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“Ooh you should take up running, that will help you lose weight”…yeah right, you’d think so hey? But it doesn’t quite work like that.

Six weeks ago I weighed 16 stone 5lbs, after being on a gradual downward trajectory with my weight loss, losing close to 4 stone since having my daughter in January, however during the past 6 weeks whereby I have been swimming, practiced yoga, run an interval track session, a 5k race and three, yes THREE half marathons and guess what? I’m heavier than what I was to start with?

Where am I going wrong?

Well, I actually know exactly where I am going wrong!!

I can’t stop eating…eating crap I might add…and eating way too much of it too.

So with a half marathon on the horizon I let the odd chocolate bar slip in to my diet cos “I’m running a half marathon”, I eat bread, pasta, rice and potatoes under the guise of carb loading as “I’m running a half marathon” on the day of the race I have jam on my toast and a banana cos you guessed it… “I’m running a half marathon”, I take on energy drinks whilst running whilst “I’m running my half marathon” and afterwards boy oh boy do I eat and drink cos I am celebrating the fact “I have just run, 13.1 miles…a FREAKING half marathon”

Take this weekends Lisbon Half marathon for example, according to my Garmin I burned a grand total of 1451 calories not bad hey? however my food intake for the day was as follows

Toast, marg and jam
Gels x 2
Powerade x 4 cups
2 quarters of orange
Half a banana
A magnum ice cream (given at the finish line)
A carton of chocolate milk (from goodie bag)
Spaghetti Bolognaise (post race dinner)
Cereal bar (from goodie bag)
Quarter Pounder & Cheese meal (at airport)
Twix (on plane)

Coming in at an approximate 3336 calories eaten, so take away from this the calories burned through running, and the 1670 Calories my body needs just to function and you can see where the problem lies. Despite running for over 3 hours I find myself in 215 calories worth of deficit for the day, and remember this is only today’s food intake.

So why do I do it? Why do I sabotage my efforts?

I have these stupid thoughts going on in my head that tell me “I deserve it”, my unhealthy food choices are a direct result of this silly belief that the half marathon will counter balance it, even though I know it will not. I know that you cant out train a poor diet, but I can’t seem to help myself.

I am sure I’m not the only one who has this problem as many plus sized runners I talk to tell me that they struggle to lose weight one they start training for a half marathon or a marathon. There is no doubt about it, running makes you hungry…but I think the biggest problem is this sense of entitlement we have, before and definitely after a long race.

I don’t really have another half marathon on the horizon as I don’t think my bank balance or my body could manage another one for a while, but I do have to get on top of my nutrition because I can tell you carting over 16 stone of weight around a half marathon course or in fact any other course hurts, and it hurts just as much when you get on the scales the following week and realise it hasn’t shifted.

I don’t just run to lose weight, but it would be a welcome side effect and if I am being completely honest with myself I only have myself to blame for this. The sabotage has to stop. If I was more in control of my eating not only would I would shift some of this unwanted weight, but I would feel stronger, my body would function better and I would more likely see some improvement in my running times too.

I am starting over…wish me luck!!

  1. February 19, 2014

    Just googled “running for fat people” and landed here – loved this post. I have been running for almost 3 years now and see improvements, but not ONE POUND lost in those 3 years. I eat too much. I know that. But it’s frustrating! Maybe I thought that running would be something that would allow me to enjoy eating as much as I do? Well, good to know I’m not alone with this!

    • February 19, 2014

      Its a hard pill to swallow that running does not have a magic wand effect. I think the point is, if you are at goal weight then an activity like running will enable you to eat foods that you enjoy, but for most of us that goal weight is a little off in the distance, well a long way off in my case. I know I struggle with getting the right balance with my food intake, but I figure I will get there gradually!!

