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Marathon Reflection: Weight v2.0

by Meghann on January 22, 2010

I’ve debated how to write this post for a while. I feel like weight is such a taboo word in the blog world, but its one I feel needs to be addressed every once in a while on my blog especially when it comes to running and training.

So please be warned if the issue of weight is one that triggers you or makes you uncomfortable please, please, please do not read this post. And please don’t say I didn’t warn ya. 😉

Weight is actually a hot topic while training for a marathon and one I continue to get many comments on. After my last marathon I blogged how I had gained 8 pounds while training (post here). My clothes still fit and I was still comfortable in my own skin, but the numbers on the scale didn’t lie – the weight was there.

After the marathon I continued on my normal daily routine and eventually I got back down to my happy weight with little to no effort.

When I started training for my second marathon I was expecting the same results, but I quickly learned that just as two marathon are never the same, neither are the results when training.

Two months into training – without even realizing it – I had actually LOST 5 pounds! I was at the lowest weight I had been at since I was a sophomore in high school and people were noticing.

I didn’t get it. How did I gain weight during my first marathon and lose weight during my second? Was it the extra effort I was putting towards training? The uncontrollable hunger that never came the second time around? I had no clue!

I began to force myself to eat more by grabbing handfuls of this and that which mostly went undocumented on the blog. As always I still enjoyed my daily treats and had my fair share of cookies, ice cream, and chocolate. Thanks to the holidays and a few fun weekends I was able to gain back two or three pounds.

Training for a marathon is a tricky business. I ate when I was hungry, but in hindsight I should have been eating more protein during recovery from my long runs and upped the calories of my snacks. I am in no way a nutritionist or RD and still have so much to learn about my body and how it operates.

I received plenty of comments on the blog of those noticing my weight loss and I want to thank you for your concern. I was never hiding the fact that I did lose weight, I just am not a fan of discussing weight on this blog. Just know according to my doctors I am healthy and thriving.

Post marathon I have yet to weigh myself. I know it will all even out in the end, just as it always does. I honestly don’t even own a scale. I usually weigh myself at the Publix scale every other week. Its what all the cool kids do.

So there you have it, I gained 8 pounds training for my first marathon and lost 5 pounds training for my second. I wonder what will happen for my third or fourth? Only time will tell.

1 megzzwinsatlife January 22, 2010 at 11:34 am

I am glad you addressed this Meghann as I am always interested to learn about training and weight. I did notice you looked thinner but did not think it would be my business to say anything! I know as part of me training for my 1/2 I am TRYING to loose 10 pounds.

Thanks for always being so inspiring 🙂

2 Evan Thomas January 22, 2010 at 11:35 am

I think being so free about letting the weight in training fall where it may is a great attitude. So many people get caught up in their “ideal running weight”, which they don’t realize might or might not be what they think it is. So long as your body is getting a healthy intake of nourishing and fun foods, it knows a lot better what the weight should be better than an online calculator

3 Meg January 22, 2010 at 11:39 am

It’s really interesting to see how your body reacts at different periods of time, and I really love your positive outlook on everything as always, Meghann 🙂

4 Trish January 22, 2010 at 11:41 am

So strange!

I’m sure your weight will likely balance back out again. You probably weren’t taking in as many calories as your body needed to maintain itself given your high level of training.

I will say though that I appreciate the fact that you do eat. You always seem to have healthy portions of healthy food. I see others who are quite active but don’t seem to eat all that much. You seem to eat enough – and that’s great. It is a good message to send that you can actually eat, and even have daily treats, and still look fantastic – which you do! I love to see someone who maintains such good balance.

5 Heather January 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

Isn’t it interesting how our body reacts and is never predictable!?!

With my half-marathon, I lost weight and then gained some of it back as my mileage increased. I kind of expected it to be the opposite!

I am now training for my second 1/2 and am interested to see what it does to my body – only time will tell.

Thanks for the great post.

6 K January 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

Thank you for your honesty.
It is good to see that you (and us) realized that you lost weight during marathon training. It was very evident by your pictures!
I hope that you can continue to incorporate more healthy fats and protein into your diet.
Personally, I think you looked better after your first marathon, so eat up girlie!

