Divergent motivations

4 miles today. It was pretty easy this time; I kept up a good pace (set a new 5K record time, even, by a couple minutes) and didn’t have any issues to note. Felt good for a change! It’s funny how some days it’s easy and some it’s brutally hard. It could mean I’m getting better and that I’m getting used to the distance, it could be that I’ve had the weekend to rest my legs, it could be completely flukey. Anyway, I’ll take it!

Here’s where I’ll be painfully honest with myself: some days I just do not FA very well. The last couple months have been kind of frustrating for me– I didn’t get into all this activity to lose weight, but I have and, well, I have reaped the benefits of having a more societally acceptable body. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if my new-found confidence is from finally accepting my body, or if I’m also happy that my body is changing? 2 years ago I never would’ve worn a bikini. 2 years ago I hated my body. But 2 years ago I also weighed about 30 pounds more? (I also wasn’t very strong, wasn’t very fit…)

All this activity caused changes on the scale. I was okay with that. I spent money on new clothes, discovering that I didn’t feel like hiding my body anymore; I wore fitted clothing, because I looked better in fitted clothing. I wore short skirts, because my legs are pretty awesome. Is this because I was more confident of what my body could do, or because I was smaller?

But for 3 or 4 months, the number on the scale there hasn’t changed a bit. (Hey, didn’t Linda Bacon say something along these lines in Health At Every Size?) My endurance and strength is still increasing, but my body seems to be about done changing. On one hand, that’s wonderful– I can stop buying new jeans every 2 months! On the other, I still have that Fantasy of Being Thin.

I started this new running program as a way to have a bit more discipline; rather than deciding on the fly how much I would run, I have outside structure and it’s helping me to run more often and run farther. But I also admit that I was hoping that increasing my mileage would do something with that sticky number on the scale. So far it hasn’t, and at times it’s kind of discouraging– which means I am entirely missing the point. I would like to impose a scale moratorium for August– but I’m not sure if that’s just setting me up for a big disappointment come September. I definitely need to get over this!

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6 Responses to Divergent motivations

  1. Tori says:

    Can I ask if it helps to set a different goal for August — in conjunction with a scale moratorium? Because the way it sounds, a scale moratorium is sort of a negative goal, meaning it’s defined by something you will not do. Adding a positive goal — in other words, defined by something you will do — might mitigate any potential scale disappointment.

    For me, I have not lost any weight in forever (where “forever” is defined as “approximately 9 months of regular exercise”). And, yes, I’m totally cynical about weight loss goals for myself — to the point where I won’t participate in my partner’s anymore. But I will start the bridge to 10k in August, so that when we do our October run through wine country, it will be something for which I’m ready — And that, I can look forward to.

    • Tori says:

      Aaaannnnd… I can no longer work HTML tags. This is perhaps a sign that I should go to bed.

    • G says:

      I fixed it for you :)

      Hmm, I like the idea of a positive goal to go along with putting the scale in the closet. I just have to figure out what my goal should be! My training program goes through the end of September…

      Running through wine country sounds amazing! I hope you get to stop and, uh, rehydrate along the way.

  2. If you want a just-rip-the-bandage-off style way to stop looking for weight loss…
    http://www.appforhealth.com/2011/02/marathon-running-no-fast-track-to-thin/
    “In the 3-month study, researchers put 64 individuals on a marathon training program, 78% experienced no change in body weight, 11% lost weight and 11% gained weight. However, among those who gained weight, almost all were women.” (Warning–this particular summary of the study contains tips for losing weight while training for marathons, etc. In a writeup of a study about about how people training for marathons don’t lose weight. *headdesk*)

    So… most people training for a marathon do not lose any weight.

    • G says:

      Thanks for the links! I’m so amused that out of the one side of their mouth they say people don’t lose weight, and then the other is saying here’s how you lose weight. But the study author even says, “I would tell people that when you’re beginning to run, or beginning to build your mileage for marathon training, that’s not a great time to go on a restrictive diet.” The back-and-forth is maddening, though I do appreciate that she says that exercise is good even though you might not lose weight.

      Also, the results of this study didn’t achieve statistical significance, so read with a big grain of salt anyway…

  3. Actually, this is a better link for the study. I think this is the article I originally read about the study:
    http://peakperformance.runnersworld.com/2010/12/dec-1-does-running-melt-off-the-pounds-sometimes-yes-but-just-as-often-no.html

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