Longish-Term Plans

A little over 4 years ago I started running...with the primary intent to use it as a means to drop my last 10 or so pounds. Well, now I sit here with an added 10 on top of the original. NOT the plan. I have found the hard way that running only works for weight loss for those who do not find a great increase in appetite. Some people are lucky and find that running actually decreases their appetite. I am not one of the fortunate few.

I have the opposite problem. Running turns me into a ravenous eating machine. I don't know if it sets-off reactive hypoglycemic symptoms, or what. Though I am suspicious that much of my issue is related to the increased need for carbs to support aerobic endurance workouts. On a few occasions I have experimented with reducing my net carb intake, since a low-carb diet was how I originally dropped 60#s (and regained 20 when I got lax about my eating and started eating overly-processed crap, again). This did not end well. I can remember one particular 4-5 mile run that left me walking slowly for the last mile. I bonked. Hard. I hit the wall that many marathoners hit. The wall is all about glycogen depletion. One does not have to run beyond the 20 mile marker to experience this. Cutting back the carbs can bring on the wall MUCH earlier. It's a strange sensation and not one I have actually experienced during a marathon. In those cases what stopped me in my tracks were killer calf cramps.

So, I'm obviously a slow-learner. But I still want to be at my goal weight. Instead of struggling with this BMI that is just over 25 (technically overweight), I want to get down 20#s to 125 and a BMI of about 22--right smack dab in the middle of "healthy" for my height and build.

The solution...cut back on the running and the carbs to support it, and re-implement weight training and a lower-carb, higher protein diet (probably something on the order of South Beach. Lower glycemic carbohydrate sources). More muscle mass will increase my metabolism and not require nearly the level of carbohydrates. I'm also going to increase the cycling as the Summer goes on. I feel like I do better on the bike when a little hungry, especially since I'm not doing a ton of performance-oriented workouts, but more slower endurance stuff.

I won't really be able to get moving on this plan until early July, since I am already committed to a 25k in early May and a trail relay in Mid-June (ie I still need to do a lot of running in the next couple of months for those events). In late June we're going out-of-state for DH's class reunion, so I'm targeting July 1 as the start date for my new fitness/diet plan.

Right now I'm tentatively planning to run 15-20 miles/week until school starts back up in Sept. and I start training for the Las Vegas Half Marathon. I'll probably do that with 3 runs...perhaps 4, 6, and 8 miles. On the bike I'll likely target something in the range of 80-100 miles/week over the course of 3 rides. For the weight-training I will plan to do 2 45-60 minute upper-body (running and biking take care of the rest) Cathe Friedrich workouts incorporating free weights and core work. I just pray it's not a miserably hot Summer, as we don't have central air and doing weight workouts indoors can be ghastly when it's like an oven in the living room.

Since my metabolism seems to adapt quickly to repetition, I'm hoping that throwing variety at it will kick it into gear, too. I'm also going to have my PCP check my thyroid function again, as well. I last had it checked 2-3 years ago and all that was measured was the general TSH levels, which can appear normal (and mine were bordering on low even then, from what a few knowledgeable people suggested to me), even if free t3 and t4 levels are low. I'm suspicious about the possibility of being hypo, since I have more than a few symptoms and risk factors, like a pre-existing auto-immune disorder and family members who are treated for the disorder.

I'm just hoping that I can find something to get this weight off for good. I am pretty good at maintaining, but am truly starting to feel like this is a hopeless battle. I am currently the thinnest woman in my family. Obesity runs rampant. I feel like my weight has ruled my very existence since adulthood. By about age 19 I really started to struggle. And the weight slows me down. It's frustrating to know that there are people who train erratically and a fraction as much as I do, but have consistently faster PRs.

I know the competition should really be only with myself, but I know I could do so much better if I weren't hauling an additional 20#s around. The general rule of thumb on weight is that all other things being equal, a person can expect to run 3 seconds faster/mile for every pound lost. That's a full minute/mile for me. That's 13 minutes off of a half-marathon performance. That would put me WELL under 2 hours, since I am already just barely over that mark.

I can't make my asthma just go away. The pounds should be something I can control. Should. Even on a bad asthma day I'd like to be able to finish closer to the front of the pack, instead of straggling at the back of the mid-pack


  1. Hey zoomie, i wish you good fortune on your new plan - I've also been struggling with the poundage, and am seriously nervous of picking running back up again (for fear of damaging myself and getting smacked right back into PT). Here's to healthy portion sizes and a "perfect" BMI!

  2. I totally get that. I had right knee issues 2 years ago and I STILL live in paranoia of that crap returning. Once a person has an injury it sorta hangs out there taunting.

    Let's get these pounds GONE!

  3. I am exactly the same way. When I started running three years ago, I gained 25# for the exact same reasons you mentioned. Running makes me HUNGRY. Other forms of exercise don't so much - kickboxing, moderate biking, hiking, etc.

    I haven't ran farther than a 5K for over a year because of a combination of a hamstring and hip injury - probably caused by the extra weight!

    I finally had to make a choice, so I'm doing south beach right now (down 5 pounds in 10 days - woot!) I'm not going to do serious running until I'm at (or near) goal.

    I am not able to wrap my brain around heavy exercise and weight loss eating plans simultaneously. At least I've always attributed it to a lack of will power, but there might be a physiological component to it too. Who knows. For me, the only way to lose weight is to reduce carb (especially sugar) intake and I crave those things when I run regularly.

    This is a long winded way of saying that I'm in the same boat. But my end of the boat is lower because I have more weight to lose than you! (ha!)

    Good luck!!

  4. Ha! It's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who can't seem to lose while doing just ONE thing or eating carby stuff.

    South Beach looks pretty cool. When I was doing Atkins I recall a lot of people on South Beach. I think eating all those whole foods is good stuff for weight loss and for overall health.

  5. Have you read Matt Fitzgerald's book "Racing Weight"? It's a pretty good read with lots of helpful info on the issue of weight and working out.

  6. I just looked at that on Amazon...looks like it gets very good reviews. I'm going to add that to my next order. Thanks for the recommendation!