Running from Food

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

Archive for the tag “weight-loss”

Why I Haven’t Blogged in 2 Weeks (and how it affects my weight loss)


What a crazy week and a half it’s been.

Sorry, dear readers, for keeping you out in the cold for the last little while. But I have some big news.

I intended to blog three or maybe even four times last week, but it’s funny how life can get in the way of all your big plans.

So what happened?

The long and short of it is that, after much discussion, prayer, hand-wringing and Microsoft Excel spreadsheet budgeting, I accepted a job last week all the way across the country in Washington, D.C.

We’re moving!

In so many ways I’m incredibly excited. I’m excited to go back to D.C. (my wife and I lived there before our two kids were born and we absolutely love the area). Not to mention that the weather overall is better (you can actually run outside in the winter in decent temperatures).

But I’ll admit I’m a bit perplexed on how all of this is going to affect the goals I’ve set and the vision I had in my head for the next seven months.

See, when I started out on this latest weight-loss and running journey, I had a pretty clear set of goals in mind: get down to my goal weight of 177 by August 30, and set a PR in the Pocatello Half Marathon the next day.

Now, those plans have been a bit blown up.

I’ll admit quite a bit of concern over how this new transition will affect my weight loss. Luckily, we have three months to get our affairs in order (ie, sell the house, pack and move…no small feat in 90 days). The bad news is that I’ll actually be starting in a few weeks, meaning I’ll be flying back and forth from DC from the middle of February until (hopefully) the middle of May or so.

Let me just say me, healthy eating and traveling all don’t get along very well. It’s going to be a challenge.

But that’s what this is all about, right? Challenging ourselves to do big things we haven’t done very well at in the past. I was on the treadmill a week or so ago, going through the latest in my Couch to 5K training. During a particularly tough segment in which I wasn’t sure I could finish, I kept telling myself “You can do hard things! You can do hard things!”

I think that’s part of this whole jumbled mess that is the inside of my head: sometimes I don’t allow myself to realize that I can do hard things.

The next three months will be a challenge. Will I mess up? Most certainly? But I have two choices. I can either bemoan my current state of affairs as it relates to my weight loss, or I can see it as a blessing, an opportunity, and a challenge.

And so, my new mantra is: This is Gonna Be Fun.

One bit of housekeeping, in my absence I did neglect to publish my weigh-in last week. While I’m disappointed in myself for not getting to the gym on a consistent basis last week, I did do a rather good job of eating well (I attribute that to a nervous stomach caused by having to make life-changing decisions within the matter of just a few days).

Here are the results:

Week 5 Results

Starting weight: 232.4

Ending weight: 229.4

Weight loss this week: 3 pounds

Total weight loss: 15.1 pounds

Another 3 pound weight loss! I’m happy to have hit the 15-pound mark. And I’m happy to be noticing some of my clothes fitting better.

Just this morning, I put on a pair of work pants that I bought several months ago. When I tried them on at the store, I told myself I would get them, and they would fit in a few months when I’d lost 10 pounds.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself that.

But this time is different.

And it’s gonna be fun.


My Race (and Weight) History

WARNING: It’s about to get really real up in here.

I feel like a lot of people start their weight loss story with something like “I’ve been overweight ever since I can remember.”

For me, that’s kind of true, kind of not. I remember people asking my mom growing up if she was feeding me. True story.

Someone posted this (now) embarrassing photo of me on Facebook a while back. I think this is 7th grade.

middle school

See, I told you it was gonna get real.

The weird thing is, I always felt fat. I always felt like people looked at me and immediately thought “fat.”

To this day, I can’t explain this. Or, I should say, I’ve never fully explored this, my body issues as a teenager.

Somewhere around my sophomore year of high school, I hit a major growth spurt, I shot up to just about what is now my present height, 5-foot-11, up from 5-foot-6 or so. All in the course of 6 to 9 months. And I ate everything in sight. I was the leading scorer for my YMCA basketball team (my one claim to athletic fame growing up), and I kept eating.

Problem was, my growth spurt stopped.

But my appetite didn’t.

Fast forward to my late 20s. I’m approaching 30, I have two kids and I look like this:

Rock bottom

Rock bottom – even my kid looks disgusted with me.

