Sunday, July 18, 2010

Has Not Running Made Me Gain Weight?

As a (former) runner, I relied too much on running to keep my weight in check. I’m sure other participants of whatever activities they enjoy do the same thing. Thus my biggest worry about having to stop running more than three weeks ago now, is the inevitable weight gain from the decrease of calorie burning activity.
But first, how much do I miss running? I miss running alone, I miss running with friends, and I miss running with the AREC club. However, in the three weeks since my last run I’m surprised that I haven’t craved it as much as I thought I might. Maybe, because my brain already knows that since I don’t have to run tomorrow or the next day, it has sort of adjusted to the idea. Or perhaps because my dreaded weight gain if I stopped running has not materialized. Instead, I’ve been surprisingly doing very well in controlling it. Maybe because I no longer have a good excuse to overeat thinking that I can run off the calories tomorrow anyway. To a certain point, it also seems like my stomach has contracted to accommodate lesser food because I feel fuller more quickly than before. In the past few years I have also accumulated some exercise machines to use as cross training tools for running. Using these machines have now become my main workouts.
From past experiences when I had to stop running every day, then had to stop for as much as two months due to injury, I have always gained weight because my food intake never changed. One reason being, when I used my exercise machines, I only did so in one constant pace. In the past two or three years, I discovered that when I increase the intensity of the workouts, I could come close to the calorie burn equivalent to running. Nowadays, I do mainly interval workouts on the elliptical machine, stationary recumbent bike, and stationary upright bike. This has helped me maintain my weight in recent weeks since I was forced to stop running (it’s not because I’m sweating more due to this heat wave, is it?). I am hoping that my new sport of cycling can become an adequate substitute to running as an outdoor activity. Although I’m not getting the runner’s high that I’m used to, I’m quite content with the amount of discipline I have managed to have so far. Not only am I a running addict, I’m also an exercise addict. Here’s looking forward to keeping it up!

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