Running For Weight Loss & A Healthy Body
Plenty of women turn to running for weight loss. But how exactly can you balance losing weight with maintaining good health? We look at how to use running for weight loss whilst staying healthy.
How much weight do you really have to lose? Think about what would be a healthy, practical, realistic weight and size for your frame and height. Not everyone is destined to be a size 10! Think health and quality of life first.
Work Out Your BMR
Once you know your BMR (basal metabolic rate), you’ll be able to calculate a reasonable dietary intake. BMR is the amount of energy your body requires simply to exist: to carry out activity on a cellular level, to repair tissue and pump blood. There are plenty of places on the internet which will help you – search for “calculate my BMR”. Never go below this caloric number.
Change One Variable
Don’t throw everything at your weight loss efforts in one go. The change is likely to be too extreme, and you may crash and burn after a few heady initial days. Even if you don’t, how will you know which variable has led to success? Introduce one change at a time so you can evaluate how effective it is: more activity, less sugar, more walking, no fizzy drinks, more sleep, no crisps or chocolate (and so on).
Concentrate On Nutrition
When we think about losing weight, too often we think about what we can’t eat, what we need to cut back on and how much of a sacrifice it’s all going to be. Why not think instead about what you must eat! Our bodies need good, healthy nutrition at any point, but particularly if we are running for weight loss, and asking it to let go of toxins and get healthier. So think about your new to-do list instead: eating a decent breakfast, drinking more water, eating 5-8 portions of vegetables or salad a day, getting to bed at a reasonable time, upping daily activity levels through walking. You’ll probably find that if you concentrate on getting more of the good stuff in, you’ll crowd the bad stuff out anyway!
A diet isn’t a green light to malnourish yourself. Eat, but stock up on fresh vegetables, some fruit, protein, healthy fats and unprocessed carbohydrates. Enjoy creating great dishes like stir fries, slow-cooker meals and big, vibrant salads full of green, protein and fats. Fuel your body for your running, and eat to recover from it too. Make better choices rather than undereating. A change in diet needs to be sustainable if it is to work.
And don’t fall into the trap of “running off” your calories. You love running, so let’s keep it that way. Don’t turn exercise into a punishment. After all, eating isn’t something to atone for! If you feel you want to up your activity levels, do low level activity such as more walking (it’s something the family can join you in, too). Don’t run more and more miles in a bid to lose more weight. It won’t work, you’ll end up burning out and your body will eventually kick back and refuse to co-operate.
Losing weight isn’t an overnight thing, and changing your eating habits should be a something you feel able to do for life. So, be patient. Set yourself small goals along the weight loss journey, and celebrate each one with a non-food treat. Keep a journal or visual reminder of how far you’ve come, and soon enough you’ll be able to look back a few weeks or months and see just how well you’ve done. Consistency, patience and a series of good choices will reap rewards.