David’s “Walking Lunches”

I want to tell you about a fellow named David, a retired educator and part-time tutor of mathematics who works in the Math Learning Center, a place just down the hall from the Writing Assistance Center, the place I manage and often mention in blogs I write for Wise & Shine.

David is one of the most relentlessly positive people a person is ever likely to meet.  He worked in public education in Texas for decades—this automatically makes him a total badass—and yet he never committed suicide or developed any sort of obvious neuroses.  That he lived such a life and yet remained apparently unscathed is testimony to what sort of dude he is.

Having said all that, I will admit that he’s eccentric.  That’s totally fine though.  Heck, all the really cool people have at least of touch of the weirdness about them.  Being odd and totally authentic are the opposite of being bad things.  I’m rarely attracted to people who others like to refer to as “normal.”

I’ve been trying to figure out how old he is for a long time.  Given what I know about his career and life, I’d guess that he’s anywhere from seventy-five to eighty-five years old.  He once told me that he retired, spent a few years at home, and then decided that he wanted to work again which is how he ended up as a tutor at the college.

David is also lean as hell.  He has the body of marathoner.  He’s of average height but probably weighs about 130 pounds, if that.  And when he walks, he moves about like a fellow in his mid-thirties.

The other day, when we weren’t getting many students coming in for help, I walked down the hallway to spend a few minutes chatting with David.  We started talking about walking and exercise, and I heard his entire philosophy about how he maintains his shape and fitness.  He then told me something I’d never heard of before.  He shared an interesting life hack with me that I’ve decided to try myself and share with you.

David does what he calls “walking lunches” while he’s at work.  Then, in the evenings, after he’s gone home for the day, he does “walking dinners.”

His walking lunches—I’ll be trying one today, in a couple of hours—work like this.  He brings a sandwich or two to work, and during his lunch break, he eats his meal while he’s walking around and exploring the campus. 

He explains that this forces him to eat small quantities because a person can’t carry a large bundle of food while he’s walking.  Plus, he feels like his body becomes very efficient during such a meal.  He burns the calories at the moment he’s taking them in.

Another reason I’m writing about David is that I love the way he embraces the unconventional.  We’ve long thought that meals have to take place in a certain way at certain times and in an appropriate setting.  We’ve even got special places (cafeterias, restaurants, and dining rooms) where meals are served and consumed.  David’s walking lunches upend all that.  When I asked him to share his thoughts about eating next to his computer, he became quite animated.  Under no circumstances would he ever eat a meal while looking at a screen of any type.  After all, the best way to consume food is in nature where one’s senses, including the sense of taste, are most alive and receptive to stimuli. 

David has an almost spiritual feeling about his body moving through space.  He thinks movement encourages awareness and keeps the senses sharp and engaged.  Furthermore, food tastes more delicious when the body is most awake.

So much of what we do and how we do it is rooted in habit.  John Irving, one of my favorite writers, has said that “Good habits are worth being fanatical about.”  But what about bad habits or habits we never critically consider?  David would likely say look at them.  If they pass muster, keep them.  If they don’t, find the nearest trashcan. 


I just finished my first walking lunch and it felt great.  Normally, I would eschew multi-tasking, but eating and walking make nice partners.  In fact, the walking made the eating more enjoyable and the eating made the walking nicer.  That’s a win-win where I come from.

36 thoughts on “David’s “Walking Lunches”

    1. It is good. The modern professional lives such a sedentary life. I really like the idea because it challenges our assumptions about what meals can/should look like. I love outside-the-box thinking.

    1. It’s such a great idea because you get your exercise done at work and you end up eating less and not letting the food just sit in your stomach. David has so many good ideas. I plan to become closer friends with him to find out all his secrets.

    1. I love being around people who have looked critically and creatively at things we take for granted. There are so many clever ways to live life and solve vexing problems. Thanks, Wynne.

  1. What an inspiring way of thinking, ‘ David thinks movement encourages awareness and keeps the senses sharp and engaged. Furthermore, food tastes more delicious when the body is most awake.’

  2. That’s a really interesting idea! I may give it a try but as someone who can’t drink and walk at the same time, I may have some trouble 😁 I totally agree with David’s ideas on being in nature, and moving the body. Same goes for eating at the computer, although I confess, I read this post while eating a sandwich 😳

    1. Todd, I’ve got good news for you. Eating a sandwich in front of the computer doesn’t make you a bad person! Ha! I hope you have a nice weekend–heck, you’re retired; you have weekends all the time.

  3. I loved this, Troy. Thank you for sharing it with us. David sounds like a very interesting man, and so–definitely–are you! I really liked the followign that you shared about habits: “If they pass muster, keep them. If they don’t, find the nearest trashcan.” To break free, we must put Awareness to work, or the mind will run us like slaves. We are free to choose–as long as we know it!
    I’ll be looking forward to your next post!

      1. You’re welcome, Troy. I love the content that you share with us. Thank you very much for your compliment. 🙏

  4. David sounds like an awesome guy! And, eating while walking….great idea! Last spring semester, I did try to walk at least 10 minutes of lunch around the building or outside. But that’s fallen to the wayside this fall with the “must do list” that can’t get done while actually teaching lol Thanks for sharing this!

    1. I sometimes think we need to take our “must do lists” and put them into the deepest recesses of the darkest drawers. Most “must do” items are really not that important after all when it comes right down to it. I recently heard a wise person say that the vast majority of things take care of themselves if we just ignore them. Thanks for the comment.

  5. I agree with others who’ve shared that David sounds like a great guy…and like you, Troy, I gravitate to people who are different…almost always learning that they have secrets to share! 😉
    David’s wisdom about moving more and the efficiency of eating while moving? So smart…but I might be a little like Todd who mentioned he can’t drink and walk at the same time. Me, too — conjures up the ‘walk and chew gum’ thought…which describes me perfectly…I’m so lacking in coordination. If someone can come with me on my walk — you know, a kind companion capable of bestowing me with a quick Heimlich maneuver, that would be awesome. I’ll bring the sandwiches. 😉

    1. In my case, I’ve always been drawn to people who are a bit “different” because I’m a bit different too–we belong to the same tribe. When I was a kid, we didn’t know anything at all about the Heimlich. We would mostly just give a good hard whack to the back of anyone who was choking. What sort of sandwiches?

      1. Troy…you are totally cracking me up. Yup – I’ll be part of your tribe…and I’ll let you decide what kind of sandwich you’d like. Me? I’m partial to a good PB & J, on whole wheat, but I’ve been known to make a great club sandwich and a mean ham on rye. You tell me and I’ll pop right over. And LOL, yes! “Heimlich” whatever — a good whack on the back is all that’s required. Thanks for the Monday chuckle. 😉

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    1. I’ve been doing walking lunches for about two weeks now and I no longer have that bloated feeling after lunch that I used to have. Plus, many frequent out of doors types will tell you that food just tastes better when you’re eating outside. My walking lunches certainly seems to support that contention. Like I said, it feels like a win-win. The more I read about the toll that sitting in front of a computer takes on the body, the more determined I am to critically reexamine the way I consume food during my workday. Thanks, David.

  7. If ever multi-tasking was good idea, this is it. In fact, I think it’s a brilliant one. And it sort of makes you wonder what other traditional ways of thinking might be re-explored!

    A very enjoyable post, Troy – thank you for sharing it!

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