7 Heather January 22, 2010 at 11:50 am

I think it’s really interesting you had different results with each of the marathons–I like how you point out that every marathon is different and so is the training and all that comes with it. As long as you are staying happy and healthy, that’s what counts!

8 Katie@ Two Lives, One Lifestyle January 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

Thanks for this post and your previous marathon-weight-related post. I’m about to start training for my first marathon and I’m trying to do a little research on eating so I can fuel well. In my running experience (which tops out around 6-7 miles), I usually have NO appetite after a tough run and I’m hoping it changes with training because I don’t want to do any harm by not eating enough! I wouldn’t mind if I lost a few pounds but my main concern is keeping my body full of energy for training and the race. Thanks again! 🙂

9 Bria January 22, 2010 at 11:54 am

My experience has been that the less you think and care about how much you weigh, the less you weigh. 🙂 Laws of attraction maybe?

Regardless, you look great and your diet is very well balanced in my BSc. Nutrition opinion!!

10 Heather (Heather's Dish) January 22, 2010 at 11:56 am

i still thought you looked great, but the biggest determining factor is how you FEEL. if you felt great either way and were still taking care of yourself, then lose or gain away! 🙂

11 Anna January 22, 2010 at 11:58 am

Thanks for writing this post– I know it’s something most (if not ALL) of your readers are curious about! Your honesty is always well-appreciated 🙂

12 Cassie January 22, 2010 at 11:59 am

thank you for always being so candid and frank. i think it is amazing that you are so comfortable with your weight and your body, and that you share your reflections with us so freely. you are truly an inspiration.

13 eaternotarunner January 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm

It is interesting how your body can react so differently! I thought I would lose a lot of weight training for a half, but I ended up being so hungry after runs that my weight stayed the same. I guess you never know!

14 Kate January 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm

love your candidness. bodies are such amazing things, arent they? and i particularly love that you are planning on doing many marathons. i feel like its usually a once in a lifetime kind of gig. kudos to you!

15 Marisa (Loser for Life) January 22, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s so interesting how our bodies react differently; it’s all a process in getting to know it, I guess!

I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you do not have a scale or focus on what it says. You rely on your intuition and the way your body feels – that is fantastic! I hope to be in that wonderful place one day 😀

16 Kate January 22, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I respect that weight is not something that you discuss often on your blog…I find it relaxing to know that I can read your blog and not feel triggered all the time (even though that is something that I will have to deal with as recovery goes on) but I had noticed you getting thinner. I assumed it was marathon training so I didn’t comment but I am glad to know that marathon training was the culprit and that you weren’t losing weight intentionally. I think you look beautiful no matter what, as long as you are healthy!!! Love the post! Thank you!

17 Lacey January 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I would just like to say how great it is that you take other’s feelings into such consideration! I love your blog, and it was my inspiration for starting my own food blog. Go Meghann!

18 D January 22, 2010 at 12:36 pm

This was a great post! I find that running affects my body in so many ways, and its definitely not always predictable.

I read a lot of “healthy living/fitness” blogs and there is definitely a taboo on talking about weight, but I think it’s ridiculous! By treating it so cautiously, it totally puts more emphasis on it. Blogs claim to show “real” women eating “real” food, but talking about weight IS real! It is NORMAL. Normal, non-disordered people talk about weight. They look at calories, they pick and choose their treats, etc. It’s not a big deal. Weight IS just a number, but it does exist and we can’t pretend that we don’t think about it. It doesn’t have to be a huge deal! I think it’s a shame that people totally demonize those who choose to have scales, and praise people who don’t. That isn’t directed at you whatsoever, I just mean that if you wanted to own a scale, that’s your choice and there’s nothing wrong with it!

19 Meghann January 22, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Great comment. Thank you for speaking up. 🙂

20 Sammi January 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm

You rocked that marathon so obviously you were doing it right! Maybe the first one was a shock to your body so it was trying to store more energy whereas this time it was a little more used to it (if that is possible!) so it wasn’t storing as much? Who knows! But you look great!

