A while back I wrote a blog post called ‘Why hello there, Mr. Elephant‘; about my weight issues and overall health and the assumptions people make about me based on my appearance (i.e my weight). I like the elephant analogy so I’m going to keep with that whenever I specifically blog about my weight (which won’t be often, this is a running blog after all!).
In my previous elephant post I mentioned then that I’m a lot healthier than I look. That despite being overweight, I actually make healthy choices when it comes to what I eat. I don’t drink carbonated drinks, I don’t eat chocolate or crisps or fast food and am moderate with things like cheese and alcohol. I also walk everywhere I go and I started running nearly 8 months ago, tweeting about it and eventually starting this blog. My twitter name (and blog name) very obviously point to the elephant that is my weight, and I do get occasional comments from people (on AND off-line) wishing me luck with my weight loss journey and how great I’m going to feel when I’ve lost weight because of my running.
The thing is (and I haven’t talked about this on twitter), I haven’t actually lost any weight since I started running. Or, I’ve lost a grand total of 7 pounds (half a stone). That’s in 8 months of running. That’s less than a pound a month!
I thought this was a bit…odd, given that I eat healthy and drink at least 2 litres of water per day and am so active. And it’s not that I took up running specifically to lose weight, but surely losing weight would be a bonus for all the running? So I decided to see a professional. A nutritionist. I thought maybe there was something I was doing wrong? Maybe I wasn’t eating as healthy as I thought I was? Even though a doctor has seen my food journal and had no comment except that I should eat fish more often. Health wise everything is totally normal; thyroid, hormones, cholestoral etc.
So me and my elephant went to see a nutritionist a couple of weeks ago. Here’s what she said:
Firstly, that I AM eating healthy. She said I was eating sensible, structured meals and making good choices with my food intake. She was happy that I don’t eat junk food and that I cook dinner for myself and eat loads of fruit and get plenty of water. She noted I was getting enough protein (I was worried that I wasn’t) and that when I did indulge in something less healthy it was still in moderation.
She did give me one or two things I could ‘tweak’ like moving my carb intake to be more balanced during the day (i.e more porridge in the morning, less pasta in the evening). I should cut down on drinking milk, and (I knew she would say this) I do need to eat more vegetables.
She did agree that it was odd I haven’t lost any weight since I started running, and she wants me to try these few changes to see if it makes a difference.
In the last two weeks I have done as she asked, and with eating a bigger portion of porridge in the morning I find I am not craving milk the way I used to. So two birds with one stone there.
She asked me why I don’t have vegetables so much, especially as I cook dinner for myself, and I realized in thinking it over that I actually don’t like vegetables when cooked. Most of my favourite recipes (tuna/lemon/pasta; chicken/chickpea stir fry) don’t call for vegetables. So the solution of course, is to have vegetables the way I like them. Fresh and raw and crispy.
I’m finding the veggies part a little more difficult than I thought. It is hard to remember to whip up that salad when I’m making dinner, or to even buy the ingredients when I’m doing my shop. It’s been such a habit for me to NOT buy vegetables that it’s taking some very deliberate thought to include them.
Her other advice was to work on my muscle tone, and I knew she was going to say that too. I know that the more muscle tone you have the better your metabolism works; my muscle tone is fairly non-existent. So I asked her if pilates would be ok to start and she said yes, to give it a try and see what happens.
The advice I got from the nutritionist was good, and I’m very glad I went. Her comments and suggestions made sense, and it was good to really talk things over with her. She totally understand my nutritional needs as an overweight runner, she didn’t try to put me on a ‘program’ but worked with my own habits, likes and desires. She didn’t push me to start eating foods I don’t like, and worked instead with my own palate and preferences. She didn’t just tell me WHAT to do, but WHY to do it. She was friendly and encouraging and I really felt like she was interested in me, my concerns and my goals.
So, I am really happy to work with her on this. And I am going back to see her in May, to see if her suggestions have made any difference. I shall keep my fingers crossed and hope you’ll keep your fingers crossed for me too!