Running from Food

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

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10 Things I Won’t Do to Lose Weight

It’s easy to get obsessive about stuff. Especially when, like me, you have a bit of an obsessive personality.

I tend to go on two- or three-week spurts where I get super obsessive about something, then my focus wanes and it’s back to the same old thing.

When you get your mind set on a goal (mine is to reach my goal weight and PR a half marathon at the end of August), it can be easy to let your mind wander to all the shortcuts, all the cheats you could take to get there.

But I’m not going there this time. I’ve been down that road before, and I know all it leads to is frustration down the road.

So here’s 10 things I won’t be doing this time around.

1. I won’t starve myself to lose weight.

I’m counting calories. I have to. I eat mindlessly if I don’t. I’m reducing my calorie intake, but I’m keeping it within acceptable limits. Starving your body may help you do well on your next weigh in, but it screws with your metabolism and makes it so much easier to gain weight when you return to a “normal” lifestyle.

2. I won’t “go on a diet.”

You and I both know there are dozens, probably hundreds, of different “diets” out there. Diets that want you to eat this, not that. Diets that want you to focus on this food group and limit that food group. Sorry, but I have enough to worry about with my job, my wife, kids, paying the mortgage, making sure the lights stay on, writing a blog, keeping up on Twitter and all the other things in my life to subscribe to such a regimented eating plan.

That, and I’m making changes for life, not for the next 8 months. This is about my future, not just about the scale.

3. I won’t dehydrate myself for weigh-ins.

I’ve done this one before. Don’t drink water the day before a weigh-in and exercise a lot so you sweat. It works, but you and I both know what happens the next day: you drink 20 oz of water and gain 2 lbs. No longer will I manipulate the scale through dehydration. My weigh-ins will be genuine, and I will own them.

4. I won’t compare myself to others.

It’s hard not to be all over Twitter and see people who are doing this or doing that, people who have lost this amount of weight this week or who are running this many miles, and not feel pangs of jealousy or resentment that I’m not doing more or losing more or running more.

This is my race to run. This isn’t a competition with anyone.

5. I won’t give up the foods I love.

Sorry, it’s not happening. I know there are fitties out there who judge people like me who admit that I freaking love a good hamburger, or that I lay awake at night dreaming about a nice serving of chips and salsa. It’s who I am.

Chili's chips and salsa (AKA, my crack)

Chili’s chips and salsa (AKA, my crack)

I’m not going to magically wake up one morning and love green smoothies and tofu. Salad is never going to be my favorite main dish.

6. I won’t over indulge on my favorite foods.

I’m still going to eat them. But now, I recognize that binging is my biggest problem when it comes to weight gain. I’m learning how to do things in moderation, and eat smaller portions of the foods I love, and eat them less often.

7. I won’t let people’s comments get to my head.

The last time I lost 65 pounds, I craved the little comments I’d get from people, and toward the end, the long conversations I’d have with people about how I lost all the weight. It became a form of pride form me. Rightfully so, in some ways. I worked hard…really hard…to lose all that weight.

The problem was, when I got to where I was going, I felt like I had arrived — and could thus take a vacation. That’s how I got where I am now…with every single pound gained back.

This time, my response will be “Thanks, I have a lot more work to do.”

8. I won’t listen to the fat person inside me.

There’s a little voice in my head. You may have one too. The voice that says “All this hard work isn’t worth it.” The voice that says “Give up and go enjoy that plate of nachos you’ve been craving.” The voice that says “You’re too tired to go 5 miles. Just go 3 today.”

That voice isn’t going away. I know that. But I don’t have to listen to it.

9. I won’t walk this road alone.

There are so many people out there traveling this same journey. This time, I’m doing my best to connect with them, to ask for hope and inspiration and encouragement, and offer the same back when I have the opportunity.

10. I won’t make this about just losing weight.

It’s not about the scale. That’s just a tool to measure one aspect of progress. I’m doing this for my kids. I want them to have a healthy dad who gives them a healthy example of how to live their lives. I’m doing this for myself, to prove to myself that I can do hard things.

Is there anything you won’t do to lose weight? Leave a comment and tell me about it. Give me a follow on Twitter or Facebook while you’re at it.

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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