Since I started running in December 2010, I’ve managed to keep my weight within the 200-215lbs that entire time. Running has been an invaluable tool in maintaining my weight.
My upper weight limit these days is 210lbs.
Even if I get within a few pounds of this figure, I will attempt to cut back on my daily calorie intake and involve longer runs, primarily aimed to burn calories.
Before I started running, I fell into a cycle of crash dieting and then returning to a ‘normal’ unhealthy diet. Now I maintain my weight by regularly weighing myself and keeping it manageable.
It’s easier to lose 5lbs than it is to shed 50lbs all over again.
If I’m ever lacking motivation before a run, I try to remind myself that running now will make it so much easier to continue to maintain my weight long into the future. Running will never be as easy for you than it is now. If you go back to eating badly and doing no exercise, it will continue to get harder.
If you persist with it and try to enjoy the activity then you’ll continue to make progress!
What to do if you gain weight during your maintenance phase.
If my weight creeps over the 210lbs mark then I’ll use MyFitnessPal and record absolutely everything I eat for a number of weeks. I won’t change my running regime that much, but I will walk more to tip my calorific deficit balance towards weight loss mode.
It’s important to try to keep your spirits up if you’ve gained weight. If you fall into the pattern of self loathing and despair, you’ll likely go down either the starvation or binge eating paths.
Accept your body as the sum result of all of your choices over the past while and resolve to make better choices from now on. You can’t change your past choices but you can make you life easier and more enjoyable going forward.
In the past I’ve made the mistake of setting extreme weight loss goals to try to motivate me out of a weight gain situation. I’d fail to meet my targets, be upset with myself and then go back to eating nothing but junk food and doing zero exercise.
Anticipate when you’re more likely to gain weight and run more often before it
I tend to gain weight during the following times
- Whilst on vacation – Sometimes it is best to accept that you’re gonna relax a little with your diet and exercise regime whilst on holiday. Anticipate it by eating right in the preceding weeks and you’ll keep it under control.
- At Christmas – Instead of dieting immediately after the holiday season is over, preempt the bulge with a healthy November.
Escaping the weight loss mentality as a runner
If you’ve been dieting for a long time, you can fall into the trap of believing that the only way to maintain your weight loss is through calorie restriction alone.
This isn’t the case.
Running opens up a new world for you where you can eat what you want to a certain degree whilst maintaining your weight.
To give an example, on an average day I consume 3,000 calories. I don’t place any restrictions on what I eat based on food groups. I eat what I want to eat without guilt.
To balance this I run on average 5 miles per day. These 5 miles burn approximately 750 calories, meaning my calorie total for the day is 2,250. This is 250 calories under the recommended intake for a man of 2500. Theoretically I could eat 3,250 calories a day and still maintain my weight easily.
It’s that simple. I don’t worry about the pace that I’m running at too much or the types of food that I’m eating. I stay positive and run when I can and eat healthily when the whim strikes.
Why it’s important to maintain your weight loss as a runner.
I find that the lighter I am, the easier it is to run. When running is easy I tend to do it more often! When I run more, it becomes easier to maintain my weight.
When I’m running more often, my confidence increases and I find myself trying more hill workouts and speed work. When I’m overweight, my body is sluggish and getting through even a slow paced run is difficult.
When you take part in races, it’s cool seeing your weight loss progression in each photo shot. I hate going into a race knowing that I’ve gained weight. It isn’t great appearing chubby in your shots.