Earlier this month on Twitter and Facebook, I posted this status update: “I’m not one to obsess about weight, but gaining a few lbs when I’m running this much for marathon training is ANNOYING.”
That comment sparked a ton of suggestions, reasons and solutions from readers. (We heart you, dear readers!) Ya’ll hypothesized everything from me gaining more muscle (which weighs more than fat, thereby increasing the number on the scale) to mindless eating to eating too much due to running-induced hunger to not eating enough protein. Then I went online and did some research, finding this helpful article and an interesting discussion on PeerTrainer. After doing my non-scientific research and closely examining my food diary, my conclusion was this: I’m running a crapton…am therefore really hungry…and have henceforth had a harder time not going for a second helping of veggie chili. It’s not like I feel justified in eating more or splurging on something unhealthy, I’m just HUNGRY. And I don’t do well with not eating when I’m hungry or restricting myself (for proof, read this).
Plus, there’s the whole one-carb-gram-holds-3-grams-of-water thing. When you’re running long distances, your body basically stops, says “What you doin’ Willis?!”, and then holds on to every carb you ingest for fuel for your next long run. That alone can cause you to gain 3 to 5 pounds of water weight right there. Heeelllooo bloat.
And then I reached another conclusion of my own: Why the bleep do I care?
I’m annoyed with five pounds here. FIVE POUNDS. And that five pounds is somehow getting in the way of what I am doing—running 26.2 miles! A freakin’ marathon. Me, the girl who in middle school never thought that she’d run more than 15 minutes consecutively (seriously, I remember being thrilled with myself for running longer than 10 minutes) is training to run for at least four and a half hours straight. And she’s even kicking ass in her training runs, treating a 9-mile run like it’s normal (and knowing that it’s not). In fact, on most days, her running has been fairly easy and enjoyable. Even cathartic. (Surprising yourself may be the best reward of running of all.)
So I have two words for the scale: SUCK IT. I feel stronger and more fit than ever. And I don’t care what number you read. Whether it’s muscle, water or just extra cushion, I’m going to continue to eat healthy foods when I’m hungry, and I’m going to continue rocking my training. I know my body will take care of the rest. Good riddance, scale. I’ll see you after the marathon, and maybe—maybe—we’ll talk. —Jenn