I have 16 miles on the agenda today. Don't worry, I'm not running from the police.
I'm at week 9 of my training program for the Chicago Marathon and my Foxy Fitness and Pole Showcase is a few days short of a month away. The New Jersey Spartan Super follows up two weeks after, then two South Carolina Spartan Beasts, approximately 14 miles each. My last marathon for the year is the TCS New York City Marathon on November 6th. Yes, I live in the gym and on the pavement. The number one question that I get that could be kind of insulting is "Why are you still fat?"
If only it was that simple as to go outside at 4am and run all of my cellulite away into the New York City humidity and come back home as a size 6. No, not for me. Despite the notion that my doctor wants me to get my thyroid checked out and host of medical issues, this will not be my scapegoat on why I'm still fat.
Living in the gym will NOT make you skinny. Say it with me: LIVING IN THE GYM WILL NOT MAKE YOU SKINNY! Now go cry into a bowl of ice cream and cake so it can rub the boo boo away and add on another spare tire. Doctors swear by it to go outside and do some physical fitness. Do you know the other part that they swear by? Eating properly. Running 50 miles a week will not make me this skinny sex God. If you happen to find me on Myfitnesspal, you would see that my food journal has me eating around 3000 calories on average. ::inserts freak out and robs candy store here:: The reality of it is that it's damn hard for me to reach my calorie goal without junk food daily. I could do the protein shake and pills like everyone else but I'm not much of a fan of these things. Instead, I have to be smart and strategic about my eating habits and sometimes, a bit of a food Nazi. That's no way to live and I refuse to eat dry salads, become PillBo Baggins, add no seasoning to my food or start the latest Atkins diet.
I can tell you why I STOPPED losing weight a year ago? Stress and not eating enough. Stress can be the ultimate fat builder master 6000 equipped with the eat cake attachment. Having the extra stress of life, juggling a job at the time with insane hours on my feet and barely having enough sleep, I spent my days eating very little and moving a lot. Ask my Fitbit. My poor baby was clocking in 28,000 steps by noon just from working and I did not even make it to the gym or hit the pavement by this point. I spiraled into this pool of nowhere by indulging in a beer here and there, which went from twice a week to 5 days a week. The pressures of being a marathoner means that you will spend a lot of time alone unless you have a workout partner. Pair this solution with an unconventional job being on your feet 10 - 14 hours a day, traveling home and still managing to cook dinner, if at all healthy, for your family, you might not lose weight if you're someone like me. Without eating my required amount of calories, particularly healthy ones, made my body go into starvation mode despite my hard core fitness regimen.
Sure, I ate 2000 calories a day most of the time but I cannot promise you it was always healthy. Sometimes the healthy stuff just wasn't enough. Try doing this to a person in marathon training and you will watch them look like fast flubber down the pavement. It amazes me that I weigh more now than a year ago but when I look at some of my pictures, I look more slender than at that time. I started losing muscle from the lack of adequate food.
It took for me to lose my job, leave another one shortly after and hit rock bottom to ask myself the dreaded question that so many whispered to me, "How the hell are you a fat marathoner?" Well, aside from the fact that I no longer care about cutting the pounds, I lost track of the important elements. I forgot basic things like muscle is leaner than fat**. I drink close to a gallon or more a day of water, which means the number on the scale is a goddamn heathen. Hell, I forgot about the hidden calories of drinks and condiments. For some reason, I forgot that distance runners go through fluid retention a lot. Most of all, I forgot how to enjoy the process and embrace life.
Running is an absolute fat burner and pairing strength training to compliment it will surely cut some calories like the Ninja blender. But please bear in mind that there's a balance to everything. Your food must match your fitness. Know that the scale isn't the end all be all. I lost a crazy amount of inches, which means more to me than a number on the scale. Be mindful that doing the same thing for a certain amount of time will go from hardcore fitness to toning & conditioning. Understand and respect that your body works heavily with your mental wellbeing.
I said it before and will say it again: I don't desire to be a size 4 anymore. I don't even care if I don't make it to my goal weight again as I did two years ago. What I do desire is to be fit and healthy. The arrogant part of me is happy to know that my endurance training helps me lift and run longer than most. Baby, I got these muscular legs and strong arms that can stand up against the average man. My thighs are a Venus fly trap. I completed an ultra marathon on a Sunday and woke up at 3am the next morning to go to a job interview/trail as a baker, working 10 hours the very next day at 4am. That lactic acid did murder me though. But do you know why I'm able to do all of this with a smile on my face? Because I'm a fighter. A pure adrenaline junkie. I love being my own hero in a Disney film. Because my weight doesn't define me. As long as I continue doing what I'm doing, the weight will continue to shed in a healthy but slow manner while I'm enjoying life. Just know that I will be embracing the high calorie fattening meals here and there even though it's not a cheat day. Your weight loss journey isn't supposed to a sprint. Give your health and body permission to be an endurance runner because your life is a marathon.
**Original post edited 08/20/2016, 18:16HRS