T Nation

Help My Dad!

Hi Guys,
I’ll try to keep this short. This thread is not for me, it is for my dad. Over the past few years, as the stresses of work and home have piled up, so has the weight. In order to combat these stresses, he does distance running at an extremely slow pace, (this is mandated by the distances he runs, usually around 15-20mi at a time). He runs infrequently, maybe once a week when he can. I have tried to explain to him some basic dietary information and convince him that slow-state energy systems work is counterproductive, but he says he needs distance running to relax. I try to help him, but most all of the things I know about eating and training are geared towards strength sports, I know nothing about endurance sports. So can anyone help?

His information is as follows, as best as I know:
Weight-He will not step on a scale, but I would guess around 200-210.
BF-Once again, he will not get this measured, but I would guess 20-25%

His excercise regimen is composed of 1-3 hours of distace running at a slow pace, (roughly 10-11 miles/minute) which he does once a week if he can.

His diet frankly stinks. It is almost totally composed of different combinations of CHO+Fat. He eats toast and eggs for breakfast, a bowl of ramen and an apple for lunch, and huge amounts of whatever my mother makes for dinner. It seems that he uses his runs as an excuse to “carbo load” afterwards, frequently downing 4-5 pieces of toast covered in butter and honey or a large plate of saltine crackers with cheese melted over it.

I could really use some help with him. I know that he is extremely depressed about his weight, and I think this fuels a cycle of eating to cope with this depression. If I could get some good tips to help him out, maybe I could get him to see that I am not full of shit. Thanks everyone for reading through this. I’ll try to answer any questions that come up, and post pics if necessary, though that will have to be without his consent.

weights and intensity workouts are great, but it’s nice that he wants to run. Running long distance is good too. If you can get him to do exercise more than once per week (of any kind), and fix the diet, he’ll be headed in the right direction.

Just thought I would mention the importance of resistance training. Sure while the cardio is good they are finding that resistance training as we age should be #1.

Not only does it have the opposite effect of LONG cardio sessions of holding onto/preserving Muscle that is wanting to leave as we age. Lifting also places stress on the bones and this stress on the bones leads the body to keep them strong. To load load and build not only the muscle but your skeleton. Leading to less broken bones and bone ailments common with aging.

I say hiot the weights. Sure do a little jogging if he wants but more walking IMO.

Hope that helps,

So basically more resistance excercise and leave the distance running?

It’s worth knowing that habits rather than “diets” are a more realistic start. Focusing on "do’s rather than don’ts (that is, DO eat a second serving of veggies… DO cut back one level of fatness of the dairy products… DO drink more cold, lightly flavored water… ) also helps reduce the guilt of falling off the wagon in a world of dietary "don’ts.

Also, social support is a big deal, when running or lifting. Think about an appropriate training partner or a way to get him one (like a local natatorium or YMCA). Even a team or league could be an enjoyable alternative.