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Couch to 5K
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Walk, run, weight?

I'm 59, and did the programme 4yrs ago and got my badge. Then I went on holiday and ran on a beach for two days. By the second day, my right leg was in a terrible state (intense burning pain) and I spent much of the rest of the week hobbling around. The doctor at home said that I had damaged my tendons and they would heal but that I was stupid to be running with so much weight and should lose that first. (She has a local reputation for her bedside manner.)

So, I stopped running and just focused on walking. I can walk 6-9 miles comfortably, and last year did a longer walk over a week averaging 12 miles per day....

But my weight continues to slowly creep upwards (I guess it's about 250lbs now) .... We've cut out potatoes almost entirely from our diet, and reduced most other carbs to a fraction of former levels. I have substantially reduced my alcohol intake which wasn't at a dangerous level but was more than some friends - surprising myself how a daily habit stopped so easily.

My work is sedentary - I work at a laptop much of the time - unless I am teaching in which case even then I can sit quite a bit!

I swim once a week, and though I love it and am quite good, I hate having other people get in my way, and my improvement there is hindered by my weight and lack of 'core' muscle development. So, I tend to go to one session and don't put myself out fitting in more.

I don't sleep well. Never have. Always had 6hrs maximum and then been up and working.

There's so much more I want to with my life, but I really feel as though the weight thing is a millstone.

My partner is supportive, but a bit cranky (ie not scientific) and so comes up with silly approaches that don't make any sense.

Sorry, bit of a splurge, but it helped me to write it all down as a statement. Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks for listening.


10 Replies

Bless, I struggle with my weight and get so fed up of people saying things like well you must be cheating, you can't be doing it right. Talk to your doctor (change doctors as from sounds of things that one not supportive) I wish you success.

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Hi cave bear I’m currently week 7 and I weigh 95kg! Got to be honest I have found it a challenge at times running whilst carrying so much excess weight. I’ve struggled with my knees, although that seems to have resolved itself over the last couple of weeks. It has however, been replaced by sciatica and a a weird pain in my right thigh. Both tend to ease once I get moving. I’ve found I need extra rest days between the runs and I’m fine with that. In the past I tried to run and did too much too soon and ended up with shin splints and my doctor seemed to delight in telling me it was an ‘overload’ injury! But also kept on about dropping weight. Anyway when I started this programme I hoped I’d lose a load of weight, I haven’t but I feel so much better physically and psychologically ( even with the aches and pains). I really struggle with weight loss I’ve tried various medications from the doctor I lost 14kg then put on 7so I’m still less than I was. My problem I need my mouth wired shut lol joking aside I know what I’ve got to do, put less in than I use and I’m hoping that as I work through the programme I will run longer distance, more often causing the calorie deficit I need as I really don’t want to become fixated on my weight or a diet. Goodluck with whatever you decide


Hi Graham, I'm similar to you. I'm 53 and always struggled with weight. 3 months ago I joined my local SlimmingWorld group. I've lost 3stone with that. It won't work with everyone but suits me, I can eat loads carbs, protein etc and even have the odd glass or wine or beer. I needed something where I wasn't hungry all the time. I'm now aiming at eating healthier with some exercise thrown in. Good luck and don't despair I'm sure you'll find the right balance, oh and change your doctor for someone more helpful our doctor even give a SlimmingWorld referral scheme!! Cheers Craig


Could have been the beach not the running that was the issue. Sand is very different from solid ground.

On the diet issue I found Michael Moseley 5:2 fast diet really effective. Hard the first couple of fast days but I got used to it surprisingly quickly.


Hello! Good luck on your journey, whichever aspects you work on. I can sympathise with the sleep issues and they say it's easy to gain weight if you don't sleep well!

I wondered though at your statement that 'by the second day' - did you run consecutive days? Also I imagine a beach is actually quite hard to run on. I am just wondering if those two things might have been a more important issue than the weight at the time. You don't say how long you had been running for regularly before you went on the beach holiday :). Apologies if I've misinterpreted!

Lots more people can give you great advice on the weight and related issues but I would just echo that for so many things, a supportive doc makes a difference! Yours sounds... tactless to say the least....!


