A topic I’ve been up front and open about on my blog and in my personal life is weight. The problem in my opinion is that less people are upfront and open making the topic more taboo. Distance runners and athletes in general walk a fine line between healthy and unhealthy weight. It’s not new evidence that those weighing less have an easier time running. To an extent as the line becomes cloudy and unhealthy when you are underweight. It’s also not new evidence that those who run a lot burn a lot and therefore need to eat a lot. That isn’t the topic of this post though.
In the past few years weight has always been something that I don’t have a problem discussing. Not in a way of I think I look fat today or does this make my butt look big but in a way that is objective. Weight is after all just a number. So with that I weigh 130 pounds and am 5’7. When people ask they are normally shocked and would guess I would 100 pounds. I’m tall and have a decent amount of muscle. Plus people always underestimate other’s weights anyways. Most people would rather others think they weigh less.
Weight and the Blogging World
Weight is a taboo touchy subject in the blogging world. It can trigger people or it can create a hellsend of backlash. With more than average people suffering or recovering from eating disorders, I’ve found it’s a very hush hush subject. We must also realize that in the United States that is not the norm. As someone who has worked in the public health field, I saw more people that needed to lose weight then gain weight.
The problem with weight is that we are strained to talk about it publically. For some, it feels like an embarrassment. They do not want others to know their true weight or lie about it. Some lie to hide they are truly overweight and some lie for a disorder. In both cases you are only lying to yourself.
Weight and Me
I can recall the very moment I stopped caring about my weight. While I do care in the sense that I want to be at a healthy weight past that do I care if my weight is 131 or 127…it changes all the time. I stopped caring about my weight when I realized it didn’t define me. My personality, my humor, my running talents all shine through despite weight. Being open and honest with your weight can help others realize that weight is truly just a number.
So are there days that I feel more bloated than a puffer fish? Sure, today happens to be one of them. Are there days that I feel like muscles decided to grow overnight and I am more toned then usual? Sure.
Weight and Athletics
When thinking about running and race weight I think it’s important to realize that while most runners are thinner weight is not the sole base of your running. When you get too wrapped up in weight and how it controls training, you will get injured or start to slow down. Worrying about weight and what you eat isn’t going to do any justice to your training.
You should be worrying about miles, pace and enjoying your running. Adding the worry of weight, whether losing or gaining won’t do you any favors. As someone who ran collegiately I saw many amazing distance runners fall into this trap. They would start off a season strong. They would begin to lose weight and become faster in the middle of the season. By the end of the season they had lost too much weight and were either burnt out, slowed down significantly because of fatigue or became injured. All three cases led to no longer competing and also no longer enjoying running.
Don’t let weight define you as a person. Being open and honest about it, whether you need to lose, gain or maintain will get you much further and you’ll be much happier. I can only wish that others come to this conclusion and weight stays that…just a number. Not something that defines you.
People do get all hung up on weight and athletic performance. I did an analysis of my running times vs. my weight and found that there is basically no relationship within the 15 lbs range I’ve been in for about 3 years. I’ve done two marathons, one in 4:34 and one in 3:47. I was lighter for the 3:47 marathon – by 0.75 lbs. I’m POSITIVE that dropping almost an hour was because of the weight, right?
I think that people see a positive relationship between weight loss and running performance because your body will let go of water weight and inflammation if you eat and train well. And if you eat well and train well, you’ll run faster, too. Imagine that.
I agree with you Victoria. Eating well results in faster times to begin with not necessarily your weight. I actually didn’t realize about the inflammation, I’m going to look into that myself! Thank you.
This is great! That’s all.
Great post, Hollie!! I’ll be the first to admit as someone with a history of ED it’s hard to not obsess but I’m getting better. I’m proud of myself though because I’ve been able to maintain a healthy weight and not feel guilty when eating. Being a strong runner is more important to me.
That is great to hear Natalie and your running is such an inspiration to me! I know you’ll do well in your marathon!
As I get deeper into the world of triathlon (and running too), the weight concept has come up a lot. Even at the beginning of the season when we were trying on race kit sizes, people said to take into consideration that we weren’t at race weight yet–aka we would lean out as the season progressed. And then there’s the power-to-weight ratio–which weight lets you be as strong and as efficient as possible.
I was actually thinking about this topic this week. I read somewhere that for every pound you lose there is a 4 pound reduction in knee joint pressure. Seeing as my knee is on the rebound and I had gained a little weight over the last 5 months of no running I realized that for the health of my knee I needed to lose some weight. I have a goal number in mind but I plan on seeing where my body levels out and being fine with it. I want running to be a part of my life forever and I want my knee to make a full recovery. It’s funny how injuries can change your perspective on what is important.
Brilliant post and quite timely, talking about weight and any “thing” else for that matter should always be in the discussion. My quick take on this touchy subject is that in the past ten years we as athletes, aspiring athletes and weekend warriors we have become increasingly aware or our weight through various technologies: Fitbit, tracking web sites, just name the gadgets we use now to track our performance, whatever that is?!? Is important to understand that Awareness does not equal comfort. The increased data and numbers in our minds only serve to distract us form what we love, running and being active.
