Operation Weight Loss Operation Weight Loss

Published on January 2nd, 2014 | by karlyn


Operation Weight Loss (or, Why Does Everyone Hate Brussels Sprouts?)

The last time I ran a marathon, I was literally in the best shape of my life. I was working at home and that made it easy to work out a lot….to the tune of 2-3 hours a day. Yes, I might have been a bit obsessed. I was also very closely monitoring what I was eating which, again, was easy because I could cook all my meals at home. I dropped about 25 pounds, could do one armed push ups and even more real chin-ups than one of Aaron’s friends in prison. But when the working at home job ended and the “commuting over an hour each way and working ridiculous hours in a crazy stressful working environment” started, I gained back all the weight and then some.

Fast forward a year. I had gotten married, and that completely changes things. I made the decision that I wasn’t going to let my job control my life and had started working out and running again. I was getting back into shape, had dropped ten pounds pretty quickly, and had just run a half marathon with my husband. But the job had just gotten worse and worse and I ended up leaving it in favor of going to work for my current employer. With that move came commuting an hour to and from Boston every day, leaving me too exhausted at the end of the day to work out. Not to mention that I usually just get takeout for lunch. I gained all the weight back.

But the time has come to seriously deal with the problem. Again. Because I need to run a marathon in a few months! It’s not that I don’t understand working out and counting calories and what I should be eating…I just really like beer and pizza. Especially beer. And cheese. And bacon. And did I mention beer? And all of the things that make me gain weight. But I know how to cook for weight loss. The bigger challenge comes from my daily schedule. Here’s my typical weekday:

  • 4am: Wake up
  • 5:20am: Leave the house (The bus station is only 10 minutes away from my house but the morning express bus is packed every day and if you don’t get there early, you don’t make it on).
  • 6am: Get on a bus to Boston
  • 7am: Get to work in Boston
  • 11am: Lunch (usually Take out)
  • 4pm: Get on the bus home
  • 5:30 – 7pm (depending on traffic): Get home. Yeah, commuting can suck. Really suck.
  • Also, at some point, I need to find time to work on my dissertation!

There are two problems: Finding time to work out, and food. My intention of getting up at 4am is to work out in the morning….but man, it’s so hard. I know that once I start it gets better, and I actually feel more awake for the rest of the day, it’s just the getting started that is the problem! If I don’t work out in the morning, then I’ve got to do it at night when I get home, which brings its own particular brand of challenges. That’s typically when I’ve been doing my runs, which has worked out well. Ideally (and I may deny saying this later), I’d like to work out both in the morning and at night for a little while – I was working out multiple times a day for the last marathon and that’s what helped me get in shape so quickly.

So, food. I need food that is quick and simple, and ideally prepared in advance whether I buy it that way, or do it myself. I also want to keep the food relatively low carb, except before races and long runs. My plan for the moment is to  do some sort of breakfast burrito/sandwich in the morning, prepare my lunch the night before when I make dinner and bring it with me (or, alternatively, just pay better attention to my takeout than I have been), do a protein shake at some point in the afternoon as a snack, get home and work out and then cook dinner (mostly meat, veggies) and make my lunch for the next day.

My goal is to drop 20 pounds. If I could get more than that (and I think I can if I really stick to the plan, given the timeframe), it will be gravy.

When I decided to do this challenge, part of the reason for it was because I needed a good kick in the ass to get myself back into shape. Attempting to lose weight while training for a marathon is really not ideal. In theory, I should be eating about 60% carbs, and the food really should be a fuel for the run. So restricting calories and the amount of carbs I’m consuming presents a bit of a problem. But running will be so much easier if I can drop the weight and I’ve done crazy diet once and run a marathon successfully, so hopefully I can pull it off a second time!

About the Author

I'm a non-runner (i.e. a proudly slow runner) training to run the world's most famous marathon. This will be my third marathon, and second Boston Marathon in a row. I will be running as a part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Team and will be raising money for the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Cancer Research. Follow my journey by joining my mailing list, following me on Twitter or on Facebook.

One Response to Operation Weight Loss (or, Why Does Everyone Hate Brussels Sprouts?)

  1. Deb Maue says:

    Here’s something that works to get me out of bed early: I tell myself that all I have to do is work out for 10 minutes, and then I can do something more enjoyable (like sticking bamboo shoots under my fingernails, for instance.) And of course, I usually end up working out for way more than 10 minutes. But worst case…10 minutes is better than nothing, no? And…I love brussels sprouts.

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