Walking Strong: Dale Rule's Weight Loss Story
Is walking an effective workout? Dale Rule of Camas, Wash., answered that question when he walked off 140 pounds in one year.
"I weighed 363 pounds in November 2009," recalled Dale, who has battled weight his entire life. "It was terrifying to see that number, and I told my wife that something had to happen after New Year's – as a resolution. Walking became my gateway to fitness. I knew I could walk – even on my bad days."
Dale's first walk in February 2010 wasn't easy – taking 41 minutes to walk a mile. But with each day, he found new inspiration. Using a fitness and calorie tracker, Dale began seeing his success – pounds lost on the scale and calories burned through his fitness tracker.
"After a month, I realized that I was going to take every pound off by walking," Dale explained. "There were probably easier ways to lose the weight, but I walked 4-5 hours a day."
Dale has walked an average of eight miles per day for the last 3.5 years to stay active and maintain his weight. His workout regime also includes a stationary bike and elliptical to boost his training – especially in preparation for his upcoming 24-hour walk.
He also tracks his meals each day. Dale focuses on eating 6-7 smaller meals each day and cutting out high-calorie foods, like the fries and hamburgers that used to quickly fill up his daily meal allowance.
"I'm human and I have my days. Four years into it, I'm still trying to eliminate 20 years of bad habits," he explains.
In his roles as a high school football coach and restaurant manager, Dale remains a source of inspiration to his family, employees and students. But that role is also what inspires him. "On the days that I don't want to walk, I really have to draw from the memory of the people counting on me."
What's more, Dale's journey inspired him to find a way to give back. He founded his nonprofit, Everyone Walk, in August 2012. The organization aims to provide free, safe and accessible workout facilities in cities across the United States. "It's a rich person, it's a poor person, it's an in-between person. [Obesity] is the greatest epidemic that we have faced."
Since 2011, Dale has hosted an annual 24-hour walk to benefit his nonprofit and raise awareness for his cause. This year's walk will take place from Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. to Sept. 28 at 9 a.m., at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas, Wash.
What advice would Dale offer to someone just starting his or her own weight-loss journey?
"Look in the mirror and realize how precious the prize is. You're never going to lose weight for someone else," he says. "You are the ultimate prize. You."
Those interested in supporting Dale's coming 24-hour walk can pledge to donate through the Everyone Walk website.