You can’t out train a poor diet

by Jay Hiller, November 13, 2022

Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

When I was in my late thirties I ran my first marathon. It was fun to build mileage in a systematic way over a period of 18 weeks. I snacked away the Sunday afternoons after my long run, doing laundry or running my kids to an activity. I felt I had a license to eat. After all I knew I had burned 100 calories a mile and I had run 16 miles that morning or 18 or whatever. I felt I had a license to eat whatever I wanted to, at last. There’s a technical term for what I was doing–bullshitting myself. I gained 10 lbs. training for that marathon and I understand that that’s not that unusual. You can’t out train a poor diet.

I’ve counted all kinds of things–calories, points, fiber, grams of protein. Like most people I have an incomplete understanding of nutrition but what I’ve found works best for me is to concentrate on vegetables and protein and to avoid recreational eating (eating when I’m not hungry.) And if I do overindulge, the best thing for me is to drink a glass of water and eat moderately the next day. The worst thing to do would be to punish myself by trying to compensate by working out more. It doesn’t work.

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