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Getting in Shape

Need Some Good Vibes

So I started running about four weeks ago, for the first time in a year and a half. I'm training for a half, and I ran a race last weekend (4 miles, on a mountain, in 14 degree weather). I even age placed!
But then I stepped on the scale this week and I weigh more than I have ever weighed in my life. For two days in a row.
Listen, I'm not fat. I'm 5'3" and for most of my adult life I have weighed between 115-120, which went up to 120-125 after I got into professional school. I weighed 128. This may not seem like a big deal- unless it's you. I don't have the healthiest eating habits on the planet (if there is something sweet in my house or at my work place, I will eat it like the Cookie Monster). I guess I am just demoralized by the fact that I am running 3x/week (with the intention to run, not to lose weight) and I am GAINING weight.
I am sure these blahs will go away. I've had some body insecurity issues before. I've never "loved my body" but it's always, you know, been me. Maybe I'm just getting old and realizing I can't eat two slices of cake in a normal day and expect to be healthy. BUT I FUCKING LOVE CAKE. And I stress eat. And I have a hella stressful job, so I just.... Basically... Snack all day. And then clients bring us cupcakes. And I eat like, three.
Now I'm just afraid I'm going to start running slow because I'm gaining weight. *sad*

Re: Need Some Good Vibes

  • amelishaamelisha Canadian Texas member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    I mean this in the kindest way possible, but you can't outrun your diet. 

    If you're eating more calories than you burn in a day, you are going to gain weight. It doesn't matter if you're eating 1800 and burning 1500 or if you're eating 3200 and burning 2500, you still can't lose weight from exercise alone (unless that exercise is creating a calorie deficit that wasn't there before.)

    You don't necessarily have to count calories (although that's the most effective approach because you can really quantify your calories in/calories out that way and control your loss easily), but you do have to start taking in fewer calories than you burn. For some people, all it takes is eliminating sugary drinks and cream in your coffee. For some, that's limiting sweets and snacks. No matter what choices you make with your diet, the only thing that will ultimately cause you to lose weight is burning more calories than you eat (but it's your choice how you get there.)

    I hear you. Gaining weight is frustrating and stress eating is a hard habit to break. However, especially as we age and our metabolisms slow a bit, sometimes the reality is that you can't eat everything you want if weight loss (or even maintenance) is the goal.

    I've been in your position, at 5'4" I was always 110-120 until I got into my twenties and my lifestyle changed and suddenly I was 140 and bigger than I'd ever been, and no one seemed to think it was an issue because I was "still healthy." But I didn't like the way I looked and I had to buckle down and really change my eating habits, because all the exercise in the world wasn't helping because I was eating and drinking too many calories. I lost almost 30 pounds a couple years ago and I'm not letting it come back on. Unfortunately, at my size, weight, and activity level it means I have to watch my calories constantly because my fairly small body just doesn't burn that many unless I'm very active. It's kind of annoying and I don't love having to figure out if I have an extra 500 calories in my diet that day for a cupcake every time I want one, but the alternative is outgrowing all my pants again and I'm not going back.

    I'm sorry for the novel and I don't mean for this to sound tough, but I wish someone had said it to me when I first started to gain a bit of weight and had so many reasons to keep grabbing takeout after work and drinking with my roommates after a long shift. So I'm saying it.

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  • kat1114kat1114 member
    500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer Name Dropper
    edited January 2015
    I'd take a look at your carb intake. People have a tendency to think that they need to eat huge amounts of carbs when working out, but your body really doesn't need the excess carb intake. 

    I did a half a few years ago, and I really didn't lose any weight. Looking back, I was eating a shit ton of carbs because I rationalized that since I was a runner, I needed all the bread and pasta.

    There's also been some studies that suggest chronic cardio can actually cause you to gain weight (link).

    I know it's hard to not get focused on the number on the scale, but as long as you are feeling healthy and happy, that should be the important thing.

