Poignant Irrelevance

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Depleting My Willpower Points?

First a buddy mentioned the article in a phone conversation earlier this week, then Jank posted it.

Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

...self-control is like a muscle: it weakens each day after you use it. If you force yourself to jog for an hour, your self-regulatory capacity is proportionately enfeebled. Rather than lunching on a salad, you'll be more likely to opt for pizza.
There are a bunch of great lines in this article. Maybe it takes things too far at times, but it really has me thinking.

I think after 5 years of experimenting, I can say it with certainty: I will never reach my weight loss goal while training for a marathon. I will never reach my goal to cut weight while training for a marathon....there I said it again!

Crazy. This article gives me a lot of good points to back that up. Have I lost weight in the process of boosting my weekly miles from 50 to 70? Nope. Have I increased my aerobic capacity? Sure, I guess.

Will I have the willpower to not train for a marathon next year? Hehe. Lots to think about.


  • while the article has some valid points, i would say that the intensity with which you train for the marathon makes a big difference in whether or not you loose weight.

    when i ran my first marathon, i was 145. i was 165 on the first day i started training.

    when i ran boston, i was 130. i was 150 when i started training for my bq.

    i think you hit a plateau with your weight based on your body style, training effort and diet. to train for a marathon and loose weight, diet and intensity need to be addressed. the article talks about negating exercise by the type of food we replenish with and the volume.

    i say, add in interval/speed/intensity training to your marathon plan, eat smart [high fiber foods, nutrient rich alternatives, lean meats, etc] and you CAN loose weight while marathon training.

    that's just my anecdotal opinion, though. ymmv.

    By Blogger jeff, at 10:27 AM  

  • I've heard many people say that running caused their weight to remain the same or even to gain a little. I think they're just two separate goals; running a marathon is really cool and worthwhile, but it's not necessarily something that will cause weight loss.

    OK, I didn't read that entire article because it's too long, but I have to admit that I've been considering recently that intense exercise doesn't work for fat loss (at least for me); it seems to be neutral. That doesn't mean exercise isn't valuable - I look at it as a means to keep my body functioning. I do believe in Use It Or Lose It.

    The thing that always struck me is when I'd look up how many calories I'd burned during some activity, and it's always surprising how low it is. You figure, Wow that was really hard, it had to burn a LOT! And then you find out that it really only burned 60 more calories than sitting, or whatever. The largest amount of calories you burn are just in... living. Just, breathing and metabolizing and grooving!

    My theory is that in the past people were just so much more active in SMALL ways, and that's what made the difference. Using a manual typewriter instead of an electric, walking one flight of steps, push mowers, etc. Not enough effort to cause you to eat more, but enough to burn up some fuel.

    OK probably I should have posted a comment this long on my own blog :)

    By Blogger Marla, at 6:39 PM  

  • Much as I love the hip (jeff), I think he's the exception rather than the rule.

    Your digression about willpower for calorie counting vs willpower for running made coffee come out of my nose.

    By Blogger Jank, at 4:03 PM  

  • hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day! http://kantahanan.blogspot.com/

    By Blogger tagskie, at 1:30 PM  

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