Here’s something I never expected: Last week, the day after I completed the 90in9 challenge — running 90 miles in nine days — was the first time in more than a year that I didn’t feel like I would be able to make weight if I’d gone to weigh in at Weight Watchers.
Whereas this week, after running less than 10 miles total, I weighed in a full pound under my goal weight — at least three pounds less than what I weighed last Monday night.
So what’s up with that?
Simple, really: when my sister and I were running 10 miles a day, I was hungry all the time — or thought I was, anyway. I still don’t have a very finely tuned hunger/fullness monitor. On some level, I obviously did have a legitimate need for more calories. But my brain magnified that need, and I pretty much ate like a pig all week long.
I didn’t gain any weight. But I didn’t lose any, either. And because I didn’t run at all on weigh-in day, my weight was up a bit — just enough, I suspected, to put me over the two-pound limit.
Whereas this week, knowing I wouldn’t be burning as many calories, I kept a pretty close eye on my fuel intake.
It doesn’t take much of an imbalance between your intake and what you burn to cause you to either shed or stockpile weight, even if you’re just moving imperceptibly in one direction or another.
Running 10 miles a day, you have to really overdo it to put on weight. Thankfully, I didn’t go that far. I’m just grateful that I had the procedures in place to help me cut back afterward.
That wasn’t the case the first time I got caught up in running in middle school. When an injury caused me to take a few weeks off, I didn’t change up my eating and I started putting on a few pounds. I never did get back to running regularly after that.
Other sports came along and kept me from gaining as much as I might have otherwise. But that imbalance was there, and I did slowly put on weight throughout high school. And that imbalance became even greater after high school when I quit participating in organized sports.
Weight gain is fairly common among ex-athletes for just that reason — you get too used to being able to eat heartily, and you don’t know how to downshift your intake to match your decreased metabolism.
One of the attractions of the 90in9 Challenge was that I thought I’d probably lose five pounds or so. Get a little more comfortably below my goal weight, so that I had a greater margin of error at weigh-in.
So I guess I’m going to have to do it the old fashioned way. But at least now I know how.