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By Julie Compton
Rebecca Thomas began her major weight loss journey with a walk.
In 2010, Thomas, a restaurant owner who was overweight at the time, decided to go outside and explore the trails near her home in Virginia.
“My legs didn’t hurt, I felt like I did something, and more importantly, I felt good, my body felt good and that is what made me want to get back out,” Thomas told NBC News BETTER.
Thomas, 47, also changed her eating habits. She gradually began to lose weight, she says — about a pound a month. Over time, she lost about 50 pounds.
She says walking helped her realize she could be active without having to be a superstar athlete.
“I was never really an athletic person, but I had this self concept that is just wrong,” she says, “which is that there are athletic people who can do things and then there’s you, and just because I’m not a competitive athlete does not mean that I can’t be athletic.”
Here’s how Thomas, who authors the popular weight loss series “Not Another Diet,” turned her life around through walking.
She built walking into her day-to-day life
To make sure she walked every day, Thomas, who lives in Richmond, Virginia, incorporated walking into her daily routine, like walking to the grocery store.
Thomas says she doesn’t track how much she walks or how many calories she burns. For her, walking is about getting outdoors and enjoying where your legs take you.
“It naturally builds on itself,” she says, “as opposed to shoving and pushing yourself into things that you feel marginal about.”
She asked herself: ‘What can I do today?’
When you’ve been sedentary for a long time, the idea of signing up for a big race, or an intense gym class can be overwhelming, says Thomas.
“It’s just too big of a leap to all of a sudden throw yourself into an exercise regimen,” she says.
Instead of committing to a gym, she committed to a promise: every day, she would do some kind of physical activity, whether going for a walk or riding her bike.