It’s important for me to share before I dive in, the fact is if you choose to lace up and run, then you’ve got a stamp of love from me. There’s no wrong or right in my mind, who am I to judge you?
When I first started running, my soul objective was to lose weight, of course it turned into something far deeper than that (phew!). But the fact is, I’m far from alone with this starting point and rather than discouraging movement. I’d like to share some points on how to make improving your running AND working towards weight loss can actually work together and not against one another.
A good starting point is…
Understanding that the modern world of sports watches and heart rate monitors, can only give you an indication of the energy used during the physical activity. Therefore, if you’re tracking your daily expenditure using this metric, you need to keep in mind it could be up to 40% incorrect. Plus, studies show that most people are not tracking calories correctly, do you often find yourself “forgetting” the odd latte, nibbling leftovers, eyeballing servings of peanut butter? – Welcome to the club, it’s called “Being Normal” but it could be these little habits that are moving you out of a deficit and into maintaining your weight or even a surplus.
Then, we add in the fact that many of us fall into the trap of “I’ve been for a run, therefore I can eat whatever I’d like” and whilst no food should be off limits. It’s important to understand that as you build a stronger, fitter body, it also becomes more efficient and uses slightly less energy during these activities. Alongside this, if you lose weight your “Basal metabolic rate” (BMR) reduces, because in extremely simplistic terms, the lower your body weight, the less energy you’ll expend at rest.
Which leads me to say that running lose weight can be a hugely stressful experience, the whole concept of inputting data, fitting workouts in around your life, and monitoring the highs and lows? – It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, it’s easy for me to say be kind to yourself. But sometimes it’s that’s not always the answer.
Before we continue, ask yourself “How active am I after my run?” because if you’re anything like me, you’ll run first thing in the morning and then spend the rest of the day seated. It’s no crime to stay still. But it might be worth pro-actively focusing on more movement during the day, where and if at all possible. I lap the living room or break up the working day with a brief walk and an opportunity to listen to a podcast to move my body and free my busy mind.
But what’s the answer?
In all honesty, I don’t believe that there’s a “One size fits all” answer, because it depends on so many personal variables. Such as age, weight, current training, job, lifestyle and the fact we’re all so wonderfully unique, a cookie cutter approach just isn’t the right solution…
Which is why I recommend, making a plan…
*Firstly, establish where do you want to be with your running? Is it distance? Speed? An event?
*How can you safely and realistically reach that goal? Should you use a plan? Have you allowed yourself enough time? Are you lifting weights and making time for mobility?
*Now you need to establish how many calories you need each day to maintain your weight with this level of activity? Then look to subtract 50-100 calories each day, the next step is to allow yourself least 3 consistent weeks and then review your progress.
*Take an honest look at your lifestyle and habits, where do you find yourself going off track? Are your expectations realistic? Are you helping yourself or over complicating matters? Are you tracking honestly?
*Ask yourself – “What can I add in?” Rather than “What can I take away?” for example you might add in another rest day or a lay in once a week. You might add in another serving of vegetables or increase your daily protein. It could be that you schedule a sports massage once a month, or the addition of a weekly yoga class.
*Finally, how do you FEEL? Are you tired? Sluggish? Hydrated? In need of a health MOT? If you find that you’re constantly under the weather, I do recommend checking in with your GP to make sure nothing is underlying and considering what you can do to supplement your health.
*The overall objective is to make your life better, to implement changes that create joy and well-being, whilst helping you along the way towards your goals. Sadly, many of us have been brainwashed to think that cutting calories and running endless miles is the only solution to weight loss. I’ve spent years being frustrated by this cycle and trust me when I say that it doesn’t often lead to long-term, sustainable results.
If you’d like some advice, guidance and/or a virtual cheerleader – I’m accepting a small number of clients for cost effective, supportive and personalised coaching.
Feel free to drop me a line – firstname.lastname@example.org