Lou Schuler

Author, Journalist, Presenter

Posted 05/02/2011

Running for Weight Loss: Does It Ever Work?

Saturday morning, and I’m sitting in my car while one of my kids does one of those things parents pay money for kids to do. I’m geeking out on the sequel to A Game of Thrones, and I’m happy to have an hour to do nothing but read.

A couple of the other parents, though, are more ambitious. They’re dressed for a workout, and apparently serious about it. They take off jogging, and don’t come back until the hour is almost over. When they do, I can see by the way they’re walking — short, stiff-legged strides with feet splayed slightly — that they’ve pushed themselves. They spend the next five minutes going through a choreographed stretching routine.

They move like people who work out. But they don’t look like people who work out. They’re obese by any standard.

I don’t like to make judgments about people, and I’m not going to start. I don’t know a thing about them — when or how they gained the weight, when or why they started running, what they eat or how they train the other six days of the week.

But I think every fitness professional cringes when seriously overweight people pound the pavement. Two years ago, my friend Keith Scott wrote this:

I spent the Memorial Day weekend at the Jersey Shore relaxing and getting some much needed sun. As I sat out on the deck, I noticed masses of people running each morning. Now, these were not “runners”; in fact, most of them were jogging very slow, and looked to be struggling the whole time. Most were overweight. My assumption was that they were running to lose weight. …

I have nothing against running or people that run. In fact, I think it is a great sport — if you are a real runner. The problem I have is that most people out there running have no clue how to run correctly, and because of this, are ruining their feet, ankles, and knees, while stressing their low backs. …

I am also coming at this from another angle: I have treated way too many people that come to me with major issues and pain related to running. As I already said, most people don’t run correctly, and doing a repetitive movement for over 30 minutes incorrectly is just setting yourself up for major joint issues and pain. And for what? A few hundred calories burned?

Aside from injuries, I wonder what else running does to people on a metabolic level. I’ve known one or two people who lost a significant amount of weight with endurance exercise (one did it with hours a day of cycling), but I’d run out of fingers counting the number of people I’ve known who gained weight and got hurt, or got hurt and then gained weight.

The injuries I get. It’s the weight gain that puzzles me. Any exercise should result in some modest weight loss at first, unless you counter it by eating more.

I may have gotten some insight into this on Sunday. My wife recently had abdominal surgery, so I’ve been gardening for two. That is, I’ve been doing all her girly digging and planting along with my manly lawn mowing. And it’s killing me. It’s way more exercise than I’m used to, using different muscles and movement patterns. I’m sore and exhausted.

But I should at least be getting leaner with all the extra activity. Right? I’m doing this in addition to my normal gym training, so I should be dropping pounds and getting all ripply.

Not even close. I’ve gained several pounds, all in the middle.

I don’t need any fancy “science” to explain why. The more beat up I feel, the more I eat. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that there’s an empty space in my refrigerator where you’d normally find the beer.

I’ll throw this question out to the group: Have you ever gained weight from an exercise activity, especially one where the goal was weight loss? Thanks in advance for sharing your stories.

 

 

  • Heather

    I was heavy most of my life. I have recently lost 100 plus pounds. I maintain by mostly doing weights and a little cardio. When I boost the cardio to much I gain. I cut back and primarily do weights and the pounds go back down. I look back at all those hours of treadmill, bike etc and cringe. What a waist of time. If I only knew then what I know now. Thankfully I have the right information now. Thanks Lou for inspiring my trainer who inspired me 🙂

  • GS

    I assume you’ve read Taubes’ take on this. Exercise doesn’t make you thinner, just hungrier.

    http://nymag.com/news/sports/38001/

  • “I don’t need any fancy “science” to explain why. The more beat up I feel, the more I eat. And I don’t think it’s any coincidence that there’s an empty space in my refrigerator where you’d normally find the beer. ”

    So much truth to this. I’ve found, both with myself and my clients, that the harder I work the more I feel that I’ve “earned” food wise. Give me 10 minutes of intervals and even though I know that I didn’t burn all that many calories, the perceived effort of the exercise tries to convince me otherwise, so I definitely gain weight when I throw intervals into my plan (due to me ignoring my rational brain and using difficulty as an excuse to eat more goodies).

    On the flip side, I always lose weight faster when my only form of cardio comes from walking daily and/or playing some kind of active video, mainly because those things register so low on my effort scale that they don’t send me into “must eat the world” mode.

