Running ‘fast’, or running on empty?

Week 1: MyFitnessPal stats
Week 1: MyFitnessPal

No one likes weight creep, especially with the LBD party season fast on the approach, so when my jeans were feeling a little snug recently I decided it was time to do something about it.

I thought about trying 5:2 as a few of my friends have tried it with success. However, the outcry from my training partners, with concerns about proper fuelling and nutrition for training and recovery, made me think twice.

I suspect the weight creep is a result of my recent concession to carbs and perhaps one too many glasses of wine, so I decided that a clean up of my current diet might be the best way to go forward instead of fasting.

To keep myself in check I downloaded the free app, MyFitnessPal which not only allows you to clock your workouts, calculating the number of calories burnt based on your weight, activity type and time exercising, but also allows you to record everything you eat and drink. By either searching by food type or scanning a product barcode you can easily calculate your daily calorie intake.

The app also enables you to set weight -loss goals and suggests how many calories you should eat based on your target and how long you should expect it to take to achieve it.

This recommended daily calorie intake level adjusts based on any exercise you do that day, so if you burn 400 calories on a run you get an additional 400 added to your allowance.

As regular readers will know I’m a sucker for a good bit of record keeping and in no time at all I’ve become obsessive about recoding my calorie consumption.

The best thing about this sort of device is that your diet becomes self regulating – no one wants a big high calorie snack blemishing their otherwise clear record. It also prevents any mindless eating or drinking – suddenly that glass of wine or soya cappuccino becomes a conscious decision rather than an impulse buy. Needless to say, the impact on my purse strings has been equally positive.

However, readers who know my record keeping side will also know my competitive streak and my desire to out do anything be it, in this case myself and an app.

So when the app demands a 1,200 calorie limit per day, I read that as 1,000 and when one day I manage to stay sub 700 and run 10k, suddenly this becomes an eminently feasible proposition for the next day.

By the end of my first week using the app I was pretty hungry and running on mainly coffee and soup. I have to admit my attention span diminished and my stomach was churning.

Mushrooms on sough dough toast - carbs after a week of being hungry!
Mushrooms on sough dough toast – carbs after a week of being hungry!

However, after a bit of a blowout over the weekend (mulled wine anyone?!) and plenty of hearty meals, I’m now taking the middle ground a little more and keeping to the calorie goals, rather than 500 calories below (or above) them.

Fingers crossed I can shave off those few extra pounds before the festivities start!

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