So a few people have asked me this question over the past few months, and I always hemmed and hawed to avoid giving a straight answer because it is complicated and mostly the answer is “I trained for, and ran, the Dopey.” However, there are a few other things I did to lose the weight (and keep it mostly off) over the course of the last couple of years.
First principle: Make everything as easy as possible because, frankly, you’re lazy.
Eat pretty much the same few things every day and you don’t have to think about what kind of calories you’re consuming. Does it get boring? Sure. Do I know exactly how many calories I’m eating without worrying about it? Yes. Do I go get Starbucks with coworkers periodically? Sure, because I know that I have wiggle room. I’ll eat whatever someone else cooked if I’m at someone else’s house, or if we go out to eat, I’ll splurge, but I keep to the same few options during the week.
Second principle: VEGETABLES.
You cannot overdo the vegetables, so eat them before you eat anything else to fill up. I eat an unholy amount of zucchini, eggplant, and Costco’s “superfood salad” which is not superfood but is tasty and easy and costs me about $5/week for a lunch that also provides me some food for my parrots. My smoothies are half spinach. My lunches are salads. My dinner is at least half veggies. It makes it a LOT easier to keep to small portions of meat or carbs if you eat a lot of vegetables first. Snacks are usually whole wheat crackers (exactly 1 serving) with some cheese, a ton of fruit (so, so many cherries) and/or a Kind bar. It will vary depending on whether I’m running that afternoon.
Third principle: If you’re going to eat junk, go for a run first.
This can get a little bit hairy for people with disordered eating, but since I am not a disordered eater, I keep to it. The more junk, the longer the run. This works for me because my long runs fall on weekends, so I will do 10+ miles before I go out for Italian with my family. Cheesecake factory? Better be a 20 mile day. It probably isn’t the *best* strategy…but it has worked for me. I can sit down at the table at Fogo de Chao and enjoy my unholy amounts of meat because earlier in the day I pounded the pavement. I get my money’s worth at that place after marathon training. Also…grilled pineapple is amazing.
DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU HAVE ANY HISTORY OF DISORDERED EATING, OKAY? OKAY.
I lost 20+ lbs over the course of a year, which felt frustrating at times but now when my weight goes up a little (stupid Utah) I know I can get it back off without too much trouble. I’d like to lose a little more weight, but it is pretty clear my body doesn’t like going under this set point, so I’m reluctant to push it.