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Slave to the scales

Now when I starting typing this blog post, it was the aim to talk about my spring reset and plans for the upcoming months, then I started typing and it has turned out to be something different, I’ve left the first two paragraphs as they are when I first started the post but the rest of the post kinda came out and I think it’s a big step as you will soon discover…….

While I didn’t get the time I personally wanted, the marathon is now done. I’m happy to have clocked up another marathon, a journey that I’ve learnt plenty of lessons from going forward. With that being said we are now into spring and time for a reset, a spring clean and a summer of track and middle distance road races.

Somethings I know I need to seriously improve upon is my diet, fueling before/during and after racing. I’m guilty of being a slave to the scales. It’s hard for a bloke to write that but my wife has made a point that I’m more worried about what the scales say then making sure that my body has the fuel to race at 110%, I think what happened at the marathon has finally set off the alarm bells and something I’m seriously going to look at and if needs be talk to the right people to get it out of my head that I’m no longer fat and over weight and that my body needs fuel!

While I do eat, if the scales says a certain weight, be it a couple of lb, I’m guilty of skipping meals and/or doing extra runs to burn weight off. If I look back at races, I think now that reason I’m not performing as well as I should is my body needs fuel, which I’ve been technically starving it off but for me I have a fear that I have to watch the scales as I don’t want to be fat again. My wife has urged me to go see someone but I’m so far reluctant and even writing this is kinda admitting to myself I may have a problem.

One thing that sticks with me is I hit some fast times on my track sessions on my track nights and I usually have had two meals before session but come race day I have a thing about making sure I’m at race weight, so from Friday on wards I’m watching what I eat and if I’m 100% honest I’m starving my body when it probably needs it most, as come race morning if scales say I’m a certain weight then in my head I already won’t PB as I’m too fat. When in truth I’m probably not but runners will know if you’ve lost your head no matter if you’ve done the training the body will just not perform on the day, thus in my mindset proving myself right. It is a bad mindset to have but even writing this I’m worried about how much I weigh, as it’s been my rest day from running, I’ve still done 30 mins on a stationary bike, some strength & conditioning exercises plus took daughter swimming. Yet having had breakfast, lunch and my tea, I’m now worried what the scales will say.

Those reading will think, get rid of the scales. Trust me Sarah has tried but I will whittle myself silly till I’ve stood on them. I’m on them every morning and every night. I won’t have a snack or drink after 7pm unless I’ve weighed myself first. If I’m not happy with what they say I will go without, most nights I will go to bed thirsty/hungry.

Having finally wrote the above I have to be honest with myself and accept I won’t perform to my full potential till I sort this issue out but I can’t shake the thought that if I’m carrying more weight it will make me a slower runner. Even since reading Racing Weight: How to Get Lean for Peak Performance. I’ve been obsessed with dropping as much weight as possible and it’s gotten to the point where it’s actually having a detrimental effect on my running and racing.

Now I’m not writing this for sympathy or as an excuse why I’ve had below par-performances. I’m writing this as it will hopefully be the first step in getting this issue sorted. I need to accept that until I start fueling and eating properly then I will never live up to my potential.  It would be good to know how others especially other male runners think about your weight before races, how often do you weigh yourself? Does it matter if you are a few lbs heavy going into a race. Maybe seeing how others around me deal with their weight etc may help me to stop being obsessed with what the scales say and move forward….

Any help anyone can offer I will read but as my wife knows only I can change who I am.




  1. Hi. It’s hard when the mind goes that way. But there is a better way. Imagine all the time and energy that you spend thinking about what you eat and your weight be free for something else, anything else and it can be running related still. It kind of has to click in you. I’m happy you wrote this. It takes guts and it’s a first step.
    Your running (and everything else) will be happier, I promise you, if you feed your body. Care for it.

    I wish I could say the magic words. I shall just give you a virtual hug. You’ve done amazing things and the best is yet to come.

  2. Asimilarsoul

    I am ‘fat to fit’, dropping 4 dress sizes. My brain can’t or won’t remember I’m not that 16stone person anymore- it’s still what i see in the mirror. At half the weight, i cannot see it. Starvation is the stick i beat myself with for being so ‘fat’. I approached my Dr and got placed with a CBT counsellor, who attempts to change the way you think which ultimately changes the behaviour.
    It’s bloody hard work to quieten those voices, so as you say it’s only you who can make the change. Have a Google about CBT, there are some apps so you can see if it’s for you. Good luck x

