RW's Weight-Loss Week

Simple changes to your running; everyday exercise tweaks; and loads of realistic eating rules that you can live by.

Posted: 20 October 2004
by Marc Bloom

Summer, the season of shorts and crop tops may be over, but there are still plenty of reasons to look after your physique. Whether you’re contemplating some autumn PBs, or simply want to look and feel your best, there’s no time like the present to shed a little weight.

Unfortunately, losing weight and keeping it off doesn’t come easy. But as a runner, you do have an advantage. Studies of obesity have shown that people who have a sense of well-being through physical activity, are better able to eat a healthy diet. Which is half the weight-loss battle.

The other half, of course, is keeping the pounds off. Here again, runners have an advantage, because exercise is the most important factor in keeping weight off.

So don’t wait another minute: you already have the weapons you need to win the battle of the bulge. And here’s your incentive: by losing just a pound or two a week, you could easily drop 10 pounds in six weeks.

To ensure ultimate victory, we have more than 25 simple weight-loss strategies over five short articles:

The 22 tips in Days 2-5 are for Runner's World magazine subscribers only. (The good news is that you can get instant access to the articles, 12 issues delivered to your door, AND 30% off here).

To begin with, here's how to make the most of running for weight loss:

Running Off The Pounds

Add 15 minutes: Run 15 minutes more this week than your typical week. Then add another 15 minutes in each of the next three weeks. This means that in one short month you’ll be running an hour more per week than you were. Maintain this new running routine for the next two months, and we guarantee you’ll lose weight.

Speed works: Dietician and exercise physiologist Scott Fisher recommends speedwork on a track to help slim down. Alternate fast laps and slow laps. “The high-intensity running increases the body’s natural production of human growth hormone, which promotes fat-burning and leanness,” he says.

Run early: Twice a week, get up before breakfast for your morning run. At that time you’re in a ‘fasting’ state, as you haven’t yet replaced the carbohydrates burned during the night. If you run in this state, your body will call on a higher percentage of fat calories than usual.

Join a running club: You'll run more when you’ve made a club commitment and found some training partners. This will help you melt off the pounds. The support of your running-club friends will also encourage you to reach your goal weight. Feelings such as stress, depression, loneliness and anger can lead to overeating. Running partners and a support system can boost your spirits, which will help you stick to your programme.

Reserve a run: To make sure you continue your work-outs when travelling, book a room at a hotel that has treadmills and other fitness equipment. An early morning run or cross-training session will energise you on even the most stressful days.

Why Weight?
Discussions about weight loss are fraught with danger. On the one hand, obesity, heart disease and general dietary irresponsibility are on the rise; on the other, the idea that weight loss is the be-all and end-all of life, can lead to a spiral of problems including depression, malnutrition and even eating disorders. Here is a series of steps that may help you organise and assess your need to lose weight:

1. Calculate your Body-Mass Index (BMI) as a rough guide to your weight and health (BMI = bodyweight in kilograms 4 height in metres2). A BMI of 24 or below is considered healthy. (But take this with a pinch of salt: particularly muscular individuals may have a higher BMI but still be healthy.)

2. Set a realistic target for the amount of weight you want to lose over the period and do not exceed it.

3. Get a body-fat assessment done, either with callipers or an electrical bioimpedence device (your GP may be able to do this, as should a nutritionist or the staff at your local gym). Then use this as your marker of weight loss. (Muscle weighs more than fat, so frequent trips to the gym could seem to result in no overall weight changes when in fact you are losing excess fat.)

4. Think in terms of dietary improvements, rather than pounds lost. Hopefully you’ll end up becoming a healthy-eating runner rather than someone running and dieting to lose weight.

5. If you are considering a prolonged period of weight loss, or want to lose a lot of weight (over half a stone), consult your GP for further advice.

