I've often mentioned that I'm not the stereotypical runner since I carry extra weight. I've always bought into the myth that I was fit but fat. Surely if I can run 30+ half marathons I don't have anything to worry about except a few extra pounds? I've been forced to face reality over the last 6 months.
Over the summer I had to do undergo an endoscopy due to a re-occurrence of GERD issues, due likely in part to my weight. During the course of this it became apparent that I was dealing with hypertension as well, and suddenly I found myself on two new prescriptions and doctors suggesting that I need to find a way to drop pounds. To say this helped send me into a funk was a minor understatement. I was already not handling a recent birthday well.
I went on vacation in September, and the pictures didn't lie, I was back at my highest weight as an adult. I had successfully dropped 20 or so pounds in 2010 while running two full marathons and nine halfs that year, and they came back with a vengeance since then.
As if I needed any further evidence that I need to focus on my weight, in January I went through a Bod Pod body composition test. I knew things weren't great, but I needed to know exactly what I was dealing with. I figured my body fat percentage would be over 40%, maybe 42%. Results showed it is 48%. Yes, nearly HALF of my body is fat. That's a sobering thought, especially when you consider that 30% and above is considered obese.
So, what am I doing? I'm NOT dieting. Yes, you read that right, I need to lose weight, but I'm not dieting. I'm not following any kind of restrictive fad, instead I'm focusing on lifestyle changes as a way to lose weight and keep it off for good. And guess what, I'm losing weight, I'm not starving myself, and I FEEL GOOD.
I'm focusing on home cooked food with little processed ingredients and heavy on veggies. If I want a snack, I grab fruit. I focus on protein and limit my carbs to some extent. But you know what, if I want something I'm not going to deny myself, but I will adjust for it later. It's all about finding balance and avoiding extremes. I've also been taking vitamin D and fish oil, at my doctor's suggestion.
These changes also coincided with the start of training for my first race of the year, the New Bedford Half Marathon on March 16th. I'm doing the most intensive training I've probably ever done, at least 4 days of running and 1 day of cross training. This has certainly helped, too. And, it's become something I want to do, not something I feel like I have to do. I feel stronger and faster with each work out, and the confidence is starting to come back, too.
I'm six or so weeks into this and down several pounds and have likely said goodbye to a few inches as well. This will be a long road, but I'm motivated to get healthy and not have to go down it again.