Eating for Weight Loss or... Eating for Running?

Many people come to running to lose weight, but while they are on their weight loss journey... they fall in love with running! You may soon realize you have more of a desire to put your running shoes on than go out and have drinks with your friend!? Crazy, I know!


As a dietitian, when I am teaching people how to eat, what we come up against is this dogma we have around food and how it relates to weight loss. A lot of us learn nutrition within the vein of trying to lose weight. And then we start caring about our performance and realize that in order to improve performance, we have to change our relationship with food.



I have a story for you about a client of mine, let's call her Katie (not her real name). Katie is a runner that had started working with me, and let me tell you, homegirl has stepped into her power!


Let me tell you a little more about Katie. She always saw herself as this person who was overweight and lazy when it came to exercise. One day her and her partner decided to go on a weight loss journey. They lost a lot of weight, and they did this by counting calories, tracking their food and monitoring their intake. Years later Katie had maintained her weight loss, and that's a big deal because at about the 3 year mark weight loss diets have a 95% failure rate. So I think this goes to show that, for Katie's body, when she lost those extra pounds, that was more in line with what her genetics wanted her to look like.


But the point of this story is that one of her new healthy habits included running! She felt incredible after losing the weight and wanted to start running. But when she started running, she didn't change her food intake or her nutrition. She was still counting her calories and limiting her intake, at this point she has been doing this for years while running.


She was counting and restricting calories WHILE training for her half marathon... and it led her to have so many negative thoughts... because if she ate anything that she hadn't identified as a "good" food, then she'd start beating herself up... and that led to bingeing on foods that didn't help her feel her best.


This would lead to body checking, and she would start looking in the mirror and examining herself and obsessing over different parts of her body.


Restriction lead to injury after injury. She would train for half marathons and her legs felt like rocks. Calorie counting was not serving her. It was not putting her in a place of power. It was not uplifting her, making her stronger, or healthier... it was tearing her down. It was limiting her ability to be the athlete she was able to become.


We started working together and we had to break the food rules. She learned the science behind it. So now when she is eating a cookie she isn't thinking, "Oh no, this person on Instagram was saying this is bad for me..." But instead, she understands the science, she understands how this cookie is working in her body. There are no food rules now. But it wasn't easy and it took time. It was so difficult for her to break the habit of counting calories and writing down everything she ate. Katie now uses a system that I taught her. Which uses 4 questions to ask yourself to replace the math/counting. Now Katie is no longer writing down her food or counting calories and she has stepped into her POWER!





Let's talk about where she is now that she broke up her food rules, she stopped counting and tracking her food and she understands how to think about food like a dietitian. She was once obsessed with body and weight is now obsessed with FEELING GOOD IN HER SKIN! Her mental self talk is so positive, when she has day with negative self talk (we all do!) she doesn't go down the rabbit hole. She challenges that negative self-talk (which we have practiced time and time again). When she challenges it she brings it back to reality, she asks, "What is actually going on here? It's not that I am fat today. That is not the actual problem. What is the real problem?" A lot of times it's that she needs to slow down and take a rest day. That is what our body is trying to tell us and she understands that now.


Here is the most exciting thing (I think its the most exciting because I think you are going to be able to relate to this) her half marathon training is going SO WELL!! She is kicking butt! We added speed workouts to her training for the first time ever, she is on the track doing track workouts, she is empowered and her legs are recovering! Of course she has to think about the other stuff, sleep, rest and recovery. Nutrition is not the cure all. But she is eating more, she is feeling better in her skin, she no longer obsesses about food, she never binge eats! She doesn't have the desire to eat past fullness ever because she is in control of her body now. Her legs are not tired and her performance is improving!


She has found food freedom! She has found life from dieting and calorie counting. Her body is thinking her, she is having more positive self talk, she is feeling better in her physical body and skin. She is no longer spending all of her free time counting calories or macros, her performance is improving. What else would you want?


This is what food freedom does to you, this is the difference between eating to lose weight and eating to become a better, fitter runner. This is what we are looking for!


I mean why did you want to go on that weight loss journey? You wanted to feel better about your body or proud of your body or more comfortable in your body. You wanted to have a better, healthier relationship with food, you wanted to eat healthier. That is what food freedom gives you! It just looks completely different than you thought because people are not telling you the truth, people are making a lot of money off of you when you go to the store and buy those diet pills and you start on one diet and then you give up (remember dieting has a 95% failure rate). I would implore you to be more like my food freedom athlete Katie, she is a kick butt person! Food freedom is possible for everyone! When you find food freedom you feel so much better in your skin.


If you are curious about learning more about Food Freedom Fit Fam or my group coaching program click here and let's chat! It can never hurt to learn more information!