Slimming World & #walk1000miles: perfect partners

We polled #walk1000miles challengers also doing Slimming World to find out just how well they went together. The results speak for themselves! 

(PS – It's not too late to start: #walk500miles has just begun! It's just 2.72 miles a day and the results will amaze you!)

'It worked brilliantly – I'm fitter and healthier than I have been for years.'

Karen McLean, 53

Before and after: Karen McLean. 

Before and after: Karen McLean. 

I've been with Slimming World for 5 years now, and I was almost at target after losing a total of five stone when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Through my treatment, I gained a stone and a half. I was back on my Slimming World journey but had reached a plateau when my consultant mentioned the #walk1000miles challenge in group and I knew it was what I needed to reach target again. It worked brilliantly, combining healthy food and lots of regular exercise, leaving me feeling fitter and healthier than I have for many years.


POLL RESULTS: Do you feel Slimming World works better combined with #walk1000miles?


'#walk1000miles means I get my body magic awards easily'

Clare Purdy, 26

Before and after: Clare Purdy

Before and after: Clare Purdy

I started Slimming world (for the second time) after signing up for #walk1000miles 2016. After doing some longer distance walks and feeling like I was carrying more weight than i'd like to! I definitely haven't been the fastest 'loser' but I'm currently at 2 stone 3.5lb down taking the scenic route as that's what we do as walkers right? And well on my way to my 4 stone target loss! Walk1000miles meant I got my body magic awards easily without really needing to think about it and I definitely notice the weeks I walk less!


POLL RESULTS: Has it made your weight easier to maintain?


'The support has been invaluable'

Fayona Bareham, 55

Fayona, before and after.

Fayona, before and after.

I became very unfit after a shoulder injury a few years ago and put on a lot of weight as I was in pain and unable to walk the hills in the beautiful area that I live in. As soon as I could I increased my walking and soon lost a stone, but I was still overweight and felt like a very poor role model as a nurse, so I joined Slimming World and #walk1000miles at the same time and I lost a further two stone! The support and inspiration from the 1000 miles Facebook group has been invaluable and really compliments the healthy eating and image therapy in Slimming World. It's a fantastic combination!


POLL RESULTS: Has your weight loss been faster with #walk1000miles?


'My partner says I'm getting younger all the time!'

Mandy Jones, 54

Before and after: Mandy Jones.

Before and after: Mandy Jones.

Wow my slimming story is about 35 years long, so I'll just go for the last chapter! When I joined Slimming World in May 2014 I was already a fairly regular walker. I have an active dog called Polly and she needs walks, but our normal weekday walks were a mile or two and at weekends I may just manage five, with a lot of complaining to my partner, and more worrying, with strong painkillers because my ankles hurt after a mile or two.

I'd battled with my weight all my adult weight, I'd lost weight before, but by the time I joined the local Slimming World, I was at my heaviest. It took my six weeks to lose my first stone and the same again to lose the next one. We had a holiday in North Yorkshire and I made it up Roseberry Topping – it was hard work, going uphill I forced myself to walk 50 steps between rest stops. Having always been someone who avoided hills, I was on the top of one and it felt great!

Towards the end of the year my interest in walking was growing, Slimming World encourages "body magic" and my exercise of choice was definitely walking, Polly was loving it too! I started buying Country Walking mag and spotted the #walk1000 mile challenge and decided to give it a go. My expectations were not high, so I used a Fitbit and counted every step. I also set myself a goal to walk up Snowdon! In March 2015, 10 months after joining Slimming World, I hit my target – I'd lost 4.5 stone, my BMI was "normal" and my regular daily walks were now 4 miles before work – Polly was thrilled, and for me, no more painkillers for aching ankles!

In May 2015, the weekend of my 53rd birthday and a year after I joined Slimming World, my partner & I ( and Polly of course) walked up Snowdon, it was breathtaking in more ways than one, but felt like such a huge achievement! Keeping weight off is a whole new challenge after reaching target, and #walk1000 is definitely playing a big part in that, I'm now 18 months at target, walking about 40 miles a week (I'm only counting boot walks this year). Oh and after Snowdon, I needed other challenges so I did a skydive in Sept 2015, and Europe's longest Zipwire in April this year. Next up is the Cotswold Way 100k in July! My partner says I'm getting younger all the time, and now I'm usually the one suggesting the long Sunday walks! I'd definitely recommend Slimming World and #walk1000miles as the perfect combination for healthy weight loss and maintenance!


