Thursday, August 2, 2012

How to Lose Five Pounds in a Week

First of all, I'm not calling you fat.  I'll leave that to your mother-in-law.

I weighed 178 when I started marathon training.  I weighed 183 during the marathon.  After numerous weeks of summer travel, I weighed 186.  It was time to lose weight.  Training for another marathon was obviously not the answer, at least not the way I was training.

If you're like me (and for your sake, I hope you're not), your marathon training encompassed fast runs, long runs, and recovery runs that weren't really recovery runs because you ran them as fast as you could but were too tired to run within 2 minutes of your hoped for time.  If you're like me, your training runs--especially the long ones--were followed by gorging on refined carbohydrates and sugary treats.

I gained weight because I was training too hard, too much and eating like a four-year old without parental guidance.  Here are the changes I made.

  1. If you follow this blog (I'm speaking to all three of you), you may remember I started using a heart rate monitor to slow myself down.  Other than one race, I've kept my heart rate under 142, which has forced me to slow way down.  It's also taught my body how to burn fat instead of sugar for energy.  I've also incorporated some P90X 2 workouts in as well because I need to feel like puking during workouts at least once per week.
  2. Because I'm not completely exhausting myself every run, I don't feel it necessary to pig out every meal.  I have seriously reduced my intake of refined carbohydrates and sugar.  I still ate a cupcake and had pasta at three meals last week, so by significantly reducing I mean not eating refined carbs every meal.  I also ate a cupcake on my daughter's birthday and a chocolate covered banana on mine.
  3. Because I didn't eat refined carbs every meal, I needed to replace them with foods that filled me up.  This was accomplished by drinking more water,  eating more vegetables, and consuming better fats.  After workouts, I drink a mixture of this green powdery substance made from vegetables, chia seeds, and water.  That's the only loopy kind of thing I do.  I follow this mixture up with two fried eggs a couple hours later, a decent lunch in the afternoon, and pretty much whatever I want at dinner.
  4. Because accountability leads to success, I keep track of what I eat.  It's a simple system based on Weight Watchers.  I get a certain number of points per day + whatever I earn from exercise.  I chalk up a certain number of points after EVERYTHING (I've never done all caps before.  This is exciting!!!!!!!!!!!) I eat.  I tally each 16-ounce cup of water I drink until I reach 8.  I tally up every serving of vegetables until I reach 10.  I just mark it on the white board next to the telephone in the kitchen.
  5. I eliminated diet soda.  That was tough.
I have no idea if this will work for you.  It's worth a shot.  At the very least, you won't be tempted to click on the "How to eliminate belly fat" ads that appear all over the web.


  1. Interesting. A month ago my boyfriend (who is training for a 50 miler) found out he burns all carbs at endurance paces. So he changed his diet - basically from all refined carbs and zero fruits/veggies to NO refined carbs,lots of protein, "good fats", fruits/veggies and he's slowed down the pace of his training runs. All to teach his body to burn fat. I joined him in solidarity. He hasn't lost any weight (but he's already thin and I've lost 5lbs in a month without *trying*) He'll be re-taking the FUEL test (which showed he was burning all carbs) before his race (3 months into this change) and see if his carb/fat burn ratios change.

    1. Wow! Thanks for the feedback. It's good to know I'm not alone. Good luck in the upcoming 50-miler.

  2. Good job Scott! You will end up being a lot faster if you keep this up.

    I think the diet soda actually caused me to eat a lot more carby things. There is some evidence that the fake sweeteners confuse the body's insulin responses.

    I don't miss it anymore and love drinking pure cold water when I'm thirsty after a run.