I should preface this article by saying it really infuriates me when people assume running is only a means to get a number on the scale or a size on a pair of jeans. It’s an understatement to say that running is so much more than that. Unfortunately, though, it often seems that women’s running magazines and websites, in both their articles and advertising, seem to assume looking hot is our prime motivation.
That aside, to some extent our weight is tied to our physical health, and the way we look is often tied to our mental well-being. As anyone who started running as an adult can attest, running changes us. The changes can range from weight-loss to muscle-gain, a smaller bra to a stronger sense of self, from overcoming depression to something as simple as a watch tan-line.
Running has also helped me feel more present and aware in all aspects of my life. That’s why, two months after my big PR marathon, following a training segment that included the highest mileage and toughest workouts I’ve ever taken on, with the calendar edging closer to fall, I noticed that my clothes fit differently, that I was chafing in new places, and that my weight was creeping up despite running over fifty miles most weeks. I grudgingly admitted to myself that I let my mindfulness about eating slide, and I decided the time had come to force myself to think about my eating habits. It was time to keep a food diary.