    I’m the

  • Gale

    I started running in 1981 and worked up quickly to 5 miles a day, every day. My wight dropped to 164 lbs. (I am 6’2″). By 1990 I quite running so much but continued to 2-3 miles, 2-3 times a week for several years. By 2003, while still running, I weighed 236, a 72 lb. gain. It was then (after a doctor visit) I changed my lifestyle. I changed most of what I ate, focused most of my exercise on weight training, while still running some. It took 1.5 years to lose my goal of 40 lbs.

    But running by itself will not help you lose weight (heck, I GAINED 72 lbs!); you have to watch what you eat, and need to develop muscle mass through weight lifting. You also have to be consistent, and PATIENT!

  • Mike

    It’s not what you were asking for, but my wife has lost 120 pounds on a high-carb and otherwise unregulated vegetarian diet with “toning” videos, lightweight dumbbell exercises, and a lot of time on the treadmill. Go figure.

  • ruth ellershaw

    I joined a gym 2 years ago and for the first time in my life, at 48, began cardio on a regular basis, after a lifetime of bodyweight exercises, yoga and dancing. This consisted of 10 mins steady running on the treadmill, on the hills programme, steady 10 mins on cross trainer and 10mins on exercise bike, along with 30mins of light weights and abs in the weights room. I quickly gained 10lbs in weight, going from a slim 10 stone, I’d maintained all my adult life to nearly eleven stone and climbing! In addition to this, I got no end of aches and pains and joint problems, craving high carb food, without satiety and feeling exhausted. I was losing muscle tissue and gaining fat. I switched to 20mins of interval training 4 times a week and heavier weights, (thanks to NROLFW), the weight just fell off and I began to lose fat and build lean muscle. Within 3 months, I was back to my normal weight and am now in better shape and stronger than I’ve ever been, with no more musclo-skeletal problems or carb cravings. I reverted back to my normal diet, high in unsaturated fats, protein and some complex carbs. Personally, I do not think that cardio suits my metabolism that much, neither does a high carb, low fat diet. My female friends recoil in horror if I tell them to get in the weights room and eat more ‘good’ fats, yet they are always fighting their yo-yo weight pattern and think the way round it is to do more cardio, eat more carbs and cut back on dairy and fats. I would beg to differ with them, from personal experience.

  • It works (and really, so does everything) when 1) The person has a lot of weight to lose (not just 10 pounds or so) and/or 2) Uses it to replace a sedentary lifestyle.

    It works only initially in those cases… and then once the body adapts to the increased intensity or loses enough weight where the intensity needs to be increased… it stops working.

    That’s been my observation since being involved in the industry.

  • I used to be 50 lb overweight, everybody was keep saying to me to run and do cardio to lose weight. I did, and all I have got was pain in my hip. I used to do cardio classes at the gym, two 45 min class a day, 3 times a week over 2 years. Didn’t lost a pound and nobody else in those classes, same people every day taking the classes with me and over the 2 year I didn’t see any changes in anybodies weight. We were a bunch of girls doing the same things over and over again and expecting changes, isn’t that insane? I liked those classes, they were fun, but didn’t help me with my goal, which was losing the extra 50 lb. I definitely was eating more under the false perception that I was burning a lot of calories, so I can afford to eat , even in late night.
    A trainer told me to do weight training if I wanna lose weight and change my diet, get rid of the junk and eat healthy, and don’t do any cardio or running. Thats what I did in the next year and guess what, I got rid off all the 50 lb , the fat was melting from me and muscle started to show up on my body. Never put my feet on a treadmill while I was losing the weight. I fall in love with working out, I have rebuild my body in a way that I would never thought its possible, I feel like I genetically re-engineered myself in less the a year.
    It’s been 4 years now, working out and healthy eating is a part of my daily life and not because I know if I stop doing it I will gain the weight back, but because its my passion, I love to do it, it makes me feel good and look good, have more energy and my mental focus is unbelievable good.
    A year ago I started running , just for fun, to see if I can do it. I did Half Marathon and 5-10 K races ( 9:45, 9:19 pace ) since then, training for a Marathon but didn’t lost any weight, but it OK because its not my goal, I just do it for fun. Now I have to say I love running, too, and never had any pain from it, never feel tired after running, in the contrary makes me feel more energetic. Running helps me fight stress and anxiety and if I have a pice of cake I run it off the next day :-))).
    Now I know how hard you have to run for 30 min to burn off 300 calories and only take few bites to put it back.
    If you wanna lose weight weight training and healthy eating is your best bet, it worked for me and it works for you, too.

