Running Does Burn CaloriesRunning burns about 100 calories per mile. This estimate ignores individual factors such as metabolism or hereditary factors. Since a person can run or jog a mile in 10-15 minutes (typically) and can walk a mile in 20 minutes, it looks like these activities would be a great way to lose weight. However, to lose a pound of weight through running, one would have to do approximately 35 miles since each pound lost means about 3500 calories burned or not consumed (of course, we're all different, and the exact number of calories burned for a pound lost varies with the individual). Thirty-five miles is quite a distance, especially for a beginning runner who may do only 3 or 4 miles per week. Thus, we realize that running is an important factor in weight reduction, but it is not the whole picture. It is just one piece of the puzzle.
Get Into the Long Haul
Throw Your Scale Away
|Many people weigh themselves every day hoping to see the needle come down. The needle hangs up there, and they become discouraged. My suggestion is not to weigh yourself more often than once a week. |
No Need to Run Fast
|Except for an effect on your metabolism before and after running, going faster does not increase the calories burned per mile. Thus, if you're running, slow down and enjoy it. Don't try to sprint. Take LSD, not the drug kind, but the running kind.|
Running is only Part of the Story
Putting in the miles will help you lose weight, but there is the other half of the weight-loss equation.
Weight Loss = Exercise + Reduced Calories
Reduced calories come from reduced eating! However, don't go on a crash diet! To be successful in reducing weight, you must have fewer calories going into your body. If you try and reduce too many calories through dieting, your body may think it is starving, and it may lower your metabolism in an attempt to conserve energy. You may lose weight, but you probably won't be able to continue your diet for years and years, and when you leave your diet, you will eat more and, due to a lower metabolism, you may gain even more weight than you lost . This is known as the "yo-yo" effect.
A reasonable goal is to reduce your calories from food by about 300 per day. Many people can do this merely by consuming fewer calories from sweets and sodas. Others have success with small changes in diet -- losing 50 calories here and 25 calories there. That, plus losing 200 calories per day due to running will give you a weight loss of about a pound a week. That may not seem like much, but that is 52 pounds per year, and that is significant weight loss.
|Be sure that the calories you do consume come from a nutritious diet. Eat veggies, fruits, fish, poultry, nuts, and whole grains. If you eat meat, eat small amounts as a condiment not as the main course. If you eat foods with a high glycemic index, balance that with foods with|
a low index. If possible, shun processed foods and prepare meals from "scratch". Avoid eating three big meals a day. Instead, eat five or six small meals. If you eat three meals, you'll probably be pretty hungry at each meal and may overeat (it takes a while after you eat before your hunger subsides). If you eat more often but smaller meals, you'll be less hungry for each meal and may be better able to control your intake.
A check on your weight is to occasionally calculate your Body Mass Index or BMI. Your BMI is a number that is calculated from your height and weight, and for many people that number is a measure of body fat. However, for some people BMI is not a good indicator of body fat. For example, for the same BMI, women tend to have more body fat than men. Older persons have more body fat, and athletes have more muscles that cause their BMI to be higher even though they may have less body fat. Here is a good site that discusses BMI in detail.
Here is a BMI calculator from the National Heart Lung and Institute.
Get Your Sleep!We all know the importance of getting sufficient sleep at night. It's through rest that our bodies recover from stressful workouts. Researchers from St. Luke's -- Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University in New York have learned that insufficient sleep also increases our desire to eat. So, if you're trying to lose weight, get good sleep each night! Dr Kristen Knutson, from the University of Chicago said that "A review of the evidence shows how short or poor quality sleep is linked to increased risk of obesity by de-regulating appetite, leading to increased energy consumption."
Volume not Weight
People who are too big and want to reduce usually think in terms of weight -- they want to lose weight. Thinking in terms of weight is fine for people who don't exercise, but people who do exercise may get confused if they think in terms of weight. It is common for runners to increase their muscle mass and thus gain weight since muscle is heaver per cubic centimeter than fat. I thus suggest that runners who want to reduce think in terms of how well their clothes fit. They may gain a bit of weight due to increasing their muscle, but if their clothes fit looser, they are reaching their goal. They want a smaller body, not necessarily a lighter body.
You Can Do It!
Be assured that you can lose weight and that running can be a part of your plan. Take a balanced approach to weight-loss, an approach that involves exercise, good nutrition, and a slightly lower consumption of food. Here is a good article on carbohydrates.