POLL RESULTS: Has #walk1000miles made the experience weight loss a happier one?


'No longer a diet – a lifestyle change!'

Sue Goldsmith, 59

I joined slimming world 10th Aug 2015 and so far I've lost over 4.5 stones. I started walking at first just to get the body magic stickers, but I found I enjoyed it and while I was walking I wasn't eating – win-win! I bought my first CW mag May June last year and liked the sound of the 1000 miles challenge, so I signed up. It has really spurred me on to walk more and even go on a walking holiday – which I loved. The walking has helped with toning all muscles which can be a problem with slimming, and in fact the weeks the weight loss isn't as good as I thought it should be are usually the weeks I notice a reduction in size. The walking also helps with my mood. I'm happy to say I'm now close to my target weight – and this is no longer a diet it is a lifestyle change!


POLL RESULTS: Would you recommend #walk1000miles to other Slimming World members?


1000 miles... in one walk!

Martin and Maureen Shipley set off on foot from Cape Wrath on Scotland’s northwestern tip in May 2016 and 79 days later reached Dover. 53 OS maps, many #walk1000miles meet-ups and 1041 miles later Martin told us all about it.

Martin and Maureen Shipley had only been walking a week, when they decided in 2004 they’d try doing the 192-mile Coast to Coast. It was the start of a love affair that saw them set off to complete an extraordinary – and possibly unique – achievement: to walk the length of the kingdom in both the longest directions: north-east to south-west (John O’Groats to Land’s End) and in summer 2016 north-west to south-east (Cape Wrath to Dover). And yet, they insist, they are nothing out of the ordinary – and anyone could, and should, follow in their bootsteps.

There are lessons for us all and our challenge too. As Maureen says: “That thing about a journey of 1000 miles starting with a single step is true, and the way I cope with it isn’t to think of all those miles, just little chunks. The idea of walking for 78 days frightened me. The idea of waIking 13 miles tomorrow, at about 2mph, doesn’t.” 

Martin concurs: "Just look at the next day and don’t be overawed by it. It’s a big country, and you only get a real sense of that on foot, but you’re walking it. And unlike other things, like skiing or running, about which people say ‘anyone one can do it’ but really it’s only because they’re good at it, with walking you really can.”

We spoke to him after last summer's epic.

What’s the state of the marital union after so many miles together?

It’s as strong as ever. There were some stressful moments on the way. Maureen is the emotional one, I’m the pragmatic one. So we get through the pressure points and come out smiling afterwards. 

How does the experience compare to previous adventures?

The most appropriate comparison is to John O’Groats to Lands End. This walk was tougher on our legs than that though, as we think we did more walking on tarmac. The weather was drier and hotter, especially the last four days when we were walking 16-17 miles in 30°C. Although the walk was 59 miles shorter, it was three days longer and the scenery was just as impressive.

What were the best and worst bits?

North-west Scotland, which has such fantastic and dramatic landscapes, and the South Downs Way, especially the Seven Sisters. We were lucky enough to have great weather as we walked there. It was great to walk or meet up with family friends along the way and also make friends from the #walk1000miles group. The worst bits were the footpaths on the Burnley Way, Shropshire Way and the Rossendale Way! The Pentland Hills were harder than expected, as we were carrying full rucksacks and were tired after walking 17 miles the previous day. We thought that once we had climbed up we were up, but realised there are five steep ups and downs!

Did you develop any cravings?

Not cravings as such, more a desire for something different to eat. We stayed
in 79 B&Bs who each wanted to give us a full English breakfast. We also ate out 79 times in the evenings, mostly in pubs with similar menus. It was difficult to get variety in food. Maureen longed for fresh fruit and veg and ‘plain home cooked food’.

How did your bodies hold up?

