Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Saturday, 17 January 2009


It is a well-known phenomenon: people put on weight around the holidays. This has previously not been the case for me; I become so extremely neurotic about not gaining weight at this time, that I usually lose a pound or two. This year, unfortunately, has been different.

Living in Denmark has not proven to be easy for a vegetarian. There is meat in most of the main courses here. (SR's mom has been nice enough to cook fish for me when she cooks). To make up for all of the missed main courses, I started eating more chocolate. This was probably not the best choice in retrospect. Although, if one is going to gain weight, chocolate (specifically Anthon Berg Royal Danish chocolate) is probably a good way to do it.

When we moved into our apartment nearly 4 weeks ago, I weighed 50.1 kg. This morning, I weighed 51.7. Yes, I weighed myself at the same time of day and with the same clothes on. A 3 lb weight gain may not sound like much, but I can see where I'm headed: Last year: real baby. This year: chocolate baby.

The reasons for my weight gain are multifactorial:

-giving up gum for my New Year's resolution
- tapering for the marathon and not being able to run much afterwards due to a strange foot cramp resulting from a heal blister
-lack of sleep (my coughing and The Lorax waking up about 15 times a night)
-stress about trying to get my medical degree approved in Denmark
-stress about money. SR recently informed me that we are responsible for paying his ex-wife's $20,000 in student debt, which she apparently accumulated taking Danish courses (I could launch into a tyrade about the absurdity of this, but that would just be a waste of your and my time)

The plan:

Well, first of all, the stress is less now. My medical degree was approved yesterday, so I can start working whenever I want. And I've made the executive decision that one cannot worry about money. Life is too short and there are too many other important things to worry about and to enjoy. (as we all know, the more stress hormone (ie. cortisol) circulting in your body, the easier it is to gain weight)

Second, the only reliable way I know to lose weight is to eat less and less, until I realize I'm eating little enough to lose weight each day and then continue eating that exact thing until I'm at my goal weight. And increasing my exercise will, of course, help me achieve this.

To reach a diet where I lose weight every day, I may need to start chewing gum again. And I may need to consider eating less chocolate.

How long do you think it will take me to get back to 50.1? (You will find a poll in the right-hand column)

Running song of the day: Monster Hospital by Metric


Abbie said...

Well, the good news is you know the culprit. So, in knowing that, you know the answer. Like you said... perhaps a bit less chocolate. But, that said, do you really think three pounds on your frame is bad? Is it going to slow you down or perhaps add some extra energy? You obviously did terrific in the marathon so I'm thinking 51 kilos isn't all that bad. How tall are you?

Danni said...

Maybe my math is off but am I understanding you correctly that you are up to 114 from 111? My opinion is that it might serve you well to focus on nutrition and fueling your workouts. It would probably make you faster and if you gained any weight it would likely be muscle since you run so much. Since you strive to be as skinny as Paul Radcliffe, maybe you should see if there's any info on what an elite athlete's diet looks like and try to emulate that as well???

SteveQ said...

You have enough "on your plate" stress-wise as it is. Stop obsessing about a kilo! When I got injured and stopped running, I gained 6 kilos in less than a month. Now that I'm getting back to running, I've lost 5 in three weeks. I'm not sweating that last kilo.

And Danish chocolate... SO good (I won't tempt you with my favorite brand).

Brianne said...

That sucks you haven't been able to run as much, I certainly feel your pain. I seem to be suffering from an excruciating bout of ITBS. Any suggestions re: stretches/recovery? I was going to do my first half-marathon (actually 14.2 miles) next weekend but am considering scaling back to the 7 mile race as even though I know I could finish the 14 miles, I probably would be pretty slow what with having to shuffle my feet to avoid bending my right knee for the better part of the race.

The Chapples said...

I guess I don't understand the rationale between cutting your cals so dramatically just to lose 3 pounds. But I'm sure you know by now that I'm not a fan of dieting. I like Danni's advice. You'll likely lose strength if you are cutting back too much.

Anonymous said...

Your ideal weight is best determined by you. I say if you feel better at 111 lbs (sorry, I can't think in kilos), so be it. Too bad you have to cut back on the chocolate, though! As far as others' concerned comments - wanting to be thin is not the same as being anorexic. If I gained 3 pounds in week, I'd be dieting too.

You are 5'5" - I am also, and considered 111 to be my ideal weight until I was 42, when I experienced some slowing of metabolism. Now that I'm 5 months pregnant (and yes, still running), all that has changed, of course!

Danni said...

Who exactly mentioned anorexia Enthused? I'm pretty sure it's just you???

sea legs girl said...

You guys bring up an interesting point. How did I figure out my ideal weight? Part science, part "gut feeling."

The science in it is, around 111-112 lbs is the weight I can run my fastest 5k. Under that, I start feeling week, over that, I slow down. Of course, I might be able to be faster at a lower weight if I had an ideal diet, but I have not experienced times at a lower weight (and I believe Paula Radcliffe does have a lower BMI than I do).

The non-scientific part is that I feel better at 111-112 lbs. (Enthused, it sounds like you know what I'm saying and I am 5'5" and 1/2)

As for a weight update: I'm down to 51.3 kg this morning from 51.7kg!

Anonymous said...

Danni, I'm referring to previous comments made about Sea Legs - not something I came up with, but something others have said.

Abbie said...

I can totally understand the "feeling" part that you explain. I too feel better when I'm around a certain weight. I guess I would say, try not to obsess about the .1/.2 of the kilo. That's like 1/3 of a pound and I would think at that point, it all becomes a mental thing. I liked the comment that said you should look at what some elite runners eat. I definitely would avoid cutting calories too quickly.

And Enthused mentioned you gained 3 pounds in a week. From my reading, it was 3 pounds in four weeks... quite a difference.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Abbie - I realized that I had made an error (three weeks versus one week) after I posted, but couldn't figure out how to edit the post.

Dieselmota said...

I took your poll, but my guess was not an option. I think you could lose 3 pounds in 7-10 days. No pressure, though! Take care.

Emily said...

I vote for sticking an electrode in the anterior limb of the internal capsule of your brain to relieve you of your OCD. And then giving you a hug :) Congrats on becoming a real Danish Doc!

Lisa said...

I get what you are saying over 3 lbs.....3 can turn into 5 and so on.....Just ensure you are getting good nutrition.

$20k? All I can say is....$20k???????? This must be leftover shared debt from during their marriage. That is the classic 50/50 split of assets. Just buckle down and pay it a little each month. No use getting upset over something you cannot control.

Perhaps she would agree to a payment plan.