If you have passion and desire in your heart, love running and life? Who the hell cares how much you weigh, gender, age, whatever?
My thoughts exactly! I wish that weight was something that people could talk about objectively but I’m not sure it ever will be.
This is a great post Hollie. I was definitely someone who let my weight define who I was, if I didn’t weight x amount of weight I didn’t feel worth it. It was a slow battle to change my thought process but I am certainly glad I have learned to let other aspects of my life besides my weight define me.
This. This is why you amaze me. Open, honest, real and more people should be like this.
All I call about is if my pants fit from month to month. That number means nothing to me anymore. Thanks for posting this 😀
Great post. We’re the same height! My weight definitely fluctuates frequently but I blame unreliable scales more than anything else. I openly talk about weight with good friends and family members all the time, and it feels comfortable because no one is judging.
Tall sisters unite!
I definitely lost too much weight while running which lead to a HORRIBLE injury. One of the reasons I continue to blog is to let others know there is light at the end of the tunnel and never take your body for granted because worse things can happen. I’ve learned the hard way and still am trying to get myself (and my knee) healthy again. I’ve never realized how much I shouldn’t care about my weight until everything was taken from me (more or less). I guess I could be in a much worse of a place if I never would have been injured because I let a number define my worth.
Really well said, Hollie. Seriously. It is refreshing to read/hear a young female runner not only talk about weight openly, but actively remind others that too much focus on being as skinny as possible, or losing as much weight as possible, will ultimately lead to fatigue, injury and crappier race times.
Thank you! I certainly agree. While losing weight may help in the short run it will ultimate end up like you said.
I actually think that bloggers who don’t talk about their weight are more ‘triggering’ than those who do. I admire you for removing this whole, stupid taboo, even though I would never put you at 130lbs, even with your height and the ‘weight goggles’ we all have when it comes to estimating other people’s sizes. I’m not into being disingenuous and flattering with that – I genuinely would’ve put you at 110lbs at 5ft 7, but that just shows that you’re solid muscle. I think you’re just about the only blogger who says what they weigh, and just shrugs it off as NBD, rather than everyone else who just use that infuriating statement ‘I’m at a healthy weight.’ I mean, that term is just bollocks – just because someone’s over an 18 BMI or whatever does not make them ‘healthy,’ and when you work out what some people would have to weigh given their height to even reach that, you realise they’re obviously lying through their grinning, unctuous teeth.
I’m not saying everyone has to give an exact number, but it would help in some ways…for example when someone seems to get away with eating a ridiculous amount, and they might weigh more than readers realise, but without that information it just seems unfair that they should eat 10x more than someone else and still be ‘thin’. It’s hard in some ways as well, because I always use the highest weight a scale can give me and I never know whether I should do that or not, which is why I stopped weighing myself. My scale at home put me at 89lbs in 2010 when I was running well and at my peak (and for me, gaining weight directly correlated with getting slower and more injuries, so it’s hard for me not to connect them) but the scales at my GP had me at 100lbs, which is a huge difference! I’m only 5ft 3, so I could have been very slim but not too small, or ‘underweight’ depending on whose scales you believe. All I know is that, regardless of weight, I looked and felt my best, before gaining almost 40lbs over that and then struggling to lose it again.
I think there are a few bloggers I would genually be curious to see how much they weigh. Though I’ve never had an eating disorder I can imagine how triggering it can for people posting WIAW or full day eats, especially when most of the photos that are captured make the person look as thin as possible.
I went from over eating… to not eating anything… to what i thought was eating ‘healthy’>>> just a ton of veggies. Now that i have stopped worried about the calories/weight/etc and eating to fuel my body instead of just fill it, my workouts and recovery from workouts are a hell of a lot better. 🙂
I’m glad to hear that Christie!
I am in the middle of a running-ideal-weight debate with myself at the moment. I know that if I carried a little less excess weight I would be producing some better times and finding my distances easy, but at the same time I feel like I am eating relatively healthily and enjoying myself at the moment and don’t want to obsess over my weight to the extent that it affects my life as a whole, as well as limits my running ability. I try not to think too much about the scale, but more my shape and the way my clothes fit and I find this tends to keep me grounded.
I’m glad to hear you have found what works for you. 🙂 I honestly think enjoying yourself is by far the most important part of the process!
This is a great post. I struggle with the “weight” subject every day. I, however, have never had the too thin side of things. I’ve been overweight to the morbidly obese level at one point and time. I wish it wasn’t so taboo to talk about because I think some of the self-hate associated with weight could go the way of the dodo if we, as a society, could just say “Yes, this is what I weight.”
I wish that as well. I don’t think they’ll ever be a point in time that people freely discuss weight as no big deal but I hope so.
so i actually learned when i stopped caring so much and just let my body do its thing, I felt i was able to improve physically and mentally if that makes sense. I see stronger performance and an ease of mind when I just let weight be. sure I want to look this way or that way but I can’t just not live until that point.
