Page 1 of 2

Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:48 pm
by satt
I've been running 4 miles a day, nearly every day. But as I've gone vegan (for about five months now), I've lost about twenty pounds, and now my doctor has told me I need to gain at least five pounds back to be at a healthy weight. She's also said that, until I do gain the weight, I have to start eating a lot more and scale back the running to every other day. I'm allowed to walk on the days I'm not running.

I'm worried that if I start eating more and cutting back on exercising the weight I gain will be fat, not muscle.

It's only a couple of weeks (I think) that I'll have to cut back on the running to gain the weight--will I lose fitness from this?

The reason I have to scale back so drastically on the running is because I need to gain the 5 lbs in somewhat of a short timeframe so I can work at my summer job. I'm 17 years old, and my doctor won't sign my working papers until I gain the weight. My dietician said I didn't have to reduce my running, but if I want to gain the weight before I start working (which is around two weeks from now) then I cannot run as much, because I am burning too much to gain the weight.

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:03 am
by baldy
Do what your Dr says, it sounds solid advice.

Did you mean to lose 20lbs?
[quote="satt"]
I'm worried that if I start eating more and cutting back on exercising the weight I gain will be fat, not muscle.

Would not worry to much about this, running as an exercise does not build much muscle anyway. If you want to gain muscle you should be looking at other exercises, but that is another story. Listen to your Dr!

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:15 pm
by tal
I think you've left it too late. Any suggestion we can give you for rapid weight gain is not overly healthy and could be damaging in the short-term.

Your dietician is right in that you don't have to give up the running. You can keep running and just eat more (as we discussed in your other thread). Stopping running is not going to magically result in weight gain.

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:45 pm
by satt
I didn't mean to lose the 20 lbs.. it just happened when I went vegan, and probably eating less calorically-dense foods and running led to the weight loss.

And I didn't mean to have to gain this weight in this amount of time--it was yesterday that I found out my dr. isn't going to let me work otherwise.

And I know she didn't say to stop running, but I don't see how even scaling back is necessary if I make sure to regain all the calories I'm burning through my food intake.

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:47 pm
by JP
did you start the running at the same time you went vegan?

sounds like you have been about 400 calories per day in red, either from increased activity and/or reduced intake

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:53 pm
by satt
No, I've been running for about a year and a half now.

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:29 pm
by wannalift
I believe this is what you are looking for: http://www.veganfitness.net/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4518

Warning, those blokes are animals over there and you could gain 5 lbs just from skimming a few pages in that thread. Threat it like the sun - momentary glances only. Enter at your own risk.

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:45 pm
by ColleenE
I've responded to your post elsewhere, but 4 miles of running is a very small amount that does not need to be scaled back. That's less than 40 minutes of running. If you need to gain 5 lbs, do it by eating more calorically dense foods or add an extra smoothie to your diet.

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:09 am
by baldy
[quote="ColleenE"]I've responded to your post elsewhere, but 4 miles of running is a very small amount that does not need to be scaled back.


To reiterate a Doctor has advised to cut back on the running.
[quote="satt"] now my doctor has told me I need to gain at least five pounds back to be at a healthy weight. She's also said that, until I do gain the weight, I have to start eating a lot more and scale back the running to every other day. I'm allowed to walk on the days I'm not running.

The Dr probably has very good reason for doing this, that we are not aware of or that the OP has not shared. Compulsively running 4 miles a day is in no way productive in a training sense either, better to have varied sessions with clear training goals.

Trust your Dr, not random advice off the internet, if you don't trust you Dr try find one you do trust.

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:42 am
by ColleenE
Absolutely, I would not trust internet advice over a doctor's. HOWEVER. If the doctor does not have a background in sports medicine or nutrition most likely s/he is woefully uninformed about these topics and I would not trust their opinion on them either. For example, this particular doctor says you can walk on the days you don't run. But if you walk for, say, 1.5 hours, you're burning more calories (and hence potentially losing more weight) than if you run for half an hour. Running itself, especially for 4 miles, should not be the culprit to be eliminated if some weight gain is the goal. Sounds like that doctor subscribes to some myths about running being "bad" for women like in the old days when *doctors* thought women's uterus would fall out with too much running.

