Is running an efficient way to lose weight?

Published by Ronald on Monday, 07 Mar 2011 15:57 EST

Losing weightWeight loss is the highest priority for forty percent of beginner runners and usually it's not just a matter of losing a few pounds. On average, beginners want to lose around 20 pounds. Of course, we all want to lose that weight as fat and not muscle. According to television shows and books, we would need to make complete lifestyle change and only eat healthy things to reach the results desired.

But how do you go about this? I have heard lots of success stories from my family and friends, but I’ve also seen many people try and never lose any weight at all. This is the category I fall in to, no weight loss at all. Luckily losing weight wasn’t my only reason to run. The reason I started running was to get into shape and just feel fit. But why didn’t I lose any weight?

What went wrong?

I don’t like diets. When I am hungry I want to eat something. When there is cake I want a slice, and when I go to a restaurant I want a big proper meal instead of a salad. When someone offers me a beer I’ll gladly take it. Well, you get the idea. I didn't make any changes in my diet.

In the beginning, I was actually struggling to run for thirty minutes. It took me about 10 weeks to jog for thirty minutes. This brought a lot of changes in my body. My legs, my waist(abs), and back got stronger and slimmer. I discovered I had muscles in my neck. I just generally felt very good and fit. I could walk stairs without ending up out of breath, but still I never lost any weight.

By the time I could actually fun for 30 minutes, Christmas and other holidays were about to start. I was disciplined and kept running (even when it snowed) but I refused to watch what I ate during these festivities. Now, reflecting back on it, I’m glad I didn’t. I like to be able to eat whatever I want to on these occasions without having to worry about calories.

My biggest problem is that I like food way too much to even think about dieting. Besides, being at a birthday party and saying no to cake or pie because you are dieting is pretty depressing (no offense to people who do this though!).

What went right?

I kept running. I got addicted to it. I once ran when it was freezing and snowing just because I really wanted to. The only thing that has stopped me from running is rain, but I would catch up my missed runs on the weekend. I run about three days a week for around an hour per day. Sometimes I do 10K and sometimes I do 5K depending on how I feel.

Also, I made some important changes in my daily diet. I decided to buy more fruit and less snack food like chips. Don’t get me wrong, I still buy chips but instead of three bags a week it's one bag. I have also started to drink more water during the day instead of soda. These adjustments were easy, and now they seem like common sense.

There’s a small note though, I never ate really unhealthy. My dinners are pretty diverse and fresh. I eat fish once a week an I rarely eat anything deep fried. My breakfast and lunch are all normal portions. My worst fault was snacking in the evening which I still do and I have reduced the size of my snacks. Instead of eating a full bag of chips, I take a small bowl which has turned out to be plenty for an evening snack.

The result of the diet and exercise is that I actually have muscles now. The benefit of the new muscle is that even while I are doing nothing at all I still burn calories since my muscles need them and I get to eat more. I have been running for eight months now, and I think I have reached a turning point. I’m slowly losing weight without any major changes to my diet or enormous lifestyle changes. All those television shows and books can keep talking about drastic change, I just started running and kept going.

Running may not have been the most efficient way to lose weight for me, but that’s just because I ignored the whole dieting bit and I will probably keep doing so in the future. I have reached a point where I run around 15-20 miles every week and now I’m losing weight. It wasn’t very complicated or difficult as some made it out to be.

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