Runner's World weight-loss feature



  • It's difficult when you get into longer distances to get the balance right - I mean the balance of dieting/excercise and the balance of the scales.

    I started running to lose weight and keep fit. I'm 5ft5 and was always around 10st. I did some half marathons and got my running up to probably 20m a week. At my lightest I dropped to 9.5 stone and saw and felt the difference. I'm now training for a marathon and I'm finding it really hard to eat enough so I have the energy, but not to put on weight. I've got my distances up to 19miles and you do need to take on some carbs to get yourself through it - you have to fuel your body properly.

    At the moment I'm only just less than 10stone. The problem is I'll go for a 10 mile run in the morning and my usual low-cal diet of yoghurt for breakfast, salad for lunch and a light dinner just doesn't sustain me throughout the day. I'm aware of what I eat and make sure to snack on healthy foods like dried fruit and nuts which are full of energy, but also CALORIES! And if I don't snack, I crash and end up eating chocolate instead! 

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    How about running in the evening? I feel less need to eat extra when I run in the evening then come in and have tea. Less time to snack or have temptations.

  • To me running seems like a daft way of going about weight loss. The real game is controlling the diet;  running and other exercise can complement this. I lost 3 1/2 stone through control over my diet, and got to the weight I wanted. I am not going to self delude myself in thinking that exercise  was responsible for this. I'm all for promoting running, but not as a primary weight loss method. 

    Occassionally in marathon training my weight rises slightly as I fool myself into thinking I need to eat more than needed. I would see marathon training as a terrible method of weight loss.

  • strangely enough, I put on weight when I'm training for a race.  Like last Summer I gained about half a stone when training for the HM.  This year so far I have cut back on my training (but I need to start stepping it up again soon for the next HM) and i've lost 8lbs so far.

    I need to get lighter as there's less of me to carry to go faster image

    it's only cutting calories that works for me as regards losing weight..... training makes me hungry image

  • If training makes you hungry then try and run a couple of hours after a scheduled meal, just before dinner (or something like that). Then you can have a decent satiating meal after your run to curb your appetite.


    Eat rich protein and fat sources to fill yourself up....Low GI food can help too.

    If you eat High GI sources then you will just have an insulin crash later on and begin gorging again..

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    In the weekdays I do that I come home run, have a banana milkshake, shower then tea. 

    I struggle with diet and running at the weekend especially if I do a park run as that seems to make me hungry for the rest of the day no matter what I eat after it.

  • I do 3x 5K a week Walk/run programme, and I have to admit I am struggling to get the weight off. No matter what, I tend to eat more when I exercise, and my self control goes with the eating, but super disciplined with the exercise.

    I also do weights twice a week, and try to get one other cardio session in along with gentle walks with the dog.

    I wish I could have the same discipline with food as I do with exercise, if I did the weight would stay off rather than one good one bad.

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    It's hard but 3 x 5k is only  going to use less than 1,000 calories for all three sessions if you run them fully so walk run, you might be using a lot less, so eating more will add up probably to more then you are burning.

    I know what you mean about eating now i've got down to my target weight i cannot really get any more off and i'm running 25+ miles a week.

    It's unfortunatly all down to calories, running is great and will really, reallly help to tone your body, but, no matter how you do it the simple reality is that you need to have only x amount of calories going into your body in the first place to loose weight.  There is no real magic, it's boring and dull but you just have to really try to keep below around 1,500 calories a day on average, if you have a week or two where nothing comes off weight wise, you just have to keep going and it will start to come off.  I know it's really dull, but saying your self control goes... then for example you try to make up for it by exercising more... It just doesn't work. The only way to properly diet is keep down the calories going into your body in the first place.

    Sorry, I don't mean to sound negative, but I run and utterly love it, and it's given me a figure that is way better then I could hope for considering where I started, the running shapes the body but the loosing weight came about through being strict with my diet. 

  • Just eat healthy fresh food. Avoid the pre-packed stuff in the supermarket and make from scratch....Even just doing this simple thing will help you control the amount of rubbish that goes into your system.

    If you feel snacky, reach for some fresh fruit/veg, cooked meat or nuts....stay away from chocolately/sugary snacks as they will just start you on an up, down rollercoaster of eating and feeling hungry.

    I'm not going to start preaching about going paleo but for weightloss it is worth a look..


    Next time you reach for a Kit Kat chunky(mentioned as they are my wife's favourite distraction at the moment), think about how long you would have to run to burn it off..280 calories in a few bites or you could have a large plate of chicken breast with a decent salad that will fill you up!

  • Bollocks.

    Losing weight has nothing to do with any perceived healthiness of your food, it's simple calorie control.


    As for paleo, no one eats a paleo diet in this country. If you did you'd have to bloat out during the summer to survive the starvation of the winter months when you couldn't forage for food. As usual people have taken a concept and completely changed it to suit their agenda to make themselves appear more rightous.

  • ChimneyChimney ✭✭✭

    Agree with various previous posters, at it's simplest weight loss is a case of consuming less energy than your body uses. 