Also.. I am running in my first race tomorrow! 4.1 miles AND over a bridge in Sarasota! I am going to read some of your old posts to get me pumped! I am so anxious..

Enjoy your Friday 🙂

21 Emily January 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm

I have relatives in Sarasota and I totally ran over that bridge when I went to visit them. 🙂 Good luck on the race!

22 Sammi January 23, 2010 at 12:15 am

thank you!!! i am so anxious!

23 Rachel January 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Hmm, very interesting weight comparison with your first and second marathons. I’m not sure why weight is such a taboo in the blog world; I think being so touchy about it just makes it seem more “important” than it really is.

24 Pure2Raw twins January 22, 2010 at 1:15 pm

We gained weight when we did our first marathon years ago, and then lost some weight this past year when we trained for our 2nd. Interesting, huh? We are sill trying to figure out our bodies, and unfortunately everyone is different. But thank you for sharing your story!! You are doing the right thing by listening to what works for you : )

25 Megan January 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I think this is an interesting post, as so many people argue that you can’t lose weight while training for a marathon. I think that fueling properly is hugely important while training, but way too many people use “I’m running a marathon/half marathon/10K” as an excuse to eat whatever they want. I tried to alwyas remind myself that I need to fuel my body PROPERLY if I want to get the best running performance. By viewing it through this lens, I focused on fueling properly without giving myslef free reign on the ice cream just because I was “training.” (The free ice cream reign was reserved for long run days 😉 )

26 Jenna January 22, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Great post Meghann! Very interesting and I am glad you don’t Andres about your weight!!

27 Amanda P January 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Meghann I have to say your story is inspired. I especially love your marathon posts – they make me want to get out ther emore often and just GO for it 🙂 Although weight is a taboo in the blogworld, I think many readers do realistically struggle with this topic day to day and it’s nice to know that they are not along with being aware of their weight. Kudos! 🙂

28 aron January 22, 2010 at 1:39 pm

its always so interesting how the body reacts differently each time.

i know calorie counting is kind of “frowned on” but it really helps me make sure i am eating enough, especially during peak marathon training. i guess i was doing it the opposite way though – to make sure i was eating more 🙂 just a couple weeks of it and i kind of could figure out how to make sure i was getting enough protein, carbs, etc to refuel myself.

there is a fine line for me – when i am building up my miles i get really hungry, but once i am at that level for a while, sometimes the hunger goes away so i have to make sure i am eating enough, especially on those mid week double digit runs.

you are right though, it all evens itself out usually 🙂

29 foodfitnessandfreya January 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

You have such a healthy attitude to weight – I know so many people who’d be thrilled they lost 5 pounds (when they weren’t meant to, I mean), so it is SO refreshing to see you trying to get it back to be a yourhappy weight! You’re inspiring 🙂
Maybe the 1st mrathon was muscle weight?

30 Kelli January 22, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Great post! Katie and I are about to train for our first marathon and I am always interested in this topic. While training for my first half I didnt gain or lose a pound, but got much tighter, which was a nice surprise! While I was training it was the first time i looked at food as fuel rather than just food. Training for an endurance event really makes you realize how bad food affects your body. Thanks for the great post!!

31 Britt @ Runnerbelle January 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I gained weight with my first marathon too, about 10lbs! Actually it wasn’t until I started calorie counting with Sparkpeople that I was able to lose it. And it wasn’t just about the calories, Spark got me thinking about the nutrients…. so it wasn’t really that calorie counting that I think helped me, it was the perception change I had with food. I saw it as fuel and inorder to properly fuel myself for my training I needed so many carbs, so much proteins, so much iron, etc.

Shedding the weight did help my times too of course!

32 allisonisactive January 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Love the philosophy – who cares about weight when you are healthy and happy? I’ve commented this before on other blogs, but I’m a distance runner who eats sensibly and I’m still a size 10. I may not be as tiny as other bloggers, but clearly this is my healthy weight since I’ve maintained it even through lifestyle changes such as starting to run and beginning to eat fruits and vegetables.