  • Although I think Gary Taubes points the finger in the right direction with much of his book, he also leaves out enough to piss you off. Sloppy or misdirection? Judging by his interviews and the stances and explanations he makes verbally, he means well, and is just a bad writer… 😉

    I jogged off 75lbs, but I was also counting calories the whole time. Those joggers at the gym who think the exercise is helping, need to make sure they don’t eat off all that running.

  • GS

    @Roland, I think Gary T would also say that by both jogging and counting calories, you’re treading on scientifically shaky ground when making claims as to which of the two was the real reason for your weight loss.

  • It doesn’t really matter considering his simplistic claim that exercise doesn’t work to lose weight. I don’t know what he would say. He would likely add a “for most people” or “of course, people won’t calories forever” to the end of his statements. This is indicative of my problem with him. He leaves out important parts of his conclusions, either on purpose or accidentally. I choose to believe Gary Taubes needs a better editor, since the ones he’s using seem to also be his biggest fans and/or yes men.

    He says you need to reduce carbs to lose fat. He even demonstrates how low fat, low calorie and, of course, low carb diets all effectively reduced the dieters carbs. Hence, fat loss was possible.

    Since I didn’t eat less, but just managed to NOT eat more, I could not have lost fat. 😉

  • Lindsay

    Any exercise isn’t going to make you lose weight unless you’re watching your nutrition intake (whether it be running or weight lifting).

    I lost 30 lbs in 2007 when I began running…but mind you I was also on Weight Watchers at the same time, so I was carefully monitoring what I ate. I trained for a marathon in 2009 and actually only maintained my body weight…I wasn’t on weight watchers and was pounding down the food to keep my body replenished. I actually know a lot of people who gain while marathon training.

    Most of the time you really aren’t burning off as much as you think…that is why you have to monitor your nutrition.

    As a side note, I have felt that some of the New Rules folks are down on running. It’s great exercise, you don’t need to have access to a gym to do it, and you get to spend time in the outdoors. Most of all there is a great camraderie amongst runners…we’re a very supportive lot!

    Nonetheless, I started the NROWL to strengthen my body to take the pounding the training gives when you are preparing (and running!) a marathon. So far the results have been great, and I give Lou’s training program credit for my recent dramatic decrease in my 5K, 8K and 10 mile run times!

  • I did an experiment regarding running and weight loss. (I’ve been running 30 minutes per day since January) I took 3 weeks and ate the exact same things in the same amounts for 3 weeks. The first week I ran every day. The next week I did nothing. (Unless PS3 counts as exercise) The 3rd week I followed an exercise program that involved weights and bodyweight. It was only the 3rd week that I lost weight, and I didn’t gain any on the 2nd week. My conclusion was that running alone does nothing. The nutrition program and useful exercises that I’m doing through http://www.reallifeforhealth.com is what’s helping me lose the weight. If I’m not stepping on any toes, I really suggest people try it. They offer a free trial anyway, so there’s harm in trying.

  • Jacqueline

    You are what you eat!!! 80% or more is nutrition, 10% genetics, and 10% exercise! Think about it. . .

  • Chris

    Was a weightlifter in college–never gained weight, but still had a little more body fat than I would have liked. Then decided to go all cardio after the fourth year of college. Well, continued cardio for many years, and got afraid to lift again for 16 years. In that time, ballooned up by 50 lbs, despite 5 day a week cardio for 30-45 minutes. Then, in 2010, decided to get back into lifting after reading. I also a) watched what I ate (i.e. eat until 80% full and more often) and b) continued with cardio. About 20lbs within 6 months. The lesson is that there are 3 legs to the fitness stool (cardio, resistance, diet). But I would agree that weightlifting is the most neglected, especially since bodybuilding has given it a negative image to some. Also, as I explain to patients, muscle mass decreases with age and less use, hence why one gains weight on the same amount one ate 20 years ago. New studies suggest weightlifting helps retard some of this atrophy.

  • Blake

    The gods have smiled on me in one sense in that I’ve not gained weight from any program. In fact it’s hard for me to keep it on. I’m 49, 6’4″, 185lbs on a heavy day.

