How Long Does It Take to Lose Weight With Running?

Smart Weight Loss Tips for Runners

Running is perhaps one of the most effective ways to lose weight. But that doesn't mean it's a magic bullet. And it doesn't mean that the pounds will come off immediately when you lace up your shoes and hit the road. In fact, you may see the pounds increase before you see decrease. So how long does it take to lose weight with running?

Rest assured that your body will change for the better. But before you see weight loss, you may gain a few pounds. This happens as you lose fat, but add muscle. Muscle is denser and heavier than fat.

But if you're consistent with your running and stick to a healthy diet, you'll eventually run off those excess pounds. These are some of the most successful strategies for runners who want to lose weight.

Be Patient and Set Reasonable Goals

We're all looking for a quick fix when it comes to weight loss, but don't expect to get it from running. It can take time to lose weight with running. Learning to run for weight loss is a long-term investment. But it is an investment that is worth the effort.

A healthy weight loss rate is 1/2 to one pound per week. If you add running to your healthy diet, you should not anticipate losing more than that. It is smart to set a reasonable goal for weight loss—such as five pounds in two months—so that you don't get discouraged and quit.

If you're just running (while not changing your diet) weight loss will take more time. Remember that the key to weight loss is reaching a target calorie deficit. Combining running with a healthy diet can help you reach that target and lose weight at a more effective pace.

Don't Skip Meals

You're not going to lose weight any faster if you miss meals. In fact, eating less will just make you hungrier. The end result is that you might increase cravings and end up eating everything in sight.

Another problem with skipping meals is that you won't get the energy you need to fuel calorie-burning runs. In the end, you don't burn as many calories with running as you would if you were properly fueled.

Instead of skipping meals, meet with a sports nutritionist or follow an online program for healthy eating and exercise.

Run Several Times a Week

Individuals who successfully lose weight and keep it off burn about 2,800 calories a week through planned exercise, according to statistics from the National Weight Control Registry. Assuming an average of 100 calories per mile, that's about 28 miles per week.

If running is your only form of exercise for weight loss, it is possible to reach that goal. Don't worry about your pace or the intensity of your run, just focus on getting the miles with a consistent weekly schedule. Plan your runs in advance and schedule them like you'd schedule any other important event. Eventually, you will burn the calories you need to lose weight with running.

Strength Train

Not only do you burn more calories when you're strength-train, but your increased lean muscle mass will improve your running performance. You'll be able to run faster, run longer, and burn more calories to lose weight.

Strength-training also helps prevent running injuries, so you'll be able to maintain your commitment to exercise (and weight loss) by staying injury-free.

Spread Out Your Calories

It can be tempting to come home from a long run and dive into the refrigerator. But it is also possible to consume more calories in your post run meal than you burned while running. Instead, it's better to eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day.

By eating smaller meals throughout the day, you'll keep yourself properly fueled for daily activity and for your running workout. You'll reduce your temptation to binge and you'll also gain more flexibility in scheduling your runs because you won't have to wait until you digest big meals.

Eat Non-Starchy Veggies

A colorful range of healthy vegetables is the cornerstone of a healthy weight loss diet. Aim to have vegetables—tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, spinach and other greens—at every meal.

Veggies are full of fiber and many provide protein. So you'll feel satisfied and less tempted to overeat or reach for a calorie-laden dessert.

Track Your Food Intake

To make sure that you are getting the nutrition you need for running, but not too many calories, you should track your food intake. Write down everything you eat and drink for at least a few days. You may be shocked to see how many calories you take in.

Keeping a food journal will also help you identify areas for improvement. You can track your foods in your training journal, so you can also see what kind of effect certain foods have on your performance.

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a practice that can help you to increase enjoyment during meals while eating less. It is a practice that is widely used by health coaches, weight loss experts, and successful dieters. And just like everything else, it takes some practice.

Try eating more slowly and stop eating when you feel comfortable, not stuffed. You'll be surprised at how much more you enjoy your food!

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