I am self-contradictory this week. On one hand, I am riding a fitness high after the marathon; on the other, I am not physically capable to resume my pre-marathon activity level. The rule of thumb is that it takes one day for every mile run to fully recover from a marathon. I enjoyed taking last week off, but now that the Challenge has started and I am setting new goals I am mentally ready to get back in the game.

Because I cannot waste 26.2 days of the Challenge, I have been supplementing running with cross-training (other forms of activity). So far this week I have run five easy miles; done a cumulative amount of 105 minutes on the elliptical trainer; and 45 minutes of strength training. Along with eating well, I think I am starting out this Challenge on the right foot despite being limited by the tightness and soreness in my legs. Tomorrow I will post some official numbers.

In other news, there is a new study out, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluding that when it comes to eating for weight loss, low-fat, low-carb, low-protein are not factors in losing weight. The only real factor is calories in, calories out.

Here are two links to articles about the study:

One thing you may notice is that weight loss in the study was modest: After two years the participants maintained only about a 9 pound weight loss after losing 13 pounds in the first six months. However, a very important note is that participants were only asked to exercise 90 minutes a week.

Where calories in vs. calories out is the basic rule for weight loss, exercise becomes the “X” factor. The only way to burn more calories in a day is to get up and move. Federal health guidelines recommend one-hour to 90 minutes per day of exercise for your average adult for weight loss. Therefore, a good weight-loss plan combines good eating and good exercising habits. It may not be “easy” but it is not complicated.

Rebecca has detailed our plan for weight loss here: The Formula (clicking on this link will begin to download a Microsoft Word document detailing the plan we use for weight loss), and it has worked great for us. I suggest trying different things and finding what works best for you. If you are really stuck, though, try keeping a food journal and really counting calories. When all else fails, this works.