We live in a time and society where weight gain is seen as a bad thing. If you put on weight you’re heading in the ‘wrong direction’. Such a stigma can have a negative impact on everyone, whether you are a runner or not, but it can be even more dangerous to a runner, especially when some very fast athletes are still clearly underweight. I thought now would be a good time to post this blog, as being stuck at home, possibly being more sedentary than usual, may be affecting people's mindsets. Believing you have done less so you haven't 'earned' your food, should not make you think you need be eating any less.
There is this belief that eating less and being lighter makes you faster, therefore if you are being less active, you need to eat less, but this couldn't be more wrong, you still need to fuel your body to recover, repair, and grow. Under-fuelling is especially dangerous when you are already relatively light. Gaining weight will probably only benefit you in the long run, so don’t be afraid to do it. So, if you are struggling to see why gaining weight may not be such a bad thing, here is how gaining weight benefited me.
When I reflect on my progression from being severely underweight and weak to being much healthier and stronger, there is no element of me that regrets the changes I made. At the time, the last thing I wanted to do was eat more and put on weight. Even though I did want to be healthy so I could run better, I didn’t want to do the eating I needed to do to get there. I didn’t know how to eat without feeling massive regret or wishing I hadn’t done it. But, I want to tell you that you can get past this and you will, it just takes a lot of time and determination.
Gaining weight doesn’t just happen by eating more, it also requires you to do less activity. When I started trying to put on weight I also reduced the amount of exercise I did. This mostly meant running less, reducing other cardio activities I did and instead doing body weight strength work or core exercises if I wanted to move my body in some way.
Benefits I saw
When gaining weight, I won’t deny that I didn’t enjoy the process, but there were a lot of benefits that came out of it and very few, if no, negatives. Starting to gain weight was one of the best things I have ever done, and I would never have earned an England vest if I hadn’t done it. Here are a few things that I found changed for the better:
How I perceive weight gain now.
As a healthy and very active individual, I try not to focus on my bodyweight. Obviously, I am only human, so at times of course I do worry whether I have eaten too much, or I’ve put on too much weight, but I never act upon this because I know it is the irrational Hannah trying to control me. She is wrong. I know look at the potential of weight gain in a different light.
So, if you are struggling with the prospect of gaining weight, even if you know you need to, I hope this little insight will help you. These difficult times doesn’t make it any easier. Please don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend or family member, or call a helpline if you need to chat. Please also don’t hesitate to send me a message!
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!