I started running 4 years ago, but didn't lose any weight. I then got out of the habit till this year. This year I started by losing weight using MyFitnessPal to track everything I eat and count the calories in. I don't follow any particular diet, I just aim to keep the calories I eat under the daily target.
Having lost weight, I then started running again and was very quickly running better (faster) than I ever did 4 years ago. I'm sure it's the weight loss that helped with this. The running does help with weight loss, but only in that it lets me have the occasional treat that I would not be able to have within my calorie count otherwise. And having those treats means I am more able to actually stick to the calorie target each day.
I make large batches of soup (12-14 portions, but that's for me and my husband) and freeze them in individual tubs. I also have some nice bread sliced into chunks in the freezer. So it's very easy to put a tub of soup, a chunk of bread, a bottle of water and some fruit into a lunch bag for work.
When I first started losing weight, I got home from work STARVING so I had to have quick snacks available. I found these were best to contain protein and carbs and of course they would have to be included in the calorie count. Some examples are: 2 oatcakes with pate (I would weigh the pate), 2 boiled eggs a slices of ham (boil the eggs at the weekend and leave in the fridge), individual pack of mini breadsticks with humous, cooked chicken with olives.
I aim for about 300 calories (or less) for breakfast, 400 for lunch, 600 for tea, 200 for snacks and that leaves 100-200 over to make one of those meals larger and give a total of 1600-1700. Having those general aims meant I could have a snack or plan lunch and know whether it was 'okay' or not.
Now, I find I don't need the snack on getting home from work. Often some olives, but no more than that. The feeling of being so starving on getting home only really lasted a week or two. It's just about planning ahead to get through that time.
Planning in general is really important. I order the shopping online for the week ahead so I know what I'm eating for evening meals each day and I can calculate the calories in advance. I can then more easily add in the other meals.
As for the running, as others have said, try parkrun. Just try to run a little more of it every week. Most people can't run for 5 minutes without stopping, so if you can do that you're starting from a great position. Use a timer on your phone and run 5 minutes of parkrun and then walk 2 minutes, run 5, walk 2 etc. Or if thats too much, start with run 5 walk 5 and gradually reduce the walking over the weeks.
It's a wrist based one, and I do struggle to believe it can be all that accurate, but I've checked it at rest and it does seem to be very accurate. Can't swear that it remains as accurate when I'm running of course.
I've never paid any attention to heart rate before, but part of my logic was that maybe I feel like I'm at maximum effort but I'm not? I only run 5k, am overweight (but losing) and until 6 months ago I wasn't really doing much exercise, so I suppose I don't really have a frame of reference for 'max effort'.
Having run again today, I spent 87% of the run at or above 90% of my supposed maximum. I think I might reset the ranges...
Following a previous post here about trying to increase my pace (but being scared of pushing it too hard) I have bought a garmin watch. I took it for its first run today, and I have lots of lovely graphs to show for it...
but the heart rate...so, at 41 (nearly 42), my supposed 'maximum heart rate' would be 179 by the 220-age formula. But i don't really know what that means. Does it mean it's in some way unsafe to go over it? It certainly isn't my maximum heart rate. 72% of the 5k I ran today, I spent at 160 or over ie at 90% or more of my 'maximum heart rate'. The maximum recorded was 190, so again, a good bit higher than the theoretical 'maximum'.
So, my question is, is this 220-age formula just to work out what your maximum might be if you don't know? Or does it actually mean something? Is it dangerous to go over it? Or is it nonsense and my maximum is just whatever my maximum heart rate actually is when I'm running? And I should calculate the % ranges based on my actual highest heart rate?
A final question...I bought the watch largely because I thought i was perhaps being a bit lazy and not pushing myself hard enough. If my HR is in that 90%+ of 'maximum HR' zone for most of my run, does that mean I shouldnt be pushing myself any harder (till it comes down)?
Thanks for all the advice. Think I'm going to get one of these garmin thingummies..just need to decide which one.
A parkrun pacer sounds like a great idea. We definitely don't have them at the parkrun I do though, and there's only one other parkrun nearby and I don't think they do either (although I'll check). I've a good idea of what pace I need to aim at for now though, so the garmin should help with that.