Injured runner: I’m having a hard time with my weight

I wouldn’t say I was ever a person who had “body issues.” I ate whatever I wanted to when I was a teenager and in my early 20s. Because I exercised regularly — and let’s be real, I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater — I was pretty content with my weight and how I looked.

But, I’m having a hard time right now.

As an adult runner who is pretty in tune with her body, this is the third time I have had one of these “I’m having a hard time with my weight” moments.

Four-and-a-half years ago, I lost a noticeable amount of weight (without meaning to), and it freaked me out.

And then a year-and-a-half ago, I gained some weight and was having trouble accepting it. I eventually returned back to my “normal” weight but my issue now is that since I’ve stopped running in August, I have gained approximately ~8 pounds.

Being an injured runner is hard enough but now I have to deal with weight issues too??

When I went in for a doctor’s appointment at the beginning of the year, I stepped on the scale and when the nurse marked 136, my stomach sunk. It was validation for what I had been fearing for the past several months: I’ve gained a significant amount of weight.

My “normal” weight is typically around 127/128.

Some of my pants are tighter than they used to be. Some shirts are a little more fitted than I want them to be. The worst part is that I do not feel good about myself. 

My stomach area feels huge. And I have been exercising daily, but it’s all just not the same as running.

I’ve brought this up with a few friends and their responses are pretty similar: I’ll lose the weight when I start running again … I look the same, I have nothing to worry about …

But, I do not feel the same. 

And, I’m trying to take the steps to feel better. (It started with stopping calling myself fat). It’s also continuing with not stepping on a scale until I feel better with myself. 

Because really, the number on the scale isn’t so much what is bumming me out. It’s how I feel that is.

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Losing weight — A weighty issue

I’m just going to spit it out: Weight will (almost) always be an issue for females.

“I feel fat.” We’ve all thought it. (The men out there, too). I’m sure most of your friends are guilty of verbally shedding a pound or two on their drivers license.

Being an athlete — if I recreationally run, play ultimate and do the occasional marathon, I can call myself an athlete, right?? — I’ve never had an “issue” with being overweight. My BMI has always been in the normal range my whole life. Sure, looking back at pictures of myself in fifth grade, I do look a little, er, round. (But, weren’t we all at that age?)

I run because I like running. I like being outside — in the sun, in the rain, in it all. Also, I know if I didn’t exercise, I would gain weight. Example: I came home with five extra pounds three months in Cambodia with no running one summer.

When I did return that summer with a small amount of weight gain. I did “freak out” a little bit. But, it was nothing. Once I started running again, my weight went back to its normal number.

This summer, the opposite has happened.

I lost weight.

My “normal” weight of 126-127 pounds went down to 119-120 pounds. I’m 5’3” and this new weight is still within the “normal” BMI range but it still — again — freaked me out. I shed those pounds quickly, too.

Forget about all those dieting and weight-loss regimens, I have discovered one that actually works. It was the triathlon training. I think it was the swimming that really did it.

People usually “like” losing weight. It makes them feel better about themselves. Other people will give them compliments.

When other people — my friends and family — started noticing my weight loss (and mentioning it to me,) it started to alarm me.

Does that mean they thought I was overweight before? Am I going to look “fat” once all the weight returns after the triathlon is done? 

“I didn’t lose it on purpose!” I would quickly answer back. “It’s the training!”

The triathlon was two-and-a-half weeks ago and I’m still at my “summer weight.” I think for the first time in my life the weight listed on my drivers license is actually more than it is in reality.  I weigh approximately the same as when I graduated high school seven years ago.

For me, it’s not gaining or losing weight that is troublesome. It’s the change. I think runners especially notice when their bodies change (for better or for worse).

And, I’m not quick to go on a shopping spree despite all my pants being too baggy now. I know my weight will return to “normal” again soon. (You just better not say it to my face!)