I realize that posting an “oh my gosh, I gained 1 pound” last Friday may have been a bit over an over-reaction. But really, you guys, I thought I had been working my ass off at working out, tracking my calories, drinking my 100oz of water/day and generally living a healthy, active lifestyle.
Not only did gaining 1 pound seem like a back-track of my weight-loss goals (remember, I am still losing – not maintaining), it brought up much bigger questions about losing weight while running. In the few blogs I’ve posted about my weight-loss goals working in beautiful harmony with my running goals, it seems like you, my awesome and knowledgeable readers, have been quick to point out that I may NOT lose weight while training for these half-marathons, and full marathon in October.
I want to lose between 40-50 pounds. Losing nothing? Not an option.
I took to The Internets and researched “Can you lose weight while training for a marathon?” And although Google posted 1.16 million pages, I read a few really interesting sites -
This article by Kim Mueller (MS/RD), published on Competitor.com talks about the science of weight-loss and how your body uses different types of calories – carbohydrates and protein, before and after a run. She also gives a formula for calories burned during running, which is accurate compared to my own experiences with heart-rate training and tracking calories burned.
This forum on Calorie Count asks the question about losing 20 pounds while training for a marathon (with the goal of Boston-Qualifying). Truthfully, the answers are discouraging. Other runners saying, “look – you can’t have both. You can’t properly fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to sustain long runs, and expect to restrict your calories enough to lose weight. It just doesn’t work that way.”
I think that’s going to be my biggest struggle – how do I fuel my body in a way that helps me reach my (running) goals, but also restrict my calories in a way that helps me reach my (weight loss) goals? I need to be smarter about this entire process.
This article from Runner’s World, “The Runner’s Diet” specifically addresses how to lose weight without sacrificing energy or performance by eating the right foods at the right times. The article recommends a 50-25-50 eating plan – 50% of calories from (fiber-rich) carbohydrates, 25% from protein and 25% from fat. Those totals are not for every food eaten, but for the day’s total food make-up.
After reading the information posted from “The Runner’s Diet” article online, I wanted to read the entire book. I headed to my local bookstore and bought the book lastnight -
I want to talk more about “The Runner’s Diet” in an upcoming post, but if you have an opportunity to spend a few minutes, please click over and read the article; I’d love some feedback on the specific recommendations. Besides “The Runner’s Diet”, other general information and suggestions I’ve recently heard regarding losing weight while training for a marathon include….
Training for a marathon increases muscle mass. Muscle weighs more than fat, so it’s natural to change your body’s physique and still gain muscle weight. (To that I say, but I should be LOSING fat. I don’t think I’ll be losing 40 pounds of fat but gaining 40 pounds of muscle.) To help track with muscle mass and the way my body is changing, I’ll be taking weekly measurements and pictures (thanks, Jay!) to see how my body is changing, week by week. Again, I still expect to lose more fat than I expect to gain muscle.
Glycogen storage can change metabolism and energy storage. The “taper” weeks leading up to a big race are designed to help your body store as much glycogen (energy) as possible, That extra sugar and glycogen can attribute to a small weight-gain. Key word: SMALL. I’m talking 1-2 pounds. Remember, I am still trying to actively lose between 40-50 pounds. Same thing with fluid retention. As I drink more water, my body processes at least 100 oz of water/day…. but not 40 pounds worth of water-weight.
What about ”runger” – increased hunger because of running? Totally a real thing. As soon as I started running 4 times/week, I noticed a significant increase in my appetite. I was hungry ALL THE TIME. And it seemed like no amount of food was “satisfying”. That’s why I can’t wait to read “The Runner’s Diet” – I want to find out what types of foods to eat and when to eat them. I want to listen to my body and provide adequate fuel without compromising my weight-loss goals. How “hungry” is “too hungry”? When does stopping eating to accelerate weight-loss cause more harm than good during training?
I’m so thankful for resources – namely, experienced runners and experts I can look to for help and information on this journey. I’ve been using other cues to help with motivation, training and losing weight and I can’t wait to share more of those, too!
Have you ever been discouraged by the “unknowns” during your weight-loss or training journey?