33 Mackenzie January 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm

You DOMINATED the marathon.

Your honesty is to be commended.

I do have a question, however. Do you find any incompatability between the claim of a clean bill of health and the fact that your body does not menustrate w/o the hormone regulations of the pill?

34 Sarah January 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I was wondering about this, too. In my experience, when I lost my period while marathon-training, it was because I wasn’t eating enough. I know you said it was due to “high mileage,” but your mileage (never over 40 mpw) isn’t really high enough in and of itself to cause that unless something else is also going on.

35 theprocessofhealing January 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

That is very interesting. I did notice that you seemed to lose weight but you look healthy to me and you ate plenty, that I noticed. Weight and running are tricky because sometimes you are SO hungry that you can overeat. But if you don’t eat enough, you can hurt yourself. It’s hard to know.

36 Tay January 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Megan – thank you for sharing. I know how weight is such a touchy subject around here, and people don’t necessarily want to hear about weight loss, gain, X amount of pounds, etc. It just shows that all bodies and situations are different – even situations with the same body!! At least you noticed, and knew it wasn’t a good thing going on. We live and learn and now you know for your next race! You have the right idea about upping the protein and dense snacks. Maybe adding more higher fat (yet still healthy) things to your diet – such as more nut butter, a bit more cheese, slightly larger breakfasts, etc!

37 Christina January 22, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Thanks for this post! I am thinking of training for a 1/2 this year. I’ll have to keep in mind that you never know what to expect. I’m curious to see what happens when you train for your 3rd!

38 Deirdre January 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Thanks for being so open! I definitely thought it looked like you lost weight, but to be honest since I see basically everything you eat I was never worried or concerned. You always eat great. Keep on being a great example of balanced eating!

39 Matt January 22, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Thanks for sharing! I gained a few pounds while training for my marathon, but then I was back to my normal weight a few weeks later.

40 Paige January 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I hate that the topic of weight has become so taboo. I am glad that you discussed it. A lot of people struggle with weight, and I believe that having it out in the open (among friends/bloggers), may help people who feel like they are alone in this matter. Thanks!!!

41 tiffnie January 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I definitely have zero authority and expertise on this subject, but I wouldn’t be surprised if your body needed to build lots of muscle for your first marathon, hence, the desire to eat more, which then lead to the weight gain. Now that your body is used to the intensity in training, homeostasis has kicked in, and the hunger isn’t as pronounced because it doesn’t need to be. I’ve been following your blog for awhile now (but I’m not a stalker, I promise ;)) and it seems like you improved tremendously on your time for your second marathon. So, the combination of eating less and running harder/faster resulted in weight loss. Regardless, I just want to congratulate you on running a great race, staying healthy, and inspiring other people (myself included!). Thank you for always being so honest and open on your blog. Looking forward to reading about your future races!

42 Elina January 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I don’t really get why weight (and weight gain or weight loss) IS such a taboo in the blog world. I think it’s something most of us are aware of, whether we are (with no judgment) evaluating the situation or actively doing something about. I think you have an amazingly healthy attitude towards the whole thing. When did that happen? I know you were overweight before – did losing the weight just finally trigger pure body acceptance? I know you’ve talked about loving your body for what it can do and not the number on the scale but it’s not just about the number, is it? If you gain or lose weight, it’s obvious without stepping on the scale. Just wondering how you got to the place where what you see in the mirror completely doesn’t matter because you know you’re healthy? Thanks 😀

43 Emily January 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Thanks for this! I recently lost enough pounds for me to notice (I don’t weigh myself and don’t own a scale), and feel like I can’t talk about it at all. I wasn’t actually very happy about it (and still am not) as I am eating the same diet and do not work out (I’m not proud of this, I just don’t), so I was pretty convinced there was something wrong with me. Blood tests say I’m fine, but I still have to deal with needing smaller sized pants (aka new ones) and feeling like I am not myself, and have no where to turn, b/c who wants to hear me complain about losing weight? Anyway, thanks for discussing this. I truly appreciate it.

