calorie count

how many calories should i be eating if i run 20miles a day

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12/07/2010 at 18:26

Hi everyone! Apologies if i do not put this in the right place/forum as it's my first time.

 Background info is i've lost nearly 6 stone through running and until the last 6months i haven't watched my diet but i have now. Thing is i'm running on average 20 miles a day (i know it's become obsessive) and my psychologist is trying to keep me eating over 2000 calories but i like margin for error as i love chocolate and everything that's bad for me! Ideally i'd like to lose another stone to take me to 8 stone but i fear i've plateaued and the weightloss is very slow now despite the exertion of 20miles daily which is, as you can imagine frustrating! Could someone give me some advice as to how much i should eat in order to speed up my weightloss and continue to run like i am?

 Thanks in advance. It's probably important to know that i have an acute eating disorder (hence the psychologist) so my fear of putting weight on is extreme so hopefully i won't be trying anything that might enhance my weight AT ALL.

12/07/2010 at 18:32


Thanks for being honest about your ED.  I think you know that if you are running 140 miles per week it is unlikely that you would need to restrict your calorific intake.  No-one on here can comment on whether 8 stone is a sensible target weight for you or not (I say this in light of your extreme fear of gaining weight).  You may not need to lose weight at all.  I hope that in addition to a psychologist you have been referred to a nutritionist.  They will be able to give you the specific advice tailored to your own background which you need.

M...eldy    pirate
12/07/2010 at 18:33
Jordana I am no expert on eating disorders and whilst it is pretty good to be running 20 miles a day I would think this is part of the problem and not the solution
Does your psychologist know that you do this?

What are your goals for running rather than to maintain weight?  

What age/height are you?

I would think in your current situation it would be wrong for anyone on the internet to prescribe how many calories you should or should not be having

Enjoy running for what it brings you,  look at some schedules and see how they pan out each week.   I doubt there are any which reccommend 20 miles a day.

Enjoy your running as part of your recovery
12/07/2010 at 19:56

Thank you for your very prompt responses! I wish i'd have thought about coming on here before. I know that running this much is probably not recommended but the truth is i don't do very well with my thoughts when i have time to myself and so this is kind of a distraction from other problems i have, i think it's the lesser of two evils lol. I'm 23 years old and around 5ft 4/5ft 5inches. Believe it or not i don't particularly like running  but can't imagine my life without it- weird yes. As for the psychologist.. well i  don't think she really knows what to suggest in terms of calorie intake as it seems there aren't many people who run this much so kind of focusses on other things like body image.

I think 8 stone is what i would like to be or at least see if that's how i feel comfortable as i am yet to feel this. Unfortunately, my goals with running are centred on weightloss but i am running the great north run in aid of the mental health foundation.

Joolska, thank you for giving me the idea that i may not need to worry about calorific intake, i seem to find it difficult to remember how much i've run and in terms of how much i can eat when i have people around me worrying that they have eaten too much when they clearly haven't. The mind boggles lots!

Thanks to cake and m..eldy too, i will keep all in mind.

Ps cake, i luuuuuurrrrvveee your picture lol shameless rules!

12/07/2010 at 21:21

Just to add my bit, Jordana, be careful about running so much, quite apart from any other issues, it's a lot of  stress on the same parts of the body.  If you are not careful, you could end up with an injury which might then mean that all exercise would be out completely.

If your goals are centred on weight loss, then chances are you're not following a running plan which is why I've mentioned injury.

I've got experience of teenagers with eating disorders, so while not experiencing what you're going through, can relate to it.

It's up to your pysch to help you with this, but my advice would be, if you have to exercise, rather than run 20m every day (and I can understand the feeling of "need") try to find an alternative that would allow you to get similar benefits, but at same time, rest the running muscles.

There are plenty of experienced long distance runners on here, they don't run 20m a day because they understand what it might do to their bodies - give it some thought because I'd imagine that if you ended up unable to do any exercise, that would be really bad for you.

Also, if you're running that much, your body may have gone into "self-protect" mode, so that if you're not eating enough calories to support that level of exercise, it's storing them to use when you run, otherwise you'd keel over.

There are lots of books around on nutrition - you could try looking at some of those - Anita Bean does some that might be useful for you.

Great weight loss so far, but take it carefully from here.

12/07/2010 at 21:53
You need better, more specific, advice than you can get here, but running 20 miles day is insane.
12/07/2010 at 22:14

How nicely put.

cougie    pirate
12/07/2010 at 22:53
Just to echo the others - 20m a day isn't sustainable. Your body will break down and then what will you do instead ?

Clearly you need advice from the experts - but looks like you've swapped overeating for running ?

You need to act now before your body makes you stop. Good luck.
12/07/2010 at 23:04

You're running 20 miles a day?

How long have you been doing this?

You are literally running yourself into the ground. And you say you don't even enjoy it.

It's all too easy to become addicted to running - the endorphin rush and feeling of power/control over something is all too tempting if you feel lost in other areas of life.

However, in time you will find this grating on you - physically and emotionally. 140 miles a week is an absurd mileage for a non-elite runner - and it's not necessary whatsoever. You can control your weight and maintain a healthy BMI with regular exercise and healthy eating.

You seem like a character of extremes i.e. all or nothing - a classic trait of ED sufferers. My feeling is that you need to get things in moderation - your eating and your exercise need to become more balanced and less regimented.

