EARNED RUNS IS NOT ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS. This statement has appeared repeatedly on this blog. It is about regularly committing to fitness challenges that encourage consistent training, in order to improve and maintain aerobic capacity, strength, balance, mobility, and flexibility throughout life.
Earned Runs focuses on developing healthy habits of movement and activity rather than dietary restriction. On changing total body composition, rather than numbers on a weight scale.
However, making changes to improve personal nutrition is a natural consequence of working to improve overall personal fitness. If we want to better our physical selves, a common-sense approach will also include evaluating what we eat and drink, and making desired changes.
For that reason, occasionally a weight loss article will be featured on the blog. Not so much to help specifically with dropping pounds of bodyweight but persevering with nutritional habits that support our athletic endeavors.
Katherine D.McManus MS, RD from Harvard Health Publishing wrote an article “10 Behaviors for Healthy Weight Loss” proposing how to begin the process of changing diet quality (to make it healthy) as well as quantity (to lose body weight). She offers a different perspective on the usual advice of how to diet. In what way? Six of the 10 behaviors involve steps that McManus recommends be taken BEFORE attempting changes, which involve self-examination and re-education.
1. “Know where you are starting” Discusses why keeping a food diary BEFORE attempting to make changes, not only during the diet, makes sense.
2. “Home in on your goal and make a plan” provides specific examples of small goals, that should be set PRIOR to starting on restrictions, that are designed to lead to the one big goal of weight loss.
3.” Identify barriers to your goals … and ways to overcome them” Again, McManus provides a slightly different spin on a common piece of advice, to be undertaken in ADVANCE of devising and executing a diet plan.
The next 3 “behaviors” (4-6) describe more ways to know oneself before attempting to change oneself. The 3 that follow (7-9) encourage practicing acts of self-love; numbers 8 and 9 are my favorites. Number 10 is a reminder not to treat food as an enemy, but to take time to savor and enjoy it.
All 10 suggestions might inspire you to take reasonable approaches to changes you find are necessary to athleticism and health. Although similar to other weight loss help articles, McManus’ piece seems to emphasize preparation, making self-awareness a requirement for successful self-regulation.
I generally try to stay on track with healthy eating habits, and for the most part do so. However, sometimes a significant change is needed because I’ve fallen too far off the wagon for too long. My first impulse is to immediately start an extreme program; it’s not a smart plan.
Just like with physical exercise in which we train to get in shape, nutritional ‘exercise’ will provide benefits only as long as we continue to perform prescribed dietary ‘workouts’ (aka diets). Just as we cannot expect to successfully train physically at unrealistic levels indefinitely or haphazardly, we cannot expect to experience nutritional success from unrelenting or sporadic severe restriction or regulation.
A better approach, as McManus is advising, may be to first spend time examining the reasons for the current situation, then make alterations to daily living that can be reasonably sustained in perpetuity. Yes, that means FOREVER!
If increasing running mileage from 2 to 10 miles a day will quickly improve my aerobic capacity initially, I can’t rely on knees/hips, work and family schedules, and enthusiasm to sustain that level of effort over the next 2-4 decades of my life. It would feel wonderful to suddenly accomplish this strenuous goal, and then carry-on with it forever, but such a simple approach won’t work over a lifetime. It may not work for more than a month.
To devise a successful strategy to achieve a healthy body, McManus urges us to customize tactics. To know/understand, sometimes by actually measuring serving sizes or taking pantry inventories, where we are and what we have been doing, in order to create a plan.
Before reading the McManus article it had not occurred to me that possibly, like with fitness training, the more time and effort spent preparing a sensible nutritional program designed specifically to fit my life, the greater the likelihood that the desired outcome will be achieved.
After all, without a well thought-out, long-range/seasonal challenge plan, my daily training falters. I feel adrift and lack confidence, unable to steadfastly commit to completing difficult sessions designed to generate significant gains in strength or speed, and prevent injury.
And so, it may also be true with nutritional training plans!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. In 1978 I began participating in 10K road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health and longevity.
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