The skinny runner dillemma


“Yes of course I’m having dessert”, I said… and then I set an internal reminder to go for a run in the morning.


Being an advocate for a healthy lifestyle whilst living in a runner’s body, has always made me feel like a fraud…

Just last weekend I was lunching with my running besties and we laughed at how us runners tend to be ‘girls with the sweetest tooth’ and that we’re not afraid to eat what and when we wanna. As girls who run a lot, we get to live skinny whilst indulging – is that even allowed?

I know we not all wired this way, but if I counted every time a girl secretly self-admitted that she’d go for a run after having eaten badly, I’d be rich in numbers. You see many of us associate running with weight loss. Yes there are us that love running too, but in part it has and does play a weight loss role in our lives.

Running may not make you skinny but it is likely to get you skinnier. For many of us, it’s the perfect copout for us to binge on foods otherwise avoided (filling some undiagnosed void) knowing full well that the effects of this junk won’t show on our bodies.

This was me basically my entire life until such time as I fell preggers and running was no longer an junk food addition quick fix. I realized quickly how often I’d used running for my weight games and not merely embraced it out of a love for the sport and moving my body. In an attempt to right this wrong, to respect this temple I live in and to take on the practice self love, I have challenged my thinking around running and weight loss by adopting these 3 intentions.

  1. I will treat my body with respect from the inside out

I HAVE a sweet tooth and there’s no denying this. What I’ve learnt though is that I can replace a sweet craving for something less destructive to my body. Instead of sweets, I can buy a raw organic date ball (or make some) and instead of milk chocolate after dinner, I can nibble on a piece of dark chocolate. Healthy alternatives are far more likely to stick than trying to cut out sugar completely.

  1. I will not practice escapism, even after a big meal

Not running off my junk food means being okay with what I’ve eaten.

This intention that I set is simply to learn to stop running from feelings (shame, guilt or frustration after a bad food choice) and to acknowledge them, let them pass and then to move back into a space of self love.

  1. I will listen to my body, my temple

This is new for me, and indeed a beautiful practice that I am learning. To listen to my body means to constantly do internal checks, even whilst devouring a pizza on a Friday night. In the past, I’d be quick to finish an entire pizza and have no problem with it (knowing I’d just run the next day), but more recently I have, and am, learning to listen to my body’s cues as to when I am full, and to what it in fact needs or craves.

Being 6 months post partum now, I am breast-feeding far less and for the first time am able to get back into my running, properly. It’s been over a year of practicing anti-skinny-runner tactics and I am by no means there yet (never associating running with excuses to eat more), but I am excited to continue on my journey of self-love and body respect as I start to run a bit more competitively again.


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