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Couch to 5K
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Thinking of giving up

OK, sorry it's not a great motivational title, but here's the deal:

I lost a good bit of weight (15kg, a couple of stone) about eight years ago by changing my food and exercise habits and kept it pretty stable (+/- 2kg) ever since. In August last year I started C25K on the advice of a friend to try to get fitter, not just lighter.

Since then I've got fitter - I can run 6k without being out of breath - but I've piled on weight and it's not stopping. I add a solid ~1kg per month, and my run times over the same 5km circuit are getting slower and feel so much harder. Six months ago I did 6.1 mins/km, now it's 7.7mins/km, increasing run by run. My weight has soared in the same time, week by week, now up 10kg. So from a physics POV it all makes sense: speed is inversely proportional to mass, so more weight means more effort and a more miserable experience every time.

So I'm considering giving up.

If eight months of signifigantly increased regular exercise means I'm a lot heavier (increased risk of diabetes) but a tiny bit fitter (will love longer to enjoy that) then I'm afraid it's not for me. My plan is to stop until I've had the chance to discuss this with my GP and then decide what to do next.

I appreciate that most here have had a truly wonderful experience of running, and I don't want to detract from that for a second, but I'd appreciate the views of anyone in the same boat, if anyone in that situation is still here.

Thanks,

David

17 Replies
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Thanks for posting this... :)

It would be such a shame if you did give up now,, you have come so far.

Has your eating regime changed? Are you still eating healthily? Maybe, if you have not done so take a peek at our sister forum. Weight Loss NHS?

There are many folk on here who are on there also... and they find it works well.

Also.. maybe, take a peek at Michael Moseley's Eight week Sugar free Diet..Apart from the fasting ( too few carbs for the running)...it is a great regime.. Husband, who is Type 2 diabetic and I regularly use bits of it as part of our eating regime.

Until you have talked with your GP.. go across to Active 10. This is a walking plan, just like this plan and you will recognise many names on there.

healthunlocked.com/active10

That way. you will not be stopping your exercise and you will maintain some fitness.

Pleas, do not disappear.. stay with us, on one of the forums at least.. and keep us posted :)

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Thanks Oldfloss, some really good ideas there. I'll check all of those out. I don't think my eating has changed but it has to have - physics ! The Active 10 sounds interesting too, thanks.

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Morning David

Before you knock it on the head, if you don't do it already, try keeping an honest food and exercise diary. Ignore what apps tell you about calories used during exercise as they always over estimate. Just write down what you do and how long you did it for, how far, what the weather was like, how it felt etc.

Write down everything you eat and drink as it passes your lips, not later as we tend to forget.

I did this a number of years ago, after getting rid of about half of me, when in a similar situation (but cycling) and it really did help me to get a grip on the fuel in to fuel out thing.

I read a good book called Fuel for Fitness by Anita Bean which also helped.

I am still in early days for running, I started in Dec, but my time has slowed recently and I actually find it more enjoyable and can run for longer.

I have also changed from music to audio books and am really finding them more entertaining.

One thing I will not try, as I am and always have been a solo exerciser, is a Park Run or similar. I do see that a lot of people find them a great motivator though. Maybe, if you think you might like that sort of thing, you could give it a go and see if it helps your mindset.

Best wishes and good luck 👍

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Sound advice and helpful to hear your experience SpanushShuffle. Good luck dmb0058.

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That's a great idea, thank you. I'll do that anyway, sounds like a plan.

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I have heard of running temporarily reducing weight loss and the occasional minor weight gain, but am confident in saying that it is not the running that is making you gain 1kg per month........it is your diet.

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Absolutely agree - at the end of the day it's simply calories in minus calories out :) I'm not aware of my diet changing at all really but I can't think of any other explanation either, it's very frustrating.

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Maybe what you need is a rest from running rather than giving up entirely. Have you ever taken a week off since you started? Even top runners do that once or twice a year. Or so I’m told, not being a top runner myself. Also you mention the ‘same 5k circuit’ - maybe that’s just for statistical comparison but if you always run the same route that could be a factor too. Varying not only the route but distance and speed as well is a good plan.

To be absolutely clear though running is not the cause of your weight gain: I think you understand that.

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Thanks Arthur, good points. Yes, I occasionally take a longer recovery break, I think a week was probably the longest. I agree completely that it's impossible for the actual running to add pounds but I can only surmise that it's the overall "life change" if that makes sense ? My reasoning is that more running results in me eating more or eating more of the wrong things or something :) And then the running gets harder because I have more to carry. Just need to break the vicious circle one way or the other.

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If you think that stopping running alone without changing what you are eating and drinking will halt your weight gain I think you are in for a big disappointment. There is no way you are gaining 1kg of pure muscle a month so how can running be the reason for your increasing weight? It would be such a shame to give it up completely and sacrifice the health and stamina benefits you’ve achieved to chase a chimera. Keep an honest and full food diary, track everything you eat and I think you’ll have your answer. Good luck!

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Ha ha, agree completely 😂 I'm exercising more but I'm clearly eating more than I'm burning, so my thinking is that I'd just go back to my previous balance of calories in/calories out. The danger is that instead of exercise less/eat less I'd end up with the worst of all - exercise less/eat more 🙈😂

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Have you tried Low Carb High Fat? I find it a great companion to running. Full fat yoghurt with nuts and berries is my favourite refuel after a long run. I am never hungry with this way of eating and my weight is stable. There is a forum for LCHF too

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Good tip, I'll look into that, thanks !

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Novice runner here 😊 I’ve lost 5st over the last 18 months and can totally relate to how disheartened you must be feeling. I would suggest back to basics as others have mentioned, logging everything you put in your mouth and all your exercise, calories in/calories out. Maybe there are some tweaks that could be made to your diet, it focuses the mind, makes you think about what you’re consuming, could you have been eating more carbs over the winter for Instance?. I would also ask what effect giving up altogether would have on your mental health, you don’t want to slide into unhealthy ways... You’ve come so far, done so well it would be a shame to throw all that away.

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Lots of great advice from others here - the big one for me is the honest food and drink diary.... came as one heck of a shock when me and hubby did this - including weighing out portions - who knew a decent bowl of cornflakes to us was actually 4 servings???? I’d suggest picking one piece of advice and trying that for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference, if so fantastic, if not move on to another bit - and also get a full health check up just to remove that potential (you don’t say your age but the dreaded middle-age spread hits all of us...)

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I gained a few pounds since I started. But I look and feel better for it (I’ve always been little!). I think it’s due to having a much better appetite, and a reduction in my anxiety. I feel stronger now. Running is def good for mental health. But if ur gaining that much weight, cut back on calories.

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It's a month since your last post and reply. I sincerely hope you haven't given up. I've had similar problems with weight to yourself. Whenever I've done well weight-wise, I've been strict about routine. When you started running, I guess it changed the eating routine that you maintained to keep pounds returning. Perhaps you could devise an equally sustainable strict routine for your running that works with your previously successful healthy eating strict routine. I'm guessing and making assumptions, I know but I just want to help a fellow struggler with weight. Speaking for purely for myself, I've decided for a while at least to just keep up the 30 mins continuous running. You have extended the 30 mins and are tempted to give up but it would be better to stick to the 30 mins and not give up. And finally, you said in another post that pace was an issue. I looked at a chart of my pace this morning and it was seriously all over the place because I was listening to a random choice of my favourite music - not advisable. I need to make a play list with a steady BPM or switch back to C25k+ Stamina - I know that's a 35 min run but I only run the first 30 mins of it and walk the last 5 mins of the run. Good luck and keep on keeping on.

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