When I was a zookeeper, I stayed in pretty damn good shape. For the most part. Especially when I created ZooFit, but zookeeping is a very active profession, so we move a lot. We carry heavy stuff a lot. We run from one exhibit to another. A lot.

In the three years since I left zookeeping, I slowly (sloth’s pace) gained my weight back. There are a plethora of explanations. One is my knees got worse and I haven’t been able to maintain high intensity or high impact without hurting myself. But also because I wasn’t moving around as much as I used to.

Now, I’m back in the work force, even if temporarily for the summer, and I’m back outdoors for the summer. Working as a park aide keeps me going all day long. There are a lot of chores to be done. Today I cleaned up a lot of graffiti in the old World War II battery at Fort Ebey.

Side note on graffiti- I think I may at one time thought graffiti was cool, but that was so long ago, and probably very brief. Graffiti isn’t generally cool. Some graffiti can be quite beautiful in a urban setting, I guess. But in a historic site? Or in the woods? In nature? No. Not cool. Yesterday I cleaned up graffiti on a toilet. It was a swastika, and the juvenile who put the graffiti there actually drew penises inside the swastika. I couldn’t help but laugh. Not that graffiti was funny, but just at the sheer childishness of it. Really? A penis swastika? Really?

Anyways, back to regularly scheduled program. I stay pretty active. I walk a lot. I’m cleaning a lot, with scrubbing, mopping, and sweeping. I do a lot of yard work.

I’m beginning to notice my weight ever so slowly going steadily down.  Which has a lot to do with getting outside and getting a job where I am active all day.

There are other factors which are helping. I only eat the food I bring with me for lunch or dinner, because there are no other places to eat in the park. I am not boredom eating because I’m at home with nothing better to do. I am drinking a helluva lot more water.

But the job has kept me active. Even when I’m not busy going here and there, I create ways to get more of a workout while on the job. I park further away from my target destination and walk where I want to go. For instance, if I am cleaning a picnic shelter at the beach area, I park down the hill and walk up the hill. If I’m closing gates, I park in between the two main gates and walk the distance. I ride my bike up to do the campground walk-through.

And today, I did a short 20 minute power hike on one of the trails through the park. I hope by the end of my tenure here, I will have explored all the trails and be able to give good feedback for what trails people can try while they are visiting. I am also trying to make mental notes on which trails need weed-eating.

There are down times to my routine. I help out in the office from time to time. During those times, I am listening to a book, doing some minor writing, or planning out my day.

I’ve only been working for two weeks, but my weight is down another five pounds since I started. Staying busy, keeping my mind engaged, enriched, and being in a happy nature spot is good for my soul, but apparently, it’s also great for the waistline.

How does your sacred space outdoors help you?