Why Your Weight Shouldn’t Run Your Life

Our society’s relationship with weight often consists of unrealistic expectations exacerbated by the damaging single-minded focus on a number that isn’t an accurate representation of health or even beauty. For runners, worrying too much about your weight isn’t just depressing; it can be downright detrimental.

Scrolling through images on social media is like viewing photos from a funhouse mirror. Certain body parts are enhanced and enlarged while others are minimized or concealed. Flaws are melted away by filters, and strategic poses use perspective to alter the truth in a subtle shift. The people often don’t look real because the images aren’t real.

Photo of Feet on a scale for weight.

What is Weight?

Even though we know a lot of what we see on social media or film, television, and magazines isn’t necessarily an accurate depiction of reality, runners still sometimes fall into the endless downward spiral of chasing the perfect weight. We know what weight is without really knowing it. We have all stepped on scales and recognized the number that may have made us question our food choices or lack of exercise, but do we know how that number materializes or what it means?

Scientifically speaking, weight is a measurement of the force of gravity that you, as matter, create by stepping on the scale. Matter times gravity equals weight.

The problem with weight is it doesn’t take into account your specific body or energy needs. As a runner, focusing on achieving and maintaining a certain weight can lead to you depleting your body of energy, developing an eating disorder, and experiencing hormonal changes and a loss of bone density. Those issues don’t take years to emerge, either, and affect both men and women.

Although people believe that losing weight will make them faster, if you are denying your body what it needs, your performance will suffer, regardless of how light you might be.

Photo of a Scale

What Should Runners Focus on Instead of Weight?

Once you get the hang of it and get past hang-ups about weight, running feels good. It can be time alone with your thoughts where you feel what your body is capable of the way nature intended. A runner’s high is a natural mood boost, and meeting your goals running will influence you to strive to meet other goals.

Fellow runners will tell you your body needs fuel. You need to eat. It’s best to eat a mix of protein, carbs, and fat from natural, whole foods. Think of your plate as a pie graph, and it should hold 1/3 starchy carb, 1/3 fruits and vegetables, and 1/3 protein with some healthy fat from nuts, cheese, or oils. Since we all have unique needs, there is no one size fits all advice for the precise amount to eat. Online calculators can help you estimate your energy needs to ensure you consume enough to fuel your body.

Many people start running because they want to lose weight. However, our bodies are as unique as our personalities. The stereotypical physique of runners does not apply to everyone. We all metabolize food differently, and if we all then aim for one ideal shape and weight, a majority of us will suffer.

You need a plan with attainable goals specifically for you and your body’s energy needs. Many runners who become fixated on losing weight rob their bodies of the calories they need for energy, which leaves them tired and lacking motivation. The results are counterproductive for both running and weight loss.

Instead of focusing on weight, set your sights on healthy ways you can positively impact your performance through training and proper nutrition. When your body has what it needs, you will look and feel amazing, regardless of your weight or body type. It’s time to put an end to unrealistic expectations fueled by false representations in our society. Every human body that runs is beautiful because it is doing what it was meant to do.

It can be difficult to break an obsession with weight and body type. Food as fuel to sustain your endurance can seem difficult to identify, especially if you are stuck in the weight loss mindset. Working with other runners and exchanging ideas can help. Having a community of people on your side who don’t have to run a mile in your shoes to know what you are going through makes a ton of difference in breaking bad habits and making new ones.

If you would like assistance escaping the weight loss obsession in favor of health and improved performance, consider working with a running coach. Our coaches at Personal Running Solutions help runners in Jacksonville, Florida and the surrounding areas attain a healthy relationship with running and with their weight and bodies.

Leave a Comment