This starts today

The last carload of crap has been hauled. The boxes have been unpacked. The major furniture items and appliances have been selected and purchased.

It’s been 23 days since the marathon.

I’m running out of excuses to miss workouts. And the long, physically laborious days of moving and unpacking where I simply must put up my feet and sip on a glass (or three) of Sauv Blanc at sundown…well, those are pretty much over at this point too.

So: this starts today.

I’m not sure what this is, but as I mentioned last week, I do know that I need to take my running mileage down for a few months. Aside from a short break in December, I’ve been in marathon training mode since last August, gunning for high mileage (successfully last fall; not so much this spring) and not really doing much in the way of strength training or cross training.

And that was great. It worked just like it was supposed to. It got me the PR and BQ that had eluded me for a decade.

It also got me a beer gut.

There is a reason why miles make champions. It’s because running lots of miles makes your body really efficient at running lots of miles. And that’s exactly what you want if you’re trying to be a competitive distance runner.

The downside is that most of us who run what I’d call “ambitious hobbyjogger” mileage (say, 40 or 50 miles a week) on a consistent basis spend a lot of time exercising and probably burn relatively few calories for our efforts.

Probably. I’m just conjecturing based on my experience over the years. Factor in the inevitable metabolic slowdown that comes with getting older and I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that distance running may not be the best way for me to stay in shape.*

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing it, obviously. Because that’s not my primary motivation. But in the “off season,” I figure it can’t hurt to focus my efforts elsewhere for a few months and try to get a little leaner for the next training cycle.

So…this, whatever it is, starts today.

No more weeknight beers. (Most of the time.)

No more fried food. (Unless it’s something really good.)

Some running, obviously, but more like 20 MPW.

Track workouts.

Boot camp.


F*cking yoga.

And regular check-ins with this thing:

As of today, it tells me that I weigh 133.6 pounds and am composed of 23.8% fat and 37.8% muscle. (The other 38% is probably Dos Equis and tortilla chips, based on my weekend activities.)

[Edited to add: I’m 5’3″, so while that’s a perfectly healthy weight for me, I do have room to lose a few pounds and still be at a healthy weight.]

I don’t really have a goal, I just want the numbers to move in a direction that indicates less of the squishy stuff and more of the firm stuff.

And I am definitely not going to turn this in to an OMG WEIGHT LOSS blog and then crow about how inspirational I am because I lost ten vanity pounds. (Although if it could get me a book deal? I totally would.)

But assuming it’s not horribly offensive to you guys, I’ll share my progress (or spectacular failure and lack thereof) as it happens.

Anyway. I have a yoga class to get to. So I’ll leave you with what may end up being the final tragic photo of Emmy, on the cusp of her demise:

I could not come up with a worse place to nap if I tried. Unless your goal is to get squished by someone coming down the stairs who doesn’t see you because you are snoozing cluelessly under the first step.

*I’m sure there’s an inflection point somewhere. If I were able to consistently log 80 MPW instead of 40 MPW, I’d probably lean out. And obviously, the vast majority of elite and accomplished distance runners don’t have spare tires…they probably also have more willpower than I do when it comes to their diets. And better genetics. I realize that I’m oversimplifying and there are a lot of factors that affect one’s body composition, but it’s my blog and I’ll make sweeping generalizations if I want to.

32 responses to “This starts today

  1. I’m in a similar boat. I feel like I hit a slump with working out lately and need to make some changes to lean out a little. I’m not really sure what it looks like yet but I suppose it starts with not drinking wine every night and taking down pints of spinach dip… god speed, my friend.

  2. I would really like to hear about your progress with losing weight! I’m in a similar position, and in a way it’s easier to relate to someone who just needs to lose a few, if partly out of vanity. But I need to do that without running 500 miles per week.

    • Nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight out of vanity, as long as you’re healthy, you know?

      • Amen to this. I’ve definitely got at least 5 I could stand to lose. Probably 10 if I really wanted, but I love beer too much – there’s no way I’d be able to maintain that even if I did drop it in the first place.

  3. Yeah, I am aiming to nix the week night boozing for at least a month. If I wind up in a coma, I’m giving up and accepting I’ll be fat forever. If I lose a few pounds, maybe I’ll keep doing it. Kind of hoping for the coma…

  4. I weighed myself today at the gym and I’m also 133.something. Crazy! I don’t want to know the breakdown though. I’m guessing I’m mainly composed of yogurt, cookies, and cheese these days.
    p.s. You always look perfect to me, SJ!

  5. I’m happy you are realistic enough to understand & admit that running lots of miles makes you efficient at running lots of miles. Therefore you expend less energy (read calories) by running. The body is trying to do us a favor, but it turns into a cruel joke. Good thing I run because I enjoy it. 😉 Anyhow. Yes, ’tis true that other exercise is your friend if you’re already an efficient runner. Wishing you well in the rest of the moving, un-packing, and exercise planning!

  6. Sounds like you have a plan! No better way to make some changes than to make a plan and stick with it.

  7. I credit weight lifting with my weight loss success to date. While I have a lot more to lose than you, so the weight comes off faster, I have lost 17 pounds this year, and I couldn’t have done it without lifting weights! I also can see big changes in my body, and, shhhh, don’t tell anyone… Its if fun and makes me feel hardcore 😀

    • Yeah, ugh…I really don’t enjoy weight lifting! But I know a lot of people who love it and credit it with big changes in body comp.

  8. I’m trying to not fall to the temptation of week night drinks. And maybe realize I don’t need dessert every single day of my life. I know this would, in turn, make my workouts a wee bit easier and me just a wee bit healthier. It just hasn’t happened… yet…

  9. Hey so how do you like your scale? I am looking for one that will give me a relatively reliable weight, fat, muscle ratio. What kind is it anyway?