I held up okay in the main, but tweaked a hamstring on day 52, which was sore for a few days, but otherwise no other issues. Maureen had several days of back ache, due to osteoporosis, and had a water infection after three weeks on the road. Towards the end, in the hot weather, she had swollen heels and feet bend, not to mention sore bits where you don’t want sore bits!

And your brains?

It was a mental challenge at times, but it’s not the issue it seems to be to others. For 78 days all we had to think about was having breakfast, going for a walk, reaching our B&B, freshening up, going out for dinner and then sleeping! Nothing else to clutter our minds with for nearly three months!

What were the highlights in terms of the places you travelled through?

Scotland, especially the Kyle of Durness. The Langdales in the Lake District, Pendle Hill in Lancashire and the Malvern Hills. Winchcombe to Bourton-on-the-Water was a superb day on the Wardens Way. The South Downs Way exceeded expectations, as we’d never walked in the area before, and the Seven Sisters were magnificent. The finish at Dover Castle was memorable, thanks to Diana Turley from the group and her team at English Heritage.

Where will you definitely return to?

Definitely Scotland in May, which is always a great time of the year to visit and there’s still so much there we’ve yet to walk. As people who generally head for the hills, we were also taken by the rolling countryside of the ‘downs’ and will look to walk in the area again and visit some of the places for longer that we only had time to pass through, such as Winchester, Hastings and Rye.

And the emotional highlights for you?

For me it was day one, starting the walk after three to four years of planning, plus getting to the end of the walk after 78 consecutive days of walking and achieving our goal. We also met some fantastic folk along the way.
For Maureen it was when the phone bleeped to say another donation to our fundraising had been received and the many unexpected kindnesses we received from strangers who went out of their way to help two scruffy walkers.

Tell us what role the #walk1000miles group played in your adventure. 

It was a brilliant vehicle for keeping in touch with fellow walkers, whose words of encouragement spurred us on. Even more amazing is that several members met us to move rucksacks on to our next B&B to save us carrying items we didn’t need. Many of them spent time walking with us and it was fantastic to meet them. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and Country Walking for providing such a wonderful facility.

What have you learned?

I’ve learned to appreciate even more the natural world around us in the UK. Our countryside is unrivalled and we should treasure it. The wildflowers have been colourful, the wildlife varied and the landscape awesome. Maureen feels she is a better person for the experience – more patient and understanding.

What’s next for Team Shipley?

People have suggested we write a book, so we’ll explore that while everything is fresh in our minds. We’ve been ticking off the Wainwrights recently. We’ve done 88, so plenty more to be done. I’m interested in walking all 19 National Trails, of which we’ve fully done seven and almost finished a further three. And maybe another mega distance walk!

The moon walk & #walk1000miles: perfect partners

One epic night of togetherness and energy in aid of a good cause, the buzz of the Moon Walk is something you'll never forget. And your preparation is perfectly supported by the motivation – and your gains sustained – by the year-long challenge of #walk1000miles, as these four veterans of both events discovered.

'I WOULD NEVER HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT IT!'

NIKKI WILSON, 36, OSWESTRY

Nikki was already doing #walk1000miles when she decided to the London Moon Walk, but found the extra motivation made all the difference.

What part did #walk1000miles play in how you did in the Moon Walk?
It got me motivated! Without #walk1000miles I would never have done it.

How well do you think doing a one-off big effort event and doing a little-and-often challenge like #walk1000miles go together, and why?
It keeps you focused on a goal, you go out and walk more often and each time for a longer distance and you enjoy it more because it all counts toward walking 1000 miles. I even walked hills when training for a marathon rather than flat ground. So it was exciting. I've made great friends.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I enjoyed the event but I love walking 1000 miles. I've met great people, gained good friends that are there for me, and discovered hills, mountains and countries which are I would have never done – just drove past and never walked up. I'm so grateful for it, thank you!


'ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I HAVE EVER DONE'

KATE GROSS, 46, DORSET

Kate was already committed to do the Moon Walk in London when #walk1000miles came along and keep her motivated during training.

How well did you do compared to your expectations?
Exceeded beyond all my expectations!

