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You Can't Outrun a Bad Diet

It's a huge battle which I suck at some days. I don't know about you, but even though I am not afraid of being mugged my a chocolate cake with vanilla icing (is this profiling), this effing food thing is tough. It does not care how fit you are, or what you do; when you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight.

This should be easy-peasy after seven years. It's not.

Most of you know that since I first logged onto MFP I became a marathoner. I have run nine of them. The real deal, the 26.2 mile (42KM) kind! I have run about 90 other distances and did a 60-mile charity run across Massachusetts and a 30-miler across Rhode Island. I do love running, but it is not a weight loss program.

You cannot outrun a bad diet.

Marathons are a lot different than shorter distance races. You need to have lots of rest before and lots of recovery time after. With a 3-week taper leading up to the race and a week or two of recovery, you don't get a lot of exercise in.

Not good!

The problem is that it is hard to cut down on your food intake. Well, it is for me. I need to be in a highly controlled environment. That means nothing that I should consider an occasional treat can be within walking distance. I can't have leftover birthday cake, chips, dips, and other types of snack foods close by. Or Halloween candy! 

I just can't do it!

I have to divide up portions meat, fish, chicken, and turkey when I get home from the grocery store. It's SO easy to toss the second turkey burger in when I get home from work and I am hungry. If there is more than one in a package, I will eat them all.

The good news is that when I run, I am a lot less hungry.

Now I need to get ready for Tokyo. They have a strict time limit and pull you off the course if you are not on pace! I cannot afford that. This will have to be one of my best marathons in terms of time.

I will finish my last World Major!

Did I say I need a controlled environment? I make lots of good food choices. I usually skip desserts except for special occasions. I drink oceans of water and coffee (no sugar). 

What I don't do was control portions.

One of the things I know about failing is that we give ourselves permission to do it. We make excuses. "It's only once", "it's vacation", "it's OK to start over tomorrow", "it's just a stressful time" and the hits keep on coming. In 7 years on MFP I have seen a lot of people come and go - a lot - thousands in fact!

Overeating is an enemy of mine.

The fact still remains that 55% of those who lose weight will not keep it all off, 20% will return to their previous weight and 20% or so will gain even more weight then they lost. That leaves 5% to win the championship and make a true lifestyle change.

I want to be one of them.

90 votes + -


josiereside1 wrote 46 months ago:
Agreed, you cannot out run a bad diet!! Although I sure as heck try.... I also need to have very controlled situations to stay within my daily macro/calorie allotment. When I am really, really serious about dropping pounds I avoid social situations. I cannot have my trigger foods in the house, that being Swedish Fish, Skittles, chocolate licorice, or Good N Plenty... If I buy a family size bag, that family size bag is getting eaten by me, by me only as the hubs does not like that kind of stuff. Thus, have not bought any even though I eye it up at the grocery store every time! It is a constant battle for sure!
2BtheRealMe wrote 46 months ago:
With the exception of the running distances (my max distance is the half marathon, and even then I haven't done one in 3 years), I could have written most of the above! The part that speaks the most to me, though, is the "permission" ... I have been giving myself 'permission' to eat poorly for the past two months, and it shows -- on the scale, in my clothes, and in the way I feel. But trying to get back on track (tracking everything, eating proper portion sizes, etc) is HARD. I'm totally there with you! You're right - it is the never ending challenge - but I know I'll see you in the winners circle! Good luck -- with this eating thing & Tokyo! I admire your determination!
Anonymous wrote 46 months ago:
I totally agree with this! I have also given myself permission to eat poorly and then I give myself more permission to skip a workout. It's a vicious cycle that needs to be tamed. I also want to be one of the 5%.
bobsburgersfan wrote 46 months ago:
Great blog; thanks for this! "One of the things I know about failing is that we give ourselves permission to do it. We make excuses. "It's only once", "it's vacation", "it's OK to start over tomorrow", "it's just a stressful time" and the hits keep on coming." This is exactly what I'm afraid of doing during the holiday season - giving myself too much permission. You've inspired me to write down some plans for the next couple of months!
FIT2125 wrote 46 months ago:
Love every word you said .. I kill my self in the Gym .. just to wash all my hard work off just with two cookies ..I figured out the exercise part .. its the Food/ portions is still a struggle for me ... I will strive to part of the 5% toooo .... Thanks David for sharing your struggles and showing us that Champions too have their Battles !!!
solieco1 wrote 46 months ago:
"Running is not a weight loss program" - so true! Neither is triathlon. In fact, I find it easier to lose when NOT exercising. It keeps the hungries at bay, and the losses are more predictable. That being said, my mind, mood and health need the exercise. Great blog.
FarmerCarla wrote 46 months ago:
You're so right! I'm in the 20% that returned to my original weight--not proud of that! I know I can never again let my guard down.
vanran wrote 46 months ago:
I disagree with the premise that if you eat more calories than you burn you will not gain wait.

