Last week I sat at my desk at work wishing I could unbutton my pants. Today I wore my running shorts for the first time in several months and discovered they no longer fit. Over the past couple of months I’ve become quite good at ignoring signs that my body mass has increased, but the sausaging of my clothing can no longer be ignored. Faced with this reality I did what reasonable people do in these situations and ate an entire 250 gram box of animal cookies.
Then I stepped on the scale.
Then I tossed it off the balcony. The total amount gained may sound small, but in relative terms my weight has increased by almost 4% and my body fat by 1.5% since January. So I did what reasonable people do in these situations and obsessively devoured Matt Fitzgerald’s Racing Weight.
According to Mr. Fitzgerald I now fall in the range of runners who could probably improve their running performance with a ~2% reduction in body fat (or basically losing all the weight I’ve gained plus a bit more). His scales place me at the 75th percentile (I was surprised by this percentile; I guess I’m small by regular people standards but not by athlete people standards). An acceptable goal for those in the 75-90% percentile is moving up 5-10% (in my case to the 80th or 85th percentile) – the higher end target is for those with greater room for improvement in fitness and/or diet. So according to Fitz, I’m not fat but I’m not a lean mean running machine either. Not yet.
The problem is that I’m well versed in the art of weight reduction. I didn’t even own a scale until January 2012. But I’m getting old and my super-charged metabolism is obviously aging with the rest of me. Mostly great eating with a side helping of a family sized bag of chocolate covered almonds is delicious, but may no longer be sustainable. I’m (somewhat) motivated, but my appetite is insatiable. I’m eating constantly. Part of this may be my body adapting to my new training program and higher mileage. Part of this is I eat a lot. I’ve always eaten a lot. I’m just not sure why my sugar cravings are at an all time high. Something is off. Reducing my chocolate covered almonds intake is a good first step, but there’s probably more to it than that.
Disclaimer: I can feel the collective eyes rolling. I know I’m not fat or big overweight. For reasons related to vanity I do not like that all extra weight goes to my belly and creates a muffin top over my pants and shakes when I run like a bowl full of jelly. For reasons related to budget I will not spend money on new clothes because my waistbands cut off the circulation to my legs. For reasons related to performance I want to run better and feel better when I run. For those reasons (and more) I want to lose the extra pounds and get back down to my ‘natural’ best weight; the same weight in the charts from my annual physical every year since I left the teens. So I know I’m not overweight, but I think do have some racing weight wiggle room. Matt agrees.
Title: Billy Joel – Scenes From an Italian Restaurant. 1977.