44 Island Girl Eats January 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I found when I was training my Disney my weight did drop at the end. It is only now that it is starting to even out again. The body is a fascinating thing! I don’t think that we will ever know it completely.

45 Emily January 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Thanks for your reflections. I am definitely interested in hearing about blogger’s weight – gains/losses – I wish it wasn’t a taboo topic – I feel like it is directly related to “healthy living” and can be discussed in a healthy way.
I’m working on losing weight – to reach a healthy weight for me – and I’m training for my first half marathon. So far that combination is working out for me, but I’ll be interested in how my body reacts to the training as it intensifies.

46 skinnyrunner January 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm

thats really interesting and im glad you addressed it! sounds like you have a very healthy attitude towards your weight.
in my 2 marathons i pretty much stayed exactly the same. but when i was injured last year and wasnt running, i definitely gained some unwanted lbs.

47 Retta @ RunRettaRun January 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Thank you for sharing! I like your outlook on weight and not relying on the #s on the scale. I am working toward that mind set!

48 Tracey @ tropicalhappiness January 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I think that, although it’s important to disclose “weight posts” in case readers might be triggered, it is IMPORTANT to talk about weight. As long as the blog writer isn’t obsessed about every ounce, or always discussing weight and numbers, talking about weight is healthy. And talking about the effects of such a huge cardio endeavor of marathon training is important.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

49 Liesl January 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Interesting post, and glad you wrote about it.
I did notice this time you looked thinner and from your blog posts it seemed like you were eating alot less than you did during your first marathon training…especially less protein like you mentioned. Sometimes I would read your posts and wonder how you weren’t knawing your arm off sometimes with the tiny snacks, and small meals.

But you know what you body felt and that’s what you rolled with, and by no means do you look unheathy. I enjoy your blog and your creative meal ideas. Good luck with your next training venture.
Make sure to stay injury free…because that road to recovery is no fun.

50 Kara January 22, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I know! Seriously, dude, it seemed to me like you ate nothing. How were you not hungry? I’m not even training like that and I’m still starving all the time. It’s beyond frustrating.

51 Kat January 23, 2010 at 9:41 am

Hi Meghann,
I hate to say it, but I agree with them!! I know others commented that you seem like you eat enough, but to me, it seems like you didn’t eat nearly enough while trianing. I think if you added up the calories of what you ate, you would be surprised to see you weren’t eating enough. It seems like you were TOO cautious about portions and health.

I am not some overweight girl that eats a ton so that is why I am telling you that. I am actually underweight and also train for a lot of races so often look to your blog for inspiration but sadly, I don’t think it is inspirational because you don’t eat enough calories….if that makes sense. I just say this as a word of caution because underfueling while training is incredibly dangerous. I know your marathon is over and you ROCKED it, but still be careful!
Hope this didn’t sound too harsh!!!

52 Jessica January 23, 2010 at 11:51 am

I agree. I always was looking at what you ate and feeling like I eat so much more than you were to maintain a similar weight, and I wasn’t training for a marathon! I’m glad you realized it, you looked awesome at your pre-training weight! 🙂

I think there is such a taboo about weight in the blog community because a lot of bloggers and readers struggle or have struggled in the past with some form of disordered eating, body image issues, or obsession with weight. Like you said, it can be triggering for many people, which is probably why many bloggers try not to bring it up too often, whether for their own sake or their readers’.

53 fitandfortysomething January 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm

you were training pretty hard meghann! i figured you should have lost some weight…….and you did which is ok!

54 Nicci January 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I hadn’t noticed a weight difference in your pics. You still look great, I know it was hard to write this too. Thanks for addressing this with training.

Not to get into it, but to the comment above about ”not eating enough cals”and ”not being inspirational” You must remember: Many bloggers do not post every thing they eat on their blog daily.

Great job on the Marathon again!!

55 Madeline January 24, 2010 at 1:13 am

I’m puzzled that there’s a scale at the grocery store…

But interesting information, all around, and definitely well-handled. Nutrition and running can be so complicated!

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