Why managing weight is important for overweight runners
As an overweight or chubby runner, you’ve probably struggled managing weight for years.
Many of us are genetically predisposed to be, whatever you want to call it, husky, thick, heavy, or chunky. It’s harder to manage weight when both the odds and your very genetic codes are against you. But you are a chubby runner, which means you’ve accepted that and have the desire to do better, to be better.
What is it?
According to Nature.com, “weight management is the process of adopting long-term lifestyle modification to maintain healthy body weight on the basis of a person’s age, sex, and height. Methods of weight management include eating a healthy diet and increasing physical activity levels.”
Why is managing weight important?
Awareness, education, and action are vital components of weight management.
For the average individual, weight management is important but may not always be on their radar. For chubby people, it is a lifelong struggle. Due to our physical makeup, we are constantly aware of, and sometimes obsess over, the numbers on the scale and how we look in the mirror.
Awareness and managing weight
Awareness is important in understanding the potential downside risks and the upside potential of living a healthy, active life.
One thing that most overweight people are very cognizant of is their weight. What many may not be aware of is how to effectively and efficiently manage weight. It starts with an understanding of risks and the proactive steps of prevention.
Health risks for overweight people
Health risks for chubby people are linked to obesity. WebMD lists the following as conditions that stem from obesity.
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Gallbladder disease
- Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea and asthma
According to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:
“Obesity is a chronic condition that affects more than one in three adults and about 17 percent of children and adolescents in the United States. More than one in three adults is overweight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, fatty liver disease, kidney disease, and other health issues.”
Now that you are aware of some of the health risks, you must educate yourself about which potential issues pose the greatest risk to you.
Education to better manage weight
Proper awareness of the potential risks, gives you the breadth of knowledge, education is for depth.
Understanding which health issues with the greatest risk, requires that you gather information and data from a variety of sources. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls it “Family Health History” and recommends the following steps to get a complete picture.
- Use family gatherings as a time to talk about health history
- Look at death certificates and family medical records
- Collect information about your
- Full and half sisters and brothers
- Aunts and uncles
- Nieces and nephews
- Include information on major medical conditions such as:
- Causes of death
- Age at disease diagnosis
- Age at death
- Ethnic background
Be sure to update the information regularly and share what you’ve learned with your family and with your doctor. You can also find your family health history through apps and services.
The New York Times Wirecutter reviewed and recommend these:
- Family Tree DNA
Take action on weight management
Once you have gathered all applicable data from a variety of sources, you can now take proactive steps toward a healthier you. Your course of action can now be targeted to your own family health history for the greatest impact on your situation.
Two main components of managing weight
Taking action based on good personalized data will allow you to make the most of your efforts.
These actions are broken down into a couple of categories, healthy diet, and physical exercise. Each will have some of their own tips and insights intended to give you the greatest opportunity for personal success.
Healthy diet is a key for managing weight
Consume whole foods
Focus on eating healthy whole foods, rich in fiber, and nutrients. Eat lean protein sources. If you’re not on a ketogenic diet, stay away from saturated fats. Steer clear of processed food with refined sugars and flour. There are also foods you can eat that will help with the calorie burn, read more about it in a previous article.
Think about what you eat
Read food labels. Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating. Look at the nutritional facts listed on packages. Choose smaller plates and bowls to help with portion control. Listen to your body, it will give you cues to stop eating before you’re stuffed and uncomfortable.
Embrace meal planning
By planning meals in advance, you can make healthier choices before hunger strikes.
- Plan and prepare home-cooked meals
- Eat out at restaurants only on special occasions
- Pack snacks
If you always have low-calorie snacks like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on hand, you can control hunger without risking a binge situation.
Mix up your meals
Healthy eating can sometimes be a real drag. Chicken and rice are not very sexy. Spice up your meals with some new ideas. Check Pinterest boards or Instagram for some different healthy recipes to avoid meal boredom.
