5 Mistakes Female Runners Make Trying To Lose Fat
As runners, we’re always in control of our weight. Right? If you’re still making these 5 common mistakes, you might struggle to lose weight through running….
You’ve probably heard the saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet”. Weight loss, body recomposition and fat loss relies on smart nutrition. Is it really true that runners can’t out-train a few dietary slips ups once in a while? Even those of us putting in the miles for marathon training? Let’s find out.
1) Over Estimating Calories Burned Through Running
How many times have you completed a long run, only to go out for a restaurant meal, get a takeaway, or indulged in some home baking. “But it’s OK, I ran 12 miles earlier, so it won’t touch the sides.” Unfortunately, that may not be true. The fact is, the only way you can lose body fat or maintain your weight loss is by knowing how much energy you’re expending, and matching it up to your caloric intake. You can’t get away with guessing games too often. If you’ve ever wondered why you’re not getting any lighter or slimmer, despite running several times a week: this might be your answer.
2) Not Tuning Into Your Body’s Hunger Cues
Our bodies are pretty good at telling us what they need. Food, water, sleep, peace and quiet. The trouble is, we’ve forgotten how to listen. How often do you let yourself get hungry? And how often do you stop eating when you’re satisfied? Learn to listen to your body’s hunger and satiety signals. Imagine a scale of 1-10 where 1 is “I might fall over in a minute!” hungry, and 10 is “I actually feel a bit sick now” full. Aim to eat when you’re between 3-5, and stop eating when you’re around 7-8.
3) Not Drinking Enough Water
We sometimes mistake hunger for thirst. The body needs a lot more water than most of us drink, and this is even more true for runners. We should all be drinking at least 3 litres of water (this doesn’t include the water in sports drinks, protein drinks, teas and coffees) every single day. Bump that amount up significantly on days you run and days which are warm and humid. Next time you feel peckish, have a large glass of water first. Wait 10 minutes. Are you still hungry?
4) Snacking On Quick-Grab Items When You’re Hungry
People who successfully lose weight – and keep it off – tend to be prepared and organised when it comes to their daily nutrition. They don’t leave things to chance. They know roughly what they should be eating and when, in order to fuel up for running and to recover well afterwards. Be like them and reap the rewards. Don’t let yourself get so hungry that you grab a snack from a petrol station, corner shop or vending machine. Pack healthy snacks and have them with you in your bag, sports bag, car, desk drawer and locker. Or go one better and make/bake your own healthy snacks and treats!
5) Eye-Balling Portion Sizes And Servings
Runners tend to be hungry people, and it’s all too easy to over-estimate portion sizes when your stomach is rumbling after a good run. There’s no need to get pedantic about serving sizes (unless you really want to dial your nutrition in to the sharpest detail). But it’s a good idea to get familiar with what a portion size really is. Look at food labels and weigh food out once in a while, just so you can really see what 50g uncooked rice or oats looks like. If in doubt, use your hand:
– a thumb-tip amount of healthy fats is a decent portion size (equivalent to about one teaspoon)
– a thumb-sized bit of cheese is roughly a 25g serving
– the small dip of your palm in a cupped hand is just enough for a serving of nuts or seeds
– your entire flat palm is a good serving size for lean meat including chicken and beef
– a closed fist or cupped hand amount is a decent serving size of uncooked rice, pasta, fruit or potato Oh, and never hold back on green vegetables and leafy greens!