    • I’ve only had it for about a week but it seems to work well so far! If nothing else, the readings seem reasonable and consistent with one another. I’ve tried hopping on at different times of the day, with the scale moved around to different parts of the room, etc and it always gives me numbers that make sense. The brand is Ozeri and I got it on Amazon for around $45. It also gives a bone density reading which is probably useful but I have no idea how to gauge that number. :)

      • Your point about it being consistent is key. The reading could be way off. For instance, I used a scale like that at a health check and it nicely told me I was 23.7%. Very kind of it and a nice ego boost IF I didn’t already know from getting a body comp analysis (DEXA scan) that I am just over 29%. A friend of mine had some kind of body fat testing machine at her trainers, like the scale but you hold the handles, that told her she was at 16%, DEXA said 33%. I used to be a high performance athlete and worked out with women in weight classes so I didn’t want to burst her bubble on the 16%. I knew what 16% looked like and she wasn’t close.
        After the DEXA she kept using the one at her trainers to track progress. DEXA is like $100+ so it makes sense to only use it once a year or so.
        The other cheap and reliable way to check your progress is measurements. The waist doesn’t lie!
        Good luck.

  10. I’m in a similar boat, just with less mileage 😉 I’m trying to make my return to “f*cking yoga” as you so eloquently (and perfectly) put it, but its haaaaard!

  11. To loose weight I tried to increase my mileage and cut back on the Yuengling Lite. It’s a hard balance between eating enough to support your training and having a calorie deficit to lose weight. I’ve focused on each week losing 1lb so far since Jan 1 I’ve lost 24 lbs.

    • I think you’re exactly right. It’s the reason I didn’t want to try to cut back while I was in marathon training…it’s just not the right time to mess with your food/carb intake, in my experience. It’s hard to get the balance right and when you only have a few pounds to lose, you’re dealing with a really small window between the intake and the output. Plus, running makes me hungry and crave beer and I’m not good at resisting. :)

      Awesome job on your training + weight loss! Do you have a goal weight, and if so, how close are you to it at this point?

  12. I know this sounds crazy but since I had Avery I’ve lost 50 pounds – and I only gained 35! I never thought having a baby would be the answer to my weight loss issues, but chasing a little one around every morning and night does not leave room for eating a lot. It does, however, leave room for a glass of wine every night after she goes to bed. :)

    • I am sure that is wine well earned. :)

      But really, obviously I don’t have kids but it makes some sense…you’re probably busier than you ever have been, I’m guessing there is not a lot of time for going out to eat junky food at happy hour and such.

  13. I think you should totally go for the book deal!!!

  14. I went out of town to a friend’s a couple of weekends ago and came back feeling like my usual jeans didn’t fit. Agh, that was enough for me. Totally understand that “must do something about this” feeling. I don’t think it is necessarily a vanity or petty issue — it’s about those pounds and complacency creeping up…. that’s how people become overweight/obese, slowly but surely. I think as long as you stay within your range and not knock the rest of your life, why criticize?

  15. Less alcohol, more strength training is what I do when I need to lose a few pounds. Also it helps me if I keep a food log of what I eat. I am notorious for mindlessly shoving food in my face when I am making dinner. If I don’t write things down I tend to lose track.
    I have the same scale. I don’t know how accurate all the reading are but I think it is good just to get a general trend of body fat, etc. I mostly bought it because it looks cool.

  16. I feel like I’ve been reading so many conflicting articles lately on what types of exercise actually promote weight loss vs those that don’t that I don’t really know what to believe any more. But I could probably cut back on the fried foods and boooooze a little. I’m convinced that if I just cut out alcohol, chips and cheese I’d lose 10 pounds. But that just ain’t gonna happen any time soon. Godspeed, my friend. :)

  17. I’m trying to cool it on the weeknight drinking unless I *really* want it. Which sounds kind of ridiculous, I realize, but it’s also really easy for a big bottle of beer to just suddenly become open at our house and then I’m drinking some without having had that impulse of, “mmm, I really want a beer right now.” So yeah, no more mindless boozing. On school nights, anyway.

  18. Blargh. I need to do this crap too but I’ve been putting it off because I want to spend every precious free moment running. I’ve lost all the baby weight but I still look all flabby and deflated. Need to *tighten.*

  19. A friend who is getting her MS in nutrition offered to help me get on track with my eating. I’ve been feeling really lethargic lately, and it’s either because I’m overtrained or because I eat from boxes 24/7, or both. I’m a little scared to go on a meal plan but she said eating better will help my running.

  20. I’m interested in hearing about your progress too! I used to feel like running was the best way to get in shape, but now that I’m a little older it no longer seems to work by the magical equation of run longer = lose weight pretty much no matter what. I also hate weight training, so let me know if you find ways to make it more interesting!

  21. I cut out alcohol almost entirely during my last 2 marathon training cycles, except for Saturdays after my long runs. Partly because it was impacting my running and partly because it was empty calories and I’d rather have food. But then again, I made a lot of changes and the limited alcohol thing was one of many things. I guess it worked, though!

  22. Yes, yoga! I need to do more of that too. I agree that your body becomes an expert at just doing the same thing over and over (ie. distance running) and thus slowing down the results you see as far as your body changing. I definitely think it’s important to change it up a lot and make sure you are doing other things to compliment your running like cross training. I like to take spin classes at the gym and I also teach a dance class on the side which keeps it fun. I think yoga is a great choice and also some strength training. I’ve been meaning to try hot yoga, I bet that is amazing!