I do not run so that I can eat


I had this dessert over the weekend which you may have seen if you follow me on instagram.

ice cream

I am often asked if I RUN to EAT my favorite desserts, how I plan my miles around what I feel like eating and, this week especially, will I cut my calories since it’s taper time.

I can’t speak for all runners but if I am speaking for myself, my response is…


I do not run so that I can eat.


For sure everything tastes that much better after a good workout, a long run and most certainly a race. If we look at it from that perspective, yes, running hard so I can better taste and appreciate my food is a given.

But running so I can eat in order to not gain weight? Nah, that’s not why I run.

Eating dessert because I can just run it off in the morning? Nah, that’s not why I eat.

I have been a dessert lover all my life. Even when I dealt with amenorrhea, dessert was never what was lacking in my diet.

No matter the amount of miles I run, I enjoy a good, overloaded with chocolate dessert when I want it but I actually don’t want it or eat it every single day.

I think because I never deny my true cravings, I am more in touch with my appetite and what it is I want to eat, never feeling restricted. Nothing is off limits therefore I don’t feel denied.

Running a whole lot will certainly burn calories and give you some wiggle room in terms of eating more BUT —

You Can’t Out Run A Bad Diet.

You have heard this phrase before, right?

While I don’t agree with labeling foods good or bad, I also don’t believe in using running or any exercise regimen strictly to allow yourself to indulge under the assumption that you can burn it all off (you can’t by the way, it doesn’t work like that).

As you know by now, what I eat on a regular basis is plant-focused, carb-centered, meatless and pretty clean. I balance it all nicely with my love of dessert but overall, I fuel my body with nutrient dense foods.

I do not count calories in or calories out, I pay attention to nutrients instead. It took time over the years to understand this concept and switch from caring about calories to caring about the nutrients and quality of food.

I view food in terms of how it will benefit me. How what I am about to consume will make me feel, how it will help or hinder my ability to run.

My mindset is not on dieting. It’s not on burning off what I take in or about tapering my diet to fit my mileage in order to stay slim.

The truth is, I don’t know what I weigh so how would I even receive an accurate calorie count on the treadmill?

Maybe I am making this whole diet and exercise thing sound simple but really, it can be that simple. I have learned what foods are both enjoyable and nutritious, I don’t rely on packaged snacks and I choose fresh fruits and vegetables over processed foods.

Keyword right there, CHOOSE. We all have the right to choose what we eat and it’s what we do with our choices on a consistent basis that count. Not one meal, not one dessert, not a hungry day, your week’s vacation and certainly not one taper week.

Am I a perfect eater? I don’t even know what a perfect eater means.

All I know is that I like the way I feel after eating freshly prepared unprocessed food. I do not want greasy foods (okay except some onion rings) but I also know how to dine out and enjoy myself and yes, sometimes, I want chocolate and cake and cookies therefore I have some, satisfy my soul and move on.

So much is out there on dieting and quick fix approaches which all appear so restricting and limiting, it seems like torture. Same applies to those fitness programs which focus solely on the calorie burn rather than what exercise does for us overall.

I do understand that exercise can be an effective weight loss tool, just like dieting, and I do know that all of my miles combined with what I eat must keep my size in check, it’s just that I wish more people were able to figure out how to switch away from the dieting mindset in relation to their exercise program and enjoy the way fitness (running!) makes them feel.


Be sure to check out what everyone else is thinking about today 🙂

I do not run so that I can eat #running #diet #fitfluential #dessert Click To Tweet


Race weather update — It’s pretty nasty here but Saturday is looking to be the drier day of the next five days!!

Are your cravings for sweet or salty foods?

Are you a calorie counter or nutrient counter, or both?

Who else is racing this weekend?!






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  1. says

    PREACH. I do not run so that I can eat, either. Eating is a perk, but sometimes it can honestly be a bit of a burden, too–making sure that you are getting in enough calories or the right kind or whatever.

  2. says

    You definitely can’t outexercise a bad diet. And I exercise because I feel better when I do.

    But I’d be lying if I said I don’t plan to go out to eat after a long run, or get ice cream after a really long run.

    Being very petite, and over 50, let’s just say if I always listened to my body I’d weigh 300 pounds. Because my body still tells me that it wants something sweet after every single meal. And a sweet breakfast, too.

    And if I ate that way, not only would I be unhappy with how my clothes fit, I’d be unhappy with how I feel.

    We all have our own journeys!
    Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy recently posted…Phantom of the Taper: pesky taper injuriesMy Profile

  3. says

    I seem to crave salt after a run and sweets at night! If anything, training more seriously means I have to be careful not to eat to much sugar or junk because I won’t perform well. That said, I also don’t weigh myself or count any of my food. I don’t see the point and I’m too busy already to have to think more!
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…When Life Gets Busy & My ConfirmationMy Profile

  4. says

    I am also running this weekend, on Sunday morning though. Fingers crossed for a not too wet half!