  3. Kim Hopkinson

    Well done for writing this.
    I think it’s a challenge a lot of us who have lost weight and gone into a sport face and it’s something I am battling myself, but few things that help:
    – get a good understanding of how much food you need using a tdee calculator taking into account your levels of exercise, then make up some illustrative meals plans that show just how much food you can fit in that allowance. You’ll be surprised and it might help you give yourself permission to eat more. Because of your scale obsession I wouldn’t start counting calories as that will probably just trigger more issues.
    – get to know your new body – sounds odd but get Sarah to take some photos of you, look at your race photos etc. You will understand you’re not fat anymore.
    – if you can’t stop weighing yourself, maybe try recording your weight on an app like Libra, it takes an average evening out any fluctuations from salty food, water weight etc – those 4lb that appear the day after a big meal soon smooth out.
    – instead of scales you could take measurements with a tape measure, which would take account of any gain in lean mass (eg muscle)

    Thank you for writing this. I don’t know you but I understand your struggles, be kind to yourself and I hope this is a first step towards your recovery 🙂

    • Thanks Kim, the weekend was hard as first time in years I didn’t weigh myself, it might sound trivial but for me it was massive. I raced twice and got two 1st places so knowing what I weigh hasn’t slowed me down has helped massively.

  4. Karen Calladine

    You have had such an amazing journey and achieved so much. You don’t get to where you are without blood sweat and tears.
    Your weight has obviously been part of your goals for such a long time, it must be so hard to adjust them.
    Forgive me if I am telling you what you already know, but you will always weigh more later at night because of fluid retention. Weight can vary from day to day because of fluid, not necessarily because you are putting day back on. If you don’t eat enough then you will put weight on as your body thinks it’s in starvation mode and is storing what it can.
    Have you tried the scales in gyms that give you an idea of fat, muscle, water and bone %. Obviously you don’t want to be undoing all your hard work by losing muscle.
    My advice would be to try and look at overall trends rather than multiple times a day, and to cut yourself a little slack.
    You are a million miles away from where you have started and a few extra pounds won’t put you back to that place again.

    • Thanks Karen it’s what my wife said but having the will power to not check the scales before a race has been the hardest. Racing twice this weekend has seriously helped.

  5. Rich – I’ve seen the transformation pictures of you, it’s incredible. You are absolutely ripped and I’m not sure where you can possibly lose the weight from.

    You will have more than likely hit your plateau and the right weight for you. Strength and conditioning will make you slightly heavier but more importantly it will make you STRONGER and FASTER. This is a good thing, it’s the end goal isn’t it?

    Great post by the way, fantastic and honest writing.

  6. Hi everyone, it’s the wife here, Sarah. Reading the above post breaks my heart! I know how far Rich has come with his weight loss. He’s gone from 20 stone to just under 12 stone now, he was in XXL clothing and now a small is too big! But what I cannot understand is why he still thinks and feels like he is Fat/over weight. I could honestly cry.
    We go out for a nice meal to a restaurant and as soon as we get back Rich is stripped to his boxers and on the scales and if they say he is 12 stone 4 or more, he is sent into panic mode and I wish we hadn’t gone out! and yes I’ve hid the scales but he goes on and on and on until I give them back and he weighs himself.
    Now I am not a runner, but living with Rich I have learned a thing or two and having been with him for 14 years I know him, I get him, I know how he’s feeling before he knows he’s feeling it, we have an amazing relationship and I can see things happening to him before it happens. I will give him my advice, which he dismisses then a few weeks later I am proved right. This happens on many occasions but he just doesn’t want to take my advice and not blowing my own trumpet but i’m usually right! It usually takes for someone else to tell him for him to realize it.
    Unfortunately though, even though I have told Rich he’s not fat and not over weight, he won’t listen to me, regarding fueling for his races. He’s more concerned with his speed and if he eats too much he won’t be race weight!!!!!! I’ve advised him, if he eats more his body will be well fueled giving him more energy and allowing him to run faster and over a longer distance because his body is full of energy which he can burn off and still be under weight!
    But does he listen? Does he heck!!!! I’ve told him his body is like a car, you want the car to travel 20 miles but only put enough fuel in the tank to get the car to 10 miles, but your making the car go that 20 miles even if it falls apart bit by bit, see where i’m going with this? Rich treats his body like that car!
    Writing this post I’ve realized that for the first time in 14 years I feel like I’ve failed! I usually have the answer for Rich and am able to help him with any problem he has, as that’s what best friends do, but this time I honestly don’t know what else I can do, Rich acts like an anorexic the only difference being he eats – just not enough!
    So Rich I honestly wish I had the answer but I have realized that you have finally broken me and the only person that can help you this time is YOU.
    I love you more than ever, you are my best friend but you need to help yourself and take a good look in the mirror and for goodness sake EAT!

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