To be honest, I’m surprised I wasn’t bigger. For all the years of binge eating and shame eating, I’m surprised I didn’t weigh more.

Then, one night, my wife challenged me to run a half marathon with her.

I laughed in her face. Literally. I laughed. Out loud.

Then I thought about it.

I thought about how tired I was of being lazy. Of YMCA basketball being my only claim to fame when it came to doing something that involved moving my body on purpose.

But most of all, I was tired of being tired. And lazy.

So I did something about it. I got off my behind, started training for a half marathon. I told myself I would cross the finish line in less than 2 hours. I lost 65 pounds in the process. The night before the half, I was 76 pounds lower than my highest recorded weight.

And this was the result:

2010 Ogden Half Marathon

2010 Ogden Half Marathon

I was hooked. I got bit by the running bug.

Crossing that finish line in May of 2010 was easily the proudest moment of my life outside of that day I actually conned my wife into marrying me or the birth of my kids.

I had done it.

I had set a goal and *GASP* hadn’t given up.

And so I kept going. As soon as we got home from Ogden, we started looking for more races to run. We found the Pocatello Half around Labor Day of that same year. And in the course of 5 months, I had done twice what I thought could never be possible once: I ran 13.1 miles…in one day….in the course of just two hours each.


I was at the peak of my adult physical conditioning!! I felt like an athlete. I felt like a machine.

I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to.

It felt amazing.

My current inspiration photo

My current inspiration photo

And then the lazy bug bit me again.

I started to get complacent.

I fell back into old habits.

I thought I could live in my “if I want to eat it, I’m gonna eat it” world at the same time as my “I want to keep hitting PRs.”

Something in the back of my mind told me I couldn’t live in both worlds, and if I was going to think like an athlete, I needed to eat like an athlete.

I pushed that voice away.

Mostly, because I was still having success.

In the spring of 2011, as a tune up for our second-annual Ogden Half Marathon (aka, the place where it all started), we decided to run the Salt Lake Half Marathon.

And, despite a 3-minute pee stop, I set a new PR, beating my old one by over a minute.

Another go along with a few extra pounds.

Another medal…to go along with a few extra pounds.

My new PR only fueled my irrationality

“See?” the fat me told me. “You can have it all! You can eat whatever you want and the miles will wash it all away. The training makes it all okay!”

I really thought I had struck gold. Just train for half marathons, and you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.

And the addiction came back.

I started binge eating again. I started shame eating.

Binging cause I couldn’t stop. Shaming because I knew, deep down, I was sabotaging myself. And I started to hate that part of me again.

But I kept running.

The black is indeed slimming...I'm starting to gain weight again

The black is indeed slimming…I’m starting to gain weight again

That made 4 marathons to date. All just at or below 2 hours.

I thought I could just do this forever.

I even tried a 5k that summer.

Granted, there were only 35 entrants, but I finished second, behind this rascal who out-kicked me over the last 100 yards to take home 1st place.

Starting to noticeably fill out now.

Starting to noticeably fill out now.

And then, in the summer of 2011, for some reason, I just decided to take a break from running.

But, like high school, the eating didn’t stop.

I skipped over race opportunity after race opportunity in the summer and fall of 2011. And kept eating.

Looking back now, there was a void. A void from not training. From not pursuing that next goal.

And I filled that void with food, like I always had in my life.

October of 2011 rolled around, and it was time to register for next year’s Ogden Half Marathon.

On a whim, without really thinking it through at all, I signed myself up for the Full Marathon.

I’m just going to do this, I thought.

I started training. I got all the way up to a 13 mile run.

And then I let the voice take over.

You know that voice you have in the back of you’re head when you’re running that tells you “Why are you doing this? You’re tired, you’re miserable, this hurts and you could be at home relaxing. You’re crazy.”

The voice wouldn’t shut up that day. It just wouldn’t shut up. I had lost the will to push it back like I had learned to before. I wasn’t mentally equipped to push it back. I wasn’t fully committed. I wasn’t invested.

And I let it win.

