April 7, 2010

Running = Weight Gain?

It has been a while since I've posted and let's thank our busy lives for that. Since I last wrote a lot of things have happened and a few things I wanted to write about, but didn't have the opportunity.

As I've already mentioned I began working about a bit over a year ago, and it will soon be a year since I officially took on running. Losing weight has been a struggle even after increasing my physical activity, but I never gave up. Running has definitely changed my life. I live a healthier lifestyle, I have my own hobby outside my work/family obligations, I have thinking time, I have something to be proud of, and something to make my family proud of. At some point losing weight stopped being my main focus, and having fun was now the priority. Having fun??? Never thought I would say running is having fun, but it is to me...well now anyway.

New Jersey had a rough winter, and I had given up on running outdoors for about 1 month until the new gym opened. Once the gym opened, I started running again. One thing I realized is that running on a treadmill just isn't as fun and at one point thought it was easier, but now find it tougher. Road running is just so much more fun. There is so much to see, even if you run the same route a few times. Whenever I know I'll be running somewhere knew I get really excited.

I left on vacation to Brazil 3 weeks ago and was so excited about running there. The day after I arrived, I put on my Nike Free's and hit the beach (1 block away from my in-laws). It was just the most beautiful run. I have never run such a beautiful path before. It's kind of ironic to say, but it was so relaxing. Running = Relaxing? It does to me. hahaha I ran during sun rise (a beauty of it's own), I ran mid day, and I ran at night. All beautiful and relaxing in it's own way. I'm such a sucker for the beach. The sound of the ocean is just so relaxing...wish I was there right now. aaaaaaaa

Anyway...Don't worry, I'm getting to the point - Running = Weight Gain?

One of the reasons I wasn't discouraged during my first year in running with weight loss was because I did see a difference in my waist and hips (and that's what matters right?). Well, from January to date, my weight loss has really kicked off and I think I know why. So in simple terms, here are my reasons for my sluggish weight loss and what to avoid during your weight loss journey.

1. During my 2 back to back pregnancies, I literally became a fat a$$. I lost most of my muscle mass and became a big pile of fat (I know, I know - total exaggeration, but that's how I felt)

2. Aside from the fat I was losing, the fat I still had was turning into muscle.

3. In non-scientific terms, fat is giggly (like jell-o) and muscle is not (it's like boiled chicken breast lol) - there is more mass to muscle and that mass weighs more.

4. I wasn't eating enough. WHAT DO YOU MEAN? Yes, that's right. I wasn't eating enough when it mattered. It is true that weight loss is simple math, calories in - calories out, but we all have something called metabolism and you must learn how it works. If you work out in the morning, you must have a larger breakfast. You must NEVER become hungry. If you feel hungry and famished, when you do eat, your metabolism will be slow. Don't cut fat out of your diet. You need fat...there is good fat and bad fat. You must learn about the food you eat. Also, ORGANIC IS BETTER. I've tried it, I've compared it and it definitely is better. It tastes better and it's better for your body. Living in America, we will always intake some sort of processed food, but as much as you can eat ORGANIC.

5. I wasn't working out my muscles enough. When you are running you are working out all your muscles, but it is really geared towards cardiovascular health. I wasn't lifting weights or doing any type of resistance training. I started doing Pilates and a few weeks later started taking classes with weights at thegym and that's when my weight started flying off. In one year I had lost 10 pounds and just in the month after I started weight and resistance training I lost another 5 pounds. How awesome is that?!?!

So, does running make you gain weight? Yes and no. If you experience weight gain when you start a running program, it could be one of 2 things. Either your fat is turning into muscle which weighs more or you are taking in too many calories. It's that simple.

Always remember to not only weigh yourself, but to take your body measurements (waist, hips, thighs, arms, etc). That is your true measurement of success.

It may take a while, but the weight will come off. I am of the school of that that it's better to be a few pounds heavier than you would like and live a healthier lifestyle. There are plenty of unhealthy skinny people. I'd rather be a full healthy woman.

Until next time.