Friday, April 2, 2010

Back on the Horse

I just need to make sure the horse isn’t dead….

Did my first run since my last first run and subsequent bronchitis after the L.A. Marathon yesterday. Three miles. Wow. I don’t recall three miles being so tough! I hit the trail around the Upper Back Bay and squeaked out three, what felt like lousy, tough miles. When I got back and looked at my Garmin data – it wasn’t that bad after all. It just seemed a lot tougher I guess.

Today also starts day one of my weight loss journey. Every Friday morning I’ll get up on the scale and record my weight. Then I’ll get back down, grab a cup of coffee, wait a few minutes, and get back on the scale hoping that maybe the gravitational constant will have changed.

Honestly though, I’m dusting off the components that are necessary for successful weight loss:

  1. Sensible exercise plan: Honestly. Wonder why I don’t have any marathons on my calendar in the future? I can’t tell you how many times I read about people who are training for a marathon and cutting calories. It may work for a 30 something year old person. I can tell you from my experience – it sure doesn’t for a 50 something year old. Marathon training puts a great deal of stress on our internal systems. To think that you can run 40 to 50 miles per week (4000 to 7000 calories a week just for your running) and limit yourself to 1800 calories a day is a recipe for loss of lean mass at the least and injury at the worst. For me – I’ll ramp my miles up slowly here to something in the mid 30’s to mid 40’s. Some speedwork sprinkled in once a week. Long run on Saturdays. Rowing once or twice a week. No PR talk. No marathon talk.
  2. Sensible diet plan: What I’m really searching for here in the long term is behavior modification. Understanding how much to eat when. Understanding the difference between feeling satiated and stuffed. Knowing when I *really* am hungry, as opposed to just eating something because it tastes good. Believe me – even on this journey I *will* let the latter happen. This is about losing weight and being healthy. It is not about punishment and guilt.
  3. Input tracking: One thing that is imperative if you want to drop some poundage is intake tracking. Most of us are pretty anal about tracking our exercise output. But, as my pal AZ pointed out in a comment the other day - “A small muffin can undo a nice run/rowing session.” How true. My attitude on the whole thing is it’s okay to have that muffin. But know what it does to the rest of your day from a calorie perspective.  Next Friday I’ll review some of the calorie tracking software I’ve used in the past.
  4. Scale and measuring cups: Part and parcel with input tracking. Why do we not estimate the distance we run, but do estimate the size of a portion? In case you didn’t know, I’m of Japanese heritage. Therefore, cutting good, sticky, new crop short grain rice from my diet ain’t happening. A cup of cooked rice is 266 calories. I’m sure that my “eyeballed” cup of rice is closer to 400 calories (if you get my drift). To keep my input honest, I need to use the measuring cups and scales. Religiously.
  5. Once a week weigh in: In the past, I weighed myself daily. Sometimes more. I freaked when I saw those 4 and 5 pound weight swings. I cut back more. Then my running suffered as I ran out of fuel on the trails. (True story: I actually fell off a rowing machine once – as in passed out fell off). I used to weigh myself after my long run. Nothing like 5 or 6 pounds of artificial weight loss, eh? I am smarter now. I understand our bodies will store additional water to repair muscle damage after a hard workout. I understand that 1 gram of stored carbohydrate also comes with 3 grams of stored water. So, the weight gains that happen after a good pasta dinner are *not* solely caused by the plate of pasta. There are so many variables involved. So, I will weigh myself Friday mornings on my Tanita scale and let everything average out over time. Some weeks I’ll drop 3 pounds. Other weeks I’ll put on a pound. What I’m looking for here is a line with a negative slope.

Lots of words. Now for today’s ugly truth: 222.8 pounds. That’s four pounds over where I was pre-marathon. Yikes!


