I’m serious. This is the cold, hard truth. You don’t have to run to be thin. Or fit. Or healthy. Or happy. So many of us have this misconception that in order to be thin we must run and run and run. Where does this idea come from? I have a couple of theories.
- I’ve talked to dozens of folks who say something like, “I lost weight when I was running all the time and I didn’t really eat. But then I stopped and I gained all the weight back. So I know what I need to do…running works for me so I just need to do it.” Really? Does running work for you? If you tried (some of you more than once) and failed to keep the weight off, then did it really work? Is not the goal to keep the weight off for good? True, you may have that vicarious experience of temporary success…but it wasn’t sustained. Why not?
- We see runners and they look thin, fit, and healthy. I cannot tell you how many ‘runners’ I have known with eating disorders or other serious health concerns. How many ‘runners’ do you know who are injured? And I will tell you…most of the fastest and most successful ‘runners’ I know are not thin….but they are incredibly fit. (I believe that the difference between thin and fit deserves a post all its own to be discussed at another time).
- 5Ks and marathons are a dime a dozen. With the influx of mud runs and other novel race themes, running is receiving more publicity than ever. Running is FUN!
But you know what I say? Screw running. Running is not the answer to being thin, fit, or healthy. And in fact, it doesn’t work for a lot of us. I could go on and on about how humans are designed to run (to a certain degree) and that it is an exercise that requires limited resources, etc. If you want to know more about the science of running, pick up a book such as “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall.
I hate running. My body physically hates running and fights me tooth and nail. I have tried to force myself to run. I have forced myself to try and like running…only to come out hating it more. I’ve run half marathons and relays…hating every minute of it. And I noticed during every one of my running ‘seasons’ I gained weight. There are numerous physiological explanations for this, but I will just state that the weight gain was a result of doing something (e.g., physical activity, nutrition) that my body was not designed nor trained to do effectively.
I have friends who are addicted to that runner’s high. I have yet to experience that high. Therefore, I don’t run. Am I thin, fit, and healthy? I wouldn’t call myself thin, as I am proud to carry more muscle than most, but I am definitely fit and healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I will run now and again. But nothing more than a few miles. And I much prefer to complete my cardiovascular exercise via different methods. I elevate my heart rate during resistance training…adding jump rope if necessary but incorporating explosive and power movements. Why would I want to run for a boring 30 minutes when I can do a circuit of 10 exercises, keeping myself mentally and physically challenged to keep up with the tasks at hand?
So, the moral of the story – you don’t have to run to be thin. Are you one of those folks who ran and lost weight but didn’t stick with it? Ask yourself why. Be honest with yourself – the chances are that running doesn’t work for you. Find something else! Running is not sustainable, FOR YOU, and it’s not a lifestyle, FOR YOU. There are so many other activities out there, why suffer through what you think you have to do?
You don’t have to run! Not sure what else to do if you aren’t going to run? I know someone who can help you with that…