The one thing I noticed two years ago when I was doing my half marathon training was that while I actually gained about five pounds, my body was the smallest it had ever been. Running made me much more solid. A lot of the jiggle was gone; I look at pictures from fall 2010 and marvel at how small I was (and yes, want to retroactively slap myself for STILL being dissatisfied with how I looked):
Here's a blast from the past - return of the closet mirror self-portraits!
Cut to 2011, or my 'Annus Horribilis' (stolen from the Queen - I'm sure she won't mind)...the year of angst, no running, and coconut M&M's. Let's just forget about all of that as things have improved greatly on all accounts.
I was able to start running again this year, and while I've not been actively dieting, I have been making decent food choices most of the time - this is just how I eat, day in and day out. I hoped that the running would get my body to start shrinking again...while I've come to better terms with the fact that my legs are always going to be on the sturdy side, and my stomach will never be tight and flat, I preferred the body of 2010 a little more than the body of 2011. Finally, it's starting to happen. I noticed about a month ago that my clothes were getting a little looser, and some of my running shirts were getting really long - at first, I was all "I swear it wasn't this long when I bought it" but then I realized "dur - you're getting smaller so the shirt seems bigger" - ah ha! Then in the past couple of weeks, a few people have commented that I'm losing weight, so obviously it's starting to show. That said, if you're looking for a quick weight loss, I don't think running is the answer...but if you're willing to be patient, it will happen over time.
Except for when I first hit the 5 mile mark, my appetite has not increased on my long run days - in fact, as I'm hitting the higher mileage, it's decreased. I guess it's the whole thing about most of your blood going where it's needed (the legs) and not the stomach - or at least, that's the lore going around our running group. On long run Saturdays, I don't worry about what I eat beyond trying to get in some protein shortly after the run (usually in the form of chocolate milk because it's portable and we're still hanging around the park), and I don't try to replace the calories I've burned either. I figure I burn about 100 calories per mile.
What I think is funny about losing weight while training for a half marathon is that I'm doing it while eating traditionally non-diet food like white pasta and rice, mashed potatoes, no veggies in the days leading up to Saturday, not a lot of salads, and I'm even drinking my calories - something I don't normally do - in the form of Gatorade...the real stuff, not even the low calorie drink (it tastes bad to me). While I know for a fact that it's very easy to outeat any exercise benefits, I seem to be managing my portion sizes well enough that I'm not doing that.
Again, I don't care about the number on the scale, and I'm not about to jump on it to see what it is, because no matter what, it would just disappoint me. I am thrilled to see that running on a regular basis, week in and week out, is changing my body shape once again for the better. Along with the fun of running, I'm getting a smaller body, too - what a nice reward!