  • Wegl13Wegl13 member
    250 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited January 2015
    Appreciate the input! Counting calories is not going to be sustainable for me long term, I don't feel like (past experience). I think part of the way to have sustaining good health changes is for it to be something that is a life change, as opposed to a "diet," does that seem right? In my mind counting calories (my fitness pal) feels too diety to me, too fidgety to work with on a day to day basis. I'm trying (slowly) to change to healthier choices, together with my husband: we gave up soda because it made us crave more soda, and we've cut back on beer because it makes us not want to do anything at night (we would come home, have a beer with dinner, and then pass out on the couch).
    The snacks are ever so much harder for me, because they are THERE, and I'm HUNGRY. My mom made a pound cake for Christmas and the leftovers are all individually sliced in my freezer- you know, it's just there, so I eat it.
    I get in some ways I need to realize that I'm not 19 anymore and I can't eat whatever without getting diabetes. I think the thing that is the most demoralizing is that six months ago, I was staying at 124-126 while drinking a six pack a week, eating god knows what, and not exercising. Today I'm running three times a week, not drinking, cooking every meal, and gaining weight. I wasn't getting into running for the weight loss: I just was finally in a place where I COULD run again (because my new job has the flexibility to give me a work-life balance), and I enjoy the challenge of running. But I didn't expect to get fat doing it.
    ETA @amelisha‌ did you feel like you were able to have a productive conversation with your doctor about your concerns about your weight gain (if you talked to your doctor about it)?
  • amelishaamelisha Canadian Texas member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited January 2015
    Wegl13 said:
    Appreciate the input! Counting calories is not going to be sustainable for me long term, I don't feel like (past experience). I think part of the way to have sustaining good health changes is for it to be something that is a life change, as opposed to a "diet," does that seem right? In my mind counting calories (my fitness pal) feels too diety to me, too fidgety to work with on a day to day basis. I'm trying (slowly) to change to healthier choices, together with my husband: we gave up soda because it made us crave more soda, and we've cut back on beer because it makes us not want to do anything at night (we would come home, have a beer with dinner, and then pass out on the couch).
    The snacks are ever so much harder for me, because they are THERE, and I'm HUNGRY. My mom made a pound cake for Christmas and the leftovers are all individually sliced in my freezer- you know, it's just there, so I eat it.
    I get in some ways I need to realize that I'm not 19 anymore and I can't eat whatever without getting diabetes. I think the thing that is the most demoralizing is that six months ago, I was staying at 124-126 while drinking a six pack a week, eating god knows what, and not exercising. Today I'm running three times a week, not drinking, cooking every meal, and gaining weight. I wasn't getting into running for the weight loss: I just was finally in a place where I COULD run again (because my new job has the flexibility to give me a work-life balance), and I enjoy the challenge of running. But I didn't expect to get fat doing it.
    ETA @amelisha‌ did you feel like you were able to have a productive conversation with your doctor about your concerns about your weight gain (if you talked to your doctor about it)?
    I didn't talk to a doctor about it. I knew it was due to my diet and lifestyle, not an underlying health condition, so I didn't see the reason to approach her about it (especially as I was still at a normal weight for my height and not in the "overweight" category.) There really wasn't anything she could have told me other than "you need to quit using your bartending job as a reason to eat whatever you want and stop drinking so many lattes and so much wine." I wasn't deluding myself into thinking I could blame my body when my last trip to the cookie jar was sitting beside me, you know?

    You don't have to count calories necessarily, as I mentioned originally, but you do need to understand that it is because you're eating more calories than your body needs in a day that you are gaining weight. You can totally lose or maintain your weight without counting, but that's guesswork and it's a lot tougher to know if you're on the right track. The reason I stress the idea of calorie counting is because if you do it accurately it works, period. However, lots of people achieve the goal (consuming fewer calories than they burn) without ever counting just by changing their diet (the "lifestyle change" thing.) 

    But you have to make enough changes that you create a calorie deficit, so giving up one beer a day isn't going to cut it, you know? The reason people have such good results on stuff like "clean eating" or Paleo or whatever isn't magic, it's because the foods they're now eating are ultimately lower in calories than the ones they had before. It's a lot harder to eat 2000 calories of lean meat and vegetables than it is 2000 calories of sugar and white bread, you know what I mean? 

    You can do whatever you want and I am not meaning this to be a lecture...I'm just hoping that you understand that not being willing to make serious changes is going to mean you are going to continue to be frustrated. Our metabolisms change as we age, our bodies store and process energy differently, and if we don't adapt, we do gain weight. Everyone's body does it a little differently but ultimately it happens to everyone. Some people appetites naturally decrease in sync with that slowdown, but a lot of people's don't, and then you have to pay more attention than you used to.

    As for why you are now gaining...you started a new job, you started running, that's a good thing, yes. But the one bad thing about running is that steady-state long cardio like that increases your appetite like crazy, so unless you are really aware of your diet your intake can increase quite a bit without you even realizing it. You might think you were consuming more before, but I'm guessing that's not actually the case because I know that's super common in runners. We think "oh, I ran 5K today, I can have some pasta," but then it ends up being 1000 calories worth of pasta and we don't have a clue.

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  • ohmrs2014ohmrs2014 Dirty Jerz mod
    Moderator 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
    Just remember that you can gain some weight when putting on muscle.  I know that fat weighs more than muscle, but you still gain with it.
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