Weight Loss is a Marathon

Despite the most intensive physical activity regimen and nutrition changes, many people struggle to achieve their weight-loss goals because those last few pounds always seem to be the most difficult to lose. A well-known analogy compares the weight-loss journey to the journey of a runner competing in a marathon, focusing on how both require an immense amount of persistence and patience. There are usual three scenarios in marathons: 1) novice runners who hit a wall early on and don’t finish because they give up mentally or become physically injured 2) A novice runner who trains well and feels ready to quit around mile 20 when carbohydrate sources of energy are depleted and the fat becomes the primary energy source which can often lead to muscle and joint pains but the person normally finishes the race 3) the highly trained experienced marathoner that keeps a steady pace during the race and finishes strong likely because of a well-designed training program and level of perseverance.

This is no different than the weight-loss journey because it takes a realistic plan with the full awareness that it can take a very long time to achieve your goal. Not only is the journey long, but lifestyle changes need to be permanent in order for results to last. This doesn’t mean that we can never eat a piece of pizza again to get permanent results (that would be awful); but it does mean that it needs to be built into our plan or lifestyle in a way that we’re not eating an entire pizza a day for the rest of our lives. To achieve our health & fitness goals and keep the results in a permanent state, we need to implement slow and steady changes that are maintained on a daily basis, just as a marathon athlete might train for 4-5 days a week for 18 weeks before the race day.

When we’re in the early stages of change, it’s uncomfortable and it’s not easy to maintain. I’ll never forget when I was in Peru how the Peruvian men that worked along the Machu Picchu Trek could run up and down mountains like it was a casual walk at the park and how back in the day they used to run from village to village in an hour when the same route took me days. Our ancestors were capable of running long distances because they had to in order to hunt food, trade goods, and communicate – no grocery stores, malls, or cell phones. Because of this, our bodies are no longer conditioned the same way but they are capable of it. This is the same when it comes to losing those last few pounds. Our bodies don’t prefer to be on diets because we all have a steady state weight that our bodies try to maintain. When we’re in a negative calorie deficit, the body tries to resist by decreasing our metabolisms and/or increasing hunger. Once again, we are still capable! With permanent and effective nutrition & physical activity strategies, we can achieve a new steady state.

Change up the endurance routine: The goal here is to burn more calories by either increasing the time or intensity of the routine. This can be done by increasing the amount of days, the length of the session, or mixing in sprints or hills for an increased intensity.

Strength train at least twice a week: The amount of muscle mass we have is directly proportional to our metabolism, and the amount of calories burned. People who have a large muscle mass burn more calories and can normally lose weight easier than those who have low muscle masses. When people initially drop weight, about a quarter of the weight loss comes from muscle if strength training isn’t included as part of the training routine. This helps explain why those last few pounds can be hard to lose. The metabolism slows and therefore, the person burns fewer calories because every pound of lean muscle mass burns about 6 calories per day.

You are what you eat – it’s true: We’ve heard it time and time again, but you can’t out-train a bad diet. Although exercise helps significantly..being mindful of not only how much you eat but also where those calories are coming from can make a significant change over time.

Statistics have shown that 40% of women and 25% of men are trying to lose weight at any given time. Some are successful initially, but the most difficult part is keeping that weight off and making healthy choices become a lifestyle. One day will never make or break a body. How you feel and look is a result of every choice you have made in the past, so implementing small and realistic changes daily does make a difference! Much like a marathon runner, it’s about having the strength and endurance both mentally and physically to cross that finish line, even if the journey is long! 🙂

Weekly Challenge: Do something extra three times this week for 10 min – those 30 minutes do make a difference.

1) Complete the exercises below for 45 seconds, resting 15 seconds between each exercise. Repeat the entire circuit twice.
*Burpees w/ pushups
*Mountain Climbers
*Frog Jumps
*Plank Up-Downs
*High Knees

2) Complete the circuit below as many times as possible in 10 minutes, resting as needed:
*Lunge Jumps (30 Reps)
*Plank Jacks (25 Reps)
*Pushups (20 reps)
*Tricep Dips (15 reps)
*Burpees (10 reps)

3) Take a 10 minute walk without any distractions – phone, music, etc.

Good luck!
-Nora

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