Not sure which country you live in but I can recommend SlimmingWorld. I lost a large amount and have kept it off for 18 months. You can sign up on line but if you can join a group. Good luck and I hope you get out running soon

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Hi Graham. First of all, a big hug. I sense your frustration and misery.

Secondly, can you not try to fit in more swimming sessions? It's really good for joints, injuries etc, and will help you lose those pounds too. I get mega pissed off with people in my lane too, especially as I'm counting lengths, but i still make myself go. I'm the slowest person in the pool, but i dont care, and nobody bothers to look at you anyway. I bought a year's swimming pass in January, so I feel i have to go so I don't waste my money.

Keep up the walking; it keeps you motivated to exercise. Honestly, I'm so mentally lazy that I wouldn't bother to walk much if I didn't have to exercise our dogs, but when i don't bother, I get lethargic and don't want to move.

Regarding carbs, I think you need some carbs to give you the energy to burn fat, but I might be wrong.

Another thing to do if you don't have one is get a fitness tracker. And set it to remind you to move. Again, i would just sit there all day if mine didn't bully me.

You CAN lose that weight, but you have to ditch the guilt when you overeat, that makes you think what the hell, no point, might as well stuff myself.

don't give up!


Hi Graham,

I really urge you to find a different doctor - one who can support you and recommend or refer you to a nutritionist who can create a personalised plan for you. Your current doctor is doing you a disservice.

Firstly, telling you that you should not be running before losing your weight is demotivating and probably incorrect. You had completed the programme which suggests there is no good reason why you can't run, but you then ran on a different surface, a very challenging one. I am no expert but I am willing to bet that the tendon damage was caused by that. Many of us here have suffered injuries for similar reasons, or even just things like unsuitable shoes. Running and exercise in general help your weight loss not just in terms of calorie burning but above all in terms of motivation and contributing to overall lifestyle change.

Secondly, you need support with regard to diet - DIY diets are rarely effective. My brother in law (who lives with his mother) used to be very overweight and was at risk of diabetes and other obesity-related health issues. My MIL, who tends to consider herself the last word on dietary issues (and I have to say spouts a lot of nonsense) was also overweight and neither of them were moving in the right direction in spite of MIL's obsessive control in relation to food. Eventually he went to see a nutritionist who drew up a plan for him. He followed it to the letter and it was surprising how much he was able to eat (both in terms of quantity and variety). He was urged not to cut anything out of the plan. He lost a LOT of weight and is the ideal weight for his height now - he has been following the nutritionist's maintenance, rather than weight loss, plan for a long time now. My MIL ended up more or less following the same plan as they ate together, and she lost loads of weight too.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that, it IS possible (without starving or depriving yourself) but you really need to see the right person who can support you both in terms of drawing up the right plan and helping you through it. I know that many people swear by Slimming World and the like, and perhaps there is a good case for "shopping around" for the solution you like best, but a personal plan is basically guaranteed to work if you stick to it (and is also likely to be easier to stick to as a decent nutritionist will work on the basis of your specific needs).

Sorry for such a long-winded reply. You sounded so frustrated in your message and I was sad to hear you had encountered such an insensitive and discouraging doctor. I know that if my BIL had not seen the nutritionist, he and my MIL would still be struggling to follow the bits of dietary wisdom gleaned from magazines and random people, and they would still be piling on the weight and feeling miserable.

Good luck.


The NHS healthy eating plan is good and it’s free as is C25k and C25k+. Sami Murphy Bridge to 10km to 🙂

Losing weight is not difficult. We can all do it but you have to want to, and do it whole heartedly. Eating healthily is for life, it really is 🙂

I love to walk, so I try and walk everywhere, which saves money and makes me fitter.

My doc is pants too so I live healthily so I can avoid him


Thank you all SO much. I had forgotten quite what a supportive place this is. Getting over a bout of man flu but I shall try to get my act together next week - new week; new start.

As to the GP (it's actually a 'she'), I couldn't agree more and have vowed never to see that particular one again.

I shall check in here more often from now on.

Thanks again, Graham


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