Running from Food

Learning to have a healthy relationship with food through the joy of running.

Monday Musings: The “Secret” to Weight Loss

There are a lot of great blogs out there. I spent a good chunk of my weekend email subscribing to a bunch of them, meaning my inbox is really full this morning. Great reading, great motivation.

One of my favorite new blogs is Pavement Runner. A recent post brought back a flood of memories, in which he talks about all the odd and slightly patronizing questions runners get from non runners.

“What are you running from?”

“How can you stand running for that long? I get so bored.”

“How long is a half marathon? Like 5 miles?”

Those are some of the more frequent ones I’ve gotten over my short running life.

As I was reading that post, thinking back over the past four years and my running/weight-loss journey, I realized this applies to weight loss as well.

“You’re not eating dessert? Are you on atkins?”

“Don’t you think you’ve lost enough weight?”

“Are you always at the gym?”

But, without a doubt, the most common question I got after losing 65 pounds was, “Wow, you’ve lost a lot of weight. What’s your secret??”

Secret. We’re so obsessed with secrets. Why? Because we’re obsessed with quick fixes, get-rich-quick schemes, the easy way out.

I finally came up with a standard answer for this one. “I do have a secret. You want me to tell you?”

Then their eyes would light up and they’d get this excited look on their face and kind of lean in a little bit.

Then I would whisper “The secret is….there is no secret.”

Now, I had a couple people who got slightly offended at this answer. It’s a bit of a flippant answer, but also, it’s very true at the same time.


Thinking there is is exactly what keeps us from reaching our goals, and also letting our goals slip back out of our grasp once we’ve achieved them. That was my problem. I thought once I hit my goal weight, I could go back to the life I’d always lived, instead of continuing down the path that got me there.

The reality is that there’s no secret to real, lasting weight loss.

The last few days have been a little frustrating for me. After visiting my local Anytime Fitness branch and not being able to get in (and the help line being of no help…shocker), I finally looked at my bank statements and realized I haven’t been charged in the last two months. What gives? I though gyms slobbered all over my kind of people, the ones who let you automatically withdraw from their checking account but never actually set foot in the gym??

So I’m almost a week into my new life, and I haven’t been to the gym once. I made it out to play basketball on Thursday night, which was nice, but I’m itching to get into the gym and start Couch-to-5k.

Friday night found me in a restaurant, which is always a scary proposition. But I was pretty proud of my portion control. I stayed under my daily calories by almost 100.

Then I threw that all in the garbage with a trip to another restaurant the next day, where I told myself at the beginning of the meal this was going to be my “cheat meal” for the week, then proceeded to mentally check out and eat more than my daily allowance of calories in one sitting.

I learned a lesson: I’m not mentally ready for “cheat” meals. Perhaps the whole “cheat” concept isn’t really a great one anyway.

So, goals for this week are:

  • No “cheat” meals
  • Get the gym thing figured out Monday
  • Do Week 1 of C25k

Here’s to a great week! Post a comment below and let me know what your health/fitness/running goals are this week.


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