Sensitive Subject: Losing Weight Running Less

I feel a discussion on losing weight from running less is a sensitive subject because I’m aware of who reads my blog. I know that my readers look to me for guidance on living a healthy, balanced life, free from caring about the scale and weight, and learning how to move away from disordered eating patterns.

However, I do feel it’s important that I’m always open about my workout routine as it relates to my own balance as well as discuss weight topics if I find them necessary and relevant.

It’s been over 6 months now since I dropped that shampoo bottle on my foot which definitely changed my workout routine, weekly mileage, and life.

I’ve already written about the impact that moment has had on me, including this post from a few months ago about not gaining weight from running less.

But I have more to say on the topic.

It’s worth noting again how I truly think that randomly dropping the shampoo bottle on my foot (which kept me from running for precautionary reasons for a little bit) was a sign from the universe. It gave me an excuse forced me to stop running which helped me to recognize that I didn’t really want to keep running as much as I was — but I was subconsciously refusing to change my routine on my own.

Wanting to change my workout routine and reduce my mileage was brewing in me for well over a year. I think this is how things go with me though. I wouldn’t call myself indecisive, it’s just that sometimes I may start to feel that I need to change something but don’t make the change immediately, and often it takes a bump from the universe to make it happen.

With running, I was holding on to my routine AND to my fear of cutting things back which could maybe cause me to gain weight.

I felt as though my body became conditioned to operate at 40 or so miles a week and that doing less would be a problem.

Like maybe I would continue to eat as if I were running higher mileage. I assumed my metabolism and body would not adjust.

It also felt weird as a creature of habit runner to NOT run a long run every weekend, to not keep up my half marathon desire and distance.

SO rarely do you see runners making the decision on their own to run less, you know?

I was SO WRONG about all of what I was feeling and thinking and I’m giddy over this whole situation and how running less has  changed my life for the better every single morning if you want to know the truth.

AllSeated luncheon

photo credit: Natural Expressions NY

^ Me being giddy

I now run maybe 20 miles a week and it feels so right. I feel strong 99.9% of the time as my legs are not bogged down by extra miles. I’m faster and covering distance in less time. I never feel stiff or sore or exhausted after a workout! I’m never overly thirsty, overly hungry, or overly tired! Even in this heat, I am never thirsty after my runs or feeling dehydrated at all.

On the days that I run, it’s as if I didn’t even run in the morning, nothing lingering from the experience.

I never get out of the car needing a minute to loosen up.

My whole routine feels so flexible and I don’t need to carve out much time for my workouts. Most often, my time spent is around 40 – 45 minutes.

I’m fine with getting back to my 30 minutes a day roots too when all I want to do is 30 minutes!

And I’ve lost weight.

I don’t use a scale but my clothes are making it super clear that something has changed. The people close to me are able to see it.

At first I had noticed what I called a drop in bloat to my muscles. I think it could have been related to cortisol levels or retaining water and glycogen stores.

At this point now, it might be actual weight loss. I wouldn’t even say I’ve lost muscle because I can actually see more muscle tone than before.

Obviously I do not know what I weigh and I still can’t see it much on myself when I look in the mirror but my clothes are much looser than they were last summer.

Of course I know I didn’t need to lose weight. But whatever I lost, even if it’s a couple of pounds, I’m liking how I feel. I’m never bloated, I’m never in that weird place after a workout where I feel like my clothes don’t glide on the way I want them to fit. For a while there, I was annoyed at my shorts or pants, wondering what the heck because they weren’t fitting “right” and they should have felt “right” given my activity level and dedication to my routine. Or so I thought.

It’s amazing to not be overly hungry. I eat my meals at regular intervals but I finish my post-run oatmeal and don’t go back for more. I’m not driven by my appetite.

I understand that I’m always pretty close to not getting my period. A few pounds less than where I should be and I won’t ovulate on time. I remain cognizant of this so if I fall off my clock-work cycle, I will definitely make sure to eat even more than I already do.

This is where I repeat again that it’s not just high mileage running that causes female runners to lose their cycles.

I always said that running WAS NOT the cause of my past history with amenorrhea. It’s simply a matter of an energy imbalance. You can run 20, 40, or 80 miles a week and safely get your period — or not. If you aren’t eating enough to support the energy you are expending, that’s where the problem lies.

So, if you require more calories than you are eating even at running 20 miles a week, your cycles can and will shut down on you.

I don’t count calories or pay attention to what I eat. I’m not able to fully explain why I’m now thinner while running less. Anything I said above or in my last post on this topic is a guess. I’m not a doctor and sometimes I don’t even think the doctors understand this stuff exactly nor do they always realize the needs of each individual specifically either.

What’s the point of this post? A few things:

1 – To keep you in the loop with my life and running-related stuff.

2 – To show that more exercise does not always mean weight loss. It could in fact be the opposite.

3 – To provide insight into what it’s like to go from running a lot to running much less without seeing weight gain or negative effects. My experience has been nothing but positive.

4 – To remind you that amenorrhea is not always the result of high mileage.

Discussing a sensitive subject today on the blog! Losing weight from running LESS #running #run #runchat #weightloss #fitness #amenorrhea Click To Tweet

How do you feel about your workout routine? Do you want to do less but are afraid to make the change?

 

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Comments

  1. says

    This is so interesting! I feel like it could potentially just be less cortisol in your body. I know that excessive daily cardio can cause cortisol to go haywire and the body starts holding onto fat. By dialing it back and keeping your body in a happy place, it’s getting back to where it perhaps naturally wants to be right now.
    Nicole @ Laughing My Abs Off recently posted…Life Lately {July 2018}My Profile

  2. says

    I wonder if you dropped fat but gained muscle since you’re doing more Pure Barre workouts. It’s great that you’re very aware of your cycle and know what to do if something on that changes. I feel like a lot of people are not aware of it which is not healthy.

  3. Ann says

    Ugh! I am in a bad place with over exercising right now. I feel bloated, tired, and I feel like my hormones are out of whack. I have researched, watched many You Tubers’ videos (A Case of the Jill’s) and I just feel like I can’t break free. I feel trapped. At 41 years old with 4 kids, I don’t want to do this to myself anymore.

    Thank you for giving me hope, Meredith.

Trackbacks

  1. […] No matter my weekly mileage, I am pretty confident in saying that running 4 days a week is my happy maximum. Not sure how I used to run 5-6 days a week, every week. While okay, maybe once in a blue moon I may at some point run 5 days in a week, that will be a rare occurrence. 4 days, at most, seems to work best for me and feel right. It’s not too much, while not too little, and can be spaced out well enough that I only have to run 2 days in a row. I don’t really like running days in a row, which is something I’ve learned in the last year of running less. […]

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