It's hard to loosen up when you've created set rules for yourself and feel like your inner demons have control over you but it seems like you've made the first step by admitting you need to change.

Have you talked this through with friends and family? I'm sure people close to you will be worried by the intense training and restricted diet you are enforcing on yourself. It can be scary and your ED can make it seem like they're just out to stop you reaching your goals i.e. losing weight/training harder, longer, faster, farther. Hopefully, with time and patience, you will see that everyone is just there to support and help you out of this hard time though.

You're still only young so you've plenty of time to break these nasty habits and look forward to a more fulfilling life - one where you don't feel trapped by your own rules and restrictions.

Hope you get it sorted. 

13/07/2010 at 07:25
Insane? I most certainly am. I think I needed to write out how much I'm running in order for me to believe it myself. I appreciate the strain I'm puttin on my body but to me it's worth it. For now at least, I hope I can change. It seems like only a few months ago I was running 7 miles a day and doing one 13m a week but it's gotten out of control now! As for not enjoying running, I enjoy the accomplishment at the end of it.

I am worried about how much more I can do because running 3 hrs a day even if it is in a 13 and 7m runs is tiring and sometimes I get close to doin another 7 but hopefully i continue to show a little restraint. Iv been doin 20m a day for about 2 months and before that it was 13 a day for 4 months.

I'm definetely a person of extremes! I wish I could be different and eat better/ exercise less but it's difficult and all cones down to how I feel about myself personally so much work to be done! Thank you all for your kindness and sound advice. I'm going to get a book on nutrition! X
13/07/2010 at 09:23

Jordana - I think you're missing the point.  You're not doing anything to be proud of.  You're screwing yourself over and the long-term effects could be with you for the rest of your life.  I could try to sweeten that in some sort of shit-sandwich if you prefer, but what's the point?  You're in a bad place, and you don't yet seem to realise how bad.

I for one most certainly hope that you have not been referred to a nutritionist but have, instead and far more sensibly, been referred to a dietician.

13/07/2010 at 09:47

I agree with Intermaut.

Jordana. There are lots of threads on this website that provide fantastic support and encouragement for folk wanting to lose weight or get better at running. Some of them are truly inspirational.

But Im afraid that yours acts only as as a warning to others as to what can go wrong.

I see that you are having treatment with a psychologist. Please, please, take his/ her professional advice, not advice from what essentially is a free website that anyone can post to. You dont sound in good health mentally, and following RW thread advice instead of the Experts could only lead to more trauma for you.

For heavens sake talk to your psycologist and ask his/ her opinion about what you should be doing.

Good luck.

13/07/2010 at 09:57

Moving one obsession to another isn't progress IMO.

Listen to the posts above.

13/07/2010 at 10:27

Jordana, I have to agree with Water Vole that these forums offer great support and advice.  Please hear what people are saying, 20 miles a day is too much, you will hurt yourself, simple as that.

I hated myself before I started running.  I was an 18 stone bloke who stuggled to climb the stairs.  I'm still 15 stone but can run a half marathon.  I run four times a week, my weekly total is 25 miles.  I have not put on a pound in weight since this schedule.  A healthy diet with the occassional treat and a sensible amount of exercise creates a good balance.  I'm happy and fit.  Sure I could do even more, but frankly, I'm not going to allow an obsession to control me.

 Take care.

13/07/2010 at 10:28
Thank you for being honest and I genuinely am grateful and will take heed of this. I will be talking about this with my psychologist and hope to tackle the extremities of my running.

And yes I am a warning to others as my life is centred on running and losing weight whin I know deep down is far from healthy.
13/07/2010 at 10:35
Could you possibly do something to ensure you STOP running this mileage i.e. leave your trainers at work or something - just something to physically hinder you so you can get the rest you need?
13/07/2010 at 10:38
Jordana, I know that many people can suffer from illness associated with eating and body image.  Modern media presents unrealistic images to us all the time and society places a great strain on itself.  I know I don't look like George Cloony and I can't run like Steve Cram could - BUT, I am in control of my eating, my exercise and my life.  It's all about small victories.  I run through a local park and like to note all the people sitting eating burgers and smoking.  I may not be an athlete, but I am fit and in control.  You can be too.  Replace obsession with structure - it really works.
13/07/2010 at 11:12
Thts a fab idea! Leave my trainers at work, hadn't thought of that. Will definetely give it a go. Reducing mileage is going to have to happen, I realise this I just hope I can follow through. You hve all been most helpful.
JPenno    pirate
13/07/2010 at 11:47
Devoted2Distance wrote (see)
Could you possibly do something to ensure you STOP running this mileage i.e. leave your trainers at work or something - just something to physically hinder you so you can get the rest you need?

Or you could have a stress fracture and ignore the advice of everyone else and do what you think is best

Surely if she is obsessed with running she will have several pairs of trainers or is more likely to try an run in some form of unsuitable shoes risking more injury.

You dont need advice from here you need professional help, all you have done is switch from one obsession to another.

13/07/2010 at 12:04

Jordana is your psychologist aware of the amount of running you are doing? I find it hard to believe that you have been completely honest with them if they are recommending 2,000 calories a day.

I think you are kidding yourself if you think you're using running to manage an ED. As others have said you have simply swapped one obsession for another. Also, at 20 miles a day you run a very real case of injuring yourself. And then what do you do?? Exercise can be used to manage an ED but I am increasingly convinced that is only when people are in recovery and committed to that recovery. Otherwise it's just another symptom. 

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