Losing weight must be the hardest thing I’ve ever done! It seems like skipping the junk food a couple of days is torture designed for war criminals, but a run to the scales only dampens my will to go on. If you can relate, running could change your life — it did mine — and I’ll give you a few pointers on how I got started in this post.
Actually, if you will just burn off about 3,500 more calories each week than you eat — well, you should lose a pound. 3,500 divided by 7 days equals using up 500 more calories a day than you consume. That sounds easy enough — until I get to where the shoe soles meet the road?
The thing I found about running though, is that running makes you want to run more. And the more I ran, the more will power I had to change my eating habits and lose weight. You’ll discover like myself that running is an outstanding method to lose weight because not only will you burn the calories, but you’ll start to:
- Look great
- Feel great
- Get back to wearing your skinny clothes
- Lower Cholesterol and blood pressure
- Make your bones strong
- Improve every part of your health
- Increase your energy by leaps and bounds
- Wake up your sex life
How To Lose Weight By Running
When I decided to try running to lose weight, I was about 45 pounds over weight and was afraid I couldn’t run (jog along), look silly with no results. In fact I was amazed at quickly I begin to reap the benefits in the above list, and know you will too.
Getting Started With Running
So, I hope by now I’ve peaked your interest in this life changing exercise habit. But you need to know that as great as this is to take off the pounds, you’ll want to get off on the right foot. (no pun intended)
Starting off slow when you’re new to running is the route to success, building strength, improving lung capacity, and avoiding sore muscles. Like I said earlier, I was 45 pounds too heavy when I started so I began with a walk/run routine partly because I knew that for best results I wanted lower intensity and a longer workout. That way my weight loss started immediately and I was never faced with whether or not I could actually be a runner.
Walking to running is the natural route
I started out by walking until I felt like my body was warmed up and everything working in unison. That was probably 1/4 to 1/2 mile, and then it felt quite natural to break into a slow jog for a short time. This will keep you moving for longer periods of time, as it gives your tendons, ligaments and joints time to warm up and relax.
It’s important to always give your body a chance to warm before overworking it to avoid risk of injury that will set your weight loss and running program back. If you’re not sure about how to warm up for a run this post will explain the importance and more details about warming up.
At first my slow jog wouldn’t get close to 1/4 mile. But I would go until my breath ran out each time before reverting back to a walk and then back to a jog. And it wasn’t long before the periods of jogging were just as long as the distance I was walking.
Then the magic happened!
I was running or jogging for my entire pre-planned distance and time! The feeling was euphoric as I realized I, of all people, could actually reap the benefits of running. And one of those benefits has certainly been to lose weight and keep it off.
Consistency Is the Key
Were there days I would have rather skipped my exercise program? Oh Yea! But I knew that walking would burn off about 100 calories of fat in an hour, and jogging would burn about 400 in an hour. And that’s not to mention that the benefits of running out weighs the benefits of walking in other ways.
Because I knew I would have to be consistent to actually get my body shaped up, I started a runners journal. With a goal of running every other day, I started writing only a paragraph about my performance, how my breath was coming, how I felt during the exercise, and of course something about my weight goals.
I knew I didn’t gain weight overnight and I wouldn’t become a seasoned runner overnight, but I wanted to keep myself consistent and motivated. You did not gain weight overnight, nor should you expect to lose it all in two or three weeks. I still keep my running journal today, and I would advice anyone with any exercise program in place to do the same — especially if you need to lose weight.
Building Strength As The Pounds Melt
I learned that strength training would accelerate both my running and weight loss endeavors so I included light weight lifting into my no run days. That strength training workout help me develop my muscles tighten up skin that had stretched from being over weight, and reduce my risk of injury.
To tell you the truth, your workouts don’t have to be a big thing. You can go to a gym or do some simple exercises at home with weights you pick up at Walmart. In fact you can do simple things like push ups, squats, and lunges in your living room. But an exercise ball at home is my favorite because it tones my body and strengthens my core which makes running much easier and more enjoyable.
Keeping the Weight Off
I started out with walking and slowly built up to only running 3 or 4 days a week. My body was shaping up and I knew I no longer had to worry about side stitches I had when I first started out. I was looking and feeling much better after only a week or two of my run/walk method, but the weight loss was still slow. Once I got into only running the weight loss seemed to come natural.
There was something about this steady rythmatic motion in my body as I ran for 30-45 minutes that actually took away my intense craving for junk foods. Running was re training my brain to think and eat healthy while I keep the pounds off naturally.
I could probably monitor my weight now and adjust down my running time and days to keep off the weight — but running has changed me in so many ways, I would never give it up.
Healthy Eating Is A Reward Of Running
As time went by and I continued losing weight, I noticed that eating healthy was no longer a chore for me. Somehow I naturally gravitated towards thinking about how my eating habits were going to affect my next run. At the same time I started running to lose weight I began learning about eating foods that would help my health along with losing weight and keeping it off.
If you’re planning on keeping the pounds off I suggest your eating plan to include complex carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables), protein and good fats (unsaturated, olive oil, Omega family) at a ratio of 50%, 30% and 20%, respectively. Stay away from the simple carbohydrates like sugar and bad fats like saturated.
When it comes to running, you will find losing weight to be one of the many great benefits you’ll enjoy and find you can’t do without. But don’t confuse running with a method to quickly lose weight, and then get back to your normal eating habits and pounds. Once you’ve developed a routine and habit and seen the extreme changes in your body, emotions, focus, health, weight, and energy running will become a natural part of your life.
But you’ll want to avoid the temptation to run faster and/or farther too quickly. You’ll risk knee and leg injury, and turn something wonderful into drudgery — and quit before you’ve lost your desired weight goals. Start out with the walk away, and run away technique and you’ll see the differences quick enough. When you train smart, eat smart, and enjoy — your body will guide you to to losing the weight that makes a difference in your life.