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Part 1 — DrSugar Answers: Losing Too Much Weight Running?

DrSugar is in the house and answering your questions.

Dear DrSugar,
I have a problem that might seem a little odd, but I am not dieting and I am losing too much weight. I am training for a marathon, and exercise daily about 2 hours Monday through Friday (running outside mixed with swimming, spin class, body pump, and running on Treadmill). My Saturday workout is always a long run, and my Sunday workout is a short run. I know I am not pregnant, but my last period was 5 months ago. Is this due to too much exercise? Other than the missing period, I feel strong and fine. And I eat healthy meals every 2 to 3 hours. Is this something that I need to worry about?
Running Rita

This is an interesting multi-faceted question. DrSugar and I decided we should both tackle this one. To read what DrSugar has to say about this, just


First, your workout regimen is very impressive and I commend your marathon aspirations. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. In women, missed periods are a sign of excessive exercise. There are many different causes of missed periods, but given your exercise routine, over exercise is the most likely cause. The missed periods themselves are not dangerous, but they are a sign that you may be over stressing your body and putting yourself at risk for injury. The loss of periods is a reflection of decreased levels of estrogen, which can lead to osteoporosis. To help prevent this unintended consequence of strenuous exercise it is important to consume adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Other potential detrimental effects of excessive exercise include stress fractures, decreased immune system function, joint problems, headaches, insomnia, and emotional problems. It is important to maintain an adequate caloric intake and to take days off to let your body rest and heal. Good luck with the marathon and remember that there is such a thing as too much training.

Don't forget to read part two of this answer: Part 2 — You Asked: Losing Too Much Weight Running?

If you have a question for DrSugar, send me a private message here and I will forward it to the good doctor.

DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

Join The Conversation
iheart2cook iheart2cook 8 years
I was in the exact same situation as you. I completed my first marathon in Dec 08, and finally got my period this week after nearly a year without it. I haven't stopped running since my marathon, because I am training for another this coming April, but I have decreased my mileage slightly since I had a couple months before I needed to really start training again. Anyway, I would say that my lack of a menstural cycle was directly connected to over exercise. I LOVE running and marathons way too much so I make sure to take calcium plus Vitamin D chews (from Costco) everyday (plus I am health freak so I always eat really healthy too!)
brista brista 8 years
sundaygreen -- I would never EVER do what Michael Phelps does! Yes, he works hard and needs to fill up on tons of food but all the food he eats is terrible! Imagine eating 8000 cals worth of McDonald's, diner food, and Chinese food -- every single day! Gross!
Berlin Berlin 8 years
Definitely make sure you're upping your calcium intake. I'm in the same situation...I was doing crazy exercise about 2.5 years ago starting up, and did about 7-9 times a week spinning classes (usually 2 in one day) and I dropped down to about 93lbs and had a 3% body fat. Suffice to say that I certainly lost my period! But that was a sacrifice I was willing to make to do a total transformation to my body. Now this many years later I'm building up muscle to get to about 110lbs with 6% body fat and still no having no period. I can't have dairy so I take calcium supplements of about 1500mg a day. It's very common in women who have low body fat to lose their periods, so even if you stop running, if your % bf is very low then the menstruation will cease. Welcome to the life of a hard core bodybuilding trainer:) Or in your case just a hardcore cardio trainer! If you aren't going to back down on training, remember that you eventually will (since it's just marathon training and you'll go back to a normal routine) but you may, as so many have pointed out, seriously want to look into speaking with a nutritionist. They really are great!
cvandoorn cvandoorn 8 years
Her training routine seems fine, but I do agree with others that she needs a rest day. The fact that she is doug crosstraining is good. Go see a nutritionist!
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
Do as Michael Phelps does!
cnlew cnlew 8 years
To make sure you are eating enough...try tracking your meals and exercise on a website like or They calculate how many calories you are eating, and how many you are exercising off. That might give you a better sense of how much you need to eat to fuel your body and not lose too much weight.
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 8 years
Give yourself at least 1 or 2 rest days or you will end up with tendonitis and will miss the marathon.
soapbox soapbox 8 years
Let the girl run, I remember for track, we ran everyday, except for sundays. Now, I run everyday and I'm fine. And I agree; I think that she should be eating more. I'm a runner too, and I find that I can't function right without a heavy meal after a workout.
missyd missyd 8 years
Stop running SOOOOO much??
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
Make sure you are eating back your exercise calories. Since you are working out every day for at least 2 hours (I'm sure your "long run" might be close to that on Saturdays), that should be about 500-600 calories. I know you think you're eating healthily, but you're probably not eating enough. Are you training with a team? If so, talk to your coach. If not, I would see a nutritionist.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Do you have ANY rest days scheduled? You need at 1-2 days a week to let your body recover, or you will burn out -- both physically and mentally.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I never stopped menstruating, but when I first started running I did drop 10lbs pretty quickly, which made me really nervous. I started eating foods with more carbs and protein and overtime my body balanced back out and I found a good exercise/diet to maintain my weight. I know that training for a marathon is serious business but you need to incorporate rest days into your training plan too!
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