  1. I'm excited for your to shape up to your "happy" weight goal. I can't imagine trying to lose while training for a marathon. My healthy eating habits have flown out the window, I'm just eating whatever I can get my hands on. :p

  2. Buying a food scale really opened my eyes. I was shocked! I thought I had been doing so good with serving sizes. Not so much...

  3. Looking forward to your posts on running and weight loss. I'm trying to do something similar. Hoping to lose 60lbs and get myself from struggling to walk-run 4 miles now, to finishing the LA Marathon next March 20, 2011. I think you advice is spot-on, to not obsess too much on the evil number on the scale. I'll be weighing in on Mondays. Best of luck!

  4. I didn't know you were of Japanese heritage. That is neat!

    In regards to the measuring cup usage, I am all for that practice. I am fast and loose with my carb consumption and tend to eat too much of it if I don't portion it out. Noodles and rice are flying everywhere..mostly into my mouth.

    Also, I use to weigh myself everyday too...after I worked out, but I don't do that anymore. I only weigh once a week now just to check-in. I think the way one's clothes fit or the way one feels is more important than what the scale says.

    I think it is really hard to know when to stop eating. I still struggle with this everyday. To stop eating when I still want to is hard, but necessary.

    Love your game plan!

  5. IS that not the best? When you feel like you had such a crummy run, then you look at your time.. and TA-Dah! it really wasn't as bad? I love that feeling.

  6. Yeah... measuring cups... I need to start doing that. Measuring spoons too. I suspect my 1T of peanut butter is probably 2. ((sigh))

    I use the iPhone ap Loseit. It's nice to always have it in your hand. I need to get back to that too.

  7. It sounds like I will be the guinea pig for successful weight loss while training for marathons.

    The daily calorie deficit will be a constant. I will just consume more calories on workout days. I will stay away from junk calories (sugar/fat) so they will be healty calories.

    Kind of like the Olympic swimmers consuming 10,000 calories a day and not getting fat.

    Now I have a tendency to stay away from food when I can't figure out the calorie count!

  8. I can't believe you passed out on the rowing machine. Scary.

    Yes, I am cutting calories and training for a marathon. But I'm eating more than 1800 on the days I run. RunnerDude had a good article a few weeks back about how many calories to eat/cut when training for a marathon and it's working for me. I'm eating plenty and being smart about it. :) Down 4.2 pounds in two weeks and feeling much lighter on my feet already when running.

    But like you said, that doesn't work for everyone. Glad you are doing what works for you.

    PS: We also eat a lot of sticky rice at our house! I'm good with half a cup, and I measure, too. My eyeballs can't be trusted.

  9. Hi Glenn,
    I think you have some great goals!! I promise you that I will be one of your cheerleaders:) Go Glenn!! I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Easter:)

  10. It stinks being mature about things.

    Only thing I'd change is the verbiage "input tracking." This is food we're talking about. Lovely, rich, flavorful food. Input tracking sounds like what UPS does.

    Berries are in season! Healthy, pretty colors, good flavor, very low in calories. Eat up!!

  11. Excellent plan...very well formulated. Be sure to measure and track bodyfat that is SO much more relevant than the number on the scale. :) I look forward to hearing about how it is going. I am going to tweak my food a bit soon, too. We can keep each other motivated.

  12. Oh! I was behind in my reading and just scrolled back to your very good post on bodyfat percentage. Never mind my are on the right track!!!! Whooot. (but I am going to whisper something to you.....kettlebells....kettlebells.....check out the 5 minute circuit I posted on my blog's a fat blaster!)

  13. yay so far you're not being blocked today ;) who would actually expect me to work for a living? gahhh! :)

    i have terribly fallen into the habit of "oh i ran today, i can eat whatever". not true! at least, not true in the quantities (and poor quality) of food i was eating. i don't really like tracking all my food but it's the only way i can actively make myself aware of what i am eating/how much and keep myself in check. good luck!

  14. Hope you had a good Easter weekend with your family and I hope the weight loss is off to a good start! We are all behind you and I think you know what you are doing!!