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:01 pm
by skoptic
I'm with the Doctor, sounds fairly simple in that you need calories in > calories out.

Count your calories in and out (many apps and websites to help you with this) and if you want to gain weight to do this work, then maybe a reduction in running AND walking with help balance the simple equation above in favour of more calories and thus weight gain.

Your fitness levels will not reduce much (if at all) and you will be able to do the work you want to :)

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:43 pm
by runner
It´s difficult to tell with only this information, but generally would go with ColleenE´s posts. Had to argue to get a blood check, with my doctor.

Medicals are not well schooled in general about food. At least not in the countries I have been living in (Netherlands, Spain, ).

Think it´s best to get a sportsfoodspecialist instead of a homedoctor.

If you lost weight by becomeing vegan you could just take replacements and eat like before (seitan, tofu, soy milk,...). These are pretty simular.

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:17 am
by Robinwomb
I wouldn't assume her doctor doesn't understand her needs. As someone with a major history of anorexia nervosa myself, there is a very good reason for scaling back on running when you have a history of an eating disorder and your weight is lower than optimal. It doesnt even have to be dangerously low either but losing a lot of weight quickly or due to an eating disorder can be dangerous. I lost a lot of weight about four years ago due to restricting and exercising and finally my family intervened and I was forced into treatment. I felt good and I had tons of energy but little did I know what damage I was doing to myself until I had to have tests done as part of treatment. I had severe bradycardia, heart arrythmias, and osteoporosis in my spine. The heart is a muscle and when you restrict too much and continue to push yourself through exercise, regardless of how much or little the exercise is (when you are underweight or not eating properly due to restriction and/or an eating disorder a little exercise can be equivalent to a lot for someone healthy) you are in danger of taxing your heart and the rest of your body and doing some serious damage. It may not be visible on the outside but trust me it's happening on the inside. I assume the OPs doctor specializes in eating disorders or at least knows something about them as a doctor. The focus probably isnt on her athletic needs at this point. At her age, if she is lacking menstruation this will have serious consequences down the road. Trust me on this too. I didn't get my first period until I was almost 17 due to hard core ballet training daily and restricting. Osteoporosis is NOT fun, especially when you are diagnosed with it at 34 years of age. I am forty now and let me tell you when you get older it is VERY hard to rebuild bone (I have dexa scans every two years). She has a chance at her age but she has a small window to work in. I think her doctor is being lenient by telling her to "scale back" on running but its more likely a compromise because her doctor knows the OP is not going to stop. I struggled with the very same issues (and still do to an extent) and my doctors went from allowing NO exercise to compromising too because this disorder is very hard to beat and you can't keep someone locked up forever. I still struggle today with my disorder although nowhere near as serious and I eat far more but today I am sidelined by yet another injury, this time to my foot and now I can't run like it or not. Running puts far more stress on your body than walking, both to the heart and the joints and bones. Add not menstruating and weakened bones due to lack of hormones and nutrients and you have a recipe for disaster waiting to happen.

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:13 pm
by DC Runner
I don't think it's necessary to throw around terms like eating disorder. The OP is willing to gain the weight, but doesn't want to stop running. That is perfectly reasonable to me. I was married to a woman for nine years that was diagnosed at an early age with anorexia and I can tell you from experience that very few doctors understand it and even fewer know how to approach the topic with a young woman. And as a runner, I can tell you that very few doctors understand the benefits of running. I think ColleenE has given very good advice. If the OP had been running for over a year before becoming vegan, it seems pretty clear that the issue is related to caloric intake.

satt - can you give us an idea of your daily diet since going vegan?

Re: Scaling back on running?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:44 pm
by Robinwomb
The reason I used the term eating disorder is because she mentioned she had food issues in another thread. Also this line from her in her original post here:

"I'm worried that if I start eating more and cutting back on exercising the weight I gain will be fat, not muscle."

This is a typical fear of someone with an eating disorder. Also, she has a dietician which is unusual for a 17 year old, although I really don't know the circumstances around that.
I stand by what I said based on years of experience with an eating disorder. But even if she doesnt have an eating disorder and truly just lost the twenty pounds from going vegan, I think cutting back on the running, not necessarily cutting it out completely, is reasonable in order to gain weight, especially given such a short amount of time to do it in.