31 December 2015

no time to waist!

four days ago i was at my wife's side of the family for christmas dinner.  as it was the end of a training week, i gave myself permission to enjoy the meal (and desserts) freely.

i also weighed in at the end of the evening - the scale read 143.2 lbs., which was the most that i'd weighed in probably about 8 months.

yesterday morning i weighed in after my run, and the scale read 137.2 lbs. 

yep, back down to pretty much racing weight, and six pounds shed in about 60 hours (without employing any unhealthy or dehydrating methods).

as this is the time of year that many of my runner friends begin to feel guilty about themselves - indulging in holiday goodies and perhaps choosing to forego the occasional workout due to weather conditions - i thought that it might be helpful to share a few quick suggestions and insights on the topic of food and weight management.
1.  the scale doesn't lie ... but it doesn't tell the whole story either

when you or i snack on those extra calories they will undoubtedly show up on the bathroom scale (acknowledging of course that there are day-to-day fluctuations and that it's better to look at a broader period - e.g. a week - at a whole).  the thing is that while raw weight measurements are among the most trackable of statistics they don't necessarily indicate whether or not you're actually healthy.  you are smart enough to know that people can carry very little weight and be extremely unhealthy for a variety of reasons.  conversely, just because your body type or proportion of muscle-to-fat tissue contributes to a higher weight reading that doesn't mean that you're not in your healthy zone.  remember that healthy is healthy, despite what the scale reading might be.

2.  water, water, everywhere!
i am a huge proponent of drinking water over just about any other kind of beverage.  in terms of purity and usefulness to your body's metabolism i don't think that you can beat a big glass of water.  on top of that though i make sure that i do a couple of other things with water to help navigate my way to a healthy weight:

  • start the day with a big glass of water - as an early morning runner this is really my only pre-run nutrition six times out of seven.  it kick-starts my metabolism for the day and helps to get my hydration levels off to a good start.
  • drink a full glass of water before every meal - this helps to ensure that i don't overeat (aka 'eating with my eyes') by filling up some of that empty stomach space with liquid.  with that glass of water i'm already on my way to satiating my appetite.
3.  breakfast is big ... or (in the words of captain jean-luc picard) make it so!

after a good night's sleep your body has been fasting for maybe seven or more hours - so make the first meal of the day count!  following a study group of one (yep - me!) indications are that the more substantial your meal is during the early third of your day the better fueled (and less hungry) you are throughout the remainder of the day.

4.  whassup with supper?
conversely, if you can make the final meal of the day the smallest one (given that you do not need to load up for the overnight period) you will serve yourself well.  there's an old saying that goes "eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper" - and by and large it is a good guideline for anyone looking to effectively manage their energy levels and waistline.

5.  enough gas to get to the next stop
after a quick thumb-through of meb keflezighi's book Meb for Mortals i took note of the little eating tip that he offers to runners, which is to think of your body like a car and each meal like a gas-station stop.  you want to load up on enough fuel to get you over to the next station - this is a little mental reminder that i've also found to be helpful, especially since i tend to eat until i'm full instead of putting my fork down once i've had 'enough'.

6.  keep groovin'!
this is the 'easier-said-than-done' part.  i tend to be on the relentless side when it comes to my running, so i hope that it doesn't sound pedantic or condescending to say that if you want to manage your weight well that you should do everything you can to stick to your exercise regimen.  or at the very least do some of the little things that will help keep the ratio of calories consumed vs. calories burned from getting too out of whack.  for instance:
  • choose a parking spot a good distance away from the door/entrance of your destination
  • stand more than you sit
  • leave the car at home for small, nearby errands whenever possible.

... so there are just a few suggestions - i'm sure that you can come up with some of your own if you really put your mind to it!

so buckle in, buckle down, and here's to a happy and healthy 2016 for us all!  

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