What part did #walk1000miles play in how you did in the Moon Walk?
I started moonwalk training in oct 2015 then found about the #walk1000miles challenge in January 2016. Having the walk 1000 miles challenge kept me really focused on my goal for the Moon Walk and it really pushed me on getting out on the dark nights to walk when I probably would be curled up in the couch! Without it I truly don't believe I would of done the required training otherwise and I don't like to fail!

How well do you think doing a one-off big effort event and doing a little-and-often challenge like #walk1000miles go together?
They compliment each other very well. I think it's great to have something running in parallel like walk1000 miles to keep you focused, it's so easy not to train for events, and I know several people who did not train and suffered as a consequence.

What's your personal history with cancer?
I've had breast cancer twice and secondary breast cancer in my liver once, so the Moon Walk was A personal challenge for me. 26.2 miles was the furthest I have ever walked in one go and I was very daunted by it and I never thought in a million years I would be able to walk that. But with a tremendous amount of support from #walk1000miles and my determination and the training I crossed the finish line in just under 9hrs.

How attached do you feel to #walk1000miles now?
What can I say? It's one of the best things I have ever done. An amazing challenge, I have met some wonderful people, some face to face and others through the group. A group of like-minded people who all understand each others excitement of this beautiful world we live in and explore on two feet. I have done meet-ups with other challengers now which have been amazing. Most recently one took us to Colmer Hill in Dorset and as we drove around the corner and saw the hill for the first time we all at the same time went wow with excitement. I wish I could have caught that moment on camera but will stay in my mind forever!


'IT'S FUN, HEALTHY AND DE-STRESSES YOU! I COULD GO ON!'

EMMA SOUTH, 49, CHELMSFORD

Emma did her first Moonwalk in 2014, "after a silly comment at a summer holiday lunch with teaching colleagues" but discovered #walk1000miles has kept her love of walking on the grow.

How did you get into #walk1000miles?
I carried on walkiing after the event this year, bought my second copy of Country Walking (the first was when I went to do the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in April for something to read), then I won a 500 mile badge and signed up to do that. I completed 500 mid-July and decided that as I was going to carry on walking I may as well aim for 1,000 – the Facebook group seemed so supportive of both challenges, it inspires you to keep on going!

Your love of walking's really taken off!
I like a challenge and that's what the Moon Walk was, and is, and I want to improve my time next year, but also have found out about so many other big events – such as the Thames Path, Cotswolds Way and want to do them all! I'm planning to do the Coast to coast and Essex way next year (my husband has promised me that we will do the Essex way, in parts, during the week of my 50th next November!) I'm also doing the national 3 peaks, so this is all part of my regime now.

How well do you think they go together? 
Keeping walking little and often makes the big, one off challenges easier because you're already fit, so there's no quick training to fit it in. Doing the Moonwalk got me off my backside and start to do proper exercise again, but the 1000 miles gets you out and about, inspires you to see new places, even your normal environs, that you haven't seen or walked before. I won't stop: now I'm going try to top my mileage in 2017. I could go on and on! It's fun! It's healthy! It de-stresses you!


'YOU CAN OFTEN FEEL A BIT DEFLATED AFTER A ONE-OFF EVENT 

DENISE LAW, 48, SPALDING

Denise was a Moon Walk London veteran but found #walk1000miles upped her pace and her purpose ahead of 2016's event.

How did you do in this latest Moon Walk?
I did a lot of training, including power walking around Rutland Water, so I was confident I could do the distance and set a good pace. I had no problem with the distance, no blisters and was fine the next day. In fact on the night, the pace was much slower than I expected! And where we could get a pace up it wasn't always easy due to narrow paths, trees, cars and so on.

How has #walk1000miles helped?
Every mile suddenly counted so it kept me motivated. Knowing I had 45 minutes pushed me to walk at least 3 miles so it contributed to improving my pace as well as clocking up the miles! I got to 1000 miles in June. I think you can often feel a bit deflated after a one-off event as you put so much effort in and then its over. 

What was the best thing? 
The support from other challengers in the Facebook group! Such a supportive bunch of people and a great way to get in touch with other people who were also doing the Moon Walk too!