March 21, 2013

Managing My Weight: 5 Tricks

Like it or not, your weight has a lot to do with your health. And even more to do with your running. If you are overweight, you run slower, put more stress on your body and ultimately are more prone to injury.

What constitutes being an overweight runner? I believe the answer to this is directly tied to your objectives. For example, do you want to run just to be healthy? To be competitive in your age group? To achieve a personal best? 

If you're running just to be healthy, is suggest reviewing the BMI calculations. But if you're running to achieve more than just health, you need to be more precise. My experience (which, of course, can and will differ from others') when it comes to my ideal running weight is that I need to be as close to the weight I was when I was 18 years old, or when I graduated from high school. Yes, a long time ago. For me that number is around 160 lbs. I have found that I'm usually in my best shape when I'm within 3% to 5% of that number.

Getting there and staying there is another story. Over the years I've learned to a few tricks that have helped. Do I get off track? Of course. When this happens I have to rely on these tricks more than usual. Here's a sampling of these in no particular order: 

1. Don't eat breakfast. "What??! That's blasphemy," yelled the hoards. Yes, I've read all the books, magazines and listened to all the seminars. Breakfast is the most important meal! I know. I get it. However, this is why I put "my" in italics above. It works for me. Why? maybe because I'm usually not hungry in the morning. Maybe its because most of my training is in the evenings during the week. Maybe its because I don't want to interrupt the caffeine induced fat burning zone I enjoy in the mornings. The fact is if I don't eat breakfast I'm not consuming 200, 300 or 400 calories as a result.

2. Minimize Carbs in my Diet.  Again, "blasphemy!" screamed the running hoards! What about the age old notion that carbs are the most important part of a runners diet. If you still believe this you need to put down your Runners World Magazine and pick some of Phil Maffetone writings. Do this and you'll know what I mean. 

3. Weigh Myself Everyday. Call me OCD, a freak, whatever you want. But when I'm not weighing myself I'm usually gaining weight, not losing it. 

4. Increase my miles. Seems this should be as straight forward as it gets. But there is a catch, because increased miles also means an increased appetite. So if I'm not watching my calories, I can easily pack on more pounds when I'm increasing my miles from 40 to 50, 60 or 70 per week. Which leads me to the next gadget related trick...

5. Counting my calories. Now we are into the bowels of weight loss. But with technology, it really isn't that hard. When I need to, I use the app Lose It on my phone and track just about any food or drink I come in contact with. It's amazing how quickly the numbers add up!

I think this quote sums it up well...

"If you wish to grow thinner, diminish your dinner."

Henry Sambrooke Leigh      



Jukka Kukkonen said...

Great post Will! About #2, I'm glad you mentioned Dr. Maffetone, as his method has worked well for me for decades.

Maybe it should be clarified that Dr. Maffetone advises athletes to eliminate all refined and processed junk carbs, not cutting healthy whole carb foods. The actual amount of whole carb foods that is optimal depends on the athlete. The best way to find our 'sweet spot' is through experimentation.

Will Cooper said...

T Plodder...your right. the right carbs are needed. Especially in the latter stages of a race!!

Olga said...

I do everything besides #1, but I used to do #1 as well. We do what works for us.

Unknown said...

I do everything in your article, except I eat breakfast.

Will Cooper said...

Ok...I'm getting a message here...breakfast isn't a popular "trick".

Pat Cobb said...

I have been reading your blog and learned a lot from it. I trust your words so I'll definitely try your tips.

Richard S said...

One of my favourite breakfasts is Black coffee with a teaspoonful of organic virgin coconut oil, instant rocket fuel!

I pretty much eliminated refined carbs including bread, pasta and eat a ton more veggies, sweet potatoes post exercise and higher amounts of good fats (avocado, grass fed butter, coconut oil, eggs etc)

My weight has come down from an all time high of 209 pounds in 2008 to 170 without running high mileage and my body fat is easily into single digits.

80% of weight loss is attributed to diet.

Will Cooper said...

Richard ...I'm going to give that a try.

Unknown said...

I think I will try some of your tricks!!!