I still know exactly what road and what spot on that road I stopped running. I ripped my hat off my head, tore my headphones out of my ears, threw them both on the ground and screamed at the top of my lungs. Screamed in frustration that I couldn’t get the voice to shut up. Telling it to shut up. Telling it to go away.

There are two ways to make that voice go away. One is to keep pushing, keep training and envision that finish line. The other is to give up and stop running.

I gave up.

I was done. I was done training. I was done running.

I gave up.

I gave up on running and I gave up on myself. And worst of all, I gave up on my wife.

She had been my biggest cheerleader, my biggest support and my inspiration.

We trained together, taking turns watching the kids so the other could go running. We kept each other accountable. We shared our successes. We lifted the other up when one of us was down.

And I just gave up on her. I told her I was done running. She was already registered for Ogden the next year, and I told her she’d have to go it on her own.

I spent the winter of 2011-2012 feeling outwardly that running was a nice phase I went through for a period, but that I was “over it.” Inwardly, I was battling the same old demons. I was eating too much, becoming too complacent and lazy, and hating myself for it the whole time.

The next spring, the guilt of giving up on my wife, who had been the reason I fell in love with running in the first place, was too much.

I transferred my full Ogden registration for the half, then signed up for the Salt Lake Half Marathon again and ran it with a friend under the auspices of “training” for Ogden, only a month away.

But, in the two years since my first half, I had gained back more than half of the 65 pounds I had lost.

My body couldn’t handle it. The pounding of the extra pounds. The lack of training.

I finished…barely. I almost had to crawl across the finish line.

Can you see the emotions that smile is masking?

Can you see the emotions that smile is masking?

A month later, at Ogden, which used to bet the Super Bowl of running for me, the result wasn’t much better. I finished. And got a medal. But not much more.

ogden 2012

And then, with my obligation to not abandon my wife for a race we registered for months ago fulfilled, I put away the running shoes.

Oh, sure, I dusted them off a few times in the early summer, trying to get that spark back. But I just wasn’t the same.

You often hear people who lose weight talk about the “person they used to be.”

That’s how I feel about myself. It’s certainly how I felt in the spring, summer and fall of 2010. I was a different person.

I think it’s important to relive past failures just as much as past successes. That’s where this post is coming from. I became a different person when I first fell in love with running.

Somehow, I lost that person.

I’d like to find that person again. I’d like to hold onto that person.

I’d like to tell him when I do find him, “Don’t ever let this go again. Appreciate this. Appreciate who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Appreciate how much more you could do. Remind yourself every day how hard this journey was and that you don’t ever want to have to do it again.”

That day is coming.

And although it feels so far away, I know it will be here before I know it.

Can you relate to my story? Leave a comment below, or visit me on Twitter or Facebook. I’d love to hear from you.

Week 3 Weigh-In: Baby Steps


Baby steps walk to the dock….baby steps get on a boat….

There are few movies I find more hilarious that What About Bob.

Probably because I can relate to Bob’s manic but innocent new approach to life he takes during the movie: Baby Steps.

I’ve learned that Baby Steps are the key to not getting totally freaked out by trying to accomplish big things.

Losing 65 pounds is a big thing.

And I have to lose 65 pounds. I need to lose 65 pounds. I want to be able to race…to really race again. To get new PRs in the 5K, to run a 10K for the first time ever. And this summer, I want to PR in the half marathon.

To get there, I need to lose weight.

So, here’s the results of this week’s weigh-in.

Week 3 Results

Starting weight: 237

Ending weight: 235.4

Weight loss this week: 1.6 pounds

Total weight loss: 9.1 pounds

This was the look on my face when I stepped on the scale this morning.



1.6 pounds…really?.

But then I thought about it. And that’s a decent loss. Especially for Week 3. And, in 2 1/2 weeks (I started on January 1) I’m almost down 10 pounds.

The point is, I’m taking baby steps. But they’re still steps. Steps in the right direction. And I’m sticking with it.

I also know that my loss this week could have been a bit lower had I gone to play basketball last night. Usually on Thursdays (the day before my weekly weigh-in) I work out in the morning or afternoon, then spend about an hour and a half burning extra calories by playing pick up basketball.