    If reality matched intention I'd know I was dreaming
  • Hi! Hope someone can give me some advice here....I've been running for about 7 years, 2-3 times a week and 30-40 mins per session. I have to be careful about doing more than this as otherwise I can back ache.... I'm healthy and a vegetarian/fish eater. I used to be a size 8-10, especially when I started running but now I'm creeping up to a size 12 and am not happy! I still have a heatlhy diet but I may have been eating a bit more since meeting my boyfriend about 2 years ago.

    Is eating less and keeping up the same level of running all that is going to get me back to a size 10? I'm starting swimming again as well once a week. I've tried this for about 6 weeks and no improvements!

    Be grateful of any thing you could suggest.

    Thank you!

  • Pretty much. A good target is to count the cals you normally eat, drop the 100 or so you are overeating and another 500 to lose the excess. Look for things with added sugars such as breakfast cereals, chocolate etc and replace with an apple or something. Being a veggie I guess you are use to watching your protein intake etc already.

  • Louweeza - If you have an i-phone there is an app available called My Fitness Pal where you can log your food and exercise and I found that really helpful.  The first couple of days it is a pain as you have to select all of your foods to add from their database but you can store foods on your favourites then and it makes it much quicker.

    Keep plugging away there anyway it sounds like you are on the right track but just need to tweak things a bit moreimage

  • I found a nutritionist, paid £80 for one session with her and in return I got a custom meal plan, which I coupled with I a rather basic running regime [30 minutws job every second day]. I lost 9 stone in 6 weeks! I think what I learnt from this is professional guidance is important!

  • 9 stone in 6 weeks.  Yikes image

  • Did they cut your head off?

  • 6 months i meant! haha sorry guys....

  • sounded a little painful image

  • What did the meal plan say?

  • I was tipping the scales at 24 stone at the start of January this year (I'm very tall 6'8") when I made the decision to try and sort myself out.


    I was drinking too much, eating a lot of takeaways (pizzas, curries) and fry ups, and not doing any exercise.


    I had previously run a marathon (New York 2008) but had gradually let myself go until I was doing almost no exercise. As a consequence the weight piled on with my awful diet and I was a mess.


    I decided that the key to this was not to try and set myself a 'New Years Resolution' and do it all at once, but to improve each facet of my wellbeing one at a time. So first, I changed my diet. Out with the curries, pizzas and regular drinking sessions down the pub. Instead I now eat a lot of fresh food, a healthy breakfast of porridge with toast and peanut butter sets me up nicely for the day. Chicken or fish with salad and couscous or bulgar wheat for lunch and a similar meal for dinner is a typical menu for me.

    The thing I noticed was that I can still happily enjoy the odd curry, pizza or fry up, but now it feels like a special treat rather than the norm and I enjoy it more.
    I have also noticed that I also really enjoy helathy fresh food a lot more too.

    Once the diet was pretty much sorted, I then gradually increased exercise, going for 3 mile runs 3 times a week at first with some gym sessions. Then when I felt comfortable I started increasing the mileage.

    At the point where I was comfortable with a 6 mile run after a few months, I decided that I was ready to sign up for a race, but just a half marathon this time.

    The intensity of the training programme, mixing long runs, short recovery runs, speed work and gym sessions, has kept me interested and motivated.

    My weight loss had plateaued, but as the training became more intensive and my diet was adjusted accordingly I was able to break through this plateau and reach what I believe to be my fighting weight of 17 st 10 lbs.

    In the first half I achieved a time of 1:40:52, which I was really pleased with for a first race in over 4 years, and I'm doing another half in a couple of weeks. Also, I now actually have to eat a lot more just to maintain energy levels so that I can do my runs justice, which is great!

    Next year, I plan to run a few more halfs to really try and break down the PB by a couple more minutes.

    But this year, with the help of the motivation gained from entering a couple of races, as well as sorting the diet out, I have managed to lose over 6 stone, my resting heart rate has gone right down, as has my blood pressure and on the whole I now feel absoltuely great.

    I think the advice I would give anybody is don't try to sort everything out at once, break it down into one thing at a time, and don't always expect instant results. After all, your health and fitness should be something that you take care of for life, not just for January.

  • Well done Alastair.

  • Well done Alastiar and Tom - nice comment KateF!

    Running is a key aspect of my weight management and I had a disaster at the weekend when I pinged my Achilles racing my son to finish at parkrun....

    Any top tips for managing weight while hardly being able to walk - what a time of year for it to happen...

  • Eat less.

  • ... And burn calories using the parts of your body you can still move. (E.G. arm exercises/swimming).

  • ...And consider if you should eliminate carbohydrates from your diet.



  • ...And if you're trying to lose weight, once you've exercised don't eat back the calories you burnt off.



  • Or do what I'm doing.... which is having an awesome Xmas not giving a care in the world about the weight until the 2nd of January, and then promising myself i'll get it off by the end of January image Xmas is not the time to start a diet if you are thinking about it... If you are already dieting it's easier to keep going in December at times, but seriously starting to behave over Xmas is just not worth the effort. 

    Don't diet as a new year resolution, but diet in early January because you want to and you have a lot greater chance of sticking with it.

Sign In or Register to comment.