How I Ate to Lose Weight

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.

 

 

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The Dopey and a Book Review

Terrifying as it is, I’m signed up for the Dopey in 2017. Which means I need to run a full marathon. Which means I need to train for a full marathon, run it, and then transition into training for the Dopey.

I’m using the Hal Higdon Novice 2 program to prepare for a race in September. It seemed like the best way to transition into longer distances. We shall see if it works.

http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51138/Marathon-Novice-2-Training-Program

I’m planning to run the All Out Fallfest marathon in September, which looks like a good fit for me. I’d like to do Bellingham Bay the same weekend, but my Washington State friend might not be able to manage it so probably gonna be easier to stick close to home.

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

My Year of Running Dangerously by Tom Forman is a hilarious, inspiring, brutally honest look at going all in for a marathon…and an ultra marathon. I listened to the audiobook (thank you, Jeffco Libraries!) and it was BRILLIANT. I highly recommend listening to it if you don’t feel like reading it. I’m also making my way through The First 20 Minutes, and The New Rules of Running, and I’ll review those later.

Mr. Forman used to be a runner, but then life and family happened. His older daughter Ronnie challenges him to run a full marathon with her, and despite his reservations…he does it.

I enjoyed the humor and honesty, and I was giggling silently at several points. Anyone who runs will love this book, and anyone that wants to run is going to either be inspired or will panic and I’m not sure which.

I listen to tons and tons of audiobooks and podcasts because I work for very boring companies doing very boring things and it is much easier to ignore my creepy, godawful coworker when I don’t have to hear his stupid voice.

Questionable Judgement pt 1

I finally beat my personal record for the mile today. Now, grant you, 11:04 was not insanely fast to begin with, so finally getting down to 10:08 probably isn’t all that impressive to anyone, but given the fact that I’m recovering from bronchitis and it is that time of the month, I think I deserve at least a little pat on the back.

And some spinach ravioli.

POINT IS my dream of finishing a full marathon in under 5 hours seems that much more attainable when I’m actually capable of running a mile at something more than a glacial pace. I feel less awkward about calling myself a runner.

Also the Shakira song from Zootopia is now on heavy repeat on my running track list. I haven’t seen the movie yet but the song just makes me so happy.

Onwards

Next Sunday is the Rock and Roll New Orleans 10k, which I’m both excited about and wondering what I was thinking signing up for a race in the best food city in the world (in my opinion, anyway).

My mom is from South Louisiana (which is a different world from North Louisiana and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise) and I’ve been to New Orleans a handful of times throughout my childhood. Lafayette and the surrounding parishes are a little more familiar to me because that’s where my family is, but I’m not unfamiliar with New Orleans. All this I’m saying because it gives context to the fact that I can eat my weight in seafood without really trying. This will also be my first trip to NOLA since I turned 21, and I’ll be with my best friend instead of my parents. Not that my parents ever actually prevented me from doing anything while in New Orleans on previous trips. They were too busy having a good time themselves.

I really, really want to get a 13 min/mile average for this race. I know that sounds pathetically slow, but it has taken me 2 years to get to the point where that even seems possible. I did a 14 min/mile average for the Hot Chocolate 15k, and I’ve been working my butt off since then, so I’m optimistic.

I’ve dropped 8 lbs since Christmas, which is really strange to think about. I’m looking a little thinner for the first time since Sophomore year of college when I did Weight Watchers and dropped 20 lbs over the summer. I got down to 180lbs and was starting to look a little…off when the summer ended and a combination of beer, vodka, and hot wings put all the weight back on and then some. This time it has all been me. My trainer got pulled away by a really exciting coaching opportunity so I’ve been going it alone, and so far it all seems to be working.

I will say that if you’re somebody who needs help with this kind of thing, but you don’t want to use a trainer or a group, a combination of the free version of the Noom app and the Garmin Forerunner 230 have done wonders for me.

I’ll have plenty of photos and a race recap when I get back on Monday next week.