Why Don’t I Weigh Less?

April 25th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

As my Memorial Day marathon approaches, I’ve gotten the same question from my boot campers a few times. 

I don’t keep my mileage on my long runs (Saturdays most often, this week I woke at 4am to get it done) a secret.  I doubt anyone would, when they get up crazy early and run 17 miles before most wake up for their weekend!

So when a bootcamper asks on Monday how far I went this weekend, sometimes they ask more questions.  The past few weeks, someone has asked me why I don’t lose weight when I run so much.

(Fortunately, I haven’t yet been offended by a weight-related question from a bootcamper.  I figure they ask because they’re comfortable with me, and as a trainer, my body is at issue for my clients.  So why not.)

But back to the question: Amy, why don’t you lose weight when you’re running 17 miles at a time??

Well, there are several reasons I maintain my weight regardless of the number of miles I run.  Two reasons in particular.

Most importantly, I maintain my weight because I eat more as I run more.  It’s just how it works.  I also eat WHILE I run to maintain my blood glucose levels and my energy. 

I also don’t run off that many calories, all things considered.  I burn maybe 80 calories per mile, so really, it isn’t that much weight.  (I’m a pretty small creature compared to most and have been running for a long time.)  If I eat 200 calories while I’m running, and if I ran 17 miles at 80 calories per mile, that’s a net calorie loss of 1160.  Spread out over a few hours, and discounting the amount of calories I would have used sitting at my computer or sleeping, and it simply doesn’t end up a huge calorie toll.  (I’d have to do those 17 miles four times to come close to burning off a pound.)

The other part is much more complicated and one I think is often too complicated for a bootcamp discussion: remember—they are at bootcamp to exercise, not to talk!  (I heard that snicker, Bootcampers!)

One of the other reasons I maintain my weight regardless of the number of miles I run has to do, I think, with my diabetes.  My daily insulin requirements aren’t much different from the months I run and the months I don’t run.  Sure, the basal rates are different (lower when I run more), but the amount of insulin I take to cover the increased carbohydrates I eat ends up evening things out when I compare it to the higher basal rate I need to take when I’m not doing the aerobic work and don’t eat as many carbohydrates to fuel the work. 

Since the amount of insulin I take affects storage of body fat and my weight, if I take the same average amount of insulin then I won’t really change my weight much at all.

The third reason is that I’m not trying to lose weight.  If I were trying to lose weight, I’d eat less food and take less insulin and keep up my exercise regimen… but I wouldn’t run marathons at the same time.  Those two objectives (losing weight and running a marathon) place competing, intense, high-powered demands on my body and I don’t want to ever place that much stress on my body—I need it to last me the rest of my life!!

If you want help making your way through any distance or achieving a weight goal, I’m here to help!! Contact me at www.DiabetesOutside.com/be_fit.html

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1 comment

  1. Peggy says:

    There is a LOT to comment on in this post… those of us with type 3 have NO CLUE the science/math/sheer effort it takes to be a type one athlete… is but one.

    But I really want to THANK you for being so clear about your third and final point. There are all kinds of different goals we have for our bodies and our athletic endeavors. Losing weight and running a strong marathon? I know that can sometimes be a byproduct, but my feeling is it’s not smart.

    Thanks for sharing!

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