Injured Runner, Worried about Weight Gain

Just looking for some general support or hopefully shared experiences here. Hopefully this is the right sub-forum for this. I’m in full-on pity party mode…I know it’s not the end of the world, but I’m worried and I guess I’m in need of a little advice.

I’ve maintained a 100-lb weight loss for two years. Still have about 15 or so I’d like to eventually lose, but the priority right now is healing from a significant calf strain that I experienced last night during a race. I think it will be 3 weeks until I can run again, and since my usual weekly mileage is between 40-50, this is a huge adjustment. Last year, around this same time, I also got injured, and although I eventually lost the weight I gained from being inactive (was in an orthopedic boot, and really couldn’t do any weight-bearing exercise) it made me feel like a failure. Along with everything else in 2020, I really felt emotionally overwhelmed. I’m not anxious to repeat that experience of being out of control.

I wish my weight fluctuations didn’t affect me so much. I’m basically happy with my weight…but whenever I see an upward trend I worry I will not be able to reverse it. I count calories and weigh all my food…have for years…but I feel like I barely manage to maintain my weight even when I’m uninjured and can run a lot.

Any advice or resources you guys would be willing to point me towards? Thank you in advance.

Replies

  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,633 Member
    How have you been accounting for the calorie burns from your running?
    TDEE method (would need to be adjusted while injured) or the MFP eat back exercise calories method (automatically adjusts according to your exercise volume but if activity is also compromised you may need to adjust that).

    I'm a long distance cyclist so my maintenance food allowance is massively boosted by my riding.
    When I was injured (and also when gyms shut during lockdown) I simply had to adjust my eating down to match my lower needs. It's a PITA but not as much of a PITA as gaining weight and having to lose it again!

    The emotional side does get easier as the years at maintenance (which in reality are an ebb and flow of weight not a constant). One resource I would recommend to help understand and address the emotional aspects is the book "The Chimp Paradox" (Prof Steve Peters).
  • AlphaHowls
    AlphaHowls Posts: 1,538 Member
    edited August 2021
    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10839732/august-2021-monthly-running-challenge/p1

    We like to hang out here if you want to join us. Pretty much discuss/vent what-have-you here.
  • mjglantz
    mjglantz Posts: 449 Member
    Not quite the same as you, but when I'd lost about 40 lbs (with at least 40 to go) and had been walking every day I broke my ankle and had to be off it for at least 4 weeks. I really couldn't exercise at all & was determined to not gain back any weight. I made sure that my calories were a little lower than I'd been eating and that seemed to work. I didn't gain any and didn't lose any either which was fine with me. Seems that you can manage with diet and whatever exercise you can safely do.
  • Plasicage
    Plasicage Posts: 207 Member
    I lost weight the first month this year with no cardio, just tracking and lifting because gyms were closed and I refused to run outside. Now I run outside and at gym but it's more for exercise calories and relaxation. I think practicing calorie deficit eating without cardio is ideal tbh. It's possible. As the old saying goes can't outrun a bad diet.
  • I2k4
    I2k4 Posts: 176 Member
    edited August 2021
    Not uncommon to be disabled from exercise routines for medical or other reasons, and weight (body fat) and physical condition are different things. MFP diary tracking should roughly calculate the extra target intake calories burned from routine running, and keeping or losing more weight is a matter of reducing those intake calories by that much. That's about it for "weight". There may be other doable and safe exercise programs to maintain physical condition without stressing the injury - a caution for cardio/endurance is that over time it adapts the body to slow resting metabolism and calorie burn, and strength / resistance work tends to increase metabolic rates. Thought should also go to food "macros" (protein, healthy fats and carbs) and general nutrition within calorie limits. These situations and personal likes and dislikes can be very reasonably individual, so no specifics from me. B)
  • westrich20940
    westrich20940 Posts: 505 Member
    I had to stop running for ~2.5 weeks in January for some issues with the outside of my knee (IT Band issues....fixed pretty well so far with concentrating on glute strengthening exercises).

