Does exercise make you slim or does it make you hungry? There's a very interesting debate about exercise and weight loss. Look at any running mag or talk to any gym bunny and they'll tell you: exercise and weight loss are issues even for skinnies!
Like much in life, it's a complicated relationship, as much about what goes on in your mind as in your body. On the one hand, exercise uses calories, raises your metabolic rate during and after exercise (so using even more calories) and it builds muscle which in turn uses more calories than fat. Exercise burns fuel - each of my 5 mile runs uses around 400 calories. It tones, energises and is generally great for almost everything you can think of. Big tick for exercise.
But at the same time, exercise makes you hungry, very hungry. And it's all too easy to take in more calories than you use up: trust me, I've been there.
I don't know about you, but exercise makes me a bit smug and complacent. I'm not only hungry for a really good reason, but I've earnt my food. Surely that spin class was worth a slice of cake? Somehow, going for a run, kicking my heels at Zumba or having a walk on the beach all give me a license to nibble a little bit more than I probably should.
Running really helped me lose weight and keep motivated. When I was on my diet, it boosted me when I was struggling to keep on track. Now that I am eating 'normally' and not recording what I eat, things have gone a bit awry as I grapple with running and eating, and it's a struggle to keep round about my target - despite all the calories getting used up as I prepare for my marathon in March.
After a good hard run, I need to refuel physically, but I also want a psychological reward for being a good girl. It is often of the cake variety and it can get extended to a number of yummy and naughty rewards. Along with the treat thing in my head, I have a 'look after your body and fuel it properly' script making me eat more. To run long distances better I need good muscles, so I need protein and carbs. Quite a good one that isn't it!
This combination is beginning to cause some problems on the scales and I am over eating. I have to tackle this. Not a diet, I am fed up of diets. No, I need a food bit of my marathon training plan, one that goes along with the running, making sure my body has the right energy, nutrients and fuel to run that marathon. Now that sounds so much better than another diet!
That along with a strategy to keep to a healthy running weight (save those poor knees!) should give me the mental strategy I need to get through this next bit. I'll worry about what happens after the marathon when I've done it!
Wish me luck!