Previous article
Weight-Loss Week: Ways To Count Your Calories
Next article
Weight-Loss Week: Best Eating Routines For Runners

nutrition general, fat, nutrition running, nutrition general, weight, weight, health general, nutrition pre-run, nutrition running, nutrition recovery weight cholesterol, calories, health general

Discuss this article

I am in for this. Need to shed a stone at least. Am I the only person in the world who has trained for a marathon and put weight on? After my long runs I ate like a pig. I guess that defeats the object. Going to take this seriously though.

Anyone else in for it?
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 13:32

lost count of the marathons ive done and not lost weight

9its the gin, I know, I know)
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 13:33

lost count of the marathons ive done and not lost weight

(its the gin, I know, I know)
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 13:34

lost count of the marathons ive done and not lost weight

(its the gin, I know, I know)
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 13:34

oh dear
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 13:34

Yeah, I forgot to mention all the Fosters and Stella.

Do I have to give that up as well? Oh pity me!
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 13:35

i have an uncanny habit of eating to maintain weight despite needing to lose 2st!
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 13:37

twilight zone trin
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 13:38

I get really annoyed with the running clothes manufacturers - they seem to assume that we're all twiglets. The small size clothes might just fit an 8 year old. The medium is about a size 10 and a large is apparently a size 14!!!!
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 14:15

well if they think Puma bint on the right is typical of a woman who runs or does exercises you can see why!

Posted: 18/10/2004 at 14:19

Pavement plodder - which brands do you buy out of interest?!? I do think that size 14 being a large or extra large is stupid (this one got me when out trying to get some trousers for skiing - the size 10 was a medium, the 12 a large and both were on the small side!).

Mostly I find sizing is standard though (i need small / x-small tops and look nout like an 8 year old - its the 30DD chest that does it me thinks!).

One thing about article - a healthy BMI is normally classed as 25 and under not 24 and under.... Hmmmm

Otherwise nice to read :)

H x
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 14:52

don't like the "if you have a lot to lose (over half a stone)" line
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 15:06

so i do nearly all my runs early am and do a reasonble mileage too
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 15:18

so do I need to see my GP 4 times - once for each half stone I need to lose!
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 15:19

nice one Pix
(registers with GP and books 6 appointments)
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 15:31

I've just finished a packet of maryland chocolate chip cookies, will this article help?
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 15:52

btw, I'm starting up on the "you are what you eat" brigade diet.. with a penchant for more 'bad' stuff than recommended in it, but it all makes sense (unlike Atkins, Points-systems etc..) so I'm prepared to give it a go :)

Some good stuff in this article :)
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 15:59

am I the only person in the world who believed the 'at last, a diet where you never feel hungry and loose weight' promises of the GI diet, got bored witless and nearly ate my blotter after 3 days and gained weight?
Posted: 18/10/2004 at 20:39

Have tried to follow Dr Gillian's recommendations but I have an overriding weakness for chocolate.

Do feel better for cutting down on caffeine, drinking more water and cutting right down on the old saturated fats (except chocolate).

On behalf of the food police :

Stop eating you fat b@stards :-))
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 07:32

Are you the same Trinity I bumped into just before GNR?

I beleive there are two of you. I didn't think you needed to lose weight.
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 07:37

I just want to have slimmer legs. Because now I have a to slim waist for any pair of trousers. Or my bum is to fat for my waist.

I must keep away from fast food :). And run more (but that won't be for to soon, because of injury).
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 08:15

I read somewhere that Gillian McKeith has no qualifications in food nutrition at all and qualified nutritionalists say that her views are far too extreme and not terribly healthy.
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 09:20

fat bastard reporting in
i LOVE my food dammit
and im a good cook
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 11:04

Dr Gillian will get you
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 11:21

she looks like vanessa feltz on speed
who would want to look like HER
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 11:22

I'd do her
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 11:32

Pudsey, please tell me you jest.

Posted: 19/10/2004 at 11:32

Christ, It must be the effect of all those pumpkin seeds.

She's not getting my chocolate though.


Posted: 19/10/2004 at 11:38

I have lost 4 stones in 9 months

I did not use running as a means of losing the weight, but as I got lighter found I was more inclined to start running again after a 8 year lay off.