Last night…well, I just wasn’t in the mood. And I overdid it a tad at dinner (didn’t go over my daily calories, though).

So all in all, I’m really happy with my loss.

This week I finished Week 2 of Couch to 5k and I’m happy with the results. I’m still gasping for air at the finish of a few of the segments, but I remember from last time that it kind of just clicks somewhere in Week 5 or 6, so I’m looking forward to that.

I feel good...I feel great...I feel wonderful

I feel good…I feel great…I feel wonderful

So it’s all about baby steps! Baby steps cut down on calories…baby steps go to the gym….baby steps lose the weight.

And before I know it, I’ll be back to my old self, crossing the finish line with the biggest smile on my face.

Can’t wait to get there!

How did you do on your goals this week? Let me know in the comments below, or visit me on Twitter or Facebook!

I am not a fittie

I’ve been enamored with Twitter lately. So many people on there who inspire me, encourage me and make me laugh.

One of the sub-cultures I’ve discovered in Twitter-land is the #fitfam. A huge group of people who call themselves “fitties” and are, to their credit, obsessed with being in shape and eating right. The post pictures of their tummies and their body crushes and how well their collarbones are coming in…

I think that’s great. It’s great to have a passion for fitness.

But I’ll never be one of them.

Why? Because, by and large, they think cheeseburgers are disgusting. I’ll never think a cheeseburger is disgusting. I may not eat nearly as many as I used to, because I don’t want to stroke out before I’m 40, but c’mon. Cheeseburgers are freaking delicious.

Or a burrito. Or fries. Or cupcakes. Or whatever your personal hankering is. (I love all that stuff…why do you think I got to be 60 pounds overweight?)

The last time I lost 65 pounds and got my BMI below the threshold of normal, I still ate what I wanted to…in moderation.

Last night, I took my 3-year-old daughter out on a date. We went to an Italian restaurant.
Italian restaurants are not known for being low-cal joints. Not sure if you’ve noticed. Lots of carbs. And cheese. Lots of cheese.

I had a mozerella stick (and a half, I’m not gonna lie). I had some bread with a tiny bit of dipping oil. And I had an entree. Or rather, I ate less than half of an entree and boxed the rest for home.

But you know what? I was still just over 300 calories under my “budget” for the day.




That’s a new term I’m using. I’m no longer “counting” calories. I’m “budgeting” them. Feels more positive. And responsible. And adult-like.

Look, I don’t judge the fitties. If you’re at the point where flax seed and sprout sandwiches and fruit for breakfast every single day is what gets you up in the morning, I think that’s awesome. I really do.

I’ll just never be that kind of person.

And that’s okay.


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.

Week 1 Weigh-In: Measured Success

Friday is my weigh-in day. It’s always been a day that works good for me. It allows me to “cheat” a little on the weekend, and have Monday through Thursday (which have always been my most disciplined days) to make up for it.

This week was a little unusual, as it wasn’t a full week. Technically, I started on New Year’s Day.

Week 1 Results

Starting weight: 244.5

Ending weight: 238.5

Weight loss this week: 6 pounds

Total weight loss: 6 pounds

Am I happy? Of course I am.

But I’ve also been down this road before.

I guarantee most, if not all of that, is water weight. I drank a ton of soda over the holidays. I mean literally, probably almost a ton.

Between that and some binge eating that went on over the holidays, my initial weigh-in was a bit elevated. Not by much, because I had been weighing in consistently between 242 and 245 for the past month or so.

Still, I’m giving myself a small pat on the back this morning, then getting back to work. My goal is to be down to 236 by next Friday, and if you’ve ever watched the Biggest Loser, you know that Week 2 can be the toughest…it’s true, I’ve been through it myself.

The bottom line? It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

And this isn’t even the first half mile. Have to stay focused, have to stay hungry (a different kind of hungry).

Tonight is dinner out with some friends, so this will be the first real test of my willpower when it comes to food.

The plan? Order what I want to order, but eat about a quarter of what I would usually eat. And eat 100% “clean” on Saturday and Sunday.

How about you? How did you do with your fitness goals this week? Any successes or struggles you want to share? Leave a comment and tell me about them!

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