  2. October 22, 2013

    I find the healthy eating part difficult too, well not so much the healthy eating, I like healthy food but I like A LOT of it, that’s my problem

  3. October 10, 2013

    I hear you loud and clear !!You make perfect sense -why do we do it ??!!! I am training for this Sundays Oxford Half Marathon and have being allowing myself treats etc for this exact reason …”.I’m running a half marathon “!! But in reality ,I have put back on the 1/2 stone I had shifted from initial training in the summer and its made my running harder again as I can feel the extra weight .So I’m going to behave myself from now until Sunday evening ( then its going get messy) You’re blog could not have come into my inbox at a better time -Good luck on the weight loss and the running you are doing fab and remember you h x

  4. October 10, 2013

    You seem to have struck a “common” chord!
    This is by far one of my favourite blogs!
    Because I completely empathise with you!
    onwards and upwards eh?
    take comfort in knowing that you are not alone on this journey !!

  5. October 9, 2013

    Ha ha ha great post this was my thought the other week after a half marathon! We all do it 🙂

    Keep up the good running!

  6. October 9, 2013

    Yeh,ive had this problem time to time when Ive become careless. It happened the last halfmarathon I ran. I ate wedges afterward and had a bit of a pig out on carbs the night before but I got a PB time which balanced it out.

  7. October 9, 2013

    I fell into that trap many years ago doing my first Moonwalk, I was doing a marathon, walking it, but none the less still 26.2 miles plus all the training that went with it so I thought I could eat and eat and eat.. erm no, you guessed it I gained weight, I have since done a nutrition course (not ww related) and after investing in a HRM I realise that it is about eating smarter like you have said

    A few days before RTTB I started following Filling & Healthy so I could ‘Carb Load’ , I made sure from the Thursday onwards I didnt eat anything that wouldnt fuel my run & I am still following those principals now and they are really helping me, after RTTB I went for a Harvester and ate my salad, steak, jacket potato all guilt free as they are all F&H, the only thing i pointed was my thousand island dressing

    I wasnt even tempted by my usual dessert because I wanted to make sure my ran meant something, I wasnt running 13.1 blinkin miles not to see a decent result on the scales the following week

    The amount of times people come in and say they have exercised 3 x that week and it should wipe out the takeaways they had, unfortunately its just not that easy and the reality is even running a full marathon you would be lucky to lose 1lb :o( nutrition really is 80% of it

    • October 9, 2013


      That is such good advice, I just haven’t been strict enough with myself

      The healthy and filling approach should be perfect for when I am training and racing

  8. I know exactly what you mean. I haven’t done nearly as many races as you but in the build up to run to the beat I put on instead of lost weight, even though I was training hard. As you say, I think a lot of it is because of that ‘I deserve it attitude’

    However, I think there’s something else too. I’ve just come back from a fitness holiday in Kenya (a nice Bootcamp in the sun) and there they were obsessed with high intensity exercise for short periods of time. In fact they were quite anti running long races – they said long and slow was not as effective as short bursts of 100% effort. One of the trainers even said jogging ‘was not a word’ – ie we are designed to walk or run fast, not mess about in the middle!

    It’s a controversial point if view and I don’t agree with it entirely – if nothing else there are huge mental health benefits from completing a long race and crossing the finish line. However it did make me resolve to do more circuit training and short, sharp workouts to see if there’s a difference.

  9. I am running to be fit and also to lose weight but I hear you…. I feel I can justify an indulgence. Plus if I’ve run, I feel hungry. As a result I’ve been yo-yo-ing for a couple of months. I think a structure to my diet and some goals will help me stay on track. Well I hope. I think some bloody minded ness is called for, for me. I’m a MyFitnessPal user – if you need a fellow dieter for some moral support, let me know!

    • October 9, 2013

      I am grateful for any help in this area.

      MyFitnessPal is great for tracking, but also doing weightwatchers at the moment so the recording of everything twice is not that convenient.

      My main problem is emotional eating, snacking and going mad once I’ve broken my healthy eating.

  10. October 9, 2013

    Here here. Started training for GNR, assumed I would lose weight. Not even a pound!

  11. October 9, 2013

    I hear ya! A half stone gain here too!

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