I find that weight lost due to running is not straight foward. For instance during the summer, weight loss on an hours run could be quite significant - i am assuming a lot of this was fluid - but not sustainable.

Having lost a lot of weight I find it a hard slog to keep it off - running helps, but mainly to sustain my current weight. I am also quite prone to injury - hence the long lay off in the first place, its often one step forward, 2 steps back.

The main things I do to lose/sustain weight are:

walk at least an hour a day - not brisk stuff but just walk as you feel

try and identify everything you do with calory burn - eg writing an email uses one calorie ! during the summer I did a lot of gardening - burns calories, during the winter I start the DIY stuff - burns calories.

Restrict as often as possible the amount of time you couch potato - watch television, if you must, whilst stretching or doing something else - mind boggles

final tip: weigh yourself regularly -see how weight changes due to certain activities, amount you eat etc. I am a bit obsessive about using the scales, but it is the easiest way I know to prevent temptation taking its course...cakes etc!
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 13:08

My weight between yesterday morning and this morning varied by 5lbs, can anyone beat that???
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 13:23

no sue, Im impressed with that
i can lose 2-3 pounds in the gym though

(?new scales)
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 13:24

nope, same scales. I've been going to the gym every other day for 3 weeks now, eating less and low fat and have lost nothing so far, no weight, no inches, nothing. Weighted myself Monday am, same time each time I was 12st 12lb, weighed myself this morning and down to 12st 7lb. My metabolism must be f***ed because I can eat really healthily, lose nothing, then have a chocolate bar and put on 2/3lb's, its crazy. Hopefully now I'm really working out hard at the gym it will come off. I'd be happy with 1-2lb a week as your supposed to, not the 5lbs its taken me 3 weeks to lose.
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 13:57

Agree with stephen. Watched boxing academy on 5 last night, and was feeling guilty, so started doing pressups n situps. Spent theentire program alternating between the 2. Christ did I feel sore after, but spose it's better than sitting doing nothing. You should see those guys in the gym. One guy had to lose 5kg to make weight, after losing 3kg in an hour and a half just skipping.
The old school method was to put on a plastic suit and shadow box/skip until you were at fight weight. Yeowch
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 14:03

Stephen - you do realise you've just given everyone the excuse to increase their postings on these forums with the " writing an email uses one calorie!" comment.

Just another 2499 to go :o)
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 14:03

Sue H, my weight loss varies during the month - at TOTM I always put on at least a pound or two.
So when I am trying to lose I have to look at it in the long term, as my weightloss chart looks like the Pyrenees.

And of cousre the other side of the coin is that if oyu don't eat enough but run, oyu will not lose either, cos your body hangs on to what its got!

Finding a happy balance is soo difficult. Since I began running 'seriously' I have lost nothing to speak of, yet when I was first running earlier this year I as losing relatively easily.
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 14:05

Since I had my 2 children I have NEVER found it hard to lose the weight. I always seemed to have had a problem with excess weight but if I put my mind to it I was able to lose it again but not any more.
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 14:09

sorry, meant before I had my 2 children I never found it hard to lose weight, post children its nigh on impossible.
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 14:10

One thing I'd disagree with in your post Stephen is the "weigh yourself regularly". I think once a week is enough when you're on a weight loss campaign - same time each week.

If you weigh every day, you see so many fluctuations in your weight - not all caused by the food you eat.

Also, don't be a slave to the numbers (Hoose's thread about the Scale Chuck Challenge showed that some of us can become obsessed with a measurement which is after all just a set of numbers). As long as you feel healthier and happier, you're going in the right direction.
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 14:11

tell me about it trinity1. I never exercise before children, all I had to do was cut down on food a bit and I'd lose the weight. Now I'm down the gym 4 x a week, 1 hour of cario work and 15 mins of weight, plus 1500 calories a day and still bloody hard work to shift even a pound.
Posted: 19/10/2004 at 14:47

Is that one hour of cardio per visit Sue?

What kind of cardio are you doing?

Posted: 19/10/2004 at 16:21

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