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Runners Can Eat Anything They Want, Right?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Saturday, March 02, 2013
in Weight Loss

Today is the eighth update of my goal to to return to race weight by April 13th. I am in a "sort of" competition with my brother-in-law Mike to reach our mutual goal of 169 pounds. See my first blog for details on where we started. I think you will see we both tackle weight loss in a completely different way. The goal of this series of posts is to show how a couple of average guys get back to their goal race weight.



  I have learned over the years that unfortunately just because you exercise a lot doesn't mean you can eat anything you want. Does exercise allow you to take certain liberties with food and drink? Absolutely...I am the perfect example of someone who if they stopped exercising would immediately gain 20 lbs. The thing about exercise is that burning a ton of calories makes you hungry. In addition in order to keep up a big exercise schedule you need to continuously fuel your body to get it done. What happens (at least with me) is that since you are hungry all of the time you inevitably end up eating more than you are burning.

I have several examples over the years where I have trained for a marathon and ended up gaining weight. The most frustrating part is that after all of the training I ended up running the marathon at my heaviest weight of the season.

In 2010 I started training for the Disney Marathon in August and weighed 174. Over the next few months I had some great training, never missed a workout, and ended up weighing 185 on race day. Ouch! I ran an average of 160 miles a month September-December and gained 11 pounds! How does this happen? I am not a doctor but I truly believe there are a couple of factors.

1) If you eat more than you burn you will gain weight. It doesn't matter if you burn 5000 calories a day. If you eat 6000 then you will not lose weight.

2) I think after running for almost 25 years my body is so used to the exercise of running it just doesn't take many calories to get it done. It is almost like I don't burn any calories when I run. That doesn't mean I am just means I have to find other ways to lose weight.

My Results 

Since our last update I have not lost any weight. The goods news is that I didn't gain any weight. I could definitely try harder in the eating/drinking department but I am averaging about 26 miles a week of running and cycling for 30-60 minutes a week which I thought would be enough to continue losing. The beat goes on....6 weeks to's not easy.

 Starting weight: 189   Mar 1st weigh-in: 182   YTD loss (2 months): 7 lbs

Mike's Results

Two Months...Melancholy success. Losing weight in the winter in New England is exhausting.  Everything about it is terrible. Cold dark mornings, snowy freezing evenings, snow covered roads and sidewalks, freezing buildings, your body just craving the warmth the extra 5 pounds brings. Weight loss is possible though, with hard work, perseverance, and a plan. With April right around the corner, it is now possible to see the clearing through the weeds.

Exercise season is right around the corner (the time when normal people decide to lose weight).  I think the work Dave and I have done over the past two months puts us in a good position for running, which was the goal all along.  Any weight loss is the right direction in these months and even staying the same weight could be considered progress. So the last two weeks I really only practiced yoga and mostly plateaued with my weight loss. With only one week until spring ahead, I think I should be more focused on the positive direction of my success, but winter is long in Massachusetts. Over 20 pounds in two months and I am tired. I am looking forward to the renewed energy running outside brings. Time to lace up and start running, only six weeks until my first 5k.

 Starting weight: 192.5   Mar 1st weigh-in: 172.4   YTD loss (2 months): 20.1 lbs


Next update March 16th!

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