How Running Changed Me - Claire Wynn Lost 80 Pounds and Overcame Binge Eating - runnersworld.com
Name: Claire Wynn Age: 39 Location: Oaklyn, New Jersey Occupation: Licensed Practical Nurse Start Weight: 229 pounds End Weight: 149 pounds Time Running: 2 years
I struggled with my eating habits and binge-eating since I was a teenager, and partially because of this, my weight fluctuated most of my adult life. It got to a point that I didn’t even know what it felt like to be hungry—I didn’t have real hunger cues, and I only knew what it felt like to be “full.” Sometimes I managed to lose the weight I’d put on, but never properly understood how to keep it off.
In August 2018, I was on vacation, and I woke up the on last morning feeling awful after lots of eating and drinking. I remember lying in bed and telling myself, this has to stop, and I set a goal to not binge-eat for three months.
After I achieved that goal, I started focusing on setting small, attainable weight-loss goals, and I planned to make this binge-free lifestyle permanent.
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The first year after I made the decision to stop binge-eating, I successfully lost 80 pounds by counting calories, and doing strength training and cardio workouts at the gym. When I couldn’t get to the gym, I would go for walks around my neighborhood to stay active.
One day in 2019, I went to a nearby lake to walk. After about 15 minutes of walking, I felt like I wanted to run—so I started running ... and stopped about 90 seconds later. Turns out, running is hard!
I downloaded a Couch-to-5K (C25K) app on my phone to help me out. Even though I was already very active, running was a struggle at first, but by the time I finished the program, I was ready to run my first 5K!
Now, I run four days a week. Because of COVID-19, all my races have been virtual. I have a group of friends scattered around the U.S., and we all run virtual races together. I stopped my gym membership and switched to at-home workouts, but yoga and kettlebells are still my cross-training go-to’s.
I signed up to run the virtual Boston Marathon in October. I know I would never qualify for it, so this is my only chance to run it. Also in October, I am planning to run my first in-person 5K.
Claire’s Running Essentials
→ Brooks Adrenaline 21s — They are so soft and cradle my feet. They help with my over-pronation.
→ Samsung Galaxy earbuds — Great for music, noise cancelation and phone calls.
→ Flip Belt — My flip belt helps me carry my phone, keys, pepper spray, ID, etc. It doesn’t move at all during my run.
→ Pepper spray — I carry this more for peace of mind. I hope I never have to use it, but it makes me feel a little safer when running trails.
I overcame binge-eating by eating balanced meals made up lots of veggies with every meal. I’m satiated at the end of every meal and I focus on how I feel—not full, not hungry, but comfortable. I also eat fruits instead of dessert, which has stopped my sugar cravings.
My favorite food to make is vegan pizza from scratch. My other favorites include roasted broccoli seasoned with parsley and garlic, or shitake mushrooms air-fried with soy sauce and garlic. I don’t eat chips or crackers at all—I’ve never been able to eat a reasonable amount, and it always leads to a binge. Noticing my habits and mindfully addressing them has been a big step for me in developing a healthy relationship with food. I also never went back to drinking alcohol. On August 26, 2021, I will be three years alcohol-free!
Becoming a runner has helped my mental health as much, if not more, than my physical health. Running helps me clear my head and switch my focus from my stressors to myself.
Emily Shiffer Emily Shiffer is a freelance health and wellness writer living in Pennsylvania.
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