Thursday, November 27, 2014

I Don't Run Enough...

I don’t run enough to outrun a bad diet.

Here is an example of what I mean by that.

I run 4, sometimes 5 days, a week while training for half marathons. That’s approximately 20-25 miles per week. I also meet with a trainer twice a week for strength training-two one-hour sessions.
An approximation of my calories burned through activity would look something like this:

25 miles x 100 calories burned per mile = 2500 calories burned

2 trainer sessions x 500 calories burned per session = 1000 calories burned

Total calories burned through exercise = 3,500  

As far as my diet go I stick to mainly a whole foods, plant-based diet but I do allow myself what some would consider indulgences. I follow the 80/20 rule.  I drink beer once or twice a week, eat a cupcake now and again, and go out for dinner- sometimes it’s pizza, sometimes it’s burgers, and sometimes it’s something wholesome.

My nutritionist tells me to aim for a caloric intake of 1600-1800 calories a day regardless of my activity levels. This looks like about 350 calories for breakfast, 400-500 calories for lunch, and 400-500 calories for dinner plus another 400 calories in snacks (3) spread throughout the day.

But that is not what my day looks like most days. When I run I fuel before and after and for long runs, during too. For my strength training sessions I fuel before and after as well. This is a necessity for me/my body. I need energy to run and sustain my workouts and I need protein and other nutrients after to help with recovery, muscle growth, etc. Plus there are weekends and we all know life is different on the weekend than during the week.

So on average I would say I take in anywhere from 300-500 additional calories for fueling my workouts. And on the weekend I would say I intake maybe 500 calories additional due to beer and eating out.

Seven days a week x 500 calories consumed = 3,500 additional calories consumed

As you can see my calories burned just barely negates those additional calories consumed. Yes, I know this is all an approximation. And yes, I know you burn calories in other ways. But this is an easy way to show that at this point I am maintaining, not losing.

And for me that’s ok.

I think.

I haven’t weighed myself in forever. I don’t see a reason why. My clothes fit, actually my pants are getting looser and my tops are getting tighter in the sleeves because I actually have arm muscles for the first time. But I feel great. My body recovers quickly. I don’t feel deprived. I am happy.

BUT….if I wanted to lose weight I would have to do so through my diet. I have no additional free time in my life to workout more than I already do. I have a FT job, I am a grad student, I am a girlfriend and furbaby mama and I have a life. I don’t want to spend more time, more than I already do, in the gym.So, to lose weight I would need to eat less. I would need to cut out beer. And pizza. And burgers. I would have to stick to making every meal and start re-evaluating each ingredient. I wouldn't cut out the calories consumed to help fuel my workouts but I would have to rethink what I eat. It would suck. I would feel deprived and possibly feel hungry most of the time.

OR I would have to be ok with making teeny tiny almost unnoticeable changes that will help me to lose, but at a very slow rate. Maybe this time just one beer instead of two. Maybe a salad with my burger instead of fries. Maybe find a balance that allows me to tweak my diet and not feel deprived. If I wanted to lose weight, this is the way I would do it.

I don’t ever want to be the girl that denies herself a cupcake. But I can definitely be the girl that only allows it once in a while, not every week.

Because I know that no matter what I do, there is not enough free time in my day to allow me to try and outrun a bad diet.