Running Does Not Equal Weight Loss

This coming from a guy who’s dropped probably 40 pounds since getting more serious about running.

We hear it all the time though, right?  Want to lose weight?  Go work it off.  Get running, get moving, GO!

There’s a problem with that.  It doesn’t really work that way.  Yeah, you would think it would, right?  But for most people, you go out for a good run, and while your exercise tracker will tell you you burned a lot of calories, the part that it leaves out is you would have burned a fair portion of those calories if you just sat on your butt.  The actual increase isn’t nearly what we want to think it is.  And then you throw in the fact that studies show that your metabolism actually SLOWS once you quit running, because your body is saying hey, this guy kinda surprised us here by getting out there, he might do it again, we better hang on to whatever we can hang on to.

Dang, that’s reason to stop, right?

No.  To me, that’s not a factor.

Which doesn’t make sense, does it?  Because the truth is, I’m pretty well laser focused right now on my weight loss, to the point that I have to fight myself to NOT get on the scale every three hours or so.  I’ve been getting addicted to that rush that comes with seeing the needle a wee bit lower.

But I don’t run to lose weight.  The truth is, weight loss is not the ultimate goal.  Not even for weight loss, which has a redundant sound to it doesn’t it?

Getting healthy, getting my life back, being determined never to go back to the days when I thought I’d never run again.  That’s what this is all about.

One of the things that kind of put the fear of God into me was doing a study last December and seeing the strong ties between lifestyle and the risks for dementia.  It was kind of a holy crap, what have I been doing to myself kind of thing.  And the fact is, my best bet at having a high quality life from this point forward is to be healthy.

That means losing weight.

And that means running.  Because its benefits go beyond the pounds.  It makes my brain happy.  It makes my heart happy.  It makes the me happy.

I don’t run to lose weight.  I run for the same reason I also work to lose weight.  They both will help make life as good as I can make it, which is a pretty reasonable thing to work towards, isn’t it?

Then throw in the fact that it’s kind of a kick to be able to do stuff that I am not so sure I could do even when I thought I was in pretty darn good shape.  The 18 year old me would have thought you were nuts if you mentioned running 26 miles.  In one day.

I run because I can.  Literally.  I run because I remember a time when I couldn’t.  Go read my first post – it explains the Remember the Rain title.  I’m never going back to that.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do think that running HAS helped me lose weight, but it’s not the running itself that has done it.  It’s more that because I want to get more effective, do better, run further, I’ve been more conscious of what I’m eating.  In the end, it’s the eating that ultimately makes the difference in the weight loss thing.

Yesterday we had a luncheon at work.  There was a huge, honking awesome looking chocolate chip cookie in my lunch box.  I’m sure it was harmless.  Everything in moderation, right?  I remember distinctly thinking, this isn’t going to get me where I want to be.  It’s not going to help me get to the finish line in Shenendoah Iowa in September.  That cookie probably wouldn’t have hurt, at least not any more than the few more calories I burned from running helped me.  But it’s that cookie, and the next one, and then that chocolate covered ice cream cone…  no one tell me when those come back at McDonalds — but what I’m getting at is, this is how running is making the difference because it honestly wasn’t that hard to say no to that stupid cookie.

So maybe in that way, yeah, running’s helping me lose weight.  But I’ve come to realize that’s not why I run.

I run….  to run.

And to live.


About Ron Walter

I'm just a guy who was so out of shape he couldn't run to get out of the rain. I'm taking my life back. It's not always perfect, not always successful. The victories though are greater than the defeats. I plan to keep it that way.
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