Becoming Fit And Slim –Running For Weight Loss – Part 2

A Guide On How To Run And Lose Weight

In Part 1, a Getting Started phase for the process of running to lose weight and get fit and slim, was outlined. Some tips on how to comfortably adjust to and manage such an undertaking were provided.

  • don’t panic
  • breakneck speed not required
  • slow walking at first
  • combine walking with running
  • run for longer intervals
  • increase running intensity (speed)
  • begin the process of running to lose weight.

2. Eating Healthy

When you eat, you take in calories and when you lose weight you “burn off” calories. The common assumption is that you will lose a pound for every 3,500 calories that you are able to burn off. Obviously therefore, if you are going to lose weight, your calorie intake has to be less than what those you “burn off”. Proper dieting at the beginning is therefore essential for weight loss – you cannot allow your eating to undo the aims of your running.

You may notice that your appetite has increased as you run more. This is a signal for more nutrients in you diet, Healthy Foods
NOT FOR MORE FOOD! Dieting does not mean you eat less, but that you eat BETTER. If you do not eat when you are hungry, it will be harmful to your metabolism. The point is that you must not overeat but instead, make good food choices. You should concentrate on the more “nutritious” foods and avoid foods such as “fast foods” which contribute significantly to overweight, a condition which induces many people to start running in the first place.

Eat only small portions of foods with high-caloric and high-fat values and target a diet of healthier, low fat foods which are high in nutrients. These include foods with enough proteins, good cholesterol, vitamins and nutrients. Aim to eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables – spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, bean, and other greens, for example – with every meal, as they are good sources of fiber.

Do not skip meals on the mistaken assumption that the less you eat, the faster you will lose weight. Quite the contrary is the case. You will not lose weight any faster if you miss your meals. In fact, it will just make you become or feel hungrier. Not only will this cause you not to burn off as many calories as would be the case if you had eaten properly, but it will result in increased temptation to eat huge portions later.

Healthy diet recipes and advice on proper eating habits abound on the internet and from other sources as well as on this site. Consult these and determine a proper combination of the nutrients you need. Eating a little less than what you need will not damage your metabolism, but your body will use the extra body fat for the fuel it needs and you will lose weight instead.

It is suggested by some that at first and for a few weeks, you keep a diary of what you eat. This will provide stark evidence of what you are actually eating – your calorie intake – and will help not only to prevent you from overeating, but will assist in identifying where your diet needs adjustments and to foster good eating habits. This information could also form part of a training diary (which is suggested elsewhere that you keep), and would assist you in determining or identifying the effect of certain foods on your running development and performance.

Instead of eating huge amounts at breakfasts, lunches and dinners, it is better to break these down and eat ”Healthyhealthy dieting with your running routines, and you will be well on your way to achieving significant weight loss and become fit and slim!

Some Special Eating Tips

Apart from general overall dieting, some special eating practices are recommended.

  • Try to eat a fair sized meal 2-3 hours before you set out, to allow enough time for digestion. Muesli or porridge provides favorite sustenance just before setting out on a run.
  • Liquids, especially water, play significant parts in maintaining proper health. You should take as much liquid as possible, particularly if you live in a temperate climate and sweat a lot. It is suggested that your liquid intake range between no less than 4-5 liters daily. It should be higher for temperate climates. Freshly made fruit juices, milk, nutritious energy drinks, herbal teas or sports drunks can be imbibed, but avoid drinks containing caffeine.
  • If your run is going to last well beyond an hour, it might be wise to take some “carbs” (e.g. energy bars) with you as a quick energy restoration source. Notice that tennis players for example will often eat fruits like bananas or drink carbohydrate drinks between sets.
  • Eat something such as a bowl of cereal, toast (wholegrain) with jams, etc. within 15 – 20 minutes after your run. At this time your body has increased enzymatic sensitivity and better absorbs carbohydrates which are needed to provide energy for your muscles.
  • After finishing a run, try to eat a normal meal within 2-3 hours. This should contain a mixture of carbohydrates and proteins (80% to 20%) as well as foods with good cholesterol, vitamins and nutrients.

All of this about eating tells you how important a proper diet is to your losing weight. It is not just about running, but this must be properly combined with healthy eating habits if you really want to see that belly fat and pounds around the hips and buttocks drop off!

3. Setting Your Weight Loss Goals

Setting weight loss targets and developing a consequential plan are very inter-related. However, goal setting is paramount and is the first thing you should do, even before thinking about how you are going to go about losing weight. Decide what (the goal or target) you want to accomplish (usually how much weight you want to lose in a certain time frame), and the how (the plan) you are going to do it will naturally follow.

So don’t at this point begin to get lost on the intricacies of running routines. Your weight loss goals later bear directly on your plan because these determine your running routine (frequency, distances, intensity, etc.). The amount of weight you lose will for example, determine how many times you run each week, whether or not you run longer, faster and further, etc.

You probably want a kind of “quick fix” for your weight loss – instant downsizing! However, promptly disabuse yourself of any such notion or expectation, because it will not happen quickly from running, or usually from any other means either, regardless of the many extravagant claims to the contrary! Weight loss comes slowly and at a price.

You will just have to set yourself reasonable goals – ones which are within your capacity to achieve. If you set them too high, you will be disappointed if you do not achieve them and such “disappointments” can have a very negative impact on your motivation and hence the sustainability of your running routines and relevant activities. You will lose your self confidence and begin to doubt your capabilities and the very essence of what you are trying to achieve, that is, to lose weight by running. You do not want this to happen!

At the same time you do not want to fix them too low, that is, they are very easy to achieve. This can give you a false sense of security and you take on too much for the next stage. Your goals must be challenging but not beyond reasonable capabilities. One way to do this for example, if you are afraid you might be making too great a jump, is to change your running route after a few weeks by either lengthening by about ten (10%) percent, or choosing a more challenging route, one for example where there are some reasonable inclines (hill running).

Another good way to make your running routine challenging but doable, is to do what is commonly known as “interval training”, that is, you alternate running fast with jogging. You can increase the fast running intervals each time you feel “comfortable” and your body begins to adapt to the higher rate.

Your goals should be short term, medium and long term. A healthy weight loss rate which can usually be achieved by most people is to lose a 1/2 to one pound a week. This could be a short term goal. A reasonable medium term goal could be set for a weight loss, like 7-8 pounds in three months.

A long term goal, perhaps over a period of a year or more, however cannot be simply extrapolated from your short or medium term goals. Remember that while in the beginning your weight loss might be relatively rapid, the rate decreases over time and your weight finally plateaus out over time – you do not continue to lose weight indefinitely and continuously. At this point then you could make your long term goal that of maintaining your weight plateau.

In summary then, set achievable weight loss goals (those that you can manage yourself) for the short-, medium- and long-term. Make them doable but not without some challenge!

Other elements of the process of running for weight loss will be developed in later parts for better “digestion”!

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