    At age 44 I started swimming in a Master’s program in norCal, and the only thing that happend was my shoulders and back got bigger, but I didn’t seem to gain weight (although I was starving after each practice, and ate almost right away). When I first got Lou’s “Book of Muscle”, I calculated what my intake should be, and it was north of 3500 calories – hard to do. I expect no sympathy.

    I would add flexibility to the fitness stool (cardio, resistance, diet), making it more of a chair now.

    For a fun talk ask hard core swimmers about weight loss.

    Cheers,

    Blake
    Blake

  • Nina

    Absolutely. I got bot injured, and gained few pounds. Running helped me in hard time, keeping me sane but did littel for my fitness level.

  • MrsGixxer

    I lost 53 pounds by #1 eating healthy #2 lifting (heavy) weights #3 cardio #4 more activity during the day. I think that #2 & #4 have been under-rated. I definitely do less cardio than weights but I do walk a lot.

  • I’m a personal trainer and I make all my clients do a 10 minute jog and light run before the workout…warms up the tissues to prevent injuries and it increases heart rate and for the clients that wants to lose weight it is beneficial because I get their heart rate up with running at the beginning then keep it up all through the exercises so it’s pretty beneficial.

  • Lindsay

    Aluma, how many people hurt themselves lifting in order to burn off some calories?

    I just find it interesting how many people swear up and down they did not lose any weight running, but then go on to say with lifting and eating right they did. They key here is PROPER NUTRITION. Any form of exercise will not cause you to lose weight unless you make the proper nutritional adjustments.

    I think it is true a lot of people start running because they assume they can eat like they currently do or eat more and still lose weight. It’s flat out not true, and it’s exactly the same for serious strength training as well.

  • I think you are right, I think people need to focus on their eating habits before they try to fix their fitness problems. But don’t you think it would be better for them to start somewhere rather than never?

  • Cardio does help for people. They got to run at a pace where they are still capable of having a sound talk.

  • Claus

    I dropped from 104kg to 80kg mostly with running and a healthy diet. How much can be attributed to diet and how much to running I don’t know.
    Of course if people eat a lot of crap, no matter what you do, you won’t loose weight.
    You can’t outrun a bad diet. All good runners eat healthy.

    I’ve also started strength training about a year ago (mostly with your great book about rules for abs) and it helped me to get even fitter and keep my weight down. I still have to be very careful what to eat.

    One very dangerous thought is to reduce running to weight loss. Running (or cycling, swimming, etc) is VERY good for your health (heart, lungs, etc) – IF DONE RIGHT (that means right equipment, correct technique, etc).

    All biologist, fitness experts and good books I’ve read agree that for health (not only weight loss) the combination of healthy diet, cardio training (intensive, not 8 minutes for one kilometer) and strength training is the best you can do for health.

    If you run 10km in 50 minutes (most “runners” in the park can’t do that), you burn lot’s of calories. If you eat 4 fucking super size burgers with extra cheese and ketchup after that, you won’t loose weight, though.

    For me running worked. But I’ve also changed my diet and now started strength training. Everything else is not the best solution for health. There is no point in being lean and not being healthy.

    If you do running, I recommend doing it right. Here are a few things I do:

    – I run different routes (no fucking treadmill, way too buring)
    – I run different speeds (once a week slow and 2-3 times faster incl. interval training, sprints, etc)
    – I sometimes combine running with strength (there is a running parcourse close wo there I live with “strength stations” where I do push ups, pull ups, etc. Doing for for 75 minutes is very intense and great excercise.
    – I run only outdoors. Great to watch some animals while running

    This are just my thoughts. I think running and cardio is great but only when done right. Some with strength training.

    Here are two good books that helped me a lot (beside your books which I think are awesome).

    Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights by Alex Hutchinson (based on science not on marketing or other crap)
    http://alexhutchinson.net/

    Be a Better Runner by Sally Edwards (Author), Carl Foster (Author), Roy M. Wallack (Author)

    Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald

    Trust me. There is a reason why good runners aren’t fat. The train hard, now what they do and live a healthy live. Just like any good lifter, martial artist, swimmer, etc.

  • galleywest

    I must be the exception to the rule.

    When I was 21 I got an internship doing archaeological fieldwork. At the time I was a size 14 and very out-of-shape. I ran track in gradeschool and tried longer distance running later but, like many people, hated it. I put on weight, became more sedentary, and became very self-conscious about my appearance. I should add that I am very short, and while some people look fantastic as a size 14, it wasn’t right for my body at all.

