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Running and Not Losing Weight

Training For a Marathon and Still Gaining Weight

Losing weight is no easy feat, and the worst part is that even though you're working hard exercising and eating right, you may not see changes happening as quickly as you had hoped. FitSugar reader Leilanic1 took on the Get Fit For 2010 challenge, and she's having a hard time with her results after 12 weeks. Can you offer her any advice or encouraging words to keep her motivated?

Week 12 and I feel fatter than I have ever been in a long time. I'm running three times a week plus cross training on two other days. I am doing good towards meeting my goal of running the half marathon in June but I have also been steadily gaining weight. I'm up four pounds since I started training. I don't feel like I'm eating any more than I used to so it's incredibly frustrating. I went to the doctor a week ago and had them check my thyroid, cholesterol and hormones and according to the doctor everything looks great and to keep on doing what I'm doing. I know I should be proud of my accomplishments with running especially since I ran 6.55 mi outside last weekend without walking and I'm healthy. But I'm also trying to lose 15 pounds and not gain weight so I'm just not sure what I'm doing wrong.

Many of you can probably relate, so I'm sure she'll appreciate any insight you have. And if you're on your own quest to lose weight, check out the Weight Loss Support group. You may also be interested in learning new recipes to try, so be sure to pop in to the Healthy Recipe Group.

SkinnyandFabulous SkinnyandFabulous 5 years
I know this is how it happened for me as well when I was training for my Half Ironman. You need to be super careful in what you are eating and when. Make sure you have a good post run snack. Watch when you eat. Please go over to my site for more suggestions that I have already posted over there.
socorroklei socorroklei 6 years
I too gained about 7-10 pounds form upping mileage. I've actually had to decrease my calories to lose some of the weight. Do you think you're snacking more often than you should? I know I am. At some point you just have to be honest with yourself. are you consuming more than you used to? for me, I am . so I just had to realize eat when hungry, stop when full. I hope this helps!
SuperJeni SuperJeni 6 years
i don't know if anyone had mentioned it, but a lot of your weight is from water. If you are consuming more carbs to fuel your workouts, you will retain more water. Also, your trained muscles will hold more water. Fear not! Don't worry about the weight, focus on performance and how you feel :-)
redgoblin redgoblin 7 years
Although Sasseefrass is right about your body becoming more efficient with cardio (Rachel is right on that), I would argue that you need to log all your food for a week before you make the blanket assumption that it is your bodies efficiency and not your food intake that is making you heavier. I use DietPower to log my food. Also, I would make sure you are doing some type of strength training as part of your cross training.
Frank-Eubanks Frank-Eubanks 7 years
Your goal should should be to be no lower than the optimal weight for you to run a road race at the fastest possible speed you can run it. If you are below that weight you will be weaker and slower.
ticamorena ticamorena 7 years
Leilanic1, if you are gaining weight but your clothes are looser and your measurements smaller, then don't worry about it too much; in the 4 months of training I've done, my weight dropped a little initially, then I gained back half of what I lossed, but in that time my dress size decreased from a UK 10 to an 8 or 6 (US 8 to 6 or 4) but I stayed, at 5'7" , between 128-132 range. Definitely reassess your diet though, even if you're losing fat or getting smaller, as you'll need to maintain variety to ensure you don't plateau.
Leilanic1 Leilanic1 7 years
Thanks for all the great insight and information! i had been under the impression that i would lose weight while training but i think i do need to pay attention to how much i am eating on my training days. i have noticed that on the days i do my long run i feel more exhausted and probably am eating more than i normally would. i'll start with tracking my food and see if that helps.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
Oh, and I eat really healthy.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
I'm gaining weight too =( I'm not training for a marathon, but I do a lot of lunges, squats and different arm workouts. I was guessing mine is muscle, but my stomach is still hardly budging! I can see it in my legs, arms and back though.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Runningesq, I think that's a myth. Women can't gain so much muscle that they look "bulky" unless they lift weights and eat tons of protein, but women can certainly gain smaller amounts of muscle. If someone doesn't run at all and then suddenly trains to run 13 miles, how could their legs NOT change? I gained 10 lbs of muscle when I trained for my marathon. Then I took 2 months off from running during which time I didn't run any more than 6 miles at a time, and my legs slimmed down immediately. Then when I started training for my next half, I put the muscle back on. I think it all depends on how much muscle you have to begin with. I also totally agree with you that if someone's main goal is to lose weight, training for a marathon is not a good idea. Anon #18 - I think it's easier to lose weight when training for a half than it is when training for a full because most of the training runs for half marathons aren't that long. When training for a full marathon, it's really hard to eat enough calories to fuel a 16+ mile run, plus weekday runs, and to still create the caloric deficit needed to lose weight. If you try to cut calories too much, you risk not recovering properly.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
When I first started running hardcore, as in more than 4-5 miles a day, I became very lax about my food intake. I ate healthy, but I still ate way too much and put on some weight. The thing is, your body gets used to activity and becomes more efficient. Plus, when you become more active, it's extremely common for you to become better at utilizing carbs for energy vs. fat, so you store what you eat in your muscles as glycogen for quick fuel. Glycogen holds water, so it's very easy to gain 5 lbs in water weight very quickly. Start watching your food intake closely and stop looking at the scale all the time. You're body is definitely improving even if the scale is going up a little.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
I said that solely training for an endurance event will not necessarily reslt in weight loss. Weight loss worked for you because you limited the amount of calories you consumed.
NillaWafer88 NillaWafer88 7 years
I have been working out since january. Five days a week, alternating between yoga, strength training and running on the treadmill. I don't want to lose weight, I'm already really skinny (5'10" and 118lbs) and I've lost several pounds since working out. All I want is to tone up and try to become stronger so that I'll look nice and not flabby in a bathing suit. I have not seen any results at all, except for the few pounds lost. I eat pretty healthy, I'm a vegetarian and most of my dinners are made up of steamed veggies and I've replaced ice cream with green tea at night. But I have no idea what I'm doing wrong and it's so frustrating. I'm about ready to give up except I don't want to stop working out. I know if I stop, I'll be completely sedentary forever.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
I doubt it's muscle. It's really hard for women to gain a lot of muscle, especially if you aren't weight lifting. Bottom line is that weight loss = calories in versus calories out. And that said, marathon training is often not an effective weight loss program. Focus on what you are accomplishing and not what the scale says.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Wackdoodle - I agree with you as well, however, I think that people say "mucle weighs more than fat" because it's just a more concise way of explaining the difference. Here is a picture that demonstrates fat vs. muscle:
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