Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It Takes Two

In May, after about three months of Weight Watchers, I decided to take my weight loss journey to the next level: I signed up to run the Kauai Half Marathon.

My event is in September, and for the past six weeks, I have been wrapped up in hard, intense training. Short runs. Long runs. Sprints. Intervals. Sit-ups. Push-ups. Boot camps. All of it.

I am not a runner. In fact, when I went on my first run after signing up for the marathon, I couldn't even make it to the end of my block without stopping to walk. So I obviously felt a huge sense of accomplishment last weekend when I ran eight miles without stopping. A five- or six-mile run is no sweat for me, now. Amazing, right?

However, I got on the scale last night and came to realize that despite all of this intense training, I haven't lost a single pound. Despite running 25-30 miles per week, despite giving up my Wednesday sushi nights to track workouts, despite the sit-ups that keep my abs sore for days and the hard runs that cause my knees to nearly buckle when I get out of bed in the morning... I still weigh exactly as much as I did before I started running.

Why? Because Weight Watchers isn't just about eating right. And it's not just about moving more. It's about doing both. And I realized that since I've kicked up the workouts, I've also kicked up the calorie consumption.

"Oh, it's fine if I eat these two oatmeal raisin cookies—I ran 6.5 miles this morning!" As it turns out, this is not true. (It's also not true that it's okay to drink strawberry milkshakes after a workout, or that a chocolate croissant is fine to have with coffee in the morning if I'll be working it off later that day, or that I no longer need to track my wine intake now that I work out regularly.)

So it's back to tracking and healthy eating—but without giving up the hard workouts. Because my goal weight is just as attainable as that marathon finish line. Even if, in the meantime, both of them are kicking my ass.


  1. Great insight! I think that exercise is only about 20% of my weight loss, and what I put in my mouth contributes to the other 80%. But I do think it's different for everyone.

    You're kicking ass and taking names lady! So proud of you.

  2. I actually had to rely on Sparkpeople more when I was training. I had over 50 APs towards the end of training. I tried to use the 35 they give you and 25 of the APs.

    I usually ate around 1800-2000 calories during that time. But a lot of people I know gain weight during training. So it isn't unusual.

  3. I learned this the hard way when I trained for a marathon (I power walked it) a year after I'd lost my 50 lbs with Weight Watchers. Although I could afford to splurge once a week, I still had to watch my intake and portion control.

    I still exercise for more than an hour a day (Fridays and Sundays off), and I do eat all my exercise points that I earn, but *sigh* exercise is not the magic wand that allows you to eat and drink whatever you want. Damn.

    However, GOOD FOR YOU for signing up for the 1/2 marathon! That is awesome - I know you will do well. That feeling of accomplishment when you cross the finish line...if you can do that, you can do anything!

  4. [something about muscle weighs more than fat]