Monday, October 10, 2011

running makes me fat

It should be just the opposite, right?  Logging all these miles, burning so many calories, should count for something. 

Yet here I sit at work, wishing I were wearing elastic-waisted pants because the waist of my slacks is tight and making my muffin top even worse.  I've run at least 15 miles each week for the last month or more.  I am ALWAYS trying to watch what I eat, count calories, count points, eat clean and the list goes on.

At some point each day though, I derail.  I give in to cravings.  To stress eating.  To grabbing a piece of candy or other treat from someone's office.  To sharing a bowl of ice cream with my husband who could eat it every night and not gain extra weight (mostly because he eats very little during the day!).  There is always a holiday, a birthday, a celebration...something to be celebrated.  And who can turn down cupcakes?

For some reason, running makes it worse.  It's a combination of things.  I feel like I am burning more calories, so a little extra here or there won't make a difference.  I AM burning calories, which makes me more hungry at times and if I don't choose my food wisely I end up being still hungry, more hungry, and eating more junk.

I know that this is a common problem.  I've read other bloggers talk about it, I've read articles about it.  Runners feel like they have more free reign on food.  And one day, maybe I can, but not right now.

Weight has been a lifelong struggle for me.  I am a sugar-a-holic and a stress eater.  I may or may not have told my daughter last night that she couldn't have a piece of the chocolate that I was eating because "mommy doesn't drink wine, but she needs SOMETHING right now."  Not so proud of that moment.  I can never quite kick my Diet Coke habit--and I know there are multiple articles about artificial sweeteners causing you to eat more and gain weight because it tricks your brain.

I was looking at some photos last night from my half marathon in November 2010, where I PR'd with a 2:09--a pretty decent time if I do say so myself.  (I won't mention that the top male runners in the recent Chicago Marathon ran 26.2 in that time, or that the top female runners finished just several minutes after that).  My eyes were drawn to my midsection.  The spandex shorts I'd run in aren't as forgiving as my new Nike Tempo's and I'm thick in the middle.  I wonder why my time would have been if I hadn't been carrying those last extra pounds.

I'm not fat.  I realize that.  I am on the upper range of "normal" on the BMI chart for my height.  But I know I can do better.  I can feel better.  I can run faster.  I hate that I'm a girl, who is so ruled by how she feels about her body.  I wish I were a guy who was okay with some extra lbs in the middle.

So what am I going to do about it?  The same stuff I've been trying I suppose.  It needs to be a lifestyle, a habit--not just a diet.  Running is such a mind game and I need to apply my mental strength to my eating habits as well.  For me, preparation and grocery shopping for myself is key also.  It's when I don't know what to bring to work, when the only dinner options are carb-heavy, that I flounder.  I need to have cut up veggies in the fridge at all times.

I have to want this.  I have to want this as much as I want to finish my training runs.  I have to want this as much as I want to run 26.2.

I'll keep you posted...

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