I never even think about my weight. I DO think about being too thin, but I’ve never really thought about it related to my actual weight. At 5′, I’ve gone between 88-105lbs in my adult years. My 88lbs was my all time low, after my first heartbreak and serious depression where I literally ate half a small meal a day because I just couldn’t make myself eat (no appetite, not wanting to lose weight). When the ex and I broke up, I think I got down to about 93lbs last year. Even though it’s only 7lbs lighter than I usually am, I LOOKED so thin! When I see pictures of myself when I had just gone back to CrossFit and was at 93lbs, I’m disgusted by how thin I looked. My 105lbs is usually my heavy lifting weight, and I think I’m probably about 102ish now, but I don’t even know the last time I weighed myself. Maybe I despise the thought of being “skinny” because I hear all the time how small I am. Which I am. I’m short. I do have a small frame. But I think if somebody saw a picture of me, they would have no idea how small I am, because I like to look proportional. And I think when I think of myself as being thin, it always reminds me of when I was going through more serious depression because that’s when I lost all my weight, so it’s linked to a really unhappy time for me. This is just me rambling now and I don’t even know if it makes sense… But I guess what I’m getting at is that it’s not really about the number on a scale for me, but how I FEEL about myself when I look too thin or look just right (and even right now, I’m still not muscular enough for my liking, but my thumb injury took a lot of my muscle :(! )
I went from weighing myself multiple times a day to not weighing myself at all, and while I’ll step on the scale every couple of months or so out of curiosity, I’m SO happy to no longer be in a place where seeing that number determines how I feel. I have to admit that I’m not entirely sure how to approach the topic of specific numbers in the blog world, since there are so many people out there who are struggling with disordered mindsets, but I do really appreciate you for addressing it in such a relaxed way.
Running is what saved me from the hell of disordered eating. I couldn’t fuel properly and run the longer distances. I still went for a while weighing myself multiple times a day and when my scale batteries finally died recently, I haven’t replaced them. I am now at a happy weight. Sure, who wouldn’t love if the numbers were lower but my body is able to get me up mountains and running races. I am healthy and feel good about the way I look.
So awesome. Weight is such a controlling factor, but only if you let it be. I know that I felt best at a weight that it is a little less than I am now, so once I reach that goal, I am going to stick to just living a healthy lifestyle and not going nuts over the exact pound.
I think it’s pretty awesome that you are so willing to talk about this kind of thing, and I think your passion for public health really shines through in this post. I really applaud you for writing this because as you said, it is kind of taboo. You are absolutely right though – weight does not define you, or me, or anyone else. Certainly there are people out there who need to make weight adjustments for health reasons but that doesn’t make them lesser than those who don’t.
On another note, if you keep writing such great, thought-provoking posts, I am going to seriously start lobbying for you to become a full time blogger because you’re doin’ it better than most 😉
Since I don’t have a job and all I do is sit around writing blog posts, cleaning and being Betty Crocker I’m basically there.
Funemployment for life. Except for when I have to sign up for races…then I’ll need a job I guess.
This comes from my experience, the number should not be put out there because whether the world likes it or not, it is triggering. Yes it is just a number, but numbers can be really harmful. Weight is such a complicated thing and can mean so many different things (health, fluid loss, mental state…) It leads to judgements and self-criticism. I don’t know my weight, and I am perfectly ok with that
Thank you for this. Really. I was just going to read it and skip on to the next, but seriously – amazing.
Great perspective. I know you have a healthy mentality but does your mindset default to “eat for nutrition/fuel” for every meal? That is my goal but its hard. Because if one does that, desserts become superfluous (not that it would be horrific if someone never eats treats) but it seems like you like desserts as well? Only sometimes maybe?
I do eat desserts frequently (maybe a few times a week?). I don’t let it upset or bother me. I have a big sweet tooth so skipping dessert when I’m craving it would not do me any favors.
While I eat for nutrition and fuel, I eat for what tastes good. I don’t force myself to eat perfectly, kind of like I don’t force myself to run quickly. I eat healthy but am not rigorous about it if that makes sense?
Beautiful post, Hollie! I can relate 110%. I am ALWAYS asked about my weight, which is odd because I feel like that is a very personal question, yet so many people feel like it’s their ‘right’ to know. As long as I feel healthy, than I think I’m doing just fine. If the doctor isn’t questioning me (they know I’m hard core into running), then everything is good. That’s just my opinion though, I know that some people think differently. I agree, I eat for nutrition & fuel as well, but desserts are always a plus 🙂 So I make a point to eat dessert, at least something, every night.
Great great post! I’ve never cared much about the number on the scale. We don’t even own one. My trusty wii fit board is what I use when curious. Ha! I’m 5’4 and around 116. I’ve hit that spot you’ve mentioned and running has become hard and I have no energy. When I weighed myself I wasn’t surprised to see 112. Yikes. Not good. I’ve got to eat more.
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