Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Losing weight and running

So if you've been running for an extended period of time you probably already know that losing weight isn't as easy as it seems like it should be.  I mean, your expending all this time and energy running dozens a miles a week and yet the scale doesn't budge.  Totally unfair!  Of course when you first start out running the weights seems to fall off (still faster for some than others) but then it stops!
So why is this?  Well, your body adjusts to running(as in any form of physical activity) and it no longer takes as much effort (aka: calories) to complete the same amount of activity.  This means you have to run further and harder to use the same amount of calories that you did just a few weeks ago.  Along with this comes the hunger (aka: RUNGER).  Running still takes a bunch of calories and effort and if you are going to sustain this effort for an extended period of time, say an hour or more, you'll need to replenish those expended calories so you can keep on going.  This makes it a little more challenging to operate on the daily calorie deficit that is required to lose the weight.

So what can you do?
I am not a nutritionist or a doctor or any sort of professional who you should be taking advice from but in my opinion the best tool to help with weight loss is a food journal.  I like MyPlate because it has an extensive list of nutritional information and it also allows you to enter your own caloric information for any meals that you may come across that aren't in the database.  You can also track your activity levels giving you an idea of how many calories you've burned (but remember that this figure might be a little aggressive since your body is a little efficient than the average runner).  This is not the only website or app out there that you can use and even a notebook and a pen will suffice.  The point is to keep track of what goes in.  You'll quickly start to see some patterns and identify some areas where you might be able to shave off a couple calories painlessly.....I swapped out my half and half for 1% milk in my coffee and my routine now has a fewer calories.
The food journal won't make you lose weight on it's own but it's a start.  The next step is to cut out the high calorie low nutritional foods that you regularly see in your diet and replace with foods that are more valuable.  This isn't easy or all that fun.  Cheese, bread, grains even nuts have a ton of calories and it's easy to quickly overload on these they are super yummy!  The good news is that fruits and vegi's are low in calories and very filling so if you find you are over doing it throughout the day it's pretty easy to correct the day by having a big salad for dinner and maybe a small piece of chicken or tuna.

It can be very frustrating to see whip thin runners all around you and not be one of them.  If seems that the sport in general should create lean muscle machines but that isn't true for the bulk of us. No matter what our weight or frame though we MUST pay close attention to what we put into our bodies because it will have a direct impact on what we can accomplish in our running shoes.

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