DSC02316Lea Wait, here, admitting there are a few downsides to being an author.

One is that I spend most of my time (sometimes 8-12 hours a day) sitting and staring at a keyboard and screen. And getting up to stretch can lead to cups of tea and snacks. Or meals.

Last fall I knew I should do something about my weight — I weighed more than I ever had. But then snows were deep, the YMCA gym and pool half an hour away, and I had deadlines … and migraines.

My neurologist prescribed meds to help with the headaches, and I forged on. No one could help with the deadlines. (Yes: all manuscripts were in on time.)

DSC02312This spring, knowing my clothes-to-wear-in-public were a little tight, I was still shocked when my doctor told me I’d gained (gulp) twenty MORE pounds during the winter.

I got that news in the middle of a series of weeks I was speaking (sometimes in different states) several times a week. Dieting and exercise didn’t seem realistic. I had too much to juggle in my life already.

Then my headaches got worse. When I spoke with my neurologist again he mentioned, casually, that, well, those meds he’d put me on in December sometimes caused weight gain

Early 19th C stone wall
Early 19th C stone wall



I threw out the rest of the bottle and by Memorial Day I was serious. I had to lose weight. A LOT of weight. I asked my Facebook friends about devices that counted steps, and ended up with a Garmin I love. It sets goals for me, counts my steps, and keeps track of my weight. Now, almost two months later, I walk 3-5 miles a day, am still counting calories, and have lost over ten pounds. Yes, I have a bad knee. Recovering from a walk requires an ice pack. But the pain is worth it. Slowly but surely I’m returning to a body

Graveyard, late 18th -early 19th C

Graveyard, late 18th -early 19th C

I’m comfortable with. But I still have a long way to go.

Almost every day I walk down a road near my home that I’ve come to know well. It’s along the shore of a river, so houses on one side have waterfront. Houses on the other side have woods. And there are many acres of woods without homes.

I head down that road, not knowing what I’ll see. I’ve met deer. I found a perfect (dead) luna moth. Great blue herons hang out in one area. Neighbors who seem to work in their gardens no matter when I walk, greet me. When cars pass, we wave at each other. Even in parts of the road where woods are deep, I hear lobster boats working their traps, and pleasure boats speeding along. I’ve met most of the dogs who live along the road, and we’ve made peace with each other.DSC02309

I’ve grown selfish about my walks. It’s my time to think. To plan. To listen to crows and bees and the rustle of squirrels and chipmunks in the woods. To plot my next chapter, or my next meal.

My Garmin nags me to make sure I walk at least 10,000 steps. When I started, I thought 5,000 steps was a good day. Now I miss my goal only on days when weather is really awful (when I walk on a treadmill, which is much more boring) or when I have a signing or book festival or other “away from home” event that takes most of the day.DSC02306

Maine is a beautiful place. And walking in it is, yes, helping me get my body back to where it should be. But it’s also helping me focus more. There’s more to my world than a computer screen, and it’s good to be reminded of that. So, today, I’m taking you all along with me on my walk. All the pictures I’ve posted are scenes I pass along the way.

Welcome to my world.

About Lea Wait

I write mysteries - the Mainely Needlepoint, Shadows Antique Print and, coming in June of 2018, the Maine Murder mysteries (under the name Cornelia Kidd.) When I was single I was an adoption advocate and adopted my four daughters. Now my mysteries and novels for young people are about people searching for love, acceptance, and a place to call home. My website is http://www.leawait.com To be on my mailing list, send me a note at leawait@roadrunner.com
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12 Responses to Walking

  1. Karla says:

    Congratulations on your strength and discipline. Thanks for a lovely tour. (I can hear the gulls…)

  2. Jewel Hanley says:

    Bet it helps with the migraines, too.

  3. Lea Wait says:

    Doesn’t help the migraines as much as I’d hoped … but does give me anther priority. Me. A priority I hadn’t thought about in a long time. Right now, finishing a manuscript is #1 on my list .. walking has moved to #2. But it’ll be back on top, soon — and I haven’t forgotten it!

  4. Mo says:

    Congratulations on finding what works for you. Your daily sojourn sounds likes bliss.

    I lost 50 pounds over 2013/2014 with walking as my exercise (and an elliptical on bad weather days). I use my FitBit to track my steps and LoseIt! (web and app) to log my caloric intake. I was stunned and amazed that my arthritic knee is now almost completely pain free. I had heard repeatedly that 1 pound of weight was like 2 pounds of pressure on the knee and never believed it until now.

  5. Lea Wait says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, Mo! And congratulations!

  6. I think walking is the perfect exercise for writers. Swimming too. You can be in your head while you get your steps/laps in. Congratulations to you for your success to date, Lea.

  7. Brian says:

    Congratulations on your commitment to health. It’s easy to become writing chair potatoes as writers, and we can get away with it for awhile. As you’ve described so well here, if we want to write long-term, we need to stay healthy. When I don’t work out, my back, neck, and shoulders hurt with the long hours I spend at my desk. However, with a reasonable exercise program, frequent stretch breaks, and an ergonomic work area, I can write longer and better.

  8. Lea Wait says:

    Thank you, Brenda! Still have a long way to go!

  9. MCWriTers says:

    Seriously tempted to get one of those fit bits or Garmins, something to make me accountable. I’ve added working standing up at the counter to my routine, now that they say sitting will kill us, and looked (without success) for a desk to go over the treadmill so I can walk and write. Currently, prepping for a walking trip in Italy, I’m walking up and down the stairs that lead from our driveway to the sea. Twenty trips up and down feels like a workout, and it’s made easier by audio books. But it goes slowly, and so far, no weight loss. Of course, summer in Maine and all, there’s too much good food and guest who will bring chocolates!

    Keep on trucking’ and I hope those migraines get better.


  10. Lea Wait says:

    Thank you, Kate & Brian! Those of us who live in our minds are often challenged by the needs of our bodies ….

  11. Thanks for sharing your walk and your journey to wellness. I’ll have to look into that Garmin device. Hope you’re feeling better and stronger soon.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Great job with your commitment to walking and losing the weight! I have been there too and it was a combination of Weight Watchers and walking that helped me. You are lucky you live in Maine so that you have so many beautiful places to walk! I also listen to books on tape on my walks and when I really want to pick up the pace, I have a special playlist on my phone that makes me feel like dancing or running. Keep up the good work!

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