Becoming a Runner

Monday, November 26th, 2012 | Posted under Health + Fitness

I’ve written on and off about my weight loss journey. I’ve had some success, what with losing 15 pounds before my wedding, and some failures, what with gaining all of it and then some back the following year.

The other day, I was thinking about how I’ve always been focused on losing something, rather than gaining something. When you think about it, losing has a negative connotation to it. You lose stuff, you lose people, you lose at games. Lose is not really something people want to do, except when it comes to weight. Gaining on the other hand is something that people usually like: you gain employment, you gain friends, you gain respect. Yay gaining!

Except when it comes to weight.

In losing weight, you’re sort of at the mercy of your body’s metabolism and whether or not it feels like losing weight that week. There are also things can you choose to “lose.” For example, you lose calories or types of food that you eat and that can feel like deprivation, and you lose time to do other things you might enjoy because you have to exercise.

It’s all very Negative Nancy, isn’t it? Oh poor me. Looking at all the things I have to give up in order to lose weight, and that’s only if my body chooses to cooperate.

I realized I would much rather focus on what I’d be gaining in my journey toward being healthier, rather than losing. I also realized that by focusing on what I’m gaining, I can focus on the activities of becoming healthier, rather than the goal, which may not happen when I want it to and can discourage me from trying if I don’t see progress. I mean, a moving scale is a much greater motivator than a plateau, am I right?

This is all to say that I’ve decided that I really want to commit to becoming a runner and gain the ability to not only do it, but do it well. I’ve started running this fall using a 5K training program on the app Runkeeper, and while I haven’t been able to keep up with it like I wanted (because I threw out my back, there was a hurricane, and then I came down with the worst headcold ever), I have improved and I’ve realized that I really like getting better at running.

What I’m going to focus on from here on out are the things that I’m gaining in my life, not losing (even though my end goal is to lose weight).

I want to gain strength and endurance to run a 10 minute mile.

I want to gain more days of the week that I spend exercising.

I want to gain more fruits, vegetables and clean ingredients in my diet.

I want to gain more flexibility and balance by taking yoga or Pilates.

I want to gain a stronger core by doing my PT exercises and other strengthening exercises.

My hope is that my focusing on what I want to gain, what I need to lose will happen naturally and in time.

Last Thursday, I started the Runner’s World Holiday Streak, where you run at least one mile everyday from Thanksgiving until New Year’s. I’m incorporating the 5K training plan and Jillian Michael’s circuit training (I have it on an app) into the streak. So far, I’m 4 for 4! I’m looking forward to seeing what my fitness level will be at the start of 2013, and I hope it means good things for the New Year.


What do you want to gain?



Comments on this post

  1. MB says:

    This is a great way of reframing it! I’m in a similar situation to you in terms of wanting to lose weight, but I think looking at it from a “what I want to gain” perspective will be more productive. I want to gain endurance as a runner and time practicing yoga (which in turn will, I hope, lead to gaining a sense of calm that I’m lacking right now!)

    1. Caroline says:

      I LOVE this post, and the idea as a whole! Seems like it parallels HAES in a lot of ways. And I agree that the way to make fitness a lifelong habit is to 1. not use it as a means to an end (ie losing weight), and 2. framing it positively. Damn straight I gain a lot from keeping up a workout routine…just today I was appreciating how much more energetic I feel when I go for a run before work (like I did this morning). And FWIW….it’s only when I have focused on a workout goal that I’ve lost weight, NOT a weight goal in and of itself. This year, I lost 5-10 pounds without even “trying”….because this was my first year doing back-to-back marathon seasons and that just occured as a byproduct of training.

      I admire you for trying the streak….running every day scares me!! I just started doing the 100 Pushups program, so that’s my goal for the next several weeks. I have to do them from my knees because my upper body is so weak, but I WILL be able to do 100 modified and 20 real pushups in a row by the end of this!

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