There are a million new fitness gadgets, gizmos and diets proclaiming to be the ultimate weight loss solution. So I’ve always shied away from digging in too deep to running for weight loss because the miles are about so much more than calories.
But, I can’t pretend that when I laced up to give it the ol’ college try in 2002 (while literally in college) my focus was anything but losing weight! It absolutely helped me to lose 35lb pounds and keep it off for over a decade!
Plus, running for weight loss is about as simple and ungimmicky as it gets.
It’s time to go.
In fact, this is what attracts so many of us to the sport on day one. Simplicity.
The confidence, the joy, the friends those are all unexpected benefits that eventually replace our thoughts of calorie burn.
7 Secrets to Running For Weight Loss
For those of you where I once was – fed up with the stubborn pounds and ready for some straight forward answers, here are 7 quick tips that will get you started TODAY.
You’ve taken the first step by lacing up, now a little more knowledge and guidance can keep you on track.
Because weight loss is a MASSIVE topic, today we’re focus on the quick tips that will get the scale moving. In the video below, I dive in to all these topics in depth, but in case you’d rather read…a summary as well!
1) Just Start
If you’re here, it’s because you’re engaging in one of the oldest forms of procrastination…knowledge gathering. Oh sure, we make it sound necessary by calling it research, but it usually just leads to analysis paralysis.
Know this, you can always change your plan, but the longer you wait to get started the harder it is. Today is day 1, put on your shoes, walk out the door and start moving. You’ll know pretty quickly when you need to walk (which might be immediately!). So what?! Walk.
Then the next day try to go a little bit farther. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
2) One Change at a Time
It’s so tempting to make the grand proclamation that you are now only going to drink green smoothies for breakfast, you’ll be following a 16 hour intermittent fasting protocol and going to the gym every morning. While you’re laying in bed thinking about how amazing it’s all going to be that sounds great.
At 5AM, after 4 hours of sleep, that first day workout sounds less appealing than a giant cinnamon roll.
Pick 1 TINY thing that you can change. Like switching to oatmeal from frosted flakes or drinking 64 oz of water or walking over to co-workers instead of instant messaging. Slowly each little change becomes a habit, which means you create a lifestyle that’s EASY to maintain.
Checkout more how this whole one little change at a time thing works >>
3) Don’t Over Commit
Along with small changes, let’s talk about not going for gold on day one.
I know many new runners start with their eyes on the marathon! It’s a bucket list goal, they can’t wait to tackle it. They’re excited, they’re motivated, they’re completely freaked out when 3 miles feels like it took forever and they would still need to run 23.2 more.
Not only can that too big goal feel daunting, but fun fact: most runners gain weight while marathon training. So it may not actually be your best bet if weight loss is the goal.7 doable tips to get started on running for weight loss! Which ones are you already doing? #eatwell #running Click To Tweet
4) Don’t Slash Too Many Calories
There is an unfortunate problem with weight loss…you burn more calories than you eat to lose weight. BUT if you are undereating too much for too long, then you actually damage your metabolism, eat up muscle, screw up your hormones an the result is called skinny fat…also hangry.
Read more on your metabolism here for how to handle this!
5) Do Build Muscle
Speaking of metabolism, you gotta build some muscle.
While running alone, will absolutely help you start to get some shapely legs, it’s not the same as doing body weight or strength training workouts. These are going to help give your body more shape, definition and the power to run faster and farther.
You don’t have to go crazy with this! Here are some great body weight workouts or if you love it, how to incorporate CrossFit with running.
6) Don’t Excuse The Junk
Let’s not pretend that I don’t run to eat…I do. Most runners will tell you they love that it gives them some wiggle room in their diet, but that’s the key, it’s wiggle not constant.
The longer you run, the more you realize how much food impacts your workouts. If you’re eating fast food, skipping the veggies and missing out on protein your legs feel like lead, you suffer though every run wondering where your energy is and it’s a quick spiral back to the couch.
