The scale is a liar.
Anyone who has listened to THE best podcast ever (The Running Lifestyle Show) has heard me say this before.
When it comes to diet, ya gotta concentrate on one goal at a time.
What does this mean? It means that while you're training for a race, your goal has to be to TRAIN for the race, not to lose weight. And LAWDY KNOWS, you may lose weight anyway, but shifting your focus from the scale to your performance actually has really powerful effects. It helps you RUN BETTER (because you'll eat the snacks your bod needs to be a better athlete), it helps curb appetite (because you won't be afraid to fuel appropriately) and a lot of time that leads to weight loss cause you don't find yourself starving and bingeing.
And.... anyway, why did I say the scale is a liar??? Let's talk about the damn scale for a hot second.
1. Are you paying attention to your weight a little bit more than usual?
Weight fluctuations are super common! I cannot tell you how many times I have a client weigh-in on consecutive days with daily fluctuations greater than two pounds. Food choices, bowel movements, hydration status, and hormonal influences all change the scale.
When you start to mess around with your diet, you may be a bit more apt to pop on the scale, and thus you may be more likely to see a bigger number than if you were tracking once a month like usual.
I think the best way to track trends is to weigh daily and use an app like Happy Scale to track fluctuations... or to not weigh at all!! Use pictures and measurements to monitor progress.
2. Are you weighing within 2-3 days after an intense workout?
With running comes track workouts, hill repeats, tempo runs and strength training. Intense workouts (let's say HIIT or heavy lifting or a super hard race) can lend to muscle soreness (even when you don't feel the "post workout pain/soreness").
This muscle soreness contributes to inflammation... inflammation causes something called "capillary leak" where your blood vessels literally become leaky and allow for fluid accumulation!!
Thus, sometimes when you start working out super hardcore you actually have 2-3 days of fluid build up due to the capillary leak. Yikessss-- don't lose hope.
Fluid disappears and metabolically active muscle helps you burn more calories!
3. All the fats?
I cringe writing this one because I don't want to promote low fat eating.
First of all, I want to remind you that a pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. This means, if the scale suggests you've gained 3 pounds in a week, its also suggesting you've somehow managed to eat an extra 10,500 calories more than usual in the last week. And lemme promise ya, you didn't.
So here's the thing-- the easiest way to overeat calories is via calories from FAT.
And even when choosing high quality, anti-inflammatory fat, the portion size for fat is just really small. So its important to use techniques like skipping added fat (like cooking oil) if you're eating a fatty piece of meat (like short rib) and to measure out cooking oil with tablespoons rather than just pouring from the bottle.
Another way to manage calorie intake is to make sure your snacks are HIGH PROTEIN rather than loaded with carbs or fat. Try steaming some frozen edamame and sprinkling with salt, keep deli slices of turkey or chicken in the fridge, dip crudite in nonfat Greek yogurt spiced up with a spice blend:
Sea Salt, Organic Garlic, Organic Onion, Organic Parsley, Organic Bell Pepper, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Basil, Organic Marjoram, Organic Oregano, Organic Rosemary
Anyway... the real point of this post is that really the only thing you should focus on during running or racing season is your race. You'll find that using strategies to manage performance also lead to less obsession over weight gain and therefore weight loss.
If you're really worried about overeating this race season, then consider joining Eat like an Athlete Bootcamp.
Here's a rundown of what you'll get:
4 WEEKS OF EAT LIKE AN ATHLETE MEAL PLANS + SNACKS
Meal plans options include gluten free & vegetarian (with fish, dairy) options
GUIDES ON FUELING, CARBS, HYDRATION, NO MEAL PREP MEALS
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED ON LIVE CALLS BY AN IVY LEAGUE SPORTS RD FOR 30 DAYS
DEVELOP A PERSONALIZED RUN-NUTRITION/RACE DAY STRATEGY WITH guidance (from me!)
Honestly. I'm most excited about the 4 weeks of guides you'll be getting. Ya know how we always buy books to read and then don't ever finish them because there's just TOO much info.
I am breaking down everything into WEEK by WEEK. You'll get a info packet on a topic, the corresponding guides to master and review, and then we will GO DEEP INTO IT via a live call. You'll master the content before I give ya a new topic to master. Basically, I want to teach you how to think like a sports dietitian.
SWAP GUIDE FOR MEAL PLAN SUBSTITUTIONS
PRE-WORKOUT SNACK GUIDE
POST WORKOUT SNACK GUIDE
YOUR GUIDE TO FINDING THE CARB “SWEET SPOT”
MID-PERFORMANCE FUELING GUIDE (using real food or ready-made fuel)
THE ENDURANCE RUNNER SUPPLEMENT GUIDE
RUNNER’S SNACK GUIDE
“NO MEAL PREP” MEAL GUIDE
Got questions? Email me at Serena@SerenaMarieRD.com! We start January 22nd.
Want to sign up? Use code SAVE50 to save $50 on your membership (for a total of $97 for 4 weeks of guided running nutrition!)
Click here to sign up and let the Eat like an Athlete partay begin!