My journey as a long distance runner who started the sport later in life.
My last Lifetime Wellness Challenge (LWC) ended sometime in November 2014. I didn’t start another challenge because I relished a break from it. The rules are really simple to follow, and they really do promote health and fitness to last a lifetime, but filling in the spreadsheet was something from which I needed a mental break. I have taken breaks between challenges before and I have always managed to keep on track since achieving my goal weight. I figured another break would be more of the same.
One of the longest breaks I took from LWC was over the month of December 2013 and it was a break without incident; only a minor reduction in exercise frequency and no weight gain. I had been training for a half marathon and I associated my success in keeping the weight off to the half marathon training. I also mostly continued with LWC eating habits, but allowed myself a few holiday indulgences including a week of all-inclusive resort food. If that didn’t make me gain weight nothing would, or so I thought.
This time around I am training for the same half marathon, which is set to take place in mid-February 2015. Because the race calendar was slow to update, I happened upon the race a little later than I did last year. Before I signed up for it this year I had been wallowing in the doldrums of a post-race resting phase (I ran a half marathon in October 2014) combined with a bronchitis recovery phase. The LWC challenge ended, the race training ended, the illnesses kicked in, and somehow I turned into a potato. It was a trifecta of health and fitness doom, but still it didn’t change much on the scale. The most my weight might vary from day to day was about 4 lbs, and I got to 3 lbs below goal weight at one point during my stint with bronchitis.
What I have been doing differently in December 2014 is eating more carbohydrates, including baguettes, crepes, and any baked goods that come my way. Last December I continued to mostly avoid those types of foods. I have also scaled down my water consumption drastically; I am just not thirsty for anything when the weather is cold and I am not exercising. Last December I can remember forcing myself to consume almost 2 L of water every day, even during the week at the resort. I have also stopped making salad a regular part of each day. It is hard to get excited for cold, moist raw vegetables in the cold, moist and raw weather. Last December I know I kept up with the vegetable consumption, especially raw vegetables.
I am forced to wonder how the two Decembers compare in terms of exercise frequency and duration to determine whether changes in diet alone are the true difference between the Decembers (see image). I have returned from checking to realize that somehow Map My Run has restored the ability to directly upload my data from my Garmin 310XT. I have been suffering from an inability to upload that data since September! What a nice surprise!
I definitely ran more last December, but I have fired back up with running in the latter half of this December and I am set to run 16K tomorrow. So, it shocks me to repeatedly get on the scale and see that I am up 10 lbs from goal weight. The scale can vary up to 5 lbs from day to day, but 10 lbs is not an anomaly that will disappear with hormone fluctuations and/or random water retention or loss. I have somehow taken a break that has added weight, and now, with all of the cards on the table, I still wonder whether any one factor is the greatest cause or if it is the combination of everything. It’s time to wash some lettuce!