It's about quality food, as well.

I had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy and I simply cannot consume large quantities of food. I TEND to make really smart food choices.

I log every single thing I eat/drink. I am on a low-glycermic - low/carb type of lifestyle consistent with my physician and nutritionist advised/controlled/guided eating regimen.

For two years I have stayed at nearly 800-1000 calories per day.

Last week, I weighed in at 190 -- and then I decided I was going to go off the reservation and eat the stuff I craved. I still had limitations. I ate chips, crackers, cheese, etc. I consumed 1200-1500 calories a day for about a week. My metabolic resting rate is roughly 1800/1900 calories and some days I have exercise.

At the end of the week, I was 197. I am in a calorie deficit, but the quality and type of food ate caused me to gain about 7 lbs. Calorie deficit and all.

So, I'm back to the program and limiting to 800-1000 calories while eating the healthier stuff I know I should be eating.

Grilled chicken, sour cream, jalapenos, turkey, some cheese, protein shakes/drinks, etc.

I weigh absolutely everything. So much so it annoys my wife! Two years I've been eating this way but I still weigh everything to ensure I have calorie calculation as accurate as possible.

Anyway -- this wasn't a flame, just something to tell people that quality matters. :D
josiereside1 wrote 46 months ago:
vanran, what you ate more than likely caused water weight not true fat gain weight.
swat1948 wrote 46 months ago:
I agree, I just can't have the bad stuff around me cause I'll eat it. Just got back on the wagon and got rid of all the crap, (my son-in-law is not happy with me). I refuse to regain that weight and let all my hard work go down the drain. Can't run and I'm old but I can move.
lorrainequiche59 wrote 46 months ago:
DITTO!! I have zero self control if it is within my sight. Freezing cookies, cakes or ANYTHING junky is NOT a fix for me, I'll just eat the damn stuff frozen. In fact, it adds another element LOL!

Obviously this IS a lifestyle for you because you are very self aware, honest & committed to reigning yourself in if you begin to deviate from the path. You are truly an inspiration for me. Thank you!!
hroderick wrote 46 months ago:
I am an accumulation of choices made hour by hour. Each choice guides me to where I will be in the future. I can control that future if I will.
Laura80111 wrote 46 months ago:
Once again you pull out the truth and put it in black & white. I'm one of those that have come & gone always with MFP in the background reminding me that I am not living up to what I really want out of my life. This go round my hubby is all in with me and I'm hoping that THIS time I will be in all the way in the forever kind...I want to be part of the 5%. I've already been a part of all the others so this time I can finally see this weight & exercise life stick. I'm rooting for you and for this next marathon.
AusManok74 wrote 46 months ago:
Truer words were never written. I'm not as far along the journey as you are, but I'm training for my first marathon, I've done a couple of halves and ten k's. I'm one year since I hit my goal weight and so far so good. I do though find myself thoroughly obsessed with food at times and it takes everything I've got to keep on track. I'm still so paranoid about gaining the weight back, which maybe isn't the worst thing as it keeps me mindful of it. I should say though that while you can't outrun a bad diet, running does have the added bonus of allowing you to do more eating then if you didn't run, so you have to love that!
fuzacoza wrote 46 months ago:
Ate 150g of chocolates yesterday, ending my day double the calories, I hang my head in shame:(

