My (first) Plan for Racing Weight Loss….

runner racing weight loss

First of all, let me get the “legalese” out of the way.  I’m not a doctor.  I’m not a nutritionist, and I don’t know what’s right for anyone’s health but my own.  What I write here is just explaining my plan to lose pounds and get down to my racing weight. It may be a horrible idea/approach.  Especially for those of us that are “over 40 runners”, it is critical that we talk to our own doctors, and decide what is best for us, before undergoing any major diet changes or attempting to lose weight.

Now that all that is out of the way….

…I’ve decided that I don’t want to be overweight anymore.

racing weight loss

I don’t like carrying the extra weight around all day.

I am feeling the work – every day – of  hauling an extra 25 pounds up a hill on my daily runs.

I also have no idea how to lose weight.

Most of my adult life, I’ve carried a scant 165 lbs on this 5’11” frame. Never gained much, never lost much…weight is never really been something I’ve thought much about.

Or wanted to. I’ve seen folks get consumed with the weight loss goal, to where the strictures of the latest diet controls their lives.

But after the baby was born in 2012, the pounds piled on.  Quickly.

When I started running 3 years later, I was up to 195 pounds … on a medium sized frame at 5’11”, that definitely was not where I wanted to be.

Running 30-40 miles a week has helped me knock that down to about 185….by the time I get to my taper in my marathon training, I dip to 178-180, but creep right back up within a month after the race.

So here’s where I find myself…

…wanting to lose a pretty significant amount of weight to improve my running speed,  having no clue necessarily how to achieve that big of a goal, but knowing that it is going to require some pretty significant change to pull it off.

So I’m going to set a goal and a plan….and we’ll see how it goes.

Here’s the Goal….

By the time I race the Little Rock Half-Marathon (March 4, 2018), I want to be at my racing weight of  160lbs.

This is one of the racing weight calculators I used….this is one of the better posts I read on the topic of calculating a decent racing weight.

That’s 25 pounds in 116 days (17 weeks)…or about 1.5 pounds per week.

That seems ambitious to me.

Here’s my initial plan to lose 25 pounds to get to my racing weight.

Gonna keep it as simple as possible, to start with.

Pick the low hanging fruit, add some new forms of exercise, and then start pecking away at diet changes.


Phase 1: Get the Low Hanging Fruit.

I’ve found that making a big change, all at once, is impossible absent some motivating catastrophe.

And I don’t have – or want – one of those to motivate me to lose weight.  So I’m going to start by observing these 3 rules for the next 30 days:

racing weight loss low hanging fruit.AdobeStock_45740512

Rule #1: No eating after 7:30 pm.

I go to bed around 10pm, so that means I’m eliminating all that after-dinner snacking on food that tastes yummy but probably spends the whole night converting itself to fat for my waistline.

Rule #2: No snacking between meals, unless its a whole fruit or whole vegetable.

Throughout the day, I graze on crap food. I’m going to replace it with apples, bananas, clementines and grapes…4 fruits that fill me up, provide fiber and nutrients, but won’t add a lot of calories to my intake.

Rule #3: Eat 3 meals a day & loosely track calories.

I’m not looking to track every calorie I eat…and I couldn’t be less interested in the tedium of counting calories. But if I can capture 80% of what I eat, keeping my calorie intake around 2000 – 2400 @day… I may not lose a lot of weight, but I will stop adding it. That is the real goal of Phase 1: stop ADDING weight.

If I follow these 3 rules, I believe I am setting the stage for making the harder diet changes in Step 3.

And while I will consider it a success if I simply avoid gaining weight by following these rules, I wouldn’t be too upset to shed 5 – 8 pounds at the same time.

I’ll check back in a month and let you know how it worked.

Phase 2: Add weightlifting …maybe yoga … to my weekly exercise routines.

I’ve been running long enough to know that running alone is not going to help me lose weight.

As I mentioned above, 2+ years of running helped me drop about 9 pounds..

So, I need to push my body in some other ways if I’m going to seriously expect to lose weight. The plan is to add in some weight-lifting – really strengthening exercises – for the parts of my body that don’t get enough of a workout from a run.

As for yoga, I have no clue if it will help me lose weight…but I sure do know it will make whatever is under that spare tire look really good.

Phase 3: Change my diet as needed.

Some years ago, I did a 30 day vegetarian challenge with my oldest weight loss tree slow AdobeStock_95192950.jpeg

That required me to change a lot of my thinking about food and what I eat.

It didn’t “take” permanently, partly because the way I eat is so entrenched: eating patterns are hard to change.

I have liked some pretty crappy food for a pretty long time, and that’s not going to change overnight.

Making too many changes at once is a recipe for failure. Pun intended.

Better said this way: slow growing trees grow strongest and tallest; fast growing trees break easily and die young.

Or…and this is a distinct possibility …. all of the above is bullshit I’m still trying to accept the fact that losing this amount of weight is going to be a lot harder than I thought.

We’ll see.

In the meantime, I am going to revisit the Racing Weight Cookbook….which has some really awesome recipes in it, too.  Here’s a link…check it out:

What’s next…

That’s the plan.  I’ll keep you posted how it works.

If you have any ideas that you think might help, post them in the comments below.




  1. Pingback: Building the Running Base: How this Over 40 Runner Gets Ready to go From Zero to Marathon – I Run 41

  2. Kim McAllister

    Chris, I’m super proud of you! These are all fantastic! I have four more that will melt fat off in one month if you do them all at once:
    1-give up dairy
    2-give up sugar
    3-give up grains that are not whole
    4-give up processed foods

    Or start with one and give up one every week for slower results. I know those are tough ones, but give it 30 days and you’ll be a believer!

    Kim Mc

    1. Post
      Chris Attig

      I LOVE these ideas….especially doing 1 per week….I’m a big fan of eating an elephant one bite at a time (especially a sugar-free elephant…wink)

      Thanks, Kim!


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