Losing weight as a runner is not always as easy as it might seem. Sure, running is one of the best forms of exercise available and will burn calories both during and after your run. However, because of the physical demands that running places on your body, you will want to eat enough to replenish your energy and care for your muscles. So how do you balance fueling your body and losing weight at the same time? The answer is listening to your body and giving it what it needs.
Avoid the Fad
The best diet for runners to lose weight is certainly not a fad diet that cuts out food groups or limits caloric intake to extremely low levels. You will never be able to successfully keep up with a running program without taking in sufficient calories on a regular basis. The key is that those calories come in forms that will be useful to your body.
Building Blocks of Success
To start building a diet that will help you lose weight while running, limit your food intake to healthy groups. A partial list of great foods for runners to eat includes –
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Protein bars or low-calorie sports drinks
- Lean meats
- Complex Carbohydrates
All of the food groups on the list above will help you give needed energy to your body without adding unnecessary fat or empty calories. While the best diet for runners to lose weight can be described as one that includes all of those healthy foods from a variety of food groups, you still need to know how much to eat in order to lose weight.
Know you Caloric Need
This part of the equation is trick because everyone is different in their caloric needs. For example, and 135 pound woman who runs 20 miles per week will need a different amount of calories than a 200 pound male who runs 40 miles per week. What they have in common, however, is the need to create a caloric deficit in order to lose weight. Use an online calculator to estimate your caloric needs and use that as a starting point. Once you know how many calorie you are shooting for each day, you can consume that amount and observe your weight chance. If you are not losing weight, slowly lower the number of calories that you eat until your weight begins to fall.
Attempting to lose a lot of weight all at once is almost always a recipe for failure. Use your running routine and a smart diet to slowly lose weight one day at a time. While it can be hard to stay patient waiting for the pounds to come off, your results are far more likely to last when they come gradually. Also, it is easier to lose weight slowly and you will be more inclined to stick with the plan for the long run. If you can lose just a couple of pounds each week, it will not be long before your body comes into form and you are thrilled with the way you look and feel.
This article was written for RunnersGoal.com by Matt R., a guest author