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Thread: Brother is obsessed with running; worried about him page

  1. #1
    ShannonPA-S's Avatar
    ShannonPA-S is offline Senior Member
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    Brother is obsessed with running; worried about him

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    I am proud of my brother that he has lost 100+ pounds and kept it off over a year so far. But I am not sure how much damage he is causing himself.

    He started running about 8 months ago and just ran a 50-mile race last weekend. Then I saw today on Facebook that he ran from his work to his house. I checked the mileage -- 28 miles.

    He can't keep weight on. He eats pretzels, cereals, sandwiches, and other carby foods multiple times through the day. He says he is hungry all the time. But the grain foods are obviously not giving him what he needs. I suggested coconut oil and full fat Greek yogurt, but he scoffed at the fat.

    I have read some articles on long-distance running that says most people have cardiac damage from 50+ miles. And many show EKG abnormalities. He is my only brother and he has a beautiful wife and 2 boys. I don't want something to happen to him, but with all the grain food and running, I feel like he's setting himself up for disaster.

    I don't want him to think I'm not supportive, but I am worried. I'm proud of him and what he's accomplished, but I just have this sense of fear about it. I don't know that he'd change anything if I were to talk to him, anyway. He's stubborn. But I'd like to send him some info on it without sounding like a nut job, because many people think running even long distances is very healthy. Anyone have any ideas for articles/material that are gently swaying, yet understanding of people who love to run?

    Also, with regard to heart damage: if he changes his diet to one without all the inflammatory grains, will that lower his risk of heart damage even if he continues to run long distances?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Hedonist's Avatar
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    You are a good sister. It is tough when someone we love is hurting themselves. Getting people to change is hard. Here are some thoughts, many of them from posts here in MDA.

    Diet is the most important part of primal. So if you got him to change that, it would help a lot. Many folks here do distance events. Mark, a former champion marathoner and triathlete, would say if that's your passion, do it, but yes, you are damaging your body.

    Good luck!
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    The cold truth is that your brother will not listen to your advice so long as he finds success and reward from what he's doing. I understand your concern but at this point I think you're better off finding a way to love him while respecting what he believes in and staying true to what you believe in. As far as gentle swaying goes, I would avoid it seeing as how he's stubborn anyway it would only be an exercise in futility.

    Spend your energies cheering him on during his triumphs and being a kind heart and ear when he falls. Neither of you are spending time being caring siblings if one or the other prioritizes "being right".

    The only time you should give him advice is when he asks and if he's interested.
    Last edited by pacificBeef; 09-17-2011 at 11:01 PM.

  4. #4
    ShannonPA-S's Avatar
    ShannonPA-S is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks for the replies so far.

    I don't want to be right; in fact, I'd love to be wrong. I'd love it if he isn't damaging himself. I haven't said anything to him thus far (except encouraging words) because I want to be supportive. It's just this sense of fear lurking in the back of my head that won't go away. I see your point, pacificBeef. I just don't know what I'd do if he decides to run 100 miles next year and drops dead of a heart attack. I care about him. He's really all the close family I have left. Both of my parents and all four grandparents died by the time I was in my mid-20s. But not saying anything is what I've chosen to do thus far because I do care and want to support him. I admire what he's accomplished. To think of where he came from (280 or more pounds) to where he is now (170), is amazing.

  5. #5
    dado's Avatar
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    You know, just hope for the best. You live in Detroit, how is this? I hear horror stories.

    Your brother will run until the running has run its course, maybe you can tell him he will die if he continues this.

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  7. #7
    pacificBeef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShannonPA-S View Post
    I just don't know what I'd do if he decides to run 100 miles next year and drops dead of a heart attack.
    I see and that's valid. You have every right to express your fears to him and I would encourage it to show him that you care. I'm often weary of interactions like this out of fear of sounding like a parental figure so I try to check if I'm coming across in away that is genuinely caring and not misconstrued, especially to someone I care about deeply.

    I think if you do it in a way where it's an emphasis on your fear rather than emphasizing that he's doing something "wrong" might be a good way to approach it that way you can all but eliminate any negative feelings you might have for "not trying".

    I can say that I was in similar situation as your brother where I :round running" as a remedy to my rampant weight gain. Eventually, the joint irritation, the skinny fat physique, and constant fatigue outweighed any of the benefits including weight loss, "runner's high" and any sense of accomplishment. Maybe your brother might come to the same conclusion regarding sustainability.

    +1 Also, Kurt Harris has some really good stuff regarding most things primal/paleo-ish diet related.

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    You must be his "older" sister. He will likely not die of a heart attack if he tries or does a 100-miler. He will likely learn a lot. If your brother does try the PB diet he could find that after the first 2 - 3 weeks which will suck he will start to running closer to the times he ran on high carbs. He will not need all the gels mid run on his longer efforts. After two months he could find his resting heart rate and average heart rates during his runs will lower alot. He might even set a personal best in a 5k which he had not been able to do in 6-years of trying. All of that happened for me. When he feels better he will stick to it no matter what is going on around him because running makes him feel better and the PB style makes his running a better experience. He will not miss the bouts of wild hunger every 3 - 4 hours and the muscle soreness. He will enjoy feeling better and getting stronger. Both have happened for me after little more than 2-months. I run 3,000 miles a year. Your brother needs to know how much better it can be on PB, not that he should quit before he kills himself. He won't kill himself running lots. He will miss out on so much more enjoyment from it going like he is.
    Last edited by pace2race; 09-18-2011 at 07:46 AM.

  9. #9
    Al_Kavadlo's Avatar
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    I know I am in the minority here, but I don't believe any of the "evidence" that long distance running is inherently bad for you. You say your brother lost 100 lbs? He is INFINITELY better off now than he was with the weight. Chronic cardio be damned - you should be very proud of your bro!
    "In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they couldn't be more different."

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  10. #10
    Hedonist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pace2race View Post
    You must be his "older" sister. He will likely not die of a heart attack if he tries or does a 100-miler. He will likely learn a lot. If your brother does try the PB diet he could find that after the first 2 - 3 weeks which will suck he will start to running closer to the times he ran on high carbs. He will not need all the gels mid run on his longer efforts. After two months he could find his resting heart rate and average heart rates during his runs will lower alot. He might even set a personal best in a 5k which he had not been able to do in 6-years of trying. All of that happened for me. When he feels better he will stick to it no matter what is going on around him because running makes him feel better and the PB style makes his running a better experience. He will not miss the bouts of wild hunger every 3 - 4 hours and the muscle soreness. He will enjoy feeling better and getting stronger. Both have happened for me after little more than 2-months. I run 3,000 miles a year. Your brother needs to know how much better it can be on PB, not that he should quit before he kills himself. He won't kill himself running lots. He will miss out on so much more enjoyment from it going like he is.
    Yes. That might convince him. You might also suggest he google marathoner vs sprinter.

    He almost certainly won't kill himself doing 100 miles. But I'm taking Mark's word that long term he will damage his joints and heart.
    Ancestral Health Info

    I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

    Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

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