    I really agree with this post, I used to eat a lot of light/”diet” snacks in high school (for no reason looking back) but eating and exercising more, and eating a lot of fresh produce and whole unprocessed foods, makes me feel way better overall.
    Alyssa @ RenaissanceRunnerGirl recently posted…Tallying Up My TravelsMy Profile

  5. says

    This is a great post. What really frustrates me is just the overlying “habit” we, as a society, have in thinking about compensating exercise with food. Even people who seemingly aren’t on a diet or have food concerns will say things like, “oh good now I can have that sundae later,” after a workout, or “I’m going to have to go do some cardio after this,” after having a delicious dessert. Most of the times, yeah, they are probably joking! But still, its the mindset that we have that is just wrong, and just really really annoying.

  6. says

    Ugh I totally crave both salty and sweet – sea salt caramel chocolates from TJs or chocolate covered pretzels are my ideal dessert! I count both calories and nutrients, mainly because I want to make sure I’m eating ENOUGH calories when I’m running high milage. When I’m not training, I usually focus on the quality of food for the vitamins and the macros I need. No race for me this weekend, but my friend was supposed to compete in his first Ironman in Maryland… but now the weather might postpone it… crazy!
    Jamie recently posted…#TOLT Rabbit RabbitMy Profile

  7. says

    I love this, because this is now more true of me than it used to be. I don’t run so I can burn calories. It became so obsessive for me when I thought of it that way. I do fuel my body, but I don’t eat desserts or food because I exercised or ran, now. I am kind of a calorie counter, but I would really like to be able to eat more intuitively than calorie count. 🙂
    Emily recently posted…Why Stress Hurts and Trust HelpsMy Profile

  8. says

    And this is why I love you. Well, one of the reasons anyways. The whole diet mentality drives me nuts, and I firmly believe that it’s responsible for most people’s issues with food and weight. I used to be a chronic calorie and macro counter, and it seriously sucked the life out me. These days I have no idea how much I eat or how much I weigh and I like it that way. I do know that I need to keep my sweet tooth satisfied, though. Dessert -almost- daily is a must.

  9. says

    Counting Calories sucks! Who wants to do that? I used to count calories and was always hungry. It’s so much better to listen to your body and spurge in moderation. I’ve found that eating a healthy breakfast and lunch everyday makes me feel alright about eating the sweets. I’ve got a serious sweet tooth!
    Alaina @ The Simple Peach recently posted…Chocolate Chia Pudding with BerriesMy Profile

  10. says

    Preach it! Sadly, I feel the idea of having to ‘burn off’ calories or earn food through exercise is instilled very early on these days. I know it was for me and while I won’t blame anybody in particular it’s this mindset that furthered my ED. I’m unlearning it and try to help others overcome it, too, when I notice it in them.
    Miss Polkadot recently posted…Honest blogging [what it means to me]My Profile

    • says

      You are so correct. It’s the mindset of society and not easy to undo. There’s a need for the knowledge but also a need to know how to eat without always counting and how to eat a balance of nutritious food and the stuff you crave.

  11. says

    *Standing ovation *YES! I eat to run – with a focus on eating foods that I know I can tolerate and that I know promote overall health and well-being, but I never deprive. Running does help my stomach function better and thus allows me to eat, but that’s an issue of stomach issues, not calorie counting. I only know how much I weight at doctor’s visits, and I never have an idea of how many calories I eat in a day. By letting myself have treats, I never feel deprived and eat a much healthier diet overall than if I deprive myself.

  12. says

    I try really hard not to count calories. I always feel better when I eat nutrient filled foods, and when I have to count calories, I know it is because the foods I am eating probably aren’t the best choices! I have a major sweet tooth though, so sugary foods are always what appeals to me.
    Shannon recently posted…Whole Wheat Blueberry Pumpkin BreadMy Profile

  13. says

    I don’t count calories but I try to pay attention to nutrients. The funny thing is when I work out regularly I find I have less “unhealthy” cravings and pay more attention to what will nourish my body. I read a quote awhile ago that said “Don’t count calories, make your calories count” which I felt summed out how I try to eat most of the time.
    Janelle @WhollyHealthy recently posted…Friday FavouritesMy Profile

  14. says

    You know I adore this post and relate so much to what you’re saying. The whole run to eat mentality makes me nuts. You don’t have to work off a bad meal. Enjoy your food, choose lots of nutrient dense stuff, enjoy your exercise and choose things which make you happy. It really can be that simple.

    Well said. I love it.