Why Most Runners Don’t Lose Weight (Recipe: Grilled Margherita Sandwiches)

Want to know a fun fact? More than 19 million Americans run 100 days or more per year (according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association)! Isn’t that something??

The chances are good that at least few thousand of those millions run to drop a few pounds. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. Annoyingly and frustratingly, sometimes that doesn’t happen.

Why? I found this article by Rashelle Brown from Active.com very interesting. Especially because I fall under this category–I run and workout all the time, and while I’m not overweight, I’m not that thin either.

Things runners could be doing wrong to prevent them from losing weight:

  1. Running too slow. Most distance runners smartly follow a training protocol that has them running most of their miles at a relatively low effort level. Doing so helps them log more weekly miles without putting too much stress on the body. It can also help them better use fat as a fuel source. What it does not do, however, is burn a ton of calories. If your primary reason for running is weight loss, it is good to run at a faster pace which could help you burn 10-20% more calories. Adding even 5 to 10 minutes of fast running into each workout can boost your calorie burn. [Note: I don’t think this one applies to me. I do intervals at least once a week. And my pace is not exactly slow even if I complain that I am slow.]
  2. Overtraining. Another common tendency among runners is to run a lot. We’ve all pushed our weekly mileage or our pace beyond our limits and suffered an injury as the result. By slowly building mileage and increasing speed, you’ll gradually be able to burn more calories each week while minimizing your risk for injury. [Note: While I do think I suffer from overtraining (I really enjoy exercise!), I am not not losing weight due to injury from overtraining.]
  3. Always Doing the Same Run. Our bodies are incredibly efficient. Running the same route and pace day after day will stagnate your training efforts and cause you to burn fewer calories. The best way to overcome this is to change your running routine. Try to make each run slightly different than the last one. [Note: This could be part of my problem–while I vary the tempo and lengths of my runs, many of my routes are the same. I will have to try varying my route some and see if this helps!]
  4. Moving Less the Rest of the Day. Some individuals “compensate” to conserve energy after exercise by moving less throughout the rest of the day. If you think this might be you, wear an activity tracker for a few weeks. Subtract the number of steps you ran (or just don’t wear the device when you run) and you’ll see whether you tend to be lazier after a run. [Note: While I do have a desk job, I don’t believe that I am less active after a run than on days that I don’t run.]
  5. Skipping Strength Training. While running is a great way to burn a high number of calories in a relatively short amount of time, it’s not very effective for building lean muscle. For that, you need to include some strength training in your weekly routine. To maintain muscle mass, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends training the major muscle groups for 1 to 3 sets of between 8 and 12 repetitions two or three days per week. [Note: I know I have failed at this in the past. Hence, hiring my personal trainer. I have had 9 sessions with him in the last three weeks. And I have been the “good sore” after about 6 of them. I think I am making progress!]
  6. Eating Too Much. For the average runner, it takes about 30 minutes running at six miles per hour to burn about 300 calories. It takes that same runner just 30 seconds standing in her kitchen eating dark chocolate sea salt caramels to consume about 300 calories. Humans tend to be reward-driven creatures. Nothing begs to be rewarded more than a hard, sweaty, huffin’-and-puffin’ run. The trouble is, most of us either don’t bother to pay attention to the calories in/calories out equation, or we do it poorly. [Note: THIS IS 100% ME. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO SWEETS.]

Here’s what nobody wants to hear: Losing weight means you’re going to be hungry once in a while because that’s what creating a caloric deficit does. So keep running, mix up your workouts, lift weights, mind your diet, and learn to tell that reward-seeking pest on your shoulder to take a hike. You’ll run much lighter if you do. [This is advice I need to take myself!]

Okay–I am way behind on chronicling my journey to San Francisco. Wayyy behind. So, how about that Golden Gate Bridge?! Oh my gosh, isn’t it amazing!? A and I decided to walk ALL THE WAY ACROSS. Because we are awesome like that. (And we wanted to be able to say that we had walked all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge. AND it was something A had never done before–walk all the way across.) It was ridiculously windy! I am so very glad I had purchased a sweatshirt on our way to the bridge! I thought I was freezing then, I can’t imagine how cold I would have been without the sweatshirt! Architectural things like bridges and really tall and cool looking buildings always amaze me. The Golden Gate Bridge was no different. Here are pictures we took from the south side of the bridge!

DSC_0329 DSC_0341                                    DSC_0348 DSC_0365                                        DSC_0353 DSC_0372                                                            DSC_0373 DSC_0375                                     DSC_0378 DSC_0345        IMG_2542 IMG_2550 IMG_2553

Food for Thought: The rinds of lemons and limes are rich in terpenes, compounds that act as powerful antioxidants that protect immune health and DNA.

1 year ago: Where the Wild Dogs Are (Recipe: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies)

2 years ago: Rest Stops Along the Century Ride (Recipe: Fresh Peach Ice-Cream)

Quote of the Day:

“Always run as strong and as long and as fast as you can. Always be patient with injury. Always invite a nonrunner to join you, and don’t forget to tell him how beautiful he looks running. Always look for running partners, but never tolerate anyone who makes you feel unworthy. Don’t ever let yourself believe you’ve had a bad run. Cross into the far lane before the car passes you. Wave. Run with a dog. Buy running gear you want and don’t need. Race. Do anything to keep running.” -Marc Parent

Grilled Margherita Sandwiches. Can we say YUM!? I love the combination of mozzarella, tomato, and basil! Definitely give this a whirl if you can!

Grilled Margherita Sandwiches DSC_0954

Grilled Margherita Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup lower-sodium marinara
  • 8 (1-ounce) slices whole-grain bread
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 large basil leaves
  • cooking spray

Directions

  • Spread 1 tablespoon marinara over 1 side of each of 4 bread slices. Top evenly with cheese and tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle tomatoes evenly with salt and pepper. Top tomatoes with basil an remaining bread slices. Lightly coat sandwiches with cooking spray.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat.
  • Add sandwiches to pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes or until browned. Brush tops evenly with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil. Turn sandwiches over; cook 2 minutes or until browned.

Courtesy of Cooking Light

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