"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Soltice 7

Shed the Soltice Seven!

I recently heard that the average American gains seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years'. I think that's made up; no one actually weighs people before and after. Still, everyone seems to have a New Year's resolution to lose weight.

I know a little about weight loss. During my peak year in running, I weighed 20% less than I do now; I probably had an undiagnosed eating disorder - I had been dating an anorectic the year before and there's a picture of me looking skeletal. I'd post it, but this would then look like a pro-anorexia site... and I never bought a digitizer. Trust me: 6 feet and 128 lbs. is scary, even if I was running 32 minute 10Ks.

Adam Harmer's got a little weight-loss contest on his site, but I won't be joining. It's one thing where my competitive spirit is not a good thing. But I do have a couple of ideas for those who are looking to drop a few:

1) Keep active. This is obvious, but we all tend to slack a bit when the temperature drops. You might have to be creative. During the latest cold snap, I scrubbed my kitchen and bathroom floors and counted it as a workout.

2) Watch caloric density. Try to eat foods with the fewest calories per gram; this means high water content and low fat content. A glass of water drunk before eating is an old trick that works, as it lowers the overall calorie density of a meal.

3) Watch glycemic load. There are sites where you can find the glycemic index of foods - basically, how fast the calories from the food enter the bloodstream. Glycemic load is the glycemic index times the number of net grams of carbohydrate (net= total minus fiber). If you eat a meal with a high glycemic index, your blood sugar spikes, you release insulin to lower the level, your blood sugar plummets and you get hungry again. Essentially, this means to avoid large amounts of sugar, refined starches, potatoes and corn.

Exercise and a diet high in fiber and water, though healthy, will have you spending a lot of time in the bathroom until you're used to it.

1 comment:

keith said...

Weight can be such a minefield issue for folks. There was a big discussion on the Ultra Listserv about "how thin is too thin if you're exercising all the time..."

I think my whole philosophy behind wanting to run must be different from people that are fast.

I think I'd rather be stronger (more overall bulk in muscle) than super lean/skinny. A lot of the (trail) ultra runners look nothing like your average marathoner. I would attribute that to a lot more sessions in the gym doing lots of weights...Even Jurek looked pretty buffed out at WS. See also: David Goggins. 'Nuff said.

An intern who worked where I work over the summer and ran cross country said their team got a big lecture about masking eating disorders with training...I guess I'd never even thought about it like that. I always figured you'd have to be packing it away to run seventy or eighty mile weeks.

Of course, eating disorders probably don't have much to do with either food or exercise, right?

Also...seems like the recommended ideal body weight for given height is always changing. Now they say you're better off being a little heavier than not, when just before, they said if you were close to starvation diet you'd probably live forever. I think I'd rather just be happy and not worry about my weight as long as I can be active and eat things that put a smile on my face from time to time.

woah. that was a long comment. feel free to delete.