    So first...I TOTALLY get the pity party when you can't run! OMG - I thought I was going to die. So, I don't know what particular injury you have but my advice is to make sure you are actually healed from it before you jump back into running...I know that will be hard, especially at the mileage you were at ... but you should also consider backing off that mileage at first too. Because you don't want to have a pesky thing or re-injure yourself and be out of running for even longer. Good luck!

    As far as gaining weight....how have you calculated your calorie goal? If you used the TDEE method - and you are no longer running then that would change it probably. For this exact reason actually I calculate my TDEE based on being sedentary bc I have a desk job and am sedentary at home usually except for my runs, hikes, walks. So I choose to eat my TDEE (sedentary) on the days I don't do any intentional exercise - and I eat back the exercise calories when I do....so I'm not eating the same amount everyday.

    Maybe that's what you have to look at. Are you able to do something like ... rowing (idk how your calf would affect this)? Core exercises you could do - upper body stuff like push-ups, etc. Some things like that to still get your heart rate up.

    I wish you luck and I hope you can get back to running asap!
  • dmkoenig
    dmkoenig Posts: 299 Member
    If you have access to a deep pool you can water jog/run using a flotation belt. It's a proven way to maintain running fitness. You won't get your HR up as high but you can still get in a vigorous workout. I had an Achilles strain earlier this year training for a 70.3 Ironman and was unable to run for about 3-4 weeks and water running worked well for me. In fact, to minimize re-injury I replaced by mid-week interval run with water running and just did my outdoor long run on the weekend.
  • rheddmobile
    rheddmobile Posts: 6,841 Member
    No advice, just sympathy. I tore an Achilles’ tendon a couple years ago and thought I was going to lose my mind before I could run again. You know what you need to do, eat less and log strictly, and that’s no fun at all.

    If you can find cardio that won’t aggravate your injury such as stationary bike, elliptical or swimming, it might help.
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    if your main concern weight gain adjust your calories.

    This is why I have always mentioned not using exercise as a method of calorie control and weight loss because there will come a time when you can't exercise....either due to injury, time or desire.

    Exercise is for health and fitness calories and food intake for weight loss/gain/maintenance.
  • golfchess6
    golfchess6 Posts: 64 Member
    I have had injuries that have stopped me from doing any leg exercises. I calculated that running a mile is approximately 100 calories. I have adjusted my diet. On the bright side, when I stop running... my cravings have gone down. Have you tried swimming? It is not as fun as running, but it will still keep you active.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,380 Member
    Several years ago I developed a pelvic stress fracture a week before my first half marathon that had me sidelined for months. I actually lost weight during that period. Partly it was that I was really depressed, so unhappy I had little interest in food. Partly it was that I wasn't as hungry because I wasn't burning many calories. Partly it was that I decided that although I couldn't control my healing, I could control what I put in my mouth. I cleaned up my diet quite a bit so I had a lot fewer sweets and meals out. You don't have to gain weight when your activity is less, but it requires a lot of conscious thought about what you eat and when.
  • golfchess6
    golfchess6 Posts: 64 Member
    Several years ago I developed a pelvic stress fracture a week before my first half marathon that had me sidelined for months. I actually lost weight during that period. Partly it was that I was really depressed, so unhappy I had little interest in food.

    sorry that you you were getting depressed and unhappy. When you started running again, were you able to mentally improve?
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,380 Member
    golfchess6 wrote: »
    Several years ago I developed a pelvic stress fracture a week before my first half marathon that had me sidelined for months. I actually lost weight during that period. Partly it was that I was really depressed, so unhappy I had little interest in food.

    sorry that you you were getting depressed and unhappy. When you started running again, were you able to mentally improve?

    Definitely. Exercise or lack of exercise affects my mood a lot. I have found that days I don't exercise I get down, but when I do exercise I am content, if not actually happy. After a good run or hike I enjoy a nice happy buzz for a while. Right now I'm in a situation where I have chronic hamstring and glute pain, but I'm not willing to stop running because the exercise makes such a difference in my mood. I can't afford PT so I just live with it.