantastic mental distraction, but it’s a great way to continue honing your skills as a photographer. By photowalking, you open yourself up to a few things:
- Losing weight
- Discovering something new
- Rediscovering something
- Finding something cool to edit later on
- Stimulating your creative juices (studies show that walking actually does this)
The thing is, though, that even if photography is your hobby, you need to make a commitment. Most importantly, this commitment needs to be to yourself. And like any workout, you need to have a plan of some sort. It’s sometimes easier to have a guide, but you can easily do this yourself. It’s not like you’re attempting a downward dog in yoga–so it’s nowhere near as taxing on your flexibility. Instead, this is endurance training and it varies from person to person. I hate going out in peak sunlight because I sweat a lot, but you may enjoy that because the shadows can be pretty aesthetically pleasing. I prefer the weather during dawn and dusk and ultimately enjoy photowalking at night. The city becomes an entirely different place at night. Photowalking at night while out in the woods is a different experience: you need a flashlight and stuff. It’s possible, though I’ll make a strong argument that it’s better in a city.
Packing your bags is a big part of this. Sure, you can walk around with just the camera around your neck, but we’re going for a walk for a long time, so load up! Recommendations for packing:
- Coffee or Tea
- A possible energy drink like Gatorade or Coconut Water
- A backup camera (maybe)
- Tripod (maybe)
- Extra lenses (totally)
- Eye drops (if you need them)
- Microfiber cloth
- Hand sanitizer
- An extra mask (because of the times…even if it’s just a face covering)
- Your keys
- Business cards (if you have them)
- An extra shirt, jacket, or sweater (Sweating sucks, replacing your shirt is excellent!)
You can stuff all of this into a messenger bag, but please trust me when I say that you’re going to hate your life if you do this. Your back is going to get thrown off by all the weight, and your shoulders won’t feel right. We’re trying to create a sustainable pace for you, not a painful one. At this point, I should also talk about shoes. Shoes with thick, rubber soles are going to do best. If you have shoe inserts, use them. I really don’t recommend open toe shoes because you’re going to be walking for a very long time.
Oh, don’t bring snacks! Some folks may say you should, but I’d recommend not. Save eating time for later. The point here is to burn calories.
The Most Essential Tool for Me
I’m not going to mandate this next part on anyone, but it’s instead just an enhancement. Apple Watch Series 5 and the Apple watch, in general, have been an enormous help to me in this process. Here’s why:
- 12 times a day during different hours, it will prompt you to get up and move around. I typically crank out 30 jumping jacks to make this go faster instead of walking.
- You can set it to record a workout, and in this case, we’re talking about an outdoor walk.
- It will tell you a pretty reliable estimate of how many calories you’re burning.
- You’ll be able to gauge how far you’ve walked. When I tell my friends that I walked six miles the other morning, they’re dumbfounded.
- It will keep you away from your phone more. Fewer distractions are so much better.
Again though, this is just for me. But the Apple Watch is by far the best smartwatch on the market.
Plan a Route and Improvise
Every morning when I go outside, I pick a route. I tell myself where I am, where I want to get to and figure out how I’m going to get there. But I don’t stick too much to that route. Allowing myself to have some variety lets me discover new places, look at new routes, and photograph new things. Plus, you can end up just doing some extra walking. When it’s all done, you’ll be that much happier that you’ve done the extra exercise for yourself. To best accomplish this, look at Google maps less. Don’t rely on it either. Look at it to set up a mental route and then just go. Trust your instincts too. If something doesn’t feel safe, then don’t do it.
At Minumum: 3 Hour Walk
I’ll admit to myself that even this seems a bit crazy. But it’s so worth it. I can walk and burn around 250 to 300 calories an hour. In an ideal situation, I’d burn 10 per minute. But that’s very tough to do. I’ve done that with Yoga and Parkour workouts before. That’s also why I’m saying you should do this for a few hours. In the best situation, you’ll burn more than 500 calories. You’ll also not really consume a whole lot. In fact, I combined photo walking with intermittent fasting and/or eating under 500 calories a day. I bloated up for a bit, and then I lost a whole ton of weight. It felt awesome.
Lastly, don’t try to take shortcuts, either. Take the long, scenic routes. This is a Photowalk. You need to take photos and shoot fun stuff. It’s your time to be creative and also exercise your body as well as your mind. Give it a shot, and I hope that you get as much joy from this as I do.