Walking for Weight Loss, Really? But Surely Celebrity Exercises & Personal Trainers are the Panacea!

Alasdair Wilkins lost 45kg in a year without having to nibble on kale salads or battle through spin classes in expensive Lycra. He reckons his weight loss “secret” is actually “pretty dumb”.

“Basically, I just went to the gym and I walked. On a treadmill, uphill, at a brisk pace, for about an hour every day – and I do mean every day,” he wrote in a piece for Vox, which has been shared almost 10,000 times and attracted hundreds of comments.Alasdair walked briskly for an hour on the treadmill everyday for a year.

The 27-year-old masters student weighed 129kg just 12 months ago. Alasdair was freelancing, he’d just moved out of his parents’ house (and away from their well-stocked fridge) and had lots of free time on his hands. It was the perfect time to lose weight.

“Like a lot of people who struggle with their weight, I was intimidated by the gym,” he told news.com.au. “But there was one machine I could use without the help of a personal trainer and that was the treadmill. So I just started there because it’s the easiest.”

He exercised solo everyday while watching Netflix on his iPad and the weight gradually started to come off.

“I couldn’t jog. I would get out of breath just walking 8km/hr. Now I can do 12km/hr. Maybe this wasn’t the optimum way to work out, but it was the best way for me to get better and feel better about myself,” he said.

“I just found something that I enjoyed doing and that worked for me. When people say, ‘I love working out’, I always thought that was such a crazy ridiculous thing to say, because I couldn’t imagine thinking like that.

“What works for some won’t work for others. The big mistake people make is assuming that there is one right way for everyone to lose weight. It varies from person to person.”

Alasdair said his self esteem started to improve after losing 9kg.

“If you’re overweight or trying to lose weight, I think it’s really important to realise you don’t need to lose all of it immediately to feel better about yourself.

“Around the 27kg mark, that was when a lot of the very tightly held self loathing just started to unravel. When you’ve had low self esteem for such a long time, you don’t necessarily feel like you’re getting a lot of traction in your life.

“I didn’t lose 100 pounds because I have amazing willpower. There’s 26 years of evidence to show that I have very mediocre willpower. I just found a routine that I actually enjoyed and stuck with it.”

Alasdair wrote that he didn’t adjust his diet — just ate smaller portions.

“It was a lot easier for me to hop on a treadmill than to cut portions, at least at first. So I just ignored the (frequently contradictory) mountains of literature on the best way to lose weight and just focused on finding a way that worked for me,” he wrote.

At the close of his piece, Alasdair makes an interesting observation about the difference between how overweight men and women are perceived.

“An advantage I had, both while being fat and while losing weight was that as a man, I could live in a space largely free of judgments.

“I can think of only two occasions in my entire life where I was made to feel self conscious about my weight, and neither was particularly mean-spirited.

“I received less criticism at 100 pounds [45kg] overweight in my entire life than a woman 10 pounds overweight does in, what, a month? A week? A day?”

Alasdair says he is amazed at the response his article has received. He’s been inundated with emails and tweets from people sharing their weight struggles.

“It’s great how they’ve found the piece really meaningful and it’s inspired them to get out there and do something about it.”

Things to Note:

  1. Walk when you get the chance (forget the lift etc.);
  2. Going to the gym doesn’t have to involve fancy named exercises or celebrity endorsed training programmes;
  3. You don’t need a personal trainer to lose weight;
  4. Keep your face out of the fridge;
  5. Losing weight is a gradual process;
  6. You can lose weight by walking not ‘just running’;
  7. You don’t need lots of willpower, just a routine you enjoy;
  8. You don’t necessarily need to adjust your diet, eat smaller portions; and
  9. Ignore the (frequently contradictory) mountains of literature on the best way to lose weight and just focus on finding a way that works for you.


Sullivan, R. (2015) How Alasdair Wilkins Lost 45kg just by Walking. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/lifestyle/how-alasdair-wilkins-lost-45kg-just-by-walking/story-fni0d7e6-1227434091460?sv=eb3860aa29a03ba13475e36a08038168. [Accessed: 09 July, 2015].


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