Enjoy your treats, but follow what we call the freggie life (7 servings of fruits and vegetables daily). Here are some great tips to help you start sneaking more veggies in everyday.
7) Create Habits
Long time readers know, “habits” is one of my favorite words.
Habits are an automatic reaction to a cue, signaling the mind to undertake a learned routine.
Tapping in to this automatic signaling allows you to change the way you eat or commit to exercise with ease, rather than fighting the process. It allows for maintaining those changes long after friends have fallen off the wagon.
NOW LET’S GO RUN!
You don’t need to wait to be picked.
You don’t need permission.
Running is open to everyone.
It doesn’t require a specific body type, just a heart that knows there is more and wants it now.
I started running because it was the fastest way to burn calories. I never considered that running would fundamentally change me, that running was going to change my outlook on life, increase my confidence and lead me on journeys I never imagined.
I am a knowledge nerd. I love learning and disseminating information. I am your last stop for finding all the running answers.
Stop spending time you could be working on achieving your dream Googling for more information and get started now.
Have more questions, hit me up!
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Aimee from Run Eat Drink Podcast @runeatdrinkpod
Good advice. Simple but tough not to overcommit for big changes that are hard to sustain, right?
I think we get so excited initially that we’re ready to tackle the world, but by like week 2 that feels so massive!
Ugh, number six was my downfall for years. I ran seven half marathons and never lost any weight because I was always eating back what I burned (and then some!). I finally found the balance last summer and even though I run because I love it, I can’t deny that weight-loss/weight management is a nice bonus.
It’s sooooo easy to do and I think why a lot of us are probably better off not to jump to long distance initially if weight loss is a goal!
I think getting started is half the battle. Once I am doing it, it’s not bad, and I am happy I’ve done it. It’s like they say, no runner is ever gonna regret the run they took, just the ones they don’t take.
Right, I think just starting is the hard part of any new goal! So easy to procrastinate
Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy
Well, I’m loving this post right back at you! Oh yes, the change everything at once mindset — so easy to fall into, and definitely a total trap. And yes, I was that runner that started running to try to lose some weight, and ended up gaining — eventually I did figure it out. Mostly, anyway!
“Wiggle not constant” — so very true!
an ever evolving process of learning!
These are such great tips, whether you’re looking to lose weight with running or just starting in general!
All great advice. Running definitely offers a great calorie burn. Learning how to fuel for it and not overdo or become overwhelmed are key.
I guess I started running to lose weight, or keep weight recently lost off. After I started (so slowly)I started changing my diet to meet my needs, and turned down things I may have never turned down before… all because of this realization of what it gave me when running. I hope everyone who reads your article is inspired to start. to just try it. thanks :)
Thank you!! I agree running itself was what made me want to start eating better and do it all slowly to make it last!
All great tips! I’m currently re-starting to run and on day 3. Actually I’m only walking so far and will be only walking for the next couple of weeks because i just had a c-section but it’s so exciting starting again! I never thought walking would make me this excited but it does!
Walking is phenomenal!! I was injured most of last year and walking was a great way to just get outside!
Lex @ Flecks of Lex
Over-committing has definitely been a big struggle for me. That combined with trying to change too much in my diet has led to a lot of failures. This is a great list for helping to tackle those challenges!
Is it possible to lose wait and fuel your bodybwith what it needs while training for a half marathon?
absolutely!!! The biggest thing is focus on whole foods and not using those long runs as an excuse to eat more of the junk.
I like your tips, especially to just get started and big a reasonable goal. I find my race weight is easy to maintain once I’ve committed to my training and racing schedule. The training commitment makes it much easier to also commit to eating healthy food and correct portions. That’s my experience anyway!
So true! I usually eat better when I”m in training because it makes me feel better!
Wrong reason to start running.
Maybe for you, but it’s why thousands of people start. And WHO CARES why anyone starts running. It’s what we learn along the way that changes us.