I run and exercise hard and got my weight to 79kg around last year this time, down from 120kg. No I am yo-yo'ing between 95kg and 90kg. It is one of Dante's circles of hell I tell you. On the upside I ran over 2000 calories this morning : )

MFP has helped a lot towards my fitness, so maybe we will not stick to eating right ALL the time but at least we can be honest with ourselves and try to do things better the next day. Keep it up!
pocntasha wrote 46 months ago:
I am so glad to have read this! I truly thought i was alone and I must hold myself accountable for falling off the MFP and diet wagon. I have to remind myself daily that its not a craving, but a decision. Its not mind over matter is minding to succeed! I am inspired by your honesty and discipline! Keep it going and good luck in Tokyo! Thanks for the self-check!
PAnn1 wrote 46 months ago:
I agree on so many degrees. I cannot have any trigger foods near me either or I will eat them. We are all but mere humans with all the shortcomings of being human. This journey for me, like you, is for life with all the mountains to climb and the sweet valleys to sail down into. If it could all be valleys that would be a plus, but then again that would never be real living. We need the struggles as well as the sails in order to keep learning (and keep losing). I have been reading your blogs for sometime now and you my friend are living a real life. Never boring :-)
mjglantz wrote 46 months ago:
Agree 100%. I'm not a runner but know from experience that you can't out exercise a bad diet. It all has to work tougher.
garystrickland357 wrote 46 months ago:
I identify with much of this post. I'm a runner (not a marathoner). A few years ago I became fit and lost a lot of weight by means of running - I did out run my diet. The problem was that when I stopped running I gained it all back.

This time around I understand much more clearly. When I run I eat more - a calculated allowance. On days I don't run - I eat the appropriate amount of calories. I've lost 75 pounds and I am keeping it off.

I understand the temptations. I have them too. I just choose now not to eat those things that tempt me. I find over time the temptation doesn't go away, but my ability to resist gets stronger every time I don't give in.

Keep posting. I like reading about your journey. Good luck in Tokyo.
celiaanded wrote 46 months ago:
At my age, I have grown to allow myself the unhealthy option to let my food choices lean way-to-far to the processed side. Just this once. When I saw myself sliding, I decided the stress was not worth and let it go. I will get back on track when life allows. And here I am 11 months and 11 days later, getting back on track.

Food diary with My Fitness Pal
Garmin Fitness tracker and GPS for bike

Signed up for a challenge at my husband's work.

Totally back on track.
Not the healthiest choice I made which brought me heno where but no where but up down from here; weight that is.
kdbulger wrote 46 months ago:
The more mileage I log in a week, the harder I find it to stay the course with my nutrition. And then...the week after a high mileage week? Harder still, because it counts for so much more! Good luck striking the balance.
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vanrayneman2 wrote 45 months ago:
Let me tell you something friend. A wise old man in the gym once told me...….wait, first, keep in mind this man was on the treadmill when I arrived, and was STILL on it when I left! I later asked him what his "secret" to staying so fit was and he told me...."It doesn't matter what you put in the "oven", as long as you keep the "oven" HOT enough to BURN it OFF!!!" Makes perfect sense. He told me that he eats and drinks what he wants, when he wants and runs it off on a daily basis. I've tried it, and it WORKS! I've lost 20 pounds in two months and can run farther, faster than ever. To be completely honest though, I've tightened up my diet and calorie intake over that time and really paid attention to detail. I commend YOU on your running achievements, as mine are just beginning. Also, try this when tempted by "bad" food. Consider food as "fuel for the body" and ONLY that. So, whenever you look at something to eat or drink, ask yourself..."Is this helping the cause or hurting it". Basically, if you make a 1% increase of good choices on a daily basis, you will become a more fit and healthier person over the long run. Take care friend! And keep the "oven" HOT!!!
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