Why Runners Should NOT Diet This January
Do you know someone who started a diet this week? Perhaps that person is you. Here’s why women runners should definitely not start “a diet” after Christmas.
When you’re feeling a bit “squishy”, heavy and lethargic after any period of over indulgence, a short sharp diet can be really tempting. We get it! What’s not to love: the promise of a relatively easy, short term stretch of perfect eating and exercise to return you back to your former weight and size.
The trouble is, how many diets really go perfectly? Even those celebs you see embarking on cleanses, detoxes and meal replacement diets struggle (we just don’t get to hear about it).
For every diet, there’s a battle… often resulting in food cravings, binge eating, or a bad relationship with food.
As a runner, you’re already active, you get outdoors, you know the benefits of being healthy and moving your body. You don’t need to go to extremes to work off any excess you’ve put on over Christmas and New Year. You simply need to get back to basics and – here’s the important bit – be consistent.
So, here’s our manifesto for NOT dieting this January (and a few positive tips to follow instead).
– Restraint, constraint and denial almost always leads to some kind of excess. Don’t restrict.
– It’s a cold time of year for running. Don’t lower your energy levels (and mood) with strict dieting.
– There’s no rush. You are an active woman. Simple positive lifestyle changes will soon see your weight drop.
– You won’t be eating Christmas snacks, chocolates and party food daily in January, so there’s really no panic.
– Extremes rarely work, often cost you money, and usually fail to fit in with your real life of home life, relationships, parenthood and work.
If you still feel that you need to do something to address your festive weight gain, here are some simple tips which are easy to do every single day. Because that’s the point: any nutrition or exercise habit you adopt needs to be easy, sustainable, and something you can do forever! (If it’s not, it’s called “a diet”… and runners don’t diet, remember. We make healthy choices and good decisions and we live an active lifestyle, 365 days of the year.)
Get outside at least once a day, to move your body. Even if you’re not running outside today, get outside for a brisk 30 minute walk, do some gardening, play with the kids. Enjoy the fresh air and sunlight, it will lift your mood and actually helps with fat loss.
Move your body. Any movement throughout the day really adds up to your general calorie burn and will definitely help with weight loss now and with weight management in the future. Daily activity is one of the most important things we can all do to get and stay trim.
Eat moderately, until you are just full. Don’t be concerned about being a little hungry between meals, or when you go to bed.
Don’t aim for perfect. What does that mean, anyway? Perfect to whom? Make smart choices: you know what they are.
Just in case you don’t, here’s a reminder: lots of vegetables and leafy greens, some fruit. Enough good fats (avoid trans fats). Plenty of water, less alcohol and caffeine. Protein at every meal. Unprocessed carbohydrate choices 80% of the time. Real food rather than packaged food 80% of the time. Home cooked rather than shop bought… 80% of the time.
Prepare at least some of your meals and snacks the day before. Or batch cook for half the week. Being prepared leads to success with fat loss, weight loss and health.
Reduce stress. Write down a list of things to do tomorrow before you go to bed. Tackle the main thing first the next morning. Get to bed a little earlier. Don’t take your phone or tablet computer to bed with you. Try to get 5-10 minutes of “me time” every day, even if it’s just spent sitting in a quiet room with your eyes closed.