    Three things happened in conjunction with my return to running:
    1. I made peace with the fact that the basic shape of my body will never change. I will always have short limbs and carry most of the weight, be it muscle or fat, in my thighs or upper arms.

    2. I decided it couldn’t be about losing weight–I needed endurance for my new job. I never, ever wanted to feel like my level of fitness was holding me back from doing my job properly.

    3. I made two deals with myself that went hand in hand: Every day I ran for 1/2 hour I was not allowed to feel bad about my appearance. IF I did lose weight, my goal would be to get to a size 8, which I would be happy with. I would NOT constantly chase goals of being smaller, thinner, fitter, etc. all the time. I would find a happy weight and maintain–not obsess.

    Boy, was I shocked when it actually worked. I run on a treadmill (also often maligned) about 5 times a week. Sometimes I run intervals if I’m bored, sometimes not. Sometimes I ride the bike or do the elliptical, but running is my favorite. I will do other exercises while in the gym, but I will not go to the gym for those exercises–it’s running that gets me there. And I run hard because I know I can now. This helps me maintain my weight because it boosts my self-esteem, regulates my eating habits (I do not eat for 3 hours before running), and helps me cope with everyday frustrations and anxieties (as a social scientist, let me tell you: psychological stress DOES impact your physical health). Running is my time, which I have learned to really appreciate. It is also the easiest thing for me to consistently fit into my schedule–easy to do at home, on vacation, and easily modifiable to almost any environment. The extent to which I think about how to work out while on vacation is, “where can I fit my running shoes in this suitcase?”

    So there you go. I have been the same size for almost 10 years now by doing nothing but running. I lost some weight the first couple of years but it wasn’t until I pushed it up to 5X per week that I got to my present size. I wish I could say that I eat healthy, but I really don’t. I don’t snack a lot and I do watch portions, sorta, but not avidly. I guess I’m the outlier.

  • Galleywest, thanks for your story. Brad Schoenfeld (who I think commented on this post on my Facebook page) sent me a study that helps explain why some people can lose weight with endurance training but others don’t.

    I explain it in detail in the next NROL book. It’s really fascinating to realize how different we can be in terms of substrate metabolism and the effect it has on appetite in the near term and weight control over time.

  • Josh Garwood

    I changed to the P90X program after watching infomercials. I put on a ton of muscle, but also a lot of weight. I wanted to stay slimmer, and not on the bulky side, and the additional muscle was not desired. I started running and bicycling again to reduce muscle mass. It worked, the weight dropped like crazy, but as others mentioned above, I cut calories like crazy too.

  • Tom

    @Josh, The same thing happened to me as well. I went through the program and gained a lot of muscle but I had also became much bulkier. My calorie intake became really high because I always felt hungry but once I lowered my intake and did cardio I had a more defined look.

  • Nina

    As others have stated: Unless you change the way you eat – no amount of exercise is really enough to lose weight. On the other hand I don’t believe I can lose weight and keep it off without any form of exercise.

    I’ve lost 20lb in just under 3 months with a diet of around 1500kcal a day (I guess I do stick to the 30/30/40 rule more or less), weight training (which I’ve been doing for over 3 years – but not with enough weight to really build muscle) and running.

    One of my goals was not just be be a healthy weight but to feel fit and strong and that to me means not just strength but also endurance training. To be honest I don’t see why it has to be “one or the other” instead of a combination of both. Yes, for a long time the mantra was “do cardio to lose weight” but why does it now have to be “lift weight to lose weight” instead of “lift weight and do cardio to lose weight”?

  • Cathy W.

    One thing to watch out for – is that most of the people who read this blog are by nature focused on weight-training. You really aren’t going to hear from the people who focus on endurance training, and DO successfully lose weight. And there are plenty of them out there. You see lots of overweight people running, because, well, more adults are overweight, than aren’t. That means that most people who start running to lose weight are going to be overweight. That isn’t at all a reasonable measure of whether it is successful. Running DOES burn plenty of calories, and if you are tracking your caloric intake carefully, then you’ll lose weight.

    When I was fresh out of college, and had gained the freshman 15 (well, actually I gained it over the course of all 4 years), I started running for the first time in my life (I had done some swimming – swim team in middle school, and advanced lifesaving and WSI certification courses when I was a freshman in college) but running, never. I worked my way up to 3.5 miles, and dropped 25 pounds. But, I got injured, and instead of restarting my running after I’d healed, or learned how to run properly I started dating, and cut regular exercise instead of the guys, and continued eating the way I had during my running days, and over the next 20 years, got up to 185 pounds. In april 2010, I started running again, but started weight training, and I’ve lost 39 pounds. Still have about 25 pounds to go. At 42, my body hangs onto pounds far more readily than it did at 22. 🙁

    So no, I’ve never run, and gained. I’ve also found that I AM hungrier after exercise, and WHAT I eat, and how much makes a HUGE difference. I’m also of the opinion that endurance and strength training are two sides to the fitness coin. You need to do BOTH to be truly fit.

  • Thankfully, no, I have never gained weight when embarking on an exercise program.

  • Like you said, I think “serious runners” can get very lean from running. For example, when I run over 100 miles per week, I have pretty ripped abs, my upper arms have the veins pop out, & I weigh around 115 at 5’7″. A key point is that you don’t just “jog.” You do tempo runs, intervals, fartlek, ladder runs, etc. so that you get faster. That said, most people don’t have the interest to pursue running as a serious sport, so they probably should pursue more efficient methods for weight loss.

  • David

    Well Lou,
    I have to say I gained 5 pounds during Fat Loss 1. The workouts just made me really hungry. I am sure some of the gain was muscle but I did and do have more of a gut than I should. Fortunately I was back to my starting weight by the end of the cycle.

  • Andrew_penney

    Hello. This comment is a general (and totally individual and personal) response to Lou Schuler’s question, but also a more specific response to Cathy W.’s point.

    I think that the findings from this study — “Effects of energy-regulating hormones and appetite in men and women” — seem to suggest some possible answers to the question whether running for exercise can — paradoxically — lead to unwanted weight gain:

    http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/296/2/R233.full.pdf+html

    What I got from this research — and I am wrong about a lot of things, a lot of the time! — is that exercise appears to make women *hungrier* than the equivalent amount of exercise for a man.

    Even where the energy balance was restored by extra feeding to compensate for the calorie deficit from the extra physical activity. Giving the men extra food sort of took care of the increase in appetite and the lucky guys’ appetites and their levels of energy-regulating hormone did not lead to over-eating even when they were allowed to eat “at libitum”.

    🙂

    In contrast, the women’s energy-regulating hormone levels — and also their self-reported appetite levels — behaved as if there was an energy deficit even after the energy bill from the exercise was paid in full (to the best of the researchers’ abilities) by extra feeding.

    🙁

    It is worth noting that the “exercise” at the core of that study appeared to be in the nature of endurance training rather than strength/ resistance training. The exercise in question was done on a treadmill. So it does not say anything really useful about the gender-related effects of RESISTANCE TRAINING on appetite and energy-regulating hormones. But still, heh heh…

    All the best —

    AP

  • Perfectleanbody

    It works if you put together exercise and diet. If you exercise like crazy and do not watch your diet and eat the whole fridge as you get home from the gym, then it does not work. You need to be disciplined, motivated, inspired. You can lose weight for ever, but you need to change your lifestyle to a healthy life. Live active and eat healthy. More is on my site http://www.perfectleanbody.com…Pavla

  • Tsimek

    I started running 1.5 miles every other day (the day’s I’m not lifting my legs) for my dog’s health, because she got really fat over the winter. She is losing weight at a nice steady pace and loves it!

  • Pingback: Running for Weight Loss: Does It Ever Work? « william1243()

  • inge

    I’m coming in here late, because I am currently searching for information of how not to gain weight from exercise — again.

    When I was a teen, I was very active. Hiking, bicycling, swimming … I bicycled 8 miles to school, and then afterwards, 20 to get into the next town and browse the bookstores (and have breakfast, lunch and dinner, all in the space of one hour), and then 12 again to get home. I was also slightly overweight and supposed to lose weight, which led to regular sermons that I should exercise more, and being on a diet permanently, which led to binging. I gained 60 lbs in 6 years, going from a BMI of 22 to one of 30 and did not grow any taller.

    Three years ago, I finally lost that weight again (thanks Lou! NRoLfW really changed my life!) but now I am back to a long bicycle commute, which — while pleasant — leaves me hungry, and too exhausted for efficient strength training.

    I worry.

  • L

    The heaviest I’ve ever been was when I was running 4x a week to my max intensity. It was the worst, because I hate running AND I was gaining weight without knowing why.