Regular physical exercise helps in managing weight
Make time for exercise
People with high activity levels are more likely to maintain their weight loss than others who are not as active, according to recent studies.
- Make a goal of how many days or how many hours you will exercise
- Write down the goal on a calendar or on your phone
- Set reminders on your phone to follow through
- Get an accountability partner to make sure you accomplish your goals
Setting exercise goals will help both in your running pursuits and help you feel healthier and happier all around.
Cut screen time
One big struggle for most people is lack of time.
There’s not enough time in the day to take care of the kids, work projects, after-school activities, and on and on. There will always be something else to monopolize your time unless you make your health a top priority. That could mean sacrificing other things for the good of your physical and mental health.
One sacrifice may be screen time. I know that sounds crazy, but more time in front of the TV, computer, phone or tablet means less time on your feet burning calories. Choose activities that keep you on your feet and moving. The good news is that there are physical activities that allow you to combine screen time with workouts. Finding a workout app or cycle while watching your favorite Netflix is a great healthy way to combine activities if cutting screen time cold turkey is too much to bear.
One of the great secrets of weight management is simply adding water. It is an easy habit to pick up and implement. There are so many fun water bottles these days, you can make it an accessory to match your outfit. Whatever you need to do to drink more water, other no-calorie unsweetened beverages will help you lose weight and keep it off.
How to maintain weight effectively
When you feel that you’ve reached your goal weight, you’ll need to continue a healthy lifestyle so you don’t regain the weight you’ve lost. If you want to keep the weight off, keep a positive attitude and use some of the tips below.
Positive mindset helps in managing weight
Maintain a positive attitude
Always believe in yourself! You’ve worked hard to lose weight. That’s a big deal. Remember that when you are feeling down. Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Some days will be better than others
- Don’t measure yourself on other people’s yardstick
- If you binge or overeat, that’s ok. Pick yourself up and move on.
- Each new day is a fresh slate for healthy living
Think long term
Remember that short-term dieting sucks.
Dieting is cutting calories, portion control, focus on macronutrients, etc and that takes its toll. A healthy diet is part of a healthy lifestyle. That’s long-term.
To continue to keep the weight off, you’re making long-term, life changes. Consider these tips for thinking long-term.
- Retrain your brain when it comes to eating
- Identify habits that caused you to gain weight
- Think about what, when, why, where, and how you eat
- Be prepared to make any changes necessary for a more healthy lifestyle
- Continue with the good habits you’ve made
Managing weight changes should be marginal
Build on your wins.
You’ve made a lot of progress in your goals. Celebrate the wins and remember them. To continue to build on wins requires that you do one change at a time. Once you’ve mastered one, move on to the next one. Take one step at a time, and you will be headed for success.
Stay away from the extremes
Remove negative words from your vocabulary.
Be real with yourself. You don’t need to say, “I will never eat pizza again.” Or “I will always eat salads.” Reward yourself with treats on occasion. You should be able to live your life and have your favorite treats without feeling guilty. By eating smaller portions of some of your favorite indulgences can be worked into your new eating style.
Weight management accountability
One of the biggest things you can do to maintain a healthy weight over time is to hold yourself accountable for your diet and exercise goals. You can do this on your own or you can team up with a group or a friend to maintain a healthy lifestyle over the long term.
You are your own biggest fan.
Accountability to yourself is key to long-term weight management. You can do the following.
- Weigh yourself regularly
- Measure your progress weekly/monthly/yearly
- If you fall off the wagon, that’s okay. Keep a record of food and exercise to get back on track.
Managing weight effectively with support
You can use a friend or family member to regularly check in on you. There are apps that will send you reminders or notifications to keep you on track too.
If you can find someone or a group to join you on your journey, those collective successes can make the changes more impactful.
Your weight does not define you.
Whether your genetics have a chubby code or athlete code, it’s what you do with that predisposition that is up to you. As a chubby runner, you are taking